As the whole durned human comedy lurches forward toward the future, culture and social mores lurch along with it. It has been noted recently that Western language, customs, and morality seem to have made a punctuated leap forward following the release of the 1998 movie, The Big Lebowski. At first Lebowski was a sleeper, garnering little comment or praise from the cinema-loving public. But as the years have gone by, linguisticians and cultural mavens, to say nothing of hipsters in the know, have noticed how much of the terminology, philosophy, and intent of The Big Lebowski has crept into our daily lives. How often don’t we hear “No, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole,” or “Asian-American, if you please,” throughout the day? Aren’t we all continuing to draw a line in the sand across which you do not… ! And don’t we always answer “Obviously you’re not a golfer,” when asked to identify heavy, round objects?
Although the creep of Lebowski into our language has for the most part gone unnoticed, English professors are finally beginning to take note. More and more they incorporate Lebowski theory into their curriculums. Below is an example of a pop quiz one such pedagogue is using. (Click here for a downloadable pdf) Answers are at the bottom.