Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty; FilmMagic
A generation ago, who could have imagined a day when Dirty Harry, and the folk-rock icon whose lyrics launched a thousand anti-government protests, would be honored by the White House? The times, they really are a-changing! On Thursday, President Barack Obama took a break from the healthcare debate to present the National Medal of Arts to 20 American artists and institutions -- including Clint Eastwood, 79, and Bob Dylan, 68.
The President eloquently called actor-director Eastwood’s films "essays in individuality, hard truths and the essence of what it means to be American." (We’ll go ahead and assume that the flick where Eastwood costars with an orangutan is an exception.) As for Dylan, Obama called him "an icon of youthful rebellion and poetic sensitivity.” Unfortunately for the President, neither celebrity showed up for the event -- but since both have become notoriously shy about politics in recent years, we’re not too surprised.
Some of this year’s other esteemed medal recipients include West Side Story actress Rita Moreno, Star Wars composer John Williams, author Elie Wiesel and artist Frank Stella.
In his presentation in the White House’s East Room, the President emphasized the importance of the arts in America -- especially now. “It brings joy, it brings understanding and insight,” Obama said. “It brings comfort in good times and perhaps especially in difficult times in our own lives and in the life of our nation.”
Plus: Barack Obama and Clint Eastwood Among GQ's Picks for Men of the Year
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