I have not wanted to report any of my old blog entries for fear of being called lazy, uninspired and various other vitriolic invective I hurl at myself in the mirror in the morning. But in light of the week that this website has had, I remembered an old posting of mine. After I went back and re-read it while standing on my soapbox, I thought that maybe it was worth posting again.
I like how much content driven traffic this website has and am lucky to be a part of it. When the content has driven debate, it’s even better. When that debate becomes heated, it’s AWESOME. Sometimes passions flare beyond just who thinks Battleship will be worth watching and into some truly debate-worthy topics. But at the end of the day, I feel that my words, whether spoken or written, eloquent or inarticulate are pretty unlikely to affect real change in someone who believes in their opinions as strongly as I do. Nobody in most cases is wrong, it is just a difference of opinion based on someone’s completely different life experiences. It’s usually nothing to get extremely worked up over and either way, I’ll probably have to go to work in the morning. I’d rather keep things light and as a man wiser than myself once said, “I let my principles get in the way of things. I punched a bloke in the face once for saying Hawk the Slayer was rubbish. The point is I was defending the fantasy genre with terminal intensity, when what I should have said was “Dad, you’re right – but let’s give Krull a try, and we’ll discuss it later.”
I’m off my soapbox, headed to work and I will talk to you all again next week. Hope you enjoy.
Originally posted June 2008
Almost everybody loves The Big Lebowski. It’s a small, cult movie with large critical acclaim, is infinitely quotable and a huge devoted following. It has spawned books, its own festival (Lebowski Fest) and even a religion (Dudeism). While much has been written about the film’s notable influences from existentialism, political ethos and film noir, there are simpler themes that generally tend to be overlooked.
My favorite character is Walter Sobchak. He’s the kind of guy who makes me proud to be a veteran. If John McCain would choose Walter as his VP, I would switch parties.
Conservative, religious and right wing, Walter could be called a zealot if he were a television pundit. He strongly believes in his ‘basic freedoms’ including free speech, the right to bear arms and freedom of religion. His conservative views are clearly on display whether dealing with Larry Sellers, Jesus or Smokey. Walter believes in the rules about everything from bowling to kidnapping and enforces them anyway he can. He’s not seeking validation when he asks, “Am I wrong?” but trying to make sense of a world that has disregard for the rules everyone has agreed on. Whether it’s race relations with Asian Americans, sex offenders or inept nihilists, his heart is in the right place, but his method is slightly mad. Even Walter’s best laid plans go astray, as he really didn’t have an exit strategy for the money drop/hostage exchange. But, most of the time, he is right. Mr. Lebowski’s spinal notwithstanding, let us not forget dude, the nihilists ARE amateurs, that is NOT her toe and NOBODY is going to cut the Dude’s dick off.
So, if Walter is the right and the Dude is the left, how do these two get along? How are a former hippie and a former vet best friends with each other? Walter is constantly talking about foreign policy and Vietnam and the Dude does not shy away from discussions about pacifism, Walter’s issues with his ex-wife or continually calling him out on his actions. It is because they’re men or because they are both cognizant of their roles in the relationship? I like to think that both of them accept each other for who they are, like in a marriage and recognize that they provide the counter balance to each other. Near the end, before the Stranger appears the first time, Walter tells the Dude, he’s being ‘very un-Dude.’ Walter is aware of how the Dude is supposed to act and what he brings to the table in their friendship. Like so many people with strong opinions, Walter might have a shaky view of himself. So, if the Dude is not being who he should be, then what does that make Walter? As the scene plays, he does not stay around to find out.
People look at the Dude and want to be him, want to emulate him and wish they could live as carefree. I think we should all try to be a little more like the Dude AND Walter. Their bipartisan spirit I something that we can all aspire to especially in an upcoming election year. Walter and the Dude are the alpha and the omega and the rest of us are just Donny, along for the ride with open ears and a shut mouth.