Culture

How to Become an Official Dude in 10 Easy Steps

10. Watch The Big Lebowski a minimum of 3 times.

The first time you watch Lebowski, encounter the film fresh and unfettered. Invite a friend or two over. Make it a casual affair and, if you can, do a double feature. Watch The Maltese Falcon beforehand so you have some understanding of how incredibly screwed up the plotline is going to be. The second time you watch Lebowski, do so with a Caucasian in hand. Immerse yourself in the experience, not as a moviegoer, but as a key aspect of the mise en scene. Discover your favorite quotes. By your third go-round, call in sick, lounge in your bathrobe, and when your friends say, “You wasted a sick day on that movie?” respond with, “Well, that’s like, your opinion, man.” Be sure to obtain the collector’s edition and review the special features for complete immersion.

9. Connect with Lebowski fans online.

The best sites are Lebowskifest.com and Dudeism.com, although a plethora of Facebook groups exist to connect Lebowski fans worldwide. Jeff The Dude Lebowski also has his own Facebook page, as does The Grateful Dude. While they aren’t known for being the most active fan group, you might also find your fellow Achiever rolling a few strikes at the local bowling alley.

8. Read the literature.

From  What's Up Movies. Full book still awaiting production.

From What’s Up Movies. Full book still awaiting production.

An Abider’s library is not complete without the following volumes: The Abide Guide, The Dude de Ching, The Take it Easy Manifesto, The Dude Abides: the Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, The Dude and the Zen Master, and I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski for starters. Dudesong puts a Homeric spin on the film, while Two Gentlemen of Lebowski sees the story through a Shakespearean lens.

7. Decide whether you’re an Achiever…

Most Lebowski fans are Achievers, as in the “Little Lebowski Urban Achievers” referenced throughout the film. Achievers are the kindly folk who enjoy a good Caucasian, refer to beer as oat soda, and make it a point to roll with their buddies at the local bowling alley, not necessarily during league play. They trade quotes back and forth and, perhaps, identify more with Walter than the Dude, although they seek to have a plethora of both in their midst.

6. …a Brother Shamus…

The more contemplative wing of Dudeists, the Brotherhood Shamus Monastic Order (also open to special ladies) claims Detective DaFino as their patron saint and endeavors “to explore life’s most vexing mysteries.” They gather at St. Da Fino’s Virtual Shrine of Our Special Lady “to dig the Dude’s work and contemplate Dudeism’s enduring questions” as posed by the Dude. “Unless you’re adhering to a pretty strict drug regimen,” the Order advises, “you need compeers to help keep your mind limber enough to abide with the Dude.” The Brother Shamus Monastic Order is an off-shoot of the Church of the Latter Day Dude.

5. …or a Dudeist.

Dudeists are members of the world’s slowest growing religion, Dudeism. After watching The Big Lebowski while on a strict drug and alcohol regimen in Thailand, Oliver Benjamin established the Church of the Latter Day Dude. He named himself the Dudely Lama and penned The Abide Guide, The Take it Easy Manifesto and the Dude de Ching, among other contemplative works. Oliver explains Dudeism as “the rebel shrug”:

The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.

4. Attend a Lebowski Fest.

What started as a joke between friends has morphed into a national (and even international) phenomenon known as Lebowski Fest. Home to the Achiever Nation, Lebowski Fest provides the social and merchandising outlet necessary to sustain any good pop culture religion. Stars of the film have been known to attend Fests, which have hosted “some far out bands” and comedians as well. Achievers are known for their excellent costuming skills, crafting the most insignificant props into skilled wardrobe homages to all things Dude. My personal favorite fan costume: The Creedence tape.

3. Replace those casual dress shoes with jellies.

The jellies came out of Jeff Bridges' personal wardrobe.

The jellies came out of Jeff Bridges’ personal wardrobe.

Cosplay is for fan conventions. Dressing like the Dude is for everyday life. Dudeists and Abiders alike will find themselves replacing their uptight togs with clothing that embraces the abiding lifestyle. Trading suit pants for lounge pants, and skipping the dress shirt in favor of the plain white T, Dudeists will often find themselves favoring the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young attitude towards haircuts and personal grooming. Abiding requires a wardrobe that allows one to go with the flow.

2. Make abiding your daily practice.

Any religion carries within it a worldview. The worldview of Dudeism is: Abide. It is complex in its simplicity, a philosophy not unlike Tao or Zen that is often boiled down to “roll with it” in the spirit of the Dude’s favorite sport. There are a lot of ins and outs to abiding, but it all boils down to feeling free to reflect upon others with the statement, “That’s like, your opinion, man,” and not being afraid to be the kind of Dude “the square community doesn’t give a s–t about.”

1. Become a Dudeist Priest, or Rabbi, or Pastor, or whatever.

Over 220,000 Dudeist Priests have been ordained since the establishment of the Church of the Latter Day Dude. Yes, you can preside over weddings in most states, as well as funerals, “or any kind of celebration with pride and authority. Or just kick back and enjoy the knowledge that you’re an ordained minister at one of the most easygoing religions in the world.” Vows include promising to check what “condition your condition is in” and to “take it easy, man.” Ordination is free, as is the web version of the ordination certificate. A complete ordination kit which includes a certificate, letter of good standing (signed by the Dudely Lama), and a collection of Dudeist patches and bumper stickers will cost you $20. A lifetime of being able to call yourself a Dudeist Priest? Priceless.