Let The Wookiee Win

« February 2007 »

Memo to Hollywood: LET THE WOOKIEE WIN.

I freely admit that perhaps, just perhaps, I'm a bit more kindly disposed towards imprisoned nerds than I ever have been before. But I honestly think that it'd be in the best interest of all of us if the Los Angeles police just let Chewbacca go free.

In case you missed the story, a guy dressed up as Chewbacca and standing outside Grauman's Chinese Theater was arrested over the weekend for headbutting a tour guide. This led to a Reuters reporter getting to type one of those sentences that make it all worthwhile: "Two years ago, Mr. Incredible, Elmo the Muppet and the dark-hooded character from the movie “Scream” were arrested for 'aggressive begging' the L.A. Times reported."

That's a hell of a word-picture there. Not to mention the kind of shared-universe crossover even the most demented Internet fan couldn't come up with. But I'm getting sidetracked. FREE CHEWBACCA. Now, I'm not condoning the headbutting of tour guides per se. I'm not saying the tour guide had it coming, or that a six-foot-five-inch dude in a Chewbacca outfit isn't wrong when he's carted off by police and saying things like "Nobody tells this Wookiee what to do." That's clearly inappropriate. I'm just suggesting it shouldn't be illegal.

Because when it comes right down to it, laws aren't about prohibiting what's wrong. They're about prohibiting what's bad for society. And there's a big part of me that thinks letting costumed characters feel free to randomly head-butt passersby is actually GOOD for society. Here's how it works.

STEP ONE: Pass a law exempting people in nerdy costumes from certain types of minor assault. Misdemeanor battery (what Chewbacca was arrested for, for example), the kind of thing that doesn't result in serious injury but is clearly belligerent and a bit violent. Disorderly conduct, that kind of thing. Oh, and it only applies outdoors, because otherwise, the San Diego Comic Con might turn even uglier.

STEP TWO: After a few well-publicized head-buttings, flying tackles, and lightsaber welts, the general public draws the conclusion that anyone who's outside and dressed as a character from a reasonably well-known nerd-culture touchstone could, at any moment, fly into an unprovoked rage and attack. Possibly with the dreaded windmill slapfight fu.

STEP THREE: The public becomes appropriately wary of costumed nerds walking down the street. They take precautionary measures to ensure they never come within head-butt range. Not wanting to be pariahs due to false assumptions about potential headbuttery, the population of semi-normal, non-violent nerds go out of their way not to be spotted walking down the street in their Boba Fett armor, and instead reserve their dress-up time for conventions and Halloween parties, where it belongs.

STEP FOUR: Utopia.

So yes, technically, you will be letting a crazy-tall, crazy-hairy, and crazy-crazy motherfucker goes free for a crime he very definitely did commit. But in the long run, society would benefit greatly. So LET THE WOOKIEE WIN. It was good advice then, and it's better advice now.