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#1
Old 02-26-2004, 11:21 PM
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Big Lebowski Question: Sometimes You Eat the Bar?

"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you"

I don't get it. What's the bar?
#2
Old 02-26-2004, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokey
"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you"

I don't get it. What's the bar?
It's an exaggerated Texan pronounciation of 'bear'.
#3
Old 02-26-2004, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raygun99
It's an exaggerated Texan pronounciation of 'bear'.
Like the one Davy Crockett "kilt" when he was only three. (Although he was Tennesseean, not Texan.)
#4
Old 02-26-2004, 11:47 PM
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Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.

It means sometimes you come out on top, and sometimes you lose big time.
#5
Old 10-09-2015, 12:29 PM
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Zombie bump!

Here's the line in question. Now, I'm told by this thread, and in fact, all over the internet, that "bar" is just "bear" with a Texan/Southern/mountain accent. I don't buy it.

For one, I've never heard anyone in person say "bar," it doesn't even make sense to me given how I think a southern accent should sound. Here's a guy with a southern accent, in Texas, talking about black bears, and he doesn't come anywhere close to saying "bar." In fact, it says a lot more like "bayer," which is how I would expect it to sound, the total opposite direction from "bar."

For two, Sam Elliott is from California. Since saying "bear" as "bar" is certainly not a typical southern accent, then "bar" would have had to have been a deliberate pronunciation choice by either Elliott himself, or more likely, by the Coen brothers. Why would they have him mispronounce a word in a manner that 99% of their audience, who aren't familiar with this supposed bear/bar accent shift, wouldn't understand. It makes no sense.

No, I think it's a play on words, that he intentionally said "bar" in a way that's confusing and sorta funny, because that's the sort of joke the Coen brothers would make.

And just to get to it first, Sometimes you eat the brains, and, well, sometimes the brains, they eat you.
#6
Old 10-09-2015, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Zombie bump!

Here's the line in question. Now, I'm told by this thread, and in fact, all over the internet, that "bar" is just "bear" with a Texan/Southern/mountain accent. I don't buy it.

For one, I've never heard anyone in person say "bar," it doesn't even make sense to me given how I think a southern accent should sound. Here's a guy with a southern accent, in Texas, talking about black bears, and he doesn't come anywhere close to saying "bar." In fact, it says a lot more like "bayer," which is how I would expect it to sound, the total opposite direction from "bar."

For two, Sam Elliott is from California. Since saying "bear" as "bar" is certainly not a typical southern accent, then "bar" would have had to have been a deliberate pronunciation choice by either Elliott himself, or more likely, by the Coen brothers. Why would they have him mispronounce a word in a manner that 99% of their audience, who aren't familiar with this supposed bear/bar accent shift, wouldn't understand. It makes no sense.

No, I think it's a play on words, that he intentionally said "bar" in a way that's confusing and sorta funny, because that's the sort of joke the Coen brothers would make.

And just to get to it first, Sometimes you eat the brains, and, well, sometimes the brains, they eat you.
You are wrong. You seriously have never heard "bar" used for "bear," even theatrically? How young are you? Where do you get that 99% of people won't understand "bar"? It seems like everyone understands it except you.

I grew up in Texas, and I have heard "bar" on occasion.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-09-2015 at 12:37 PM.
#7
Old 10-09-2015, 12:45 PM
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I recently saw the movie for the first time. It was clear to me that it was "bear" in a Texan accent; it never even occurred to me that it might be something other than that. Sam Elliott may be from California, but the character is not, nor is it a generic Southern Accent, I'd peg it as Texan-ish. The idea that it's some obscure joke by the Coen brothers just doesn't make sense, nor would I agree that it's the type of joke they would make. Why would they aim to deliberately confuse their audience, especially considering that it seems most people got that it was "bear". So, they'd deliberately imply it should be "bear", while saying "bar", knowing that "bar" wouldn't make sense, but most people would hear "bear" anyway. Just way too convoluted, Occam's Razor and all that, so I think it's just a that it's an accent. After all, I've hear plenty of people say "there" as "thar", which is the same vowel shift.
#8
Old 10-09-2015, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
I grew up in Texas, and I have heard "bar" on occasion.
I won't have it!

But seriously, I'd love to find an audio clip of someone saying bar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaster Master View Post
After all, I've hear plenty of people say "there" as "thar", which is the same vowel shift.
Shit, well... I've heard there's gold in them thar hills, so you make a good point with this.
#9
Old 10-09-2015, 12:55 PM
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From Wikipedia on Daniel Boone:

Quote:
Such frontiersmen often carved messages on trees or wrote their names on cave walls, and Boone's name or initials have been found in many places. One on a tree in present Washington County, Tennessee reads "D. Boon Cilled a. Bar [killed a bear] on [this] tree in the year 1760". A similar carving, preserved in the museum of the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky, reads "D. Boon Kilt a Bar, 1803."
That's where 'bar' comes from. It has nothing at all in any way what-so-ever now or ever before or since to do with Texas.
#10
Old 10-09-2015, 12:59 PM
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Listen to the first 18 seconds of the greatest song in human history.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=txcRQedoEyY


Also, I can't believe you've never heard the phrase, "Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." It was engraved on me granpappys' cradle.
#11
Old 10-09-2015, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Also, I can't believe you've never heard the phrase, "Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." It was engraved on me granpappys' cradle.
Not a common saying in the suburbs of Ohio

Obviously that makes more sense as a phrase, but this is like if there were a line in a movie that went "A Benny saved is a Benny earned," and I assumed my whole life that it was a pun about a character name Benny, and then someone comes along and says, "No, that's just how they say "penny" in southeast Idaho, didn't you know?

Last edited by steronz; 10-09-2015 at 01:05 PM.
#12
Old 10-09-2015, 01:06 PM
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I believe my mother's hillbilly relatives in Arkansas used "bar" too.
#13
Old 10-09-2015, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Not a common saying in the suburbs of Ohio
The saying evidently made it across the Atlantic, though, as Ian Matthews in 1974 made an album titled Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You.
#14
Old 10-09-2015, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaster Master View Post
Sam Elliott may be from California, but the character is not, nor is it a generic Southern Accent, I'd peg it as Texan-ish.
I'd argue that the character Sam Elliott is playing is also from California, but the character that character is playing is a Texan.

By which I mean, Sam Elliot is a an old-timey cowboy in Los Angeles. He's not a "real" cowboy, he's a Hollywood cowboy. And I don't mean the character is an actor - I don't think he's entirely meant to be a real person in the context of the film. For one thing, he's the only character in the movie who's aware that he's in a movie: he narrates the film, comments on events he was not present for, and frequently addresses the audience directly. He's a movie character who's stepped off the screen and now spends his time hanging out in a bowling alley. He doesn't represent the Spirit of the West, he represents the Spirit of the Western: an artificial, idealized version of the real thing, including a "Texan" accent that's not quite accurate.
#15
Old 10-09-2015, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
He's a movie character who's stepped off the screen and now spends his time hanging out in a bowling alley.
So what you're saying is that Big Lebowski is the sequel to Last Action Heroe. Now it's starting to make sense.
#16
Old 10-09-2015, 01:37 PM
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Miller just blew my mind.

OK, I was wrong, zombie thread can die again now.
#17
Old 10-09-2015, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Not a common saying in the suburbs of Ohio
Depends on the suburb.

In Akron, I've heard "bar" from people who's parents grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee. Hell, even West Virginia.
#18
Old 10-09-2015, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Listen to the first 18 seconds of the greatest song in human history.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=txcRQedoEyY
Other versions of the song also use "bar."

Given the popularity of the Davey Crockett craze in the 1950s, this is obviously what the Coen brother were referencing (and second-hand, the Daniel Boone quotes).
#19
Old 10-09-2015, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
The saying evidently made it across the Atlantic, though, as Ian Matthews in 1974 made an album titled Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You.
A related saying (although without the pronunciation issue) is "Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the fire hydrant."
#20
Old 10-09-2015, 02:01 PM
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In Siberia, Russian bear eats YOU!

Last edited by Ludovic; 10-09-2015 at 02:02 PM.
#21
Old 10-09-2015, 03:02 PM
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This was an old accent that I doubt exists anymore. But it has a long history of use in movies, songs and literature. So it's less that he's trying to sound like a Texan, and more that he's trying to sound like a stereotypical 1950s western movie. It's an exaggerated callback to an established trope, like much of the rest of the film.
#22
Old 10-09-2015, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDtenT Error View Post
A related saying (although without the pronunciation issue) is "Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the fire hydrant."
Or even more commonly "Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug."
#23
Old 10-09-2015, 05:31 PM
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I've also heard, "Some days you're the alpha panda and some days you're the panda that gets peed on."

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Zz3E186IYas
#24
Old 10-09-2015, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDtenT Error View Post
A related saying (although without the pronunciation issue) is "Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the fire hydrant."
You mean "far hydrant"?
#25
Old 10-09-2015, 10:25 PM
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I've only known the pronunciation in reference to the Ballad of Davy Crockett, but that reference is very well established in popular culture, helped by the song appearing in Back to the Future as something to set the story in the 50s.
#26
Old 10-10-2015, 07:07 PM
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I think you guys are missing half the joke. Throughout the film, the Dude repeats bits and pieces of things that he hears, both directly to him and via things like GHW Bush's speech at the beginning of the movie. Some of those things he doesn't really understand, he justs repeats them, sometimes incorrectly. When The Stranger pronounces "bear" as "bar," the Dude later repeats the "sometimes you eat the bar..." line, but then cuts himself off when he sees The Stranger. The Dude didn't know he meant bear, he was just parroting what he hears.
#27
Old 10-10-2015, 07:14 PM
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Too late to add:

The Stranger said it to simply set up another of the Dude's repetitions/malpropisms
#28
Old 10-11-2015, 09:50 AM
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The real suburb in question is SE Portland, OR. Sam Elliot attended David Douglas High School there. I can guarantee you that he did not speak with a drawl growing up.

The way he speaks now is a schtick he developed over the years to reinforce his Western persona. It's not real, it's not based on any one region, it's just something he does.

Other David Douglas students include Lindsay Wagner and Tonya Harding (who dropped out, surprise).
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