17 November 2011

The funniest thing I read today: "The Chewbacca Defense"

Excerpted From Wikipedia.

   Johnnie Cochran using the Chewbacca defense against Chef in South Park.The Chewbacca defense is a legal strategy used in episode 27 of South Park, "Chef Aid", which premiered on October 7, 1998, as the fourteenth episode of the second season. The aim of the argument is deliberately to confuse the jury by making use of the fallacy known as ignoratio elenchi, or a red herring. It starts by stating that Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. The argument continues from there, the false premise leading to a series of nonsense conclusions. The concept satirized attorney Johnnie Cochran's closing argument defending O. J. Simpson in his murder trial. The Associated Press noted it as an example of Cochran's position in popular culture. The concept has become a minor Internet phenomenon, used frequently as a running gag on satirical sites and in forums as a form of rhetoric.

   In the episode, Chef contacts a "major record company" executive, seeking only to have his name credited as the composer of "Stinky Britches". Chef's claim is substantiated by a 20-year-old recording of Chef performing the song, as well as a copyright held by MacElroy. The record company refuses, and furthermore hires Johnnie Cochran, who files a lawsuit against Chef for harassment. In court, Cochran resorts to his "famous" Chewbacca defense, which he "used during the Simpson trial", according to Gerald Broflovski.

   Cochran:  "...Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

   Gerald Broflovski: "Damn it! ... He's using the Chewbacca defense!

   Cochran: "Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests."

   This penultimate statement is a parody of Johnnie Cochran's closing arguments in the O. J. Simpson murder case where he states to the jury: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!" in reference to an earlier point in the trial when prosecutor Christopher Darden asked Simpson to try on a bloody glove found at the murder scene and the glove turned out to be too small for Simpson to put on easily.

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