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"Look at our current situation with that camel f*cker over in Iraq. Pacifism is not something to hide behind."
September 14, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Slate takes a look at the prescient politics of The Big Lebowski.
posted by porn in the woods (74 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
So these Coen brothers, they have a new movie?
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don't fuck with the Jesus.
posted by rokusan at 1:09 PM on September 14, 2008


This post will not stand, man.
posted by jonmc at 1:19 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass.
posted by panboi at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2008


A lot of this stuff could be spun in exactly the opposite direction:

Donnie does die of a heart attack during a climactic showdown with those German nihilists, and one might call his death a casualty of Walter's aggression and the Dude's inability to reign it in.

Or, one could say that Donnie's weak heart is what kills him, despite Walter's ability to successfully defeat the nihilists without any injuries to his side. More realistically, you could just look at it as an unforeseeable consequence that nobody was really responsible for.

I can see some parallels, but I think a lot of this is just reading subtext into things where it wasn't necessarily intended.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2008


Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't get in a car, I don't fucking turn on the computer, I don't use the Internet, I don't comment on MetaFilter, and I sure as shit don't fucking front page post! Shomer shabbos!
posted by porn in the woods at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shomer fucking Shabbos!
posted by jonmc at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Enjoyed the read.
posted by nola at 1:36 PM on September 14, 2008


we could have nipped this post in the bud if the supreme court hadn't roundly rejected prior restraint.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:36 PM on September 14, 2008


"I'll suck your cock for a thousand dollars," makes the political slant pretty obvious, IMO.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2008


Barack Obama: "He's a good man. And thorough."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:40 PM on September 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


I realize that this is quite peripheral to the topic at hand, but the world must know!

In Wii Sports bowling, one of the random background Miis that populate the lanes next to your party is occasionally a presumably non-licensed ringer for The Dude.

Which is awesome because it feels like you just happened to go bowling with him. The Dude abides, without question.
posted by mwhybark at 1:42 PM on September 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it's an ethos.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:42 PM on September 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


*fixes the cable*
posted by jonmc at 1:52 PM on September 14, 2008


Don't be fatuous, jonmc
posted by wobh at 2:02 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


you have any Kahlua, wobh?
posted by jonmc at 2:11 PM on September 14, 2008


The date on the check that the Dude writes at the Ralph's in the beginning of the movie?

Sept. 11.

Yep.
posted by ColdChef at 2:13 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I am the walrus!" - Sarah Palin
posted by null terminated at 2:19 PM on September 14, 2008


OOh, inventing conspiracy theory metaphors from cult movies is fuuuunnnn.
How about ... that scene where The Dude is driving while drinking, and smoking a j, and rocking out to Creedence, and he drops the roach into his crotch and crashes? Totally an analogy of America's attempt to simultaneously take on every 'axis of evil'/terrorist nation out there.
posted by mannequito at 2:24 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


So are all Republican nihilists, or just the crew in office now?
posted by RussHy at 2:26 PM on September 14, 2008


Republicans
posted by RussHy at 2:26 PM on September 14, 2008


There actually have been a couple times I wanted to shout What the FUCK has anything got to do with Vietnam?
posted by JaredSeth at 2:36 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm just gonna go find a cash machine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's the difference between a retcon and a neocon? Donny's Funeral = Republican Election Tactics
posted by wobh at 2:40 PM on September 14, 2008


I'm staying. I'm drinkin' my coffee.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:41 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This post will not stand

That's just, like, your opinion, man.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:47 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
posted by hellojed at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2008


In Wii Sports bowling, one of the random background Miis that populate the lanes next to your party is occasionally a presumably non-licensed ringer for The Dude.

I hate to do this, but: the random Miis in the background of Wii Sports are either pulled from the Mii Parades of your Wii Friends, or just random combinations of the Mii parts.
posted by heeeraldo at 3:02 PM on September 14, 2008


The cult of Lebowski, I've begun to suspect, has more than a little nostalgia in it-

Your goddamn right I'm living in the fucking past!
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:09 PM on September 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think a better analogy would be No Country For Old Men in which an escalating series of bad things happen. Then in the last 20 minutes or so no one can tell what the fuck happened.
posted by panboi at 3:14 PM on September 14, 2008


I think a better analogy would be No Country For Old Men in which an escalating series of bad things happen. Then in the last 20 minutes or so no one can tell what the fuck happened.

Yeah, I noticed that little typo in there so just thought I'd help you out.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:31 PM on September 14, 2008


This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass.

Or, the censored-like-crazy-for-tv version, "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps!"
posted by god hates math at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


In Wii Sports bowling, one of the random background Miis that populate the lanes next to your party is occasionally a presumably non-licensed ringer for The Dude.

You mean these miis?
posted by LilBucner at 3:40 PM on September 14, 2008


HI I'M ON SLATE AND I CAN OVERTHINK A MOVIE
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:48 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Big Lebowski is so much more than a political commentary.
posted by clearly at 3:56 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, the censored-like-crazy-for-tv version, "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps!"

If Spielberg had made The Big Lebowski, he'd have revisited it and replaced the marmot with a flashlight.
posted by panboi at 3:58 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps!

I actually think that's funnier than the original line.

The Big Lebowski is so much more than a political commentary.

Obviously you're not a golfer.
posted by Mcable at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Walter's ability to successfully defeat the nihilists

This scene shows that Walter he has both the courage to enter a fight and the skill to prevail in one. Each of those traits is sufficient to disqualify him from being a neocon.
posted by Zonker at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


er "that Walter has". (shut the fuck up, Donny me.)
posted by Zonker at 4:06 PM on September 14, 2008


"find a stranger in the alps"? Wow, that's bad.
That makes some of the replacements in the tv broadcast version of Scarface look good... "This town is like a great big chicken, just waiting to get plucked!"
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:10 PM on September 14, 2008


It was an interesting premise, but the conclusion of the article felt kind of empty. I mean, "We're living in a much darker world, guys, much darker. And it shows up in a movie!" Well, yeah, thanks for pointing that out. That said, the drawing out of the neocon analogy was well done.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:17 PM on September 14, 2008


"find a stranger in the alps"? Wow, that's bad.

Good pickup line, though.

"Hey sugar, mind helping me find my stranger in the alps?"

Or:

"Your daddy must have been a search & rescue guy. Because he found my stranger in the alps."

Also:

"Why don't we slip out of these wet clothes and...find our respective strangers in the alps?"

Later:

"I'm sorry honey, I tried, but I just couldn't find your stranger in the alps. Are you sure you have one? Anyway, I'm tired."
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:04 PM on September 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


Your money is being held by a kid named Larry Sellers. Real fucking brat, but I'm sure your goons can get it off him. I mean, he's fifteen.... Flunking social studies.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:17 PM on September 14, 2008


I'm not sure I buy the whole argument, but heh! I would like to favorite this more than once.
posted by theredpen at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2008


Fuckin' a, man... I gotta rash. Fuckin' a.
posted by evilcolonel at 5:45 PM on September 14, 2008


My favorite overdub censoring was in The Hard Way. I'll never forget the intensity with which Michael J. Fox called James Woods a "slug in a ditch".
posted by adamdschneider at 5:59 PM on September 14, 2008


I like the censoring in Repo Man. "Flip you, you mother flipping flipper!"

Also:


OVER THE LINE!!!
posted by brundlefly at 6:18 PM on September 14, 2008


I did not watch my buddies die face down in the muck to read threads like this.
posted by jonmc at 6:27 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


JONMC, YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT!
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:32 PM on September 14, 2008


Anti-semite.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:46 PM on September 14, 2008


Is there a Ralph's around here?
posted by jimmythefish at 6:50 PM on September 14, 2008


your revolution is over, turgid dahlia. Condolences. the bums lost!
posted by jonmc at 6:51 PM on September 14, 2008


Marijuana: helping people find hidden meanings in movies since 1930.

*puff*puff*
posted by axltea at 9:12 PM on September 14, 2008


Saxon Kane: "find a stranger in the alps"? Wow, that's bad.

Rumor has it that the Coen Brothers did the rewriting for the broadcast version.
posted by Kattullus at 9:20 PM on September 14, 2008


From Die Hard 2: "Yippie ki yay mother falcon"
posted by beerbajay at 10:01 PM on September 14, 2008


I've never seen Pulp Fiction on public broadcast, but I imagine it going a lot like this:

Honey Bunny: Any of you fellows move and you're in big trouble!

*

Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Jules: What?
Vincent: Mayonnaise.
Jules: Goodness!
Vincent: I seen them do it, man, they like to apply copious amounts of the product.
Jules: I am appalled.

*

Jules: That's right, that's my nice wallet.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:15 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rumor has it that the Coen Brothers did the rewriting for the broadcast version.

You know, this reminds me that I once saw Ghostbusters on the Disney Channel or something (actually, someone else was watching it and I walked through the room), and they had actually reshot the offensive lines, not just dubbed them. Specifically, I remember the "yes, it's true, this man has no dick" line coming out as, "yes, it's true, this man is some kind of rodent, I don't know which," and it wasn't dubbed, it was actually spoken by Bill Murray.

This was many years ago. Am I just making this up or did it really happen?
posted by adamdschneider at 10:21 PM on September 14, 2008


adamschneider: A quick google using the following search string

"yes, it's true, this man has no dick" +rodent

seems to confirm your suspicion.

And that is awesome.

But what did they call him instead of "dickless"?
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:25 PM on September 14, 2008


one might call his death a casualty of Walter's aggression and the Dude's inability to reign it in.
Why was such an idiotic misuse of an idiomatic expression allowed to reach the final version of the article? I had to go read it just to make sure that it was actually wrong.

REIN IT IN IS ABOUT HORSES AND REINS, NOT KINGS WHO REIGN. ONE DOES NOT USE A CURB-BIT ON A HIGHNESS.

Say what you will about being a stickler for correctness, at least it's an ethos.
posted by winna at 10:30 PM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, careful man, there's a beverage here!
posted by brevator at 10:41 PM on September 14, 2008


I love find a stranger in the Alps, but it's no "Flip you, melon farmer!"
posted by stannate at 10:54 PM on September 14, 2008


ONE DOES NOT USE A CURB-BIT ON A HIGHNESS.

THIS HAS NOT BEEN MY EXPERIENCE WITH HORSEY ENGLISH GIRLS
posted by atrazine at 12:52 AM on September 15, 2008


Why was such an idiotic misuse of an idiomatic expression allowed to reach the final version of the article? I had to go read it just to make sure that it was actually wrong.

REIN IT IN IS ABOUT HORSES AND REINS, NOT KINGS WHO REIGN. ONE DOES NOT USE A CURB-BIT ON A HIGHNESS.

Say what you will about being a stickler for correctness, at least it's an ethos.


I was going to comment on that as well. Apparently, I'm not the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules.
posted by anthom at 5:29 AM on September 15, 2008


Strangers in the Alps, exchanging glances
Wondering in the night
What were the chances
We'd be pissing on a rug
Before the night was through.

Something in your eyes
Was so exciting,
Offering to suck my cock, for $1,000 was so inviting,
Something in my heart,
Told me I must find a cash machine.

Strangers in the Alps, two lonely people
We were strangers in the Alps
Entering a world of pain
Careful man, there's a beverage here
Little did we know
Bowling was just a glance away,
A warm embracing strike away and -

Ever since that night, we’ve been together.
Marmots at first sight, in love forever.
The Dude abides
For strangers in the Alps.

posted by panboi at 5:42 AM on September 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


But what did they call him instead of "dickless"?

I wish I could remember. I do, however, recall that in the scene where Peck is trying to muscle his way into the operation, Venkman says, "I'll sue your funny face for wrongful prosecution." It wasn't until the rodent line, though, that I took notice and said, "Hey, that wasn't a dub!"
posted by adamdschneider at 7:35 AM on September 15, 2008


But what did they call him instead of "dickless"?

"Wally Wick", believe it or not.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:19 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Audio excerpts of SpikeTV's edited broadcast of Pulp Fiction.

Because storing dead African-Americans isn't my rooty-toot-tootin' business!
posted by porn in the woods at 8:49 AM on September 15, 2008


Excellent find, Horace Rumpole!
posted by adamdschneider at 9:02 AM on September 15, 2008


The Mii Dude is seen here.

He is definitely NOT the Dude as seen in that YouTube clip. heeraldo, I strongly doubt that he is a randomly populated Mii drawn from another user's noodling, as I have not activated the Mii online sharing stuff.
posted by mwhybark at 9:17 AM on September 15, 2008


The best thing about the "Wally Wick" scene is just the sheer disgust with which Venkman addresses the inspector as "some sort of rodent."
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:49 PM on September 15, 2008


I had to come back to say why I think this David Haglund guy is wrong about The Big Lebowski.

Walter Sobchak isn't a neocon, he's more of an Eisenhower conservative. Jeffrey Lebowski, the other Jeffrey Lebowski is, if anything, the neocon. Think of The Dude and Walter as representing the left and right of the sixties. They spent the entire movie tripping and tripping over their "good" intentions, while someone whose motives are entirely venal gets away with the cash. The Big Lebowski sputters and bellows borrowed values but he's a vicious liar and thief who steals money intended for the poor to enrich himself.

Now this here opinion I've just unfolded comes at a time when it seems like our conflicts in the middle east just keep perpetuating themselves. I'm only saying this because sometimes there's a movie, I won't say a great film, because, what is greatness in film anyway. But sometimes there's a movie, and I'm talking about The Big Lebowski, here; sometimes there's a movie, and it's The Movie for its time and place. And even if it doesn't answer any of the questions it poses, and The Big Lebowski certainly doesn't, and neither does most every movie coming out of Los Angeles. But, sometimes there's a movie ... sometimes there's a movie.

Aw hell, excuse me. It's a weekday and I have to go get dressed and look for a job.
posted by wobh at 7:38 AM on September 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


wobh, I think that comment just brings the whole room together.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:55 PM on September 16, 2008


Is The Big Lebowski a cultural milestone?
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on October 10, 2008


This comment by Lisa of Swansea to the article Artw linked to just capped a pretty swell day:
Repeated watchings of The Big Lebowski have just got me through a difficult four-day labour... I just hope my son will like the film as much as I do!
That boy better... he better.
posted by Kattullus at 9:03 PM on October 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


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