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?

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.)

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.

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.

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.

I won’t have it!

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

Shit, well… I’ve heard there’s gold in them thar hills, so you make a good point with this.

From Wikipedia on Daniel Boone:

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.

Listen to the first 18 seconds of the greatest song in human history.

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 :slight_smile:

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?

I believe my mother’s hillbilly relatives in Arkansas used “bar” too.

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.

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.

So what you’re saying is that Big Lebowski is the sequel to Last Action Heroe. :eek: Now it’s starting to make sense.

Miller just blew my mind.

OK, I was wrong, zombie thread can die again now.

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.

[quote=“Drunky_Smurf, post:10, topic:231412”]

Listen to the first 18 seconds of the greatest song in human history.


Other versions of the songalso 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).

A related saying (although without the pronunciation issue) is “Sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the fire hydrant.”

In Siberia, Russian bear eats YOU!