Thursday, September 11, 2008

" least it's an ethos."

With the 10th anniversary of The Big Lebowski upon us, I present the argument in Slate today that Walter Sobchak, the bellicose Vietnam vet played by John Goodman, is a neocon:
If that seems like a stretch, consider the traits Walter exhibits over the course of the film: faith in American military might (the Gulf War, he says, "is gonna be a piece of cake"; in the original script, he calls it "a fucking cakewalk"); nostalgia for the Cold War ("Charlie," he says, referring to the Viet Cong, was a "worthy fuckin' adversary"); strong support for the state of Israel (to judge from his reverent paraphrase of Theodor Herzl: "If you will it, Dude, it is no dream"); and even, perhaps, past affiliation with the left (he refers knowingly to Lenin's given name and admits to having "dabbled in pacifism"). Goodman, who has called the role his all-time favorite, seems also to have sensed Walter's imperialist side. "Dude has a rather, let's say, Eastern approach to bowling," he said in an interview. "Walter is strictly Manifest Destiny."
(That's Walter up there on the left, by the way, played by John Goodman, and doing his best Colin Powell.)