Monday, March 26, 2018

Randall Colburn: 'Here's Why Critics Go The Big Lebowski Wrong'

Source:The New Republic- The Dude ( played by Jeff Bridges ) on one of his marijuana trips.
Source:The New Democrat

"If some eager, film-loving acquaintance giddily sought to show you The Big Lebowski, and you glazed over afterwards, confused as to why everyone told you it’s “the funniest movie ever made,” you’re not alone. Critics, primed for more of Joel and Ethan Coen’s vision after the success of 1996's Fargo, more or less thrashed the film upon its release, disappointed by its meandering plot and absurdist diversions. Many have come around on it in recent years, while others haven’t. As Jeet Heer points out in a 20th anniversary piece on the film in The New Republic, New Yorker critic Daphne Merkins stands by the ambivalence of her initial review, calling it “a quintessential insider movie, one that plays in this shrewd way to groupthink. You’re either in on it, or you’re not in on it.”

What Heer gets at in his piece is that The Big Lebowski is perhaps not quite meant for one-and-done viewing or immediate critical analysis. He shares a Twitter exchange with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who calls the film a “grower,” while admitting that he “totally didn’t get it” when he saw it in the theater but that he “kept rewatching.”

From the AV Club

"Jeff `The Dude' Leboswki is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is The Big Lebowski. Which explains why he's roughed up and has his precious rug peed on. In search of recompense, The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job. His wife has been kidnapped and he needs a reliable bagman. Aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet, and Donny, master of stupidity." 
Source:Screen Bites- Dude & The Lebowski

I sort of look at The Big Lebowski as a parody of hipsters as a movie that makes fun of hipsterism and sends America the message that this is what can happen to you when you don't grow up and completely dissolve your yourself from society. 

The Dude ( played by the great Jeff Bridges ) is a middle age hippie radical from the 1960s who still believes it's 1968 or something. Well, when White Russians are your main beverage and you don't seem to drink anything else during the day, except when you're at the grocery store drinking out of a carton of milk ( which did happen in the movie ) the world can pass you by because your brain lacks the braincells to keep up with everyday life. Same thing when you smoke pot on a regular basis. Not that I'm against legalizing pot, I just wouldn't recommend that people smoke it several times a day. Love Snickers bars, but I make sure that I eat other things as well. Like potato chips.

The Big Lebowski is a movie about hipsters and hipsterism and people who see hipsters as losers and bums and hipsterism as a loser lifestyle for bums. The hipster outsiders played by Jeff Bridges, as ( The Dude ) John Goodman, ( another great comedian as Walter ) and Steve Buscemi (As Donnie ) who are looked down upon but perhaps seem useful even in a limited way by the successful establishment, the winners in Los Angeles in 1991, or at least some of them. David Huddleston, ( as the successful Jeffrey Lebowski ) Phillip Hoffman, ( as Brandt ) and Julianne Moore ( as the radical 1960s feminist Maude Lebowski ).

And the movie turns into a private detective crime story/soap opera where the Jeff Lebowski claims his trophy wife who is young enough to be his granddaughter, not just daughter, ( played by Tara Reid ) is kidnapped and believes The Dude is useful here in trying to bring is trophy wife back to him. The theory being that the people who supposedly kidnapped Bunny ( played by Tara Reid ) are also hipster/losers and The Dude can work with them  speaks their language and so-forth and bring the girl back to her husband.

The problem that Mr. Lebowski, has is that The Dude is not as dumb as he looks. Sure! He's missing brain cells from his constant pot and alcohol consumption, but he's smart enough to know when he's being played and when someone is lying to him. 

All three hipsters in the movie who are all friends and very close to each other, The Dude is the only one who figures out early in the story that Bunny, was never kidnapped. How did Dude put it? "There was never any real kidnapping. Bunny kidnapped herself." He figures this out after the first attempt to payoff the kidnappers with a million dollar ransom fails. And The Dude tells his buddies that the girl kidnapped herself.

Dude explains why he believes that with the girl being a trophy wife who owes money all over town who s simply using her grandfather, I mean rich, old husband, to finance her expensive lifestyle and to pay off her pimps. The fake kidnapping was about getting a million dollars from Mr. Lebowski to pay the girl and her friends off. Except for maybe her pimps, Bunny was completely safe the entire movie.

And then the rich 1960s, radical, feminist ,daughter, Maude ( played by Julianne Moore ) comes into the story, because her father gave Dude one of her valuable rugs. If you're familiar with the great 1970s CBS sitcom Maude, Maude Lebowski is not that different from Maude Findlay ( played by Bea Arthur ) except that Maude Findlay loves men and Maude Lebowski, I believe at least comes off as a man-hating lesbian, not just as a radial feminist. Maude comes into the story because again her father gives away her rug to The Dude and she wants it back. And sends her thugs to Dude's apartment to steal it from him.

Bunny is the real problem in the story, as well as having two main characters with the last name Lebowski, because she's a former ( perhaps current prostitute ) and not just gold digger who owes her pimps money and her pimp wants his money back and sends his thugs over to Lebowski's place to get his money back. 

The mistake that Jackie Treehorn ( played by Ben Gazzara ) and his thugs make other than breaking and entering into a private home without permission, is that that break into the wrong Lebowki's home. The Dude lives in a fairly small apartment and probably doesn't have 20 bucks on him, let alone million or whatever Bunny owes. The rich Lebowski lives in a mansion.

Again, I kind of see this movie as the establishment in society ( however you want to define that ) taking on hipsters and perhaps using this movie as a lesson to young people and saying this is what happen when you don't finish school and don't seem to care about anything in life other than having a good time and living one day at a time. 

The problem that the so-called winners have is that the hipsters, the bums, the losers, come out on top. The Dude and his buddy Walter, figure out the the kidnapping never happened and was simply just a lie and they fend off and so-called kidnappers and the good guys come through in the ninth and win the game.

This is one of the funniest movies you ever possibly ever see and a represents the 1990s very well as what it is which is a great decade for movies and American life in general and I believe the best comedy from that decade.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Onion: Pros and Cons of Free Speech on College Campuses

Source: The Onion- "Illustration for article titled the pros and cons of free speech on college campuses"
Source:The New Democrat

To be completely serious second ( which seems to go against everything that The Onion stands for ) a pro for being in favor of free speech on campus is that you get to learn other views and what people who don't think or look like you. Perhaps who've gotten through an entire school day at least without their favorite fancy coffee drink, perhaps don't even have a favorite fancy coffee drink and perhaps even gotten through a whole hour without staring at their smartphone, or least gotten through that hour without a jaw dropping OMG expression on their face.

Well, that was mostly serious, but you get to hear views that are different from your own. You get to experience what living in a liberal democracy is like. What life at college is like and again we're talking about college which is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. Even in Alabama and Mississippi where perhaps their higher learning doesn't reach the top floor and in some cases struggles to get to the second floor. ( Hey, when you produce the Roy Moore's of the world, you're going to get jokes like that. )

A con I guess if you want to look at it that way and perhaps tend to look at life from a glass half empty I need I anti-drepressent pills right away or I going to die, is that of course you'll hear opinons and views that you not only disagree with but find offensive. And you might actually hear views that literally are offensive and not just critical views that some narcissistic tight ass who thinks they're the only perfect person God ( unless you're an Atheist ) has created believes are offensive even if they're just critical and even accurate.

But so what, what were you expecting when you decided to go to college? You learn about life there and what life will be like once your'e out of college and can hopefully afford and more expensive and bigger place to live than you parent's basement. If you want to be part of world where everyone thinks and acts the same, join a cult, or move to some communist or other authoritarian state. But if you want to live in a free world you have to accept responsibilities and realities that life there is not the same for everyone and not everyone thinks and believes in the same things.

And in that world you have people who didn't get any higher learning. Perhaps that was because they went to college in Alabama or Mississippi, or were to busy staring at their smartphone, when they should've been listening to their teachers and studying. Freedom is not free and life certainly isn't free either. When you live in a free society you have the freedom to be yourself and think for yourself, but what comes with that is that everyone else has that same freedom that you and might not look at things and think like you. Which is also a plus because it's how people get to know each other and learn about each other. Which make freedom and diversity so great which is the ability to learn and self-improve.
The Onion: Supreme Court Revokes Annoying Man's Free Speech Rights

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Onion: 'Dozens of Other Countries That Interfered With 2016 Election Annoyed Russia Getting All The Credit'

Source: The Onion- The Real Vladimir Putin- President of The Russian Federation-
Source: The New Democrat

When I think of this Onion article, I go back to I believe the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential debate in 2016 where someone asked Trump did he believe Russia was responsible for hacking into the election campaigns and hacking into the DNC emails and Trump said, "it could be Russia, it could be a lot of other countries, but it could also be some 400 pound and lying in bed in New Jersey or somewhere who is responsible for the hacking. We don't know who is responsible for it." In that same debate Hillary called Donald a puppet for Vladimir Putin. Truer statements have never come out of Hillary's mouth than that. The only dictator in the world that President Trump won't criticize is the Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin.

To say Donald Trump doesn't operate, live or even have visited the same planet that sane competent American call Planet Earth, is like saying that Wisconsin tends to see snow in January. Or it can get hot in the Arizona desert during the summer. Seattle tends to see some rain and overcast every year and people there like coffee and are into new technology. Jazz music is popular in New Orleans, Washington especially Congress and the White House, has more than their share of bullshit and hot air, as well as humidity. You would be doing the best imitation of Captain Obvious the world has ever seen to the point that you would be for not only a Golden Globe but an Oscar on the same night.

Big Don simply sees things that aren't there. And that's assuming he's not an complete idiot and is being straight up when he says he doesn't believe Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 elections ( because his good friend Vladimir Putin told him so ) even though his own National Security Council and his own intelligence community where President Trump is personally responsible for the appointments of all of these national security and intelligence officials to work for President Trump and give him the best national security and intelligence advice that they possibly can. What they're telling the President and hold him more than a year ago is that Russia interfered into the 2016 presidential election.

But Donald Trump with an ego the size of the Sahara Desert simply can't bring his mind around to accepting that, because that would imply that Russia is partially responsible for the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States instead of Trump deserving all the credit ( or blame ) for that himself. Any responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based, ( not reality TV ) person would've acknowledged as soon the evidence came out perhaps as early as November or December of 2016, that of course Russia interfered with the 2016 elections as Donald Trump said himself he wanted Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails and releases the non released emails during the summer that year, because that is where the evidence points to.

Because responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based ( not reality TV ) people have their reputations to protect and don't want to be perceived as not knowing what's going on and don't want to be divorced from reality like a gold digger who wants to divorce their wealthy spouse as soon as they have a lot of their money. Good, responsible, intelligent, sane people, don't want to be seen as idiots. President Trump apparently doesn't have that problem to worry about because he could care less if he's seen by an idiot even by people who personally work for him ( and that is already happening, just ask his Secretary of State ) as long as he gets what he wants. Which is to perform and entertain and try to convince people of seeing things that simply don't exist, because those perceptions or lies make him look better than he deserves to look.

Donald Trump doesn't live in a reality based world, but in a reality TV based world known as Donald Trump. With the latest series taking place at The White House as President of the United States. Some people have suggested ( me included ) that the name of President Trump's latest reality TV show is Amateur Night at The White House. He sees and acknowledges what he wants to even if those things obviously don't exist. Which in many ways is very funny and how you get an Onion article written about you and how someone writes a piece for their blog about you with that Onion link. But in most if not every other way it's very sad and dangerous to have a President of the United States who is so far divorced from reality and not able to make decisions based on reality and the best available evidence at the time.
Source: The Onion: The Onion Has Obtained Hundreds of Classified Documents From The Trump White House 

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Onion: U.S. Senator Tom Carper- 'My Vote is Not For Sale At These Prices'

Source:The Onion- U.S. Senator Tom Carper (Democrat, Delaware) looking for a new deal on his payoffs? LOL 
Source:The New Democrat 

Note: these views don't necessarily reflect the views of Senator Tom Carper, even if he personally wrote this piece for The Onion himself or had a staff writer write it for him. Who knows, perhaps a paid lobbyist wrote this piece for Senator Carper. Which unfortunately wouldn't be surprising for Congress.

"When I was first elected to represent the people of Delaware, I made a vow to hold myself to a higher standard. The voters had placed their trust in me, and I knew if I broke that sacred covenant, I’d never forgive myself. Which is why, 35 years later, when someone tries to sway my position on an issue by offering me a small favor or modest campaign contribution, I’m not afraid to put my foot down and clearly state that no, my vote is not for sale at a price that low."

Source: The Onion 

"The NRA says a proposal to ban gun sales to anyone in the middle of a killing spree is a gross violation of the Second Amendment."  

Source:The Onion- Is the same woman who back in 2009-10 who said that she didn't want socialized medicine, but she didn't want Big Government's hands on her Medicare? LOL
From The Onion

So I guess it's okay for members of Congress who are being bought, if they're getting their money's worth. I mean what decent politician in his or her right mind would allow himself or herself to be bought off for a few hundred buck per vote. I mean if you're going to be bought off by the oil and gas industry or by teacher unions, you might as well get your money's worth.

This is how Congress is perceived in America. Why 1-2 American voters bother to take 30-60 minutes away from their daily and iPhone and reality TV viewing to go down to their neighborhood school and bother to actually stand in line or just walk up to the nearest voting machine after they're checked in to bother to vote. Or why Congress on a good year has an approval rating about 20%, but generally make accident attorney's and traveling salesman look popular in comparison.

Because the word politician is seen as an insult. Not just as an insult but a four letter insult. American politicians are viewed by average Americans like professional athletes who go from team to team during their careers simply looking to earn the most money possible. And in the politician's case to get the most money for their campaigns and to win reelection as easily as possible. Because at the end of the day what are politicians actually in office to do?

Only two possible things. Either to get reelected or to win a higher office. Perhaps win a leadership position in Congress. If you guessed politicians serve in office to serve their constituents, well I won't burst out laughing at you and ask you what you're smoking or drinking, because you would actually be 1-4 right. They're there to serve the people who financially backed their campaigns. Who without they would've struggled to raise enough money to buy a neighborhood lemonade stand by themselves.

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