Beginning a biographical series on great "Dudes" in history with a fictional character might not seem like a good approach, but, dude, Jeff Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges), the star of the Coen brothers 1998 comedy film, The Big Lebowski, so much sets the standard of dudism that I had to put him in the lead-off position.
Besides, according the Coen brothers, Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, was very much based on two real life dudes from their past, Jeff Dowd and Peter Exline (who now teaches at USC...dude).
These were two dudes that lived by simple means, put out only enough energy to sustain a laidback SoCal existence, and were self-assured enough to walk to the slow-groove beat of their own drum, mostly Creedence, according to the Coens, and become, in my eyes as well, full-blown, self-made, dudes!
What is a dude in my eyes?
A dude is someone who can relax when everyone else is running around. He (or she) can find greatness in simple ideas and live life with an "Every day is casual Friday" attitude. They usually land on their feet, gain a loyal following of friends, and enjoy just being, or "abiding," according to Lebowski, who when asked who is "The Dude?" His answer was simply, "The Dude Abides," which is now a cult phrase to all Lebowski followers, of which there are many. Enough for Lebowski Festivals, so named "Lebowski-Fest's" to pop up annually across the nation and in Canada (even in Europe, I've heard).
Though appearing to be laidback and apathetic, another key that draws me to a true dude is they can tend to make a name for themselves without really trying. And when they do try, they do it short spirts, as not to get over worked or "Sell out to The Man."
That's also the reason I went with Jeff Lebowski as No. 1 in this Awesome Dudes Series, because Jeff Bridges himself, in my estimation, is a dude. He approached Hollywood with an, "I'll work, and work hard, but only when I want to work and only play roles I want to play" mindset and even walked away from "career launching" roles only to have his career launch to super stardom anyway. If you get a chance to see his biography in the American Masters series (I caught it on PBS), you'll agree that this Academy Award-winning actor is a dude for sure. His home is his own Casa de Dude with a walking labyrinth and maze of hedges and mirrors in the backyard for him and his family to go and get lost in their thoughts, tune out, hang out and escape. The true makings of a real life dude.
As the creator and cartoonist for my own comic strip, titled Dude and Dude (http://www.comics.com/), you'll find that I consider myself somewhat of a dude also. A dude always looking for new material to use as ideas for the two dudes that star in my comic. Send your dude comments, dudisms, or let me know who you believe to be a full-blown, self-made, righteous dude and maybe they'll make it into one of the Awesome Dudes Series!
Also, like a true dude, I'm always on the hunt for a great fish taco, so send me, and all of us, your favorite taco shack so we can score one too....dude.
Facebook: Keith Poletiek
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