Slack, slacker, slackest: Homosocial bonding practices in contemporary dude cinema

John Troyer, Chani Marchiselli

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

9 Citations (SciVal)


Etymologically, the dude has no origin, but is a transitive figure peculiar to American Modernity. Webster's has him as "fastidious in dress," especially as in the case of an adventurous urban dandy out of place in the filthy American West. The dude is also a "city man" whose inappropriate manners and geographic mobility, despite the term's unknown origin, reveal his class status and an originary moment of sorts. The dude surfaces in the Wild West as the curiously dandified mascot of manifest destiny. This ahistorical notion of a performative fate, a residue of Calvinist logic, is also that which means to justify a specifically American sense of entitlement. It has been argued that the United States often conceives of its expansion as the fated end of Western Europe's teleological progress. Having severed itself from the paternal origins of the Old World, the United States imagines the space of the new nation as the Promised Land. The Wild West is a future utopia made possible by the mobilized heroics of dandies and pioneers. Unhindered mobility, of course, is reserved for men of means whose entitlement is always predicated on privilege. Thus the "dude" as Webster describes him is the embodiment of American progressivism, antipaternalism, and masculine entitlement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhere the Boys Are
Subtitle of host publicationCinemas of Masculinity and Youth
EditorsMurray Pomerance, Frances Gateward
PublisherWayne State University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780814331156
Publication statusPublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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