The Coen brothers’ complicated gospel

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(RNS) In the beginning was the Dude. And the Dude was with God, and the Dude himself was kind of godly, if you’re into that sort of thing. In his right hand the Dude carried a cocktail, and in his left, a bowling ball, and all of his ways were righteous and mellow altogether. And […]

  • This is a great piece and I look forward to the book and to “A Serious Man”. I wonder if Ethan’s comments in his senior thesis are echoed in Ulysses Everett McGill’s consistent (and overwrought) objections to faith/supernatural in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”.

    For that matter, where their “suspicion and false piety” may prove true, I don’t think the deeper realities of religious experience are invalidated. Delmar’s baptism, and subsequent purity remain in tact in “O Brother”–it’s the hypocritical archetypes which are called into question, not genuine expressions of faith–they aren’t mocked as much as they are validated.

  • Daniel Burke

    Hey Trey,

    I had exactly the same thought about UEM’s overwrought objections to faith in “O Brother,…” Was it Ethan poking fun at his youthful pride? We’ll probably never know, but it’s fun to speculate.


  • Shannon

    >>Delmar’s baptism, and subsequent purity remain in tact in “O Brother”

    What a load of hooey. Delmar’s baptism is played for laughs, and his main contribution to the rest of the film is to pose the constant question of how long his fake ultra piety will last.

    Anyone can read anything they like into any work of fiction. I, for example, think Steve Martin’s “Leap Of Faith” is possibly one of the most harsh criticisms of religion ever filmed.

    Everyone else saw a nice moral film with cool gospel music.

    Art is not in the eye of the beholder, art *is* the eye of the beholder. Same same with any/all “messages” imputed to fiction. It’s all you. It’s all your response. What the author “put in there” is literally totally and utterly irrelevant.