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The Dude abides

By in Culture

In these uncertain times there doesn’t seem to be much a person can count on.

Fortunately, one can still take solace in the fact that the Coen brothers’ comedic masterpiece The Big Lebowski refuses to go away. Unlike the economy, its cult status continues to grow with each new generation.

There are many reasons for the film’s staying power, but a series of annual Big Lebowski festivals in the U.S. which are currently multiplying into a major cultural phenomenon — even garnering comparisons to Star Trek conventions — contribute greatly to the film’s continued presence.

A documentary named after the buzzword for a Big Lebowski fan, called The Achievers, was released earlier this month in select theatres throughout the U.S. It documents the rise of Big Lebowski fests and the subsequent reactions from the actors and those involved in the making of the film — Jeff Bridges, who plays the Dude, remarked, “It’s like a weird dream I’m having.”

The self-reference ubiquitous throughout the film has cemented it in the collective consciousness; the repetition of hilarious phrases gives the film a sense of totality, like an entire miniature world all its own, a veritable snow-globe of weed, bowling and dirty undies.

The film’s tendency to repeat particular, hilarious phrases and actions has had further, perhaps unintended, effects. A variety of drinking games with diverse rules have sprung-up around this cult classic.

By doing a quick search on the Internet, a person can find all kinds of rules for this game: a drink for every time Walter tells Donny to “shut the fuck up;” a drink for every reference to President Bush; a drink for every time Walter barks-out, “Shomer Shabbos!” and so forth.

The following are concise and, more importantly, not impossible rules for The Big Lebowski Drinking Game.

(1) A White Russian (vodka, Kahlua and milk over ice) for every White Russian the Dude drinks.
(2) A doobie for every doobie the Dude does. So if you have enough dudes doing the doobies, there shouldn’t be too many doobies to do.

In the end, it works out to just under a dozen White Russians in less than two hours and a sizeable collection of roaches, to boot. It’s a walking-home or staying-in-the-guest-bed kind of party.

Admittedly, this game is not recommended for everyone. Sharing an interest in the Dude’s recreational pastimes is a near must for playing the game”¦ and probably for continually re-watching the film, too. However, these rules, as the Internet has shown, are not set in stone — even though they will probably, one way or another, get you stoned.

“Trekkies,” the term by which Star Trek fans are most often called, praise Star Trek for its utopian vision of the future and are themselves known for charitable deeds.

On the other hand, Lebowski fans or “achievers” — called so because of a rather convoluted reference to the film, which I will not get into now, and because of the extreme irony in that label — are notoriously lazy and frequently self-destructive.

In short, if achievers are to be the next generation of Trekkies, expect more booze, bowling, sweat pants and reckless destruction of motor vehicles.

Who knows? Maybe drinking games and film festivals are only the beginning for this burgeoning counter-culture.

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