Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Big Lebowski: the man for his time and place?

You know when you start thinking about a movie or book that you really enjoy in the context in which they are presented, and you suddenly begin to think about events that followed the movie/book in real life. I had one of those moments today, and it sort of redefined how I see The Big Lebowski forever. If you've never seen the movie, and you want to, there will be some spoilage action here, so be forewarned.

Knowing that the movie is begins somewhere around George Bush's State of the Union address in late January 1991 and ends somewhere in that same year, it occured to me that another event may have taken place during the course of the movie in another part of the city of Los Angeles that would have a profound effect on the city... namely the police beating of Rodney King on March 3rd of that year, and of course, we all know what that led to a year later.

So the question becomes, how would El Duderino and the various other denizens of their Los Angeles deal with the riots.

You know that Walter wouldn't let anything happen at his home or business without a fight, because despite his propensity to talk about action, he proved that he is capable of putting up a blunt and effective defense of himself, his friends and his property. If Walter's business still stood after the riots, I am sure he would have gotten a lot more business after that, and if it didn't, I am sure the insurance check would be quite lucrative. And the Big Lebowski himself, who was probably already in bad straits because of the scandal surrounding his machinations within the movie (because let's face it, Maude would likely believe the Dude's story given her prior skepticism about Bunny's disappearance), may have been brought even lower down if members of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers engaged in activities which were less than stellar during that time of crisis, though father, daughter and grandchild would probably all be safe in their enclaves and mansions in the better neighborhoods of the city.

Maybe Jesus Quintana would have gotten in on the looting in West Hollywood, maybe he wouldn't have.

But I think the Dude is the most interesting case of them all though, and the true focus of this article. On one hand, as a former 60's activist and revolutionary, he should in theory support on some level the outrage and call to arms from his fellow citizens, though not the escalation of violence or senseless criminality of the event. Of course, as a man who in a few short weeks in early 1991 had his home left in shambles, his car stolen, crashed and burned, along with various other misfortunes and physical attacks, he may not be so willing to support their actions or their methods, despite his loathing of the "fucking fascist" police getting away with another civil rights offense. It would probably change his view of the world once more, as those White Russians wouldn't taste as sweet, and Venice would have probably felt a little uncomfortable for days. But such action or inaction is entirely within his character. His probable reaction of shock, anger but utter helplessness to remedy the situation surrounding the event probably would indeed be reflective of the consciousness of the American public and truly is a man for his place and time. I mean, he'd fit right in there. The Dude does abide.

Then again, sometimes... well, sometimes I do tend to overthink things, so keep that in mind. I could be totally off-base here.

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