HERE I WAIT, SMOKING WITH THE DUDE
Starting today, Marihuana has become legalized in Netflix. Starting today, spirals of smoke ––not the ones from Blue in the Face or Paul Auster’s, but ours–– will be spread like the ashes of the milquetoast sensitive friend to the main characters portrayed by Steve Buscemi, only not from a cliff but all over the catalog of frosted mercantilism of a streaming company that monopolizes monomania for bland audiovisual contents that used to be in the aisle of “new releases”, the worst aisle in ancient video stores from lost continents. We have said.
Stop the presses, or stop rolling funny cigars: starting today, you can find The Big Lebowski (1998), a film that the Brothers ––May they be united, as Martin Fierro says–– Ethan and Joel Coen got out of hand and detonated a mob of the merriest fans of a fandom of the most sativa-fueled persistence.
Much to their grief: the virtuous yet solemn (outside the frame of their films) Coens don’t want to know anything with the subculture generated around their film, the annual party created in 2002 by Scott Shuffitt and Will Russell ––the “Lebowski Fest”––, or being bothered with calls asking for them to come and talk about the film or shed light on new details, seemingly imperceptible, in the plot. Nothing. Zip. What’s past is past, or in this case, smoked. Not even the slightest hint to the greatest inhaler.
If you don’t remember it would be like being aligned with the mother-substance in question, however, do you remember when the berserk Walter Sobchak (John Milius, as portrayed by John Goodman) threw Donny’s ashes to the wind, covering him and The Dude in a cloud of mortuary dust, in a moment right out of the script of Mel Brooks’ Life Stinks (1991)? I can’t recall it and I’m proud of it, therefore I gobble down a flower.
The so called, in quite an unbeatable manner, “Messiah of unproductivity” is the give us today our daily joint, on earth as it is in the Pachamama. Rhetorical question: why are we fascinated by The Dude’s systemic apathy? No, it’s not rhetorical, let’s give it an answer: we’re fascinated by it because it liberated a decade, the nineties, from an abusive amount of topics and testosterone, a speech muscled by the varied and showy excursions of the United States into Irak, among other Republican Party greatest hits, for whom someone like The Dude is little less than, not the Messiah, but Manson’s Antichrist Superstar. Manson as in Marilyn, that is.
This comedy cemented two decades of cannabical culture transmutated into celluloid, today reduced to digits. It won’t be a mobilizing cult-film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show but hits right on the root of the plant that makes such a vibe possible. Twenty-two years after its release and in a very different cultural and political context, we have a chance of asking this question once again: Why do we love The Dude so much? Some possible answers may be:
- For his asymmetrical relationship with Power: he lives on welfare, but smokes it away, giving in return mental states, both narcotic and sweet, instead of slave work at the service of wild capitalism.
- For his honesty, that in fact is not such: The Dude doesn’t know how to lie while under the influence, and he’s always under the influence, ergo…
- For his inextricable attractive, that captivates the sighs of the most gelid conceptual art dominatrix by performing oneiric dance steps while wearing shirts with cut-off sleeves.
- For his love of carpets (or his contempt towards those who pee on them).
- For his good taste in picking great narrators: Sam Elliot is the very shadow of a wandering gunslinger, escaping the post-post-Fordian Wild West; for his good taste in picking contenders: Turturro’s nutsucker throwing away phony Hispanic dance moves to intimidate the well-equipped Dudes.
For these and many other virtues, many and also not so much. The Dude is not virtuous; he’s meandering, but not in a meaning associated to roughness, but in a way of walking and tumbling around, his arms naked, his sparse braided beard and a wide waist moved by the deodorant mist from within his intoxicated lungs and his also intoxicated drive of having a good time, always-always sticking with it, as long as there’s a bathtub and a pair of tweezers to hold a roach.