August 29, 2008

The Dude Abides

Sometimes there's a man, I won't say a hero...



... a man who is just trying to be himself ...



... but sometimes things don't go as planned ...



... in fact, sometimes they get worse...



... and sometimes even worse ...



You try to keep a sense of humour, a sense of identity...



... but sometimes things seem to just keep repeating themselves, over and over, going nowhere ...



... sometimes the competition sometimes seems unbeatable...



... and sometimes even the seemingly good things in life are not what they appear...



Sometimes you wonder if you are the only one who even gives a shit...



And so, sometimes, you just gotta be yourself, and keep doing the best you can.



In your own unique way.

Of course.

And now....

A BONUS FEATURE FOR REGULAR GANDHI READERS:

Not many people (I am thinking nobody?) have ever focused on the political theme of this great cult classic movie. But I will give it a try, using the above vids, my own memory, and this Wikipedia plot synopsis as a guide...

In the movie, there's a scene at the start where George H.W. Bush says "This aggression will not stand". Saddam has just invaded Kuwait. Then The Dude says "this aggression will not stand" when bad guys pee on his rug. So there's the movie's basic analogy: the US Everyman Dude's space has been invaded, and his rug is Kuwait. But who is Saddam? And why did he invade?

That's where things get interesting.

The bad guys pee-ed on the wrong guy's rug. They were really after someone else: a wheelchair-bound US millionaire. Saddam pissed on Kuwait, the little US rug in the Middle East which "really pulled together the room" of the USA's petrol-addicted economy. But who was Saddam really trying to piss on? The ordinary citizens of the USA, who got so very upset, so upset that they went on the warpath? Or the US government and their Big Oil supporters?

Of course, from Saddam's perspective, US Big Oil might easily be confused with the US government and/or the US people, just as The Dude is easily confused with a millionaire of the same name.

So just as The Dude is forced to go and resolve this dilemma himself, in order to maintain his much-loved lifestyle, it was the US people - by the force of public opinion, overwhelmingly, but by soldiers in particular, and their families (cf. the Dude's friend who pulls a gun) - who had to go and confront Saddam, and drive him out of Kuwait.

The invasion of Kuwait wasn't really their problem, but they knew they were going to be affected by it. Just like The Dude.

The pretext for the invasion of the Dude's privacy was that the Big Lebowski's wife had been kidnapped. Lebowski's goons mistakenly thought The Dude did it. But in fact it was the Nihilists. In fact, the wife might even have helped them fake the whole thing! Who knows? Mystery upon mystery...

I'll leave it to my thousands of regular commenters to unravel the minor plot details, but I am happy to stand my this high-level synopsis of the plot. No doubt the Coen Brothers manipulated subplots to fit the overall plot dynamics, but I think this is a credible version of what basically inspired the script.

Over to you...

4 comments:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Oooh! Do I get to be the first of thousands to comment?;)? Did any of the other B.O. readers have trouble getting the YouTube clips to run? Every one crapped out after 2 seconds (literally, :02 on the clock) for me.

I never saw the original. There are many worthy movies I never saw. Nose in a book, not on the screen. Not that there's anything wrong with that; just so many hours in a day.

Re-watching old movies often leads to novel interpretations. If nothing else, it shows what the cultural assumptions of the bygone time were, and how much they changed in the interim. And with any movie made by intelligent people (like the Coens) you KNOW their minds are working at multiple levels. Fun to uncover nuggets of new truth, like chunks of corn in dissolving bullshit. Only better than that.

gandhi said...

Curse you, Bukko!

I spent half a day putting all these clips together for your viewing entertainment, and you MUST sit there in front of your 486 PC for however long it takes to download them all over your pathetic little dialup link to Uzbequistan (hah! you thought I didn't know!) because this is the 21st Century and this is Web 2.0 at its fines and this is TEH FOOTURE!

I the future cannot be defined by reference to pop culture, then what hope is there for mankind? Do you really think anybody remembers Aeschylus, let alone knows how to spell the name these days?

The thousands of commenters who come after you will ridicule you for an ignorant wannabe, and rightly so - I mean, what kind of man has never watched The Big Lebowski? You might as well say you never read Camus, or listened to Dylan, or climbed Macchu Picchu in the pre-dawn light.

Now get yourself down to the video store ASAP, or fire up all these links simultaneously before you go to bed, so you can view them in the morning.

Otherwise I shall quit blogging forever.

I'm serious this time, dammit.

Do you see what's happening here? We are entering a world of pain right here, Bukko. Am I the only one who gives a shit? Am I?

gandhi said...

... and WP, if you even dare start to point out any bloody typos in that previous comment, you'll be the next Bushout regular to feel the sharp edge of my righteously wrath keyboard strokes and furious whatever stuff.

M'kay?

gandhi said...

If any other readers don't know the movie, I urge you to either go by/borrow it, or at least click on the third video and watch it (if you can) - if that doesn't hook you, well...

Seriously, I don't delve much into pop culture, but this is classic stuff.

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