September 11, 2008

Another Reason to Love "Mad Men" (and Lebowski)

Not only was there a shout-out in last week's episode to the Port Huron Statement, but both House Next Door and Sepinwall reacted with the same "Big Lebowski" reference! And speaking of the Dude, there's a great piece on Slate today on the "prescient politics" of the Coens' 1998 masterpiece:

Walter, with his bellowing, Old Testament righteousness and his deeply entrenched militarism, is an American type that barely registered on the pop-culture landscape 10 years ago. He's 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").

The biggest difference between Walter and most neocons, of course, is that he actually served in a war. Still, I would hate to be in a bowling league with Richard Perle, Doug Feith or Paul Wolfowitz.

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 11, 2008 04:16 PM
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