March 6 is once again upon us. The Day of the Dude. Dia De Los Duderino. All Duder’s Day. The celebration of all that is Dude.
What is Dude, you may well ask? Well, Dude is an ethos, a philosophy of relaxation. It is a moral exploration of what it means to be a man (or woman) in relation to this whole durn human condition. It is a way for modern humanity to chill out, take ‘er easy, and review what is important in Life.
It is an attitude and a way of Life based upon the most fictional of characters, the laziest of characters, in the strangest of modern tales. When the Coen Brothers (creators of such offbeat and wildly existential films as Barton Fink, Raising Arizona and Fargo) unleashed the film The Big Lebowski on this date, sixteen years ago, the world was not ready for such a bizarro take on the classic detective story. The movie sort of came and went without much ballyhoo, and then floated out on home video to be gobbled up by only the most rabid of Coen fans.
But something unexpected happened.
People began to see something in the character of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. They began to see meaning behind the laconic and nonchalant behaviour of the ultimate slacker. They began to realize something missing from their own lives, and that this fictional character, so fond of blasting a ‘J’ and downing a White Russian, held the means to their spiritual enlightenment.
The Dude became a new symbol of pacifism in the face of fascist forces and the conservative elite; a bastion of cool in a world full of tension and frantic futility. The Dude became a new Buddha for the new century.
Now there are thousands upon thousands of followers. There is a loose affiliation of quasi-religious adherents to his style and his grace that calls itself the Church of the Latter Day Dude. Some of us are actually ordained Dudeist priests (I am one). There are festivals in his honour, songs written to his glory, beverages consumed in his name. And there are holidays held in his appreciation.
Today is one of those days. March 6, the Day of the Dude.
So chill out. Take ‘er easy. Maybe have a few oat sodas and watch The Big Lebowski, or not. Whatever, man. It’s totally up to you. That’s just how we roll. Your fate, your life and your relaxation are your own. We just urge you to relax responsibly, and to the core of your very being. Be excellent to others, be okay with yourself, and ummm… yeah… abide, man. Just abide. Maybe go bowling. Far out, man. Far fucking out.
For more information on Dudeism and His Dudeness, pick up any of these fine educational tomes:
For the classicists:
For little Duders:
And, of course, the ultimate guide to Dudeist studies (including my essay on The Big Lebowski and the history of Detective Fiction)