Nope. No. Oh, I hate everything about this!

As far as The Big Lebowski is concerned, it is a sometimes funny, always odd movie. It is probably worth seeing a couple of times just to sort of wrap your mind around it. But in the end it is still just a movie. You can buy in on DVD, and you can watch it whenever. You are an adult. But you don’t need to become an obsessive about it, who alienates his friends and family with his need to belong to a slap-dash counter-culture that really only exists because there was so little to grab onto in the late ’90s. “Do you want to go to the Big Lebowski convention, or the Ally McBeal convention?” “Who cares?”

And as far as this whole “it is a religion thing,” a) no, it is not a religion, and b) it will never be a religion, and c) no matter how many other religions this guy is supposedly a Professor of Religions about. UNIMPRESSED! You’re part of a fan club, sir. You are trying to teach people the happiness of living as part of a fan club. And I would also like you to show me where in the Dudeism Torah it teaches you that one of the key tenets of your moral philosophy is that you should take part in a viral marketing campaign for a car company?


Walking around in a robe all day. Come on! (Via TheAwl.)

Comments (111)
  1. 38-year olds, Dude.

  2. woozefa  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +53

    Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  3. As a lifelong atheist, I gotta say, this is pretty appealling.

  4. The dude does not abide!

  5. The Dude drives a Ford. This is a thing that I know.

  6. This is still more real than Scientology…

  7. Ordained by WHOM, dude? Nice jellies.

  8. I was already sighing so much, that once the Volkswagen logo came on screen i just passed out for a few minutes.

  9. I bet you’re going to blaspheme Sobchakianism next, huh?

    Selah. This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass! Amen.

  10. The Dude did not hug other dudes who clearly had no interest in being hugged, just because they were also wearing bathrobes.
    Anyway, the one we should all be emulating is Donny: Do your very best to understand what’s going on, even when the world repeatedly tells you to shut the fuck up.

  11. …And then they foreclosed on his house.

  12. “see film differently” = misinterpret film differently.

  13. Better this than, like, Gummo. I guess. I like the big lebowski. I like it a lot. But I bet watching it with a guy like him would be hellacious.

  14. If his shirt was actually the cover of Idiocracy, this would make a lot more sense.

  15. We need to talk.

  16. scrolllox  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +4

    I don’t understand people who do this sort of thing. I suppose there’s some need in everyone to belong to something, but this is ridiculous. If you are too much of a coward to tell people you’re an atheist, just tell them you’re a narcissist. It’ll save you the time of making up a complex philosophical scheme based on Apple Jacks or Ghostbusters and the net effect is the same.

  17. Take it easy, man.

  18. Whatever, I don’t judge. I could actual get behind this if they sponsored a group of underprivileged inner-city children, and yes, you guessed it, called them The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.

  19. This guy is really out of his element.

  20. I never realized The Big Lebowski was an independent film.

  21. What the fuck is he talking about, Dude?

  22. As someone who has seen this movie at least two dozen times (DO NOT JUDGE. Actually, yes, judge), I can honestly say that this movie teaches you absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. No life messages, no bigger picture. It’s funny. That’s all. If you’re reaching for something bigger in that movie, then you are severely missing the point. Also, you are a loser. Also also, shut up and get a job, goldbricker.

  23. Sometimes funny? I don’t want to start any religions based around it, but I doubt Gabe could name any movies funnier than Lebowski.

  24. Wait, nobody cares about the part where this was supposed to be exemplary of how Volkswagen “supports independent cinema” (whatever that is)? I thought that was a highly suspect moment.

  25. As an ardent Finkist, I can totally relate.

  26. I feel the same way about Alien vs. Predator.

  27. Seriously though, I’m a big fan of the Coens. Their movies are generally excellent. But what is it about The Big Lebowski that attracts all the crazies?

  28. Also, I was way more excited about this before I played the video and thought it was pronounced DOODYISM.

  29. Joe Spencer  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 -8

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Let’s all get under the covers and sob.

    • Professor English  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +21

      No. Satire is writing a pamphlet about how you can solve Ireland’s overpopulation problem by eating Irish babies. Actually going around eating Irish babies and trying to recruit people to your baby-eating cause is cannibalism, no matter how much you try to tell everyone you’re only eating them ironically.

    • “I’ve known Oliver Benjamin since I was five years old…”
      -Joe Spencer.

      1st off, thank you so much for the superfluous information.
      2ndly, you’re too late, I already thought he was a nut job for 1 second (you gotta move faster, Joe Spencer. This- is- the INTERNET)
      3rd & also lastly, this agression will not stand! (seriously dude relax- Oliver Benjamin’s life is not in our hands)

      • Joe Spencer  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 -3

        Well played. You win a pair of skinny jeans and tix to the Fuck Buttons.

        • I’ll take those tickets if he doesn’t want them, but the jeans are too small for me so he can keep them.

        • videogUGHmmie bear  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 -1

          it’s just Fuck Buttons, sir. no “the,” unless you wanted to say you were going to THE Fuck Buttons concert. then there would need “the” before Fuck Buttons… way to unnecessarily hate on the hipsters, though. points for originality there… you’re el worsto.

        • Thanks Joe Spencer * *:-) I’ll keep the FUCK BUTTONS Tix (I have no shame), but skinny jeans make me look like, well… an adult wearing skinny jeans (ok, I guess I have some shame.*)

          *no offense to those who love them; love as thou wilt. It’s just that I simply can’t pull off that look; my hips are too wide.
          ** p.s. I still think you need to relax (a little more) It’s ok that not everyone gets your friends joke.

  30. Jeff Bridges is the spokesperson for HYUNDAI. I hope appreciation of irony is a major facet of that religion.

    • But Peter Stormare (Uli the Nihilist/Karl Hungus) did those “Unpimp my ride” commercials for Volkswagen a few years back (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv157ZIInUk). I think this should be Hungusism instead then. Say what you want about the tenets of Hungusism, but at least they would walk around with ferrets on leashes and fix people’s cable instead of bum around in robes and jellies and smoke pot all day.

  31. Single female lawyer / Fighting for her client / Wearing sexy mini-skirts / And being self-reliant

  32. Your revolution is over, Mr. Benjamin. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose.

  33. I make it a practice not to take religious advice from men in jelly shoes.

  34. Hey Joe, thanks for sticking up for me. You’re a good man and thorough.
    What’s with all the vitriol? Because we call our fan club a religion? What else are other religions but overblown fan clubs? And they are fan clubs for equally fictitious characters, I might add. At least we’re not telling anyone how they must live their lives or any bullshit about the nature of the universe.
    If any of you don’t find the film inspiring then that’s a shame. The world is full of things to be inspired by and many people find The Big Lebowski deeply inspiring. You can be inspired by whatever you like. Why get so worked up over what other people find meaningful?
    It’s my belief that Dudeism (i.e. a current of thought implicit in The Big Lebowski) is simply an updated form of Taoism with a bit of Zen thrown in, plus some other things. You can believe it’s a piece of crap. It don’t matter to the Dudeist. Rant all you want if it makes you feel righteous. Wouldn’t it be better to try and understand what people find so intriguing about the film than just whinge about how lame they are?
    Certainly the argument that Dudeism is philosophy rather than a religion is a valid one. But “religion” is one of those words that is impossible to pin down, like “God” or “funny” or – of course – “dude.”
    We’re happy to call it a religion because it neatly fills a void that moribund traditional religions have left behind. Also, it’s certainly more fun and intriguing if you call it a religion. And yes, it is a bit satirical. But self-parody and irony are a fundamental part of Taoism, and hence, Dudeism.
    If you don’t get the joke, then you won’t get the religion either. That’s cool. We’ll abide with or without you, but we’d rather have compeers than f**king adversaries.

    • yeah, yeah, your argument is all well and good. it’s the part where you shill for volkswagon that doesn’t make any sense.

    • 152637489  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +9

      Hmmm. Interesting post. Is it really “abiding” to write such a lengthy defense, though? I’m not a Dudeist, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I have seen The Big Lebowski several times and it seems like going on internet patrol to defend your religion from anonymous internet comments is a little more proactive than the Dude would advise, yes?

    • Castlevanian  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +10

      It’s satirical? So basically, you have created a religion (at least in part) to mock other religions, which many people believe in sincerely, but you get upset when people mock the religion that you don’t sincerely believe in and acknowledge that you made up? Woof.

      I will admit that “Dudespaper” made me laugh. I would probably like you in person.

    • I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Oliver.

      Wait, no, I think i did that wrong, I’m gonna try again:

      Whatcha got ain’t nothin new. This blog’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.

      Damn, I suck at this.

    • Dear Oliver Benjamin,

      I can see why Joe Spencer has been a fan of you since he was 5, you actually sound like a cool guy. However, Joe Spencer was acting very undude. His explanation of the book, praise of your research skills, and writing ability were perfectly justified- it’s when he called us all “fuck nuts” that I thought to myself- hey, “Over the Line!!”

      Seriously- you can have your religion/club- it’s a free country- no one is telling you not to and no one is telling Joe Spencer he shouldn’t be your friend or something. Fucking wear Jelly Shoes and find deeper meaning in The Big Lebowski if you want man. Just don’t expect everyone to throw on their bathrobes and GET IT, or expect that people will not make snap judgments and snarky comments on your Religion (fan club.) People take issue with other people’s Fan Clubs (religions) all the time. You “Dudes” should be prepared for internet snark, if your faith is strong (relaxed) enough you’ll weather the storm.

      As a side note, it is entirely possible to get a joke and not find it amusing. Just as it is entirely possible for someone to get the joke- think it’s kind of funny- and still find the whole thing completely absurd, that’s the ship I’m currently sailing in (see also Flying Spaghetti Monster.)

      Everyone who doesn’t get your joke, or makes a snarky comment is not automatically an Eagle loving, skinny jeans wearing, Hipster. (you should really tone down the hipster stereo typing… it seems to go against the tenants of “Fuck it” and “just take it easy”.)

      Anyway, I’m a fan of The Big Lebowski. I went to the festival, drank white russians, quoted the movie with the other nerds, bowled and had a great time. I guess what I’m saying is…Can we just hug it out, and end this? (this olive branch also goes to you to Joe Spencer.)

      If you’re ever in San Diego,CA- mayhaps we can go bowling…first rounds on me… I hope they take checks.

  35. Oh shit, this actually IS my boyfriend.

  36. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  37. What internet patrol? My friend Joe told me that you guys were writing about me so I came to see what it was all about.
    Why is everyone here so jaded? You hipsters might want to try a little Dudeism. It’ll take the edge off a bit.
    Anyway, for those who haven’t already googled:
    As for a lengthy defense: We talk at much greater length about Dudeist philosophy at the site and at the official publication: The Dudespaper. We’re about to release a Dudeist version of the Tao Te Ching as well which some of you all sure to not enjoy (sadly): The Tao Dude Ching.

  38. strangely_brown  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 +4

    Hold on, Gabe. If this was a cute Japanese girl who was shitting herself with joy over The Big Lebowski, wouldn’t she be “living the dream we didn’t even know we had?” Why didn’t we jump all over that Harry Potter chick for the seriousness with which she took her mission as part of a fan club? She seemed a lot more loony than this guy does, and yet you found inspiration in her. (I think. You’ve pretty much perfected the art of blog irony. Gold star!)

  39. Sebastian Paper  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 0

    Man, I never realized that the comment board is filled to the brim with assholes.

    Say what you will about ‘Dudeism’, at least it’s an ethos.

  40. I’m not upset. I’m perfectly calm. i only think it’s worthwhile to explain dudeism to those who don’t actually know what it is. perhaps my toe did slip over the line. sorry.

    • You know what? I may not necessarily see things the same way you do, but it all sounds pretty legitimate, and you seem like a really kind and lovely individual. Everybody needs to maybe calm down. If we were all openly attacking a follower of a religion we were more familiar with, this would be Hate Crime City.

      • chittychiity bang bang  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 +4

        Huh? Like half of Lindsay’s posts (never forget!) were about Christian shenanigans, and those threads were often brutal, and I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with Christianity. I don’t think those were Hate Crime City.

  41. J  |   Posted on Aug 12th, 2009 -6

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • freshman comp  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 +3

      Except that the Bible (or Tanakh, Qu’ran, whatever) purports to be a religious text and The Big Lebowski purports to be a work of fiction. If you think they’re the same because you think they’re both works of fiction, you need to bring in extratextual evidence to show that for the Bible (etc) because it purports to be true. The Big Lebowski is up-front about the fact that it is fictional and not a religion. It doesn’t mean you can’t find great meaning in it (and base a philosophy around it, even), but pretending it is the basis for a “religion” just doesn’t work.

      • I agree with you, Freshmancomp, and I think that Gabe’s argument would be more clear and valid if he wrote what you just did — instead of trying to belittle the medium itself, as if an interest in art* or “cultural documents” is somehow a childish preoccupation**.

        *I’m not calling the Big Lebowski, specifically, art. But you get the idea. The whole, “You can buy it on DVD. You are an adult” thing rubs me the wrong way. You can buy Hamlet on DVD. Or you can download the Bible, or the Qu’ran to your iphone. That doesn’t somehow make it less valuable, or less worthy of scrutiny. Your argument, freshmancomp, about what a document “purports to be” makes much more sense to me.

        **Again, this is funny because Gabe’s living is basically built on writing detailed interpretations of movies like “August Rush” and “The Lake House”

        Lastly, freshmancomp, to address your own argument: isn’t belief the only thing that really predicates a religion? If millions of people started worshipping/deifying Holden Caufield – how does that somehow make the religion, itself, invalid as a belief system? It may be stupid, or delusional, or even glaringly “false,” — but it’s still a “religion.” I think the assumption that your argument makes is that religion, somehow, is isolated from culture – when, in fact, it’s the opposite: religion is a product of human beings and the rituals and rites they perform. Some religions, like Buddhism, don’t even address theological certainties. And, yes, semantics come into play here: we tend to call smaller and newer belief systems “cults” — and larger, more older ones “religions” — and ancient, extinct ones we call “mythologies.” So maybe the issue here is partly semantic; if this guy called his Lebowskism a “cult,” would we really object? And, yes, I realize that I just contradicted myself. Oh well – I worried it out by writing about it, thanks freshman comp!

        • freshman comp  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 0

          No prob, comment friend! Hope to see you and Shaggy 2 Dope at the Gathering next year. And no, I don’t think religion is reducible to either sincerely-held belief or social structue and rituals; both are necessary, but neither is sufficient. I’m not sure what that has to do with a discussion of source texts, though. And even if we did reduce religion to either of those things, you can still draw a distinction between beliefs/rituals ordered around something that claims to be a source of that ordering (possibly wrong) and those ordered around something that makes no such claim (definitely wrong).

    • Yes. Yes, exactly. The bible IS just a book.

  42. Say what you will about the tenets of Dudeism…at least it’s an ethos!

  43. I didn’t shill for Volkswagen. Look, just because something is featured in a commercial doesn’t make it evil. They wanted to feature Dudeism in a series of shorts that celebrated the power of cinema. What’s wrong with that?
    I don’t take issue with your bathrobe and your goof troop but with VW saying, “Look, people do nutsy, passionate things because of movies, and that’s a great thing. Special delivery: You’ve got a different way to see cinema. We support independent film. You’re welcome.”
    What? Wolksvagen saying it supports “independent cinema” is, like, really cool of them, but getting into what constitutes independent cinema (much less how VW is contributing to it by point out people doing nutsy, passionate things in response to particular movies) is a sticky bucket of syrup in itself.

  44. A Face With A View  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 -2

    say what you will about the tenants of [dudeism], dude, but at least it’s an ethos!

  45. I’ve never watched The Big Lebowski mostly because it’s the favorite movie one of my house mates. And that pretty much tells me that I should think it’s unbearable.

    Also, relax Oliver Benjamin. You don’t get to be offended by people telling you that our religion that you made up is fake and tell everyone else that theirs is fake. That’s what we call “hypocrisy”.

  46. Let’s paint, exercise, and take this thread really seriously.

  47. When did I say other religions were fake? I must be on a strict drug regimen because I don’t see that anywhere on this page.
    I think some of you folks aren’t getting what is “satirical” about Dudeism. It’s not mocking other religions. I do have some gripes with their dogmas but that’s not germane to the issue at hand. As I mentioned in the video I studied lots of them and found aspects of each profound and illuminating. Pointing out that they worship fictitious characters is no swipe against them, at least not in my book.
    What is satirical about Dudeism is that unlike other religions (except Taoism and Zen) it finds nothing sacred and so happily has fun with religious traditional formalism. It’s playful and partially absurd.
    Nevertheless, I was obliged to point out the fact that everyone was criticizing Dudeism without having the faintest clue what it was all about. I posted the link to the site so that you could have a look, not to spam.
    No harm taken, fellas. Just doing my job.

  48. Joe  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 0

    When I was young we went to the church of Caddyshack dagnabbit.

    By going to church I mean watched repeatedly while stoned.

  49. Beau Bridges  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 0

    We both could be getting some joy here if you had listened to me about the ‘Bakerism’, bro

  50. It’s funny that the Big Lebowski might be seen as the “message for our time and place.” Isn’t that what the cowboy narrator guy said about the Dude, that he was the perfect man for his time and place? I.e., LA in the early 90′s? And, therefore, pretty irrelevant in the internet-, and let alone post-you-know-what, age?

  51. Ahhh I just woke up why is everyone yelling!?

  52. Also I am a follower of an heretical offshoot sect known as Dell-Dudeism.

  53. The real question is: why aren’t we talking about this Ally McBeal convention?

    I want to go to there

  54. Most religious scholars and even many ardent followers of Christianity (c.f. the Vatican cardinal in Bill Maher’s Religulous and followers of Unitarian Universalism) contend that the Bible is pure allegory. The Yogic tradition of Hinduism maintains the same. So does the Zen tradition vis a vis Buddhism. And most reform Jews don’t take a word of the Torah literally.
    As Joseph Campbell pointed out, fiction is very often truer than “truth.”

  55. I dig your style Purple Drank. But I’m still confused why everyone thinks I’m angry.
    I’m perfectly happy with people criticizing anything and everything. But that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t offer up defenses if they’ve got one.
    You’ll notice that in the movie, the Dude does his fair share of sticking up for himself when confronted with unchecked aggression. But it never gets to him.
    And also, why am I not allowed to respond to internet snark with a little snark of my own? I mean, really, this article totally blows. That’s just my opinion, man, and you all may disagree, but old Gabe here has nothing to say except “me no like.” What’s your fucking point, Walter? Real reactionary. I’ve seen better English composition on the walls of a Bangkok prison.
    And come on, my pal Joe calling you “fuck nuts” is over the line? Really? Have you read some of the other stuff folks have written here?
    And my making a joke that you’re all hipsters is somehow bad form? Jeez. I guess it’s time for me to stay out of Malibu. Or Silverlake, as the case may be.

    • Mainly-Anon  |   Posted on Aug 14th, 2009 +1

      Look, man, I think people think that you are angry because you are seeking out confrontation, not being faced with it. You made a video espousing your beliefs, which was sponsored by a giant corporation and thus should have made you reasonably aware that a lot of people would see it (as compared to something you placed on YouTube). You then heard that someone did not like the video and made a point to seek those people out and repeatedly argue with them. I suppose this would be like if the Dude filmed an infomercial on his rug, and then he heard someone didn’t like his rug, and he made a point of following them around to try to convince them that if they just knew more about the rug, they’d agree with him. That’d be a very different film, though, and a very different Dude. There’s a difference between the way the Dude reacted to trespass, assault, and theft and the way he reacted to the Big Lebowski criticizing his lifestyle.

  56. For clarity’s sake: I had something to do with this mini-doc/ad/film-ident.

    “VW supports independent cinema” — It’s slightly confusing, I know. Here in the UK, Independent Cinema translates to: Independent Movie Theatres, not Independent Films.

    I.e., places not owned by Odeon or AMC, et al. Generally, the one-screen, old cinemas that are having a tough time staying afloat these days.

    VW is helping to keep many of them up and running. These theatres often screen mainstream films, sometimes not, but Seeing Film Differently means celebrating these theatres, as well as taking a different look at films.

    I think there’s value in Dudeism and I agree that the world probably would be a better place if we all had a little more Dude in our lives. But if you’ve got a very strict idea of what a religion could, this message may come off as silly.

    Of course there is humour in the video and there’s a risk that this will cloud any deeper meaning for some people. But I think the least we can hope for is that people relate because we’ve all at some point been deeply moved by a film. Personally, I think Oliver Benjamin comes of as educated, intelligent and funny.

    So, does VW’s involvement spoil the message? That’s like your opinion, man. Maybe you’ll think a little better or worse about VW after this, but it seems to me that their hearts were in the right place on this project. Sometimes a corporation can do good.

    Agree or disagree, I think it all depends on how jaded you are.

    • Mainly-Anon  |   Posted on Aug 14th, 2009 +1

      Thanks, that is a really useful clarification. The VW sponsorship/indie cinema thing didn’t concern me that much, but hopefully that resolves it for other people.

  57. Bill Bittner  |   Posted on Aug 14th, 2009 0

    I think all this criticism of this ad is very un-dude.

    The dude is not an uptight ultra-lefty, anarchist, anti-capitalist. He just didn’t give a shit about a lot of things.

    And as for those who think the ad exploits Dude and Dudeism, I’d say relax man. The Dude has nothing against being exploited. Maude “exploited” him when she collected his seed so she could get pregnant. The only thing that bothered him was the possiblity that he would have
    to be responsible for the child. But once she calmed that fear, he was perfectly okay.

  58. I hope that helps as well, thanks Semi-anon.
    However, if commentators are going to continue to maintain that they can say whatever they want about Dudeism and that’s okay, while if someone from Dudeism (e.g. me) comes in and shares their point of view with well reasoned, thought-out and often goofy replies, then that’s somehow stepping over the line — well then, then they might want to grow a pair of testicles (special ladies too). These are the rules. They affects all of us. Our basic freedoms.
    Also, you all might want to watch the movie again. You’ll notice that just because the Dude excelled at taking it easy doesn’t mean he wasn’t fond of bickering with his pals when they were full of crap.
    In fact I’m quite enjoying this discussion. Parts, anyway. I’m still not the slightest bit angry. Maybe I need to use more emoticons.
    Anyway, to parahrpase the Dude: I love you guys, but sooner or later you’re going to have to face the fact that some of you are goddamn morons.

  59. FreeParty  |   Posted on Aug 14th, 2009 -2

    This article is not an article. Just because you can type words does not make you a writer. What a waste :(

  60. I admit the Big Lebowski is my favourite movie, but this all seems kind of tongue in cheek.

    This guy isn’t the worst by any stretch of the imagination.

  61. Why doesn’t he worship “The Jesus”?

  62. fuck it dude lets go bowling

  63. Ab  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 0

    But the dude rarely takes it easy…Walter is mostly calm, The Dude is mostly worked up.

    Get a job, sir.

  64. Irish Monk  |   Posted on Aug 25th, 2009 0

    “Walter is mostly calm” Waving the fucking gun around? Did we watch the same movie, Ab?

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