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Books / March 27, 2010

lebowski

Lotta books on The Big Lebowski have come out recently, and I’ve slogged through them so you don’t have to:

I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Will Russell, and Scott Shuffitt

The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers by Cathleen Falsani

BFI Film Classics: The Big Lebowski by J. M. Tyree and Ben Walters

The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies, edited by Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe

Presumably they’re cashing in on the Lebowski cult phenomenon—Lebowski Fest and all that—mobs of fans getting together annually to bowl, drink Caucasians, dress in character, watch the movie for the hundredth time, yell “You’re out of your element!” “I will not abide another toe!” “Nobody fucks with the Jesus!” “Nice marmot!” “Who the fuck are the Knudsons?” etc.

I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski is by the actual guys who started Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, and it’s the most endurable of the books. It’s even endearing. Inspired by a fervent love for the film that allowed them to see how it applies to every single situation in contemporary life, these guys discovered that they could create a communal bond simply by saying “Shomer Shabbos!” in public and waiting for the call-and-response cry of “Shomer fucking Shabbos!” (Though apparently “Shut the fuck up, Donny!” is the more typical conversational pass-phrase for discovering a fellow Lebowski-phile.)

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It’s a nice book, smooth matte cover, pleasantly laid out, loaded with dumb filler (“How to Dude-ify Your Car”) and interviews with cast members from Jeff Bridges on down to Robin Jones, who played the Ralphs Checkout Girl. The Coen Brothers, of course, maintained their magnificent reserve about the whole project, contributing only a fiercely non-committal line regarding the authors that’s featured on the book’s dedication page: “They have neither our blessing nor our curse.”

If you want to know lots of trivia about the film, there are some enlightening interviews with people who supposedly inspired the lead characters. The Dude is a loose riff off of Jeff Dowd (independent film producer/“Pope of Dope”/member of the Seattle Seven, him and six other guys). Walter = Pete Exline (USC film professor/Viet Nam vet/owner of a rug that really tied the room together) + John Milius (right-wing film writer-director/gun nut) + “Big” Lew Abernathy (private detective/screenwriter/actor/blowhard).

You also get the back-story on key incidents in the film that the Coens took from anecdotes about real-life L.A. experiences. That scene with Little Larry Sellars featuring the homework in a baggie kinda actually happened, though no Corvettes were destroyed in the process.

Goofy fandom, that’s okay. Makes sense. I don’t personally want to attend Lebowski Fest, but I’m happy the kids seem to like it.

Much more irritating is crap like The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, because it’s got no business approaching The Big Lebowski if it’s not going to make an effort to be worthy. The cover art is a hideous tarted-up image of the Dude in a halo, and it turns out the book deals with all the Coen films to date and only uses the Lebowski come-ons to push some product.

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Crack the cover and you find it’s all plot summaries, plus a few lazy notes gathered under short chapter conclusions called “The Moral of the Story.” For The Big Lebowski, “the moral” includes “treat others as you want to be treated yourself” and piffle like that. Fucking amateurs! Author Cathleen Falsani, may she rot in Hell, is a “religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times” who calls herself “God girl.” She’d’ve been fired the minute this pathetic book hit the shelves if there were any justice in the world. Which there ain’t.

The British Film Institute puts out a “Film Classics” series of high-toned monographs, and imagine my surprise to find out The Big Lebowski got BFI-ed way back in 2007. Again, nice-looking book, handsome color photos and all the fixings. But reading the text itself is a schizo experience, featuring blandly informative commentary battling it out with rank stupidity. This leads to a semi-diverting game of Who’s-the-Idiot? as you try to guess which of the two authors is irredeemably thick. Is it Ben Walters, Deputy Film Editor at Time Out London and author of books on Orson Welles and The Office, or J.M. Tyree, a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University? Tough call! My money’s on Tyree.

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Just so you’re prepared for the rhythm of the experience, reading it goes like this: “Okay…okay…ouch…okay…ouch…ouch…ouch-ouch-ouchouchouchOUCH!!” As long as the book sticks to the more obvious analysis, it doesn’t hurt. For instance, it tracks the influence of Raymond Chandler’s famous L.A.-centered detective fiction from Howard Hawks’ adaptation of Chandler’s The Big Sleep through Robert Altman’s revisionist update of Chandler’s The Long Good-bye to the Coens’ easy sweep of them all in The Big Lebowski. It’s a straightforward lineage if you know American noir, and reading this part is fine as long as you don’t get hung up on actual wording or anything. Just glide along keeping your eyes slightly out of focus. You don’t want to settle on a wince-inducing line like, “[The Coens] are teasing Hawks the way Hawks teased Chandler.”

But then there’s the really painful stuff you can’t avoid. The conclusion is a mass of sick statements comparing the Coens’ work to the novels of David Foster Wallace and Dave Eggers and the films of Wes Anderson in one big po-mo jamboree that invalidates any of the non-stupid things the authors might’ve written before. Skip pages 104-106, for sure, and sort of tiptoe through the rest, picking around the landmines, if you want to read it.

The most ambitious of the books is The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies, as the title suggests. It was inspired by a symposium where the essays in the book were originally presented as papers, and which pulled together the Lebowski Fest guys and academic types in an attempt to bridge the gap between pop and high culture. It’s kind of a gruesome read, featuring academics trying to be funny in scholarly form.

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Scholarship doesn’t tend toward comedy much. If you’re inclined toward hilarity you pick another mode of expression. And scholars themselves often fulfill the stereotype: sniffy, pompous, and humor-impaired. Example: a film studies pedant at a conference once told me that he didn’t see The Big Lebowski as a comedy at all; he said it was a meditation on male mourning and castration anxiety.

To be fair, there’s no easy way for a scholar to approach the Coen brothers’ films. They’ve already barred the way, already pre-mocked those who would intellectualize them. If you ignore that and proceed in a traditional, self-serious manner to analyze The Big Lebowski, you rightly fear you’ll seem almost as ludicrous as Assistant Professor Joshua Kates of Indiana U., who titled his essay “The Big Lebowski and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism.”

On the other hand, attempts at humor are generally worse. Something about interpreting the Coens often flusters scholars into trying to write like them. For example, Justus Nieland, Assistant Professor of English at Michigan State University, starts his essay “Dudespeak: Or How to Bowl Like a Pornstar” with a gust of nervous hipsterese:

What condition is the Dude’s linguistic condition in? Obviously, it’s fucked.

And here’s Professor Thomas B. Byer’s attempt to write funny scholarship about The Big Lebowski in his essay, “Found Document: The Stranger’s Commentary and a Note on His Method.” Byer’s trying to imitate the narrating voice of the Stranger, played by Sam Elliott:

And then, there’s another fella I want to tell you about, fella from back East in Durham. Lotta powerful smart idears, this’un. Some say he’s a pinko, too. But I don’t know. Cause what’s a pinko, anyway? And, I hear tell he drives a purty fancy car. Now, this here Fred fella said somewheres that one of them shortcuts we use nowadays fer thinkin’ is sortin’ folks into decades…

This drools on for pages. Laborious footnotes don’t help: it seems that the fella from back East in Durham with the fancy car is a reference to Fredric Jameson, the guy who wrote the endlessly referenced essay about postmodernism and the po-mo filmic traits of blank parody and pastiche and all that guff the Coen are accused of doing, and if I explain any further it will not get one iota more entertaining, I assure you.

Still, if you think you’d like a book made for “the slacker as well as the scholar,” as a cover blurb enthuses, this one’s for you. There’s an essay solely contemplating the significance of the Dude’s drink of choice, the White Russian; another one on “The Big Lebowski as Medieval Grail-quest”; still another taking up “the political subtext of The Big Lebowski, which critiques the growth of car culture in twentieth-century America and the nation’s resultant involvement in overseas wars for oil.”

They’ve managed to attack every aspect of The Big Lebowski without ever laying a glove on it, so the book’s kind of fascinating if you look at it that way.

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61 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Tyler Bass  |  March 28th, 2010 at 9:02 am

    “Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” — Shaw on piffle

  • 2. Boys in the Crime Lab  |  March 28th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I have I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski, and the interviews are worth the purchase price, although knowing the backstories does eat away at the magic of the movie a bit.

  • 3. Antonio B.  |  March 28th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Fuckin Nihilist!!

  • 4. FrankMcG  |  March 28th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    The Big Lebowski has officially become the Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the 21st (close enough) century. A brilliant comedy that legions of dipshit fans do their best to ruin.

  • 5. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 28th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    The Big Lebowski: An American ‘comedy’ that, unlike Obama’s economic policies, somehow fails to provoke any laughter at all. UNLESS of course you get a kick out of watching an apparently mentally-challenged dipshit stumble from one incongruous mishap to the next.
    I know; NOW it sounds like I’m describing G W Bush’s tenure.

    Anyway, the Big Leblowme is a lame story centered around a middle-aged, alcoholic loser who seems to possess the intellect and attention span of common field asparagus. If you can stomach watching a grown man constantly behaving and reasoning like a perma-stoned teenage Southern Californian, then THIS is the movie for you!

    The Big Lebowski TRULY succeeds at only ONE thing: making you wonder just how exactly such a POS movie could ever, ever, EVER achieve ‘culthood’ status.

  • 6. scott  |  March 28th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    “Anyway, the Big Leblowme is a lame story centered around a middle-aged, alcoholic loser who seems to possess the intellect and attention span of common field asparagus. If you can stomach watching a grown man constantly behaving and reasoning like a perma-stoned teenage Southern Californian, then THIS is the movie for you!”

    …right, the movie sucks…and required no creativity to make work…pure garbage

  • 7. FrankMcG  |  March 28th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Man, it always amazes how far people will stretch to slip in Obama slams in the most unrelated of articles. The Dude is clueless…he must be Bush! Is it any wonder such a comic genius didn’t get The Big Lebowski?

    The majority of Lebowski fandom is made up of Pythonesque idiots endlessly parroting lines in lieu of an actual sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean the movie itself wasn’t hilarious or brilliant.

    Yeah, the Dude is a useless stoner loser…that’s kind of the whole point. It’s an inversion of the whole noir genre. Instead of a proactive iron-willed Sam Spade protagonist grinding against shadowy evil, we have a hippie with antagonistic forces seek him out despite his passive uselessness (noir meets North by Northwest). Instead of a hard-boiled L.A. for the setting, we get its other side: a crazy bizarre mix of yuppie/hippie culture.

    The first 5 minutes has more great gags than most comedies in their entire runtime. If you can’t see the hilarity in a bitter Nam vet flipping out over no one following the rules anymore, I don’t know what to say.

  • 8. Nudgley  |  March 28th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Why do you hate fun?

  • 9. gary  |  March 28th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    any movie that makes me laugh outloud is a good movie

  • 10. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 28th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    “Yeah, the Dude is a useless stoner loser…that’s kind of the whole point. It’s an inversion of the whole noir genre. Instead of a proactive iron-willed Sam Spade protagonist grinding against shadowy evil, we have a hippie with antagonistic forces seek him out despite his passive uselessness (noir meets North by Northwest). Instead of a hard-boiled L.A. for the setting, we get its other side: a crazy bizarre mix of yuppie/hippie culture”

    You actually nailed it with the first sentence; the ‘dude’ is a useless stoner loser. END of story.

    Everything you added after THAT was simply filled-in by a probably overactive imagination of the type that afflicts pet-rock owners and people who play music for plants.

  • 11. Tam  |  March 29th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Pretty much the ONLY interesting fact about the film that you can’t work out from just watching the movie is that the Dude is an older version of the gigolo character Bridges plays in the brilliant, bleak thriller Cutter’s Way (in the same way that travolta in pulp fiction is the same character as saturday night fever). I’d love to see Eileen do a review of that film…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082220/

  • 12. MD  |  March 29th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I like this movie, and the Coens’ work in general, but I can’t stomach this peripheral kitsch that materializes when something gets a cult following. I don’t want to pretend “The Dude,” et al, exist outside those ninety minutes, or somehow have an ongoing presence in my life.

    I can’t even deal with this cult-following bullshit in the first place. It’s like Rocky Horror. A fucking nightmare; and total indictment of America’s protracted cultural adolescence.

  • 13. Waiheke Kiwi  |  March 29th, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Like so many others I love “The Big Lebowski”. Dude and Walter are complimentary opposites.Dude is free from all the ahievement, work your butt off, crap American culture :”He has not achieved”!How refreshing,a lot of us would like to be happy that way.Walter is a loyal and true friend, undefeated, not cowed even if embittered. He makes us laugh at the excessive deference given to Jewishness Sabbath Practices. Both are free souls. They remind us of our own friends who hopefully don’t give a sh.t about all the Correct Behaviour Bullshit we all have to stomach these days!

  • 14. Waiheke Kiwi  |  March 29th, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Like so many others I love “The Big Lebowski”. Dude and Walter are complimentary opposites.Dude is free from all the achievement, work your butt off, crap American culture :”He has not achieved”!How refreshing,a lot of us would like to be happy that way.Walter is a loyal and true friend, undefeated, not cowed even if embittered. He makes us laugh at the excessive deference given to Jewishness Sabbath Practices. Both are free souls. They remind us of our own friends who hopefully don’t give a sh.t about all the Correct Behaviour Bullshit we all have to stomach these days!

  • 15. Kat  |  March 29th, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Not that funny and definitely overrated.

  • 16. Johnny  |  March 29th, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Recovery is just the kind of psuedo-intellectual “I’m smarter and hipper than thou” reader that Eileen Jones deserves. She’s the Glenn Beck of film reviewers.

  • 17. franc black  |  March 29th, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for the column

    I really enjoyed the movie. One of the aspects that struck me the most, is that maybe you don’t have to play the rat race game in North American society: you can maintain your integrity and live a simple and decent life by respecting others and following your own rules.

    I’m going to watch it again, ’cause now I miss it so much.

  • 18. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 29th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    “Recovery is just the kind of psuedo-intellectual “I’m smarter and hipper than thou” reader that Eileen Jones deserves.”

    Au contraire, my friend. Actually MY case is something more along the lines of, “I’m not quite as easily duped as thou into believing that there exists ANY ulterior meaning, significance or point whatsoever beyond this POS movie”.

  • 19. FrankMcG  |  March 29th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Next up on FOX News’ hilarious Half Hour News Hour program: Recoveryless Recovery!

    *RR holds up Obama hand puppet*

    “Ooo, look at me! I’m Barack Obama! I’m going to save everyone with my stimulus!”

    *RR pulls down pants, farts on puppet*

    “Pee U! Looks like I just got a whiff of my economic policy! Remember kids, Big Lebowski is braindead humor!”

    *fart*

  • 20. aPeasant  |  March 29th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I wonder if we’ll ever see something like “The Year’s Work in trying to figure out why we spend so much time analyzing movies when our standard of living has been falling for 2 generations and as we speak we’re giving yet again more criminals all our money, health, and dignity Studies” edited by Someone With Balls.

  • 21. Diet Coke  |  March 29th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Half hour news hour is a shameless rip-off of Canada’s newfie news program This Hour has 22 Minutes.

  • 22. senorpogo  |  March 29th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I probably shouldn’t complain, but how is it that the cool-kid-crowd adores “Lebowski” while completely igrnoing “Brother Where Art Thou”? It’s a tighter, funnier film with better music. Plus a much more memorable Turturro performance. I’d argue more quotable too.

    I’ve convinced myself that the American film-goer just doesn’t like seeing poor people as protagonists. Or not since the 50′s…

  • 23. MD  |  March 29th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    @22. I think you’re onto something there. Nobody likes poor protagonists unless they’re ultimately rich. That’s the arc people want for themselves, and why the lower middle classes are so eager to shit on each other.

    How’s it go?

    “The slave begins by demanding justice…”

  • 24. FrankMcG  |  March 29th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I can field this one!

    Cohen movies tend to get better the more Buscemi, Turturro, and John Goodman are in them. Having George Clooney completely cancels out anything good.

    Besides George Clooney, the problem with O Brother Where Art Thou was that it was the exact kind of movie that the Preston Sturges movie (Sullivan’s Travels) it referenced realized that no one wanted to see. It never went beyond simply referencing The Odyssey. We’re supposed to be impressed because Goodman has an eyepatch? If you want to talk dumbed down, did they think we would not get the references if they didn’t outright name Clooney’s character “Ulysses”? The movie was more concerned with being pretentious for NPR types than being entertaining.

  • 25. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 29th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    “I probably shouldn’t complain, but how is it that the cool-kid-crowd adores “Lebowski” while completely igrnoing “Brother Where Art Thou”? It’s a tighter, funnier film with better music. Plus a much more memorable Turturro performance. I’d argue more quotable too.”

    Absofuckinlutely AGREED on all fronts. And the REASON why the ‘cool-kid-crowd’ ignores OBWAT is that they only adore what their corporate masters tell them to.

  • 26. FrankMcG  |  March 30th, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Fuck. Hopes dashed again when I find out I was duped by yet another act. There is no real person in the world who thinks kids are brainwashed by corporate America to laugh at The Big Lebowski.

    Bravo, RR, bravo.

  • 27. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 30th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    @ FrankMcG

    What corporate America has done is to dumb-down the average American consumer and to LOWER THE BAR on people’s expectations of just what exactly constitutes ‘quality entertainment’. Or quality ANYTHING for that matter.

    Hence we have a nation that voted for a babbling semi-illiterate moron TWICE, is FINE with the fact that our armed forces have invaded the WRONG COUNTRY, openly accepts legalized TORTURE, agrees with socializing corporate losses by transferring the fraudulent debt to taxpayers and also willingly surrenders its sons & daughters to be sent overseas in order to have their legs blown-off so that Halliburton can increase its profit-margins by another 900%.

    Coming back to our case in point; that same dumbing-down action is ALSO the reason why anyone could ever find a POS, crappy movie about an over-the-hill hippie who suffers from alcohol-induced stupidity to be worthy of ‘culthood status’.

    Bravo, Frankie boy, bravo.

  • 28. EJ  |  March 30th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Are you sure the guy who said it’s not a comedy but “a meditation on male mourning and castration anxiety” wasn’t kidding?

    Because that sounds EXACTLY like something Maude Lebowski would say.

  • 29. Shining Path of Least Resistance  |  March 30th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    We threw a Big Lebowski nite in Shanghai and a bunch of Russians showed up including a guy from Minsk who kept reminding us all night that he was a real White Russian drinking a White Russian.

  • 30. GhostUnit  |  March 30th, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    @RecoverylessRecovery

    Are you trolling us?

    Drop the utterly unrelated politics talk dude… are you 14 or something and are going through that “I found something about the world I think I’ve learned about and I’m going to be loud about it all day long” phase?

    Grow up please.

  • 31. twenty-eight  |  March 31st, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Am I the only person who thinks the Big Lebowski is the comedy version of Cutter’s Way?

  • 32. Harry Ballsach  |  March 31st, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I’ve never been so glad to have no idea what some movie is about or what the big deal is.

    Movies, they’re sooooo last century.

    It’s something like $10-$12 to see one now, not counting popcorn etc. That’s food for a week, a box of ammo, something worthwhile. Thus, I don’t see the movie, I wait for the book.

    Movies can suck my hairy……

  • 33. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 31st, 2010 at 11:51 am

    “Drop the utterly unrelated politics talk dude… are you 14 or something and are going through that “I found something about the world I think I’ve learned about and I’m going to be loud about it all day long” phase?”

    Pull your head out of your ass and take a look around you for just a second. If you did that you might actually notice that politics is related to EVERYTHING.

    Politics is completely fucking-up the job market, the housing market and the financial market. It’s screwed-up healthcare and Social Security. Political incompetence & corruption is eating-away at our civil liberties and constitutional rights. Political insider-dealing is transferring YOUR wealth (and mine) to Goldman Sachs as we speak. Politics is responsible for the death and maiming of TENS of THOUSANDS of people, both within this country and outside of it. Political messsages and brainwashing are surreptitiously worked-into every Hollywood movie and TV series broadcast in America in order to ensure your continued cooperation & compliance.

    I *WISH* I was 14 so that I could be as utterly CLUELESS and UNCARING as YOU seem to be. Then all my worries could be focused on who’s going to win American Idol or on how many girlfriends Tiger Woods or Jesse James have. Like YOU do.

    You stupid numbnut sack of shit.

  • 34. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 31st, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    “Am I the only person who thinks the Big Lebowski is the comedy version of Cutter’s Way?”

    YES! In fact you’re also probably the ONLY person to know WTF “Cutter’s Way” is about.

  • 35. Allen  |  April 1st, 2010 at 11:27 am

    When it comes to the glorification of proudly ignorant retard status, all you have to do is look at virtually all entertainment media — the message is “I’m stupid and proud of my intentional ignorance almost to the point of hostility: Fuck YEAH. Awesome!”

    However, this does not mean that every character that may be dim or in some way lazy is trying to sell this shit. The “dude” was just a great character foil for the various extreme personalities in the movie to play off of — they’re mostly all intense in some way; he’s the exact opposite.

    You are not necessarily supposed to “identify ” with (the little) Lebowski.

    … I’m no Lebowski-ite, but I would include TBL in my favorite Cohen brothers films. I can’t explain why the film became such a “cult hit”, though.

    (Also I disliked OBWAT, and no I don’t hate the old-timey cliche version of poor people).

  • 36. Omnis  |  April 1st, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    “…going through that “I found something about the world I think I’ve learned about and I’m going to be loud about it all day long” phase?”

    “…politics is related to EVERYTHING.”

    Q.E.D.

  • 37. Bill Rush  |  April 1st, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    All the Coen Brothers films are great. From Blood Simple to Burn After Reading. It’s too bad so many out there worship The Big Lebowski and try to pass it off as some sort of new religion. Don’t waste your money buying these hack’s drivel trying to give their own lame interpretation.

    What’s the secret to the Big Lebowski? There is no secret. The reason people fall in love with The Dude is because he is in every scene in the movie. A simple technique that the humble Coens mentioned in the commentary.

    With all that said, here are my two favorite lines from the movie.

    Dude- “It’s all a goddamn fake. Like Lenin said, look for the person who will benefit. And you will, uh, you know,you’ll, uh, you know what I’m trying to say”

    and

    Walter- “Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax-YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I LIVE IN THE PAST!

  • 38. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 1st, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    ““…going through that “I found something about the world I think I’ve learned about and I’m going to be loud about it all day long” phase?”

    “…politics is related to EVERYTHING.”

    Q.E.D.”"

    OK, so you’re good at CUT & PASTE.

    Now how about throwing in some ..oh, I don’t know …*CONTENT* too?; that way we can all at least TRY to figure-out WTF you meant by that.

    Thank you.

  • 39. mookid  |  April 2nd, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Where is War Nerd?

  • 40. Bocephus Hildegaard Alabama, Jr.  |  April 5th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Seriously, does anyone remember when The Exile was actually filled with interesting, and insightful articles about politics, war, Russia? Why are they publishing this stupid cunt’s “entertainment reviews”? This is even worse than those stupid video game run-downs they tried a few years back. Thankfully, those only lasted about two weeks.

    Ames, Dolan, et. al., nobody cares about your fucked-up private lives (especially you, Dolan) but I’ll still be coming back every day to read every thing you post anyway, and I’m not gonna give you cent because I’m ungrateful fuck. But I’ll read it anyway.

    Your site is on its last legs, and if you want to save it, you need to clean house. Meanwhile I’ll be here anonymously commenting on your articles!

  • 41. Flea  |  April 6th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    How long must we wait for erotic fan fiction featuring Maude Lebowski?

  • 42. GhostUnit  |  April 6th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Oh come on #41, variety is the spice of life!

    … but it’s been so long since we saw the war nerd et al., that I must regrettably agree with you :(

  • 43. CB  |  April 8th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    “Everything you added after THAT was simply filled-in by a probably overactive imagination of the type that afflicts pet-rock owners and people who play music for plants.”

    In this metaphor, the Big Lebowski is music, and you’re the plant.

  • 44. philwells  |  April 9th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Are we counting fan fiction? I wrote an epic poem translation of The Big Lebowski that’ll never be published because the market is saturated (and it violates an obscene amount of copyright laws).

  • 45. rick  |  April 9th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Pretty good essay, Eileen.

    I tend to think the highfultin allegorizing of “The Big Lebowski” is pretty obvious, though. The only decent Americans are archetypes/variations of the Dude and Walter. And Donny. Everybody else is scum.

    Generally books of essays by academics are terrible since academics have no talent.

  • 46. Phoenix Woman  |  April 11th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Sorry, R. No matter how much you trash the Coen Brothers, you’re still not going to get laid. You have to do more than that, like bathe.

  • 47. gildas  |  April 14th, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Can’t that “RecoverylessRecovery” go back to wanking of to Newsmax pictures of Ann Coulter, while listening to Rush Limbaugh and trying real hard to not accept the obvious that the two are male.
    People that read the Exiled have read books, travelled and have a great deal of culture… By that I mean read something else than cheap novels (Bible etc), crossed a frontier to other countries (not Idaho-Wyoming state line), and culture (as in not insulting the intelligence of the cultivated people present).
    So take your Fox fuelled repressed teen fantasies to your bucktoothed cousin. Unless you want to share “something” of interest.

  • 48. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 14th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    “Can’t that “RecoverylessRecovery” go back to wanking of to Newsmax pictures of Ann Coulter …”

    Lol. Typical American dipshit comment.

    Since I openly criticise your King Mobamba you automatically assume that I MUST be a Repugnican, when in actuality I despise ALL you American WAR CRIMINALS equally.

    PS: Glancing thru Hustler while you sit on the toilet, going to see the Donkey Show in TJ and being able to name the 5 most recent winners of American Idol IS NOT the equivalent of “reading books, travelling and having lots of culture”.

  • 49. gildas  |  April 15th, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Oh, by the way, I’m not American… Mister know it all preacher man. Get ready for some serious egg in the face gettin’:

    Did you know this site was originally based in Europe, in Moscow? And that it has probably more European readers than American ones? Nooo… Yesss… I’m one of them. My present elected “King” is a small guy called Sarkozy. I live in Belgium where we have a real king. I’m no, er, as you say “Repugnican”. Hehehe… Twat.

    And the TV shows are not seen in my house, due to a lack of coverage (wrong continent), and lack of TV. We like books and Internet. Like a lot of educated European people. Hustler is not distributed here,sadly, but I do have a few vintage copies somewhere. And wanking is not needed due to having girlfriend. A real nice one too.

    I could methodically (like most the readers here) destroy your arguments, but you are but a small troll without the mental capacity to cognitively capacitate coherent conversation. So why bother?.. I will only descend into a “I can type with more CAPITALS than thou” hate screamfest… Boring. Get a life.

    My blog is http://brokeniron.blogspot.com/ where you will find I’m an industrial designer, an Ironman triathlete and a total nutter. In resume: more intelligent, faster stronger and longer lasting than you will ever be.

    I don’t hide behind names like weak people, darling. Now go wipe that egg of your face. I hope it is egg.

  • 50. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 15th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Sooo, where’s the fucking EGG you promised?

    Paragraph #1 tells me The Exiled was first based in Europe and that YOU’RE from the land of wooden shoes. Big F’ing deal.

    Paragraph #2 is dedicated mostly to arguing that you needn’t wank-off because YOU have a girlfriend. Although it IS nice to know that MIRACLES can still happen, once again …BFD!

    Paragraph #3 tells me you could ‘methodically’ destroy my ‘arguments’.
    And yet you DON’T.

    Paragraph #4 is a desperate attempt to draw attention to yourself coupled with some 3rd grade comments about how gifted you are.

    Finally, you end up by stating you’re NOT the kinda guy who ‘hides behind a name’, which would seemingly indicate that in France & Belgium assholes are routinely assigned NUMBERS instead.

  • 51. gildas  |  April 16th, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Oh the hate, the hate…
    You read my response, fucked up a totally wrong and not even amusing ball of hatred dumb arse answer with your little brain and you are now all bouhou in denial.

    I still rate this movie in my top ten.

    And we still don’t know who you are… Because you are nothing, you don’t count, you have no influence on this world, you don’t exist. Here on the interweb, like in real life. You create nothing, you bring nothing, you are nothing. You will pass throu this world like piss throw a gutter, leaving nothing.

    I gave you insight into who I am, just to show you how far of the mark you are. And I am proud of who i am (not like your insecure self) and guess what: you’re a insignificant troll. I, and most people here “do stuff” and will leave some sort of legacy, be it only a good memory to their friends.

    Now, go get a life little troll. I have things to do, people to see, deadlines to meet and beer to drink, real good Enamer.

  • 52. online arguing means you're smart IRL  |  April 16th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Congrats EJ, once again you’ve got these little internet dipshits to pointlessly bicker back and forth thinking that the childish BS they type to eachother actually matters. Oooh…I sure hope they do me next so I can feel involved!

  • 53. gildas  |  April 16th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    And by the way, the wooden shoes, that’s Holland, country next door. I recommend you use Wiki next time.

    And try to be funny.

  • 54. gildas  |  April 16th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Yeah, you are right “online arguing means you’re smart IRL”… It’s like punching air, easy but pointless.

    And I’m violating the basic principles of Dudeism: “An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible.” Dude, I have sinned.

    So i’m “Just taking it easy, man.” And i’ve got to respect respect everyone’s point of view: “It’s just, like, their opinion, man.”

  • 55. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 16th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    “Because you are nothing, you don’t count, you have no influence on this world, you don’t exist. Here on the interweb, like in real life. You create nothing, you bring nothing, you are nothing. You will pass throu this world like piss throw a gutter, leaving nothing.”

    You sound JUST LIKE a Goldman Sachs exec speaking to the average American taxpayer.

  • 56. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 16th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “…you’ve got these little internet dipshits to pointlessly bicker back and forth thinking that the childish BS they type to each other actually matters.”

    Bicker: 1.To engage in a petty, bad-tempered quarrel; squabble.

    As you can see, Gildas is ‘bickering’. *I’m* just making him look stupid. BIG difference.

    Wanna join?

  • 57. Funonymous  |  April 18th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    While, yes, the country (US), and most countries, past and present have at some point been run by thieving self interested crooks who devote any cleverness in their minds to finding ways to take things from others, regardless of political party, ideology, creed, color, industrial capacity, or communications structure, I would have to disagree that TBL is completely retarded. People have been talking alot about books, culture, and movies, and I would say that the Cohen brothers are fairly well read, especially in some of the literary corners they base their movies on. One cannot have written O Brother Where Art Thou without an intimate knowledge of The Odyssey, and from the Odyssey the jump to James Joyce’s Ulysses is short but profound.
    Ulysses was written as an antithetical mirror to the Odyssey; Odysseus was a king stuck far from home, who loved his land and family, and fought for years to get back to them. Leopold Bloom was a Jew in Ireland in the 1900′s, meaning he was a practical social outcast and foreigner in the land he lived in. Telemachus had a deal of philialpiety and was beloved of the Gods. Stephen Daedalus has no respect for his father, hated his homeland yet was obsessed with it, and forsook the Catholicism he spent his youth devoted to as his mother begged him on her death bed to come back to the church. Penelope spend a chaste 20 years devoted to the return of her husband, Molly Bloom had already, and was planning that day, to cuckold her husband again. Odysseus had to sail around the world, Poldy and Stephen spent the day walking around a city….

    For writers who have already written in this literary tradition, it is not a hard press to convince me they were using Ulysses esqe techniques while writing the antithetical LA movie, which is why it matters that The Dude is just a lazy stoner, because by being that he is also his opposite. Why hate on a whole culture of generally harmless people and write them off as worthy of no empathy anyway?

  • 58. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 18th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    “One cannot have written O Brother Where Art Thou without an intimate knowledge of The Odyssey, and from the Odyssey the jump to James Joyce’s Ulysses is short but profound.”

    No my friend, that jump is ‘long and IMPOSSIBLE’.
    I fail to see ANY connection whatsoever between The Odyssey and TBL to justify your parting assumption that the Cohen Brothers must possess an ‘intimate knowledge’ of the former. That renders all the rest of your otherwise VERY erudite analysis as baseless.

    The Odyssey is an EPIC, timeless and magnificent piece of literary drama containing a subtly complex and intricately interwoven storyline that ranges across the entire spectrum of human endeavors and emotions ranging from outright comedy to profound tales of conflicts, loves, lusts, intrigues and gods that openly meddle and participate in human affairs. And Odysseus, the main character, possesses the heroic trait of Mētis, or “cunning intelligence”.

    TBL contains the story of a semi-dazed slacker who sluggishly sets-out to find those responsible for peeing on his carpet and who possesses the torpid trait of Apathy, or “baffling dumbassedness”.

  • 59. Funonymous  |  April 19th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    The Odyssey = O Brother Where Art Thou, not The Big Lebowski

    The Big Lebowski uses antithetical comparison like Ulysses, which is patterned after The Odyssey. The Cohen brothers must have read The Odyssey to write O Brother Where Art Thou, James Joyce had to have read the Odyssey to write Ulysses. Anyone who wants to write a story about an ‘antihero’ pretty much has to read about Stephen Daedalus. Several people have made comparisons to noir and hardboiled LA movies, and the inverted comparisons in Lebowski in relation to those movies, I see the same techniques at work in Ulysses as I do in Lebowski. I’ll cede that vast portions of US culture are vapid and beyond dumb, but the Cohen brothers seem to be far more well read than your average American.

  • 60. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 19th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “The Odyssey = O Brother Where Art Thou, not The Big Lebowski”

    Sorry I completely misread your original post. Half a liter of Sauvignon Blanc coupled with a solidly-rolled spliff of Mother Nature’s finest cannabis DOES tend to cloud-up the mind a wee bit.

    Back on track now; although OBWAT admittedly weaves a MUCH richer cinematic tapestry than TBL, I STILL fail to see any correlation between OBWAT’s Ulysses and TO’s Odysseus ..beyond a few superficial narrative similarities (or counter-propositions).

    Nonetheless, GREAT review!. Thanks.

  • 61. Vendetta  |  October 11th, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Ames, I bet it’s fucking you who’s RecoveryRetard. I don’t think Dolan would have the patience to pretend to be so retarded for so long.


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