The Ballad of Jeffrey and Walter

27 05 2013

Walter Sobchak

Now here is a question for one who does study
The exploits of Jeffrey and Walter, his buddy:
Two bowlers who throw with uncanny precision
But miss when it comes to each lifestyle decision.
Jeffrey’s our hero, they call him “the Dude”,
For it’s nothing but calmness he seems to exude.
He keeps his roach lit and he keeps the drinks flowin’,
This marvellous brainchild of Coen and Coen
And nothing, it seems, will disrupt the man’s flow –
Save a stain on his rug and a dismembered toe.

But Walter, his friend, is still scarred from his service
In ‘nam – he is reckless, haphazard and nervous.
He carries a gun and there’s much that he hates
And poor Donny, who’s out of his depth, he berates;
He tries to assist his friend, try as he might,
It’s more often the case that he worsens his plight
And although he admires him, he tends to annoy him
But thinking that he isn’t one of the goyim.

The plot is elaborate, complex and thrilling,
There’s violence and drugs and there’s rumours of killing
When nihilists, grim, without scruples and soul-less
Both vex and perplex these two renegade bowlers
Who go on a hunt for a pornstar-turned-victim
Whose husband appears unaware that she tricked him.
I sat on the edge of my seat as I viewed
All these harrowing horrors that harrowed the Dude –
Including the strangest plot twist that there may be:
The hint, at the end, that the Dude has a baby!

This here is my question, sans further ado:
There’s a scene where the three of them come into view
As they exit the alley where they had been bowlin’
And find that the car with their cash had been stolen.
Now, as they were walking we do overhear
Very briefly and suddenly, but very clear
The conversing of Walter, somewhat elementary:
“Maimonides said in the 14th century…”

Walter’s a schmuck and that isn’t big news
And he’s less of a Jew than a lover of Jews.
We can shrug this aside and not let it inflame us:
Just proof that this fellow’s a fat ignoramus.
If that is the case, then I take off my hat –
It’s a clever, yet subtle, expression of that!
But what if it isn’t? I’m somewhat confused –
Can the Coens themselves be so haply excused?
Do they know – there’s no way that a fan can be sure –
That Maimonides died in the year 1204?

Rambam

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One response

27 05 2013
Annelise

You seem to have similar questions about a number of their films. Maybe what you need to do is study them all very carefully to find all such mysterious incongruities, and maybe patterns will start to come out.

I’m not seriously suggesting this as the best use of your time. But I am inspired to ask questions in ballad form from now on :)

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