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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Say What?

posted by on July 17 at 10:33 AM

According to IMDb, Chewbacca speaks in “a combination of several animals, including bears, badgers, walruses, tigers and camels.”
chewbacca.jpg Chewbacca frustrates us. He has one foot in the human world and another foot in the animal kingdom. The hairy thing can think, reason, fly a space ship, but it makes noises like a dumb animal. The thinking thing can not express itself. The thoughts in its human mind have no way of becoming words in its animal mouth. What for it starts as an idea ends as a groan, a grunt, a growl. Han Solo can understand these animal sounds, but not as words. He feels what Chewbacca is saying. He feels Chewie’s meaning in the way the owner of a dog feels the meaning of his/her dog’s bark.

The Nigerian novelist Achebe once described the relationship between the colonizer and the colonial subject as identical to the one that exists between a horse rider and his horse: the horse rider talks to its horse with no expectation of the horse talking back to him. The relationship between Han Solo and Chewbecca is not as severe as the colonial one, but it’s certainly not the ideal democratic relationship. Without free speech there can be no real freedom. The one that speaks will always have power over the one that can not speak.

In sum, Chewbacca is the ideal slave. It has the capacity to do human work, and yet lacks the essential democratic tool—language. Without speech it will always be a beast of burden.

RSS icon Comments

1

Again; Capitalism exploitation in our films!! We must bring the Communist Revolution to America!! I mean it has been SO successful in Russia and China.. And I am sure Charles will happily take up the role of Chair of the Politburo....

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 17, 2007 10:51 AM
2

Again; Capitalism's exploitation in our films!! We must bring the Communist Revolution to America!! I mean it has been SO successful in Russia and China.. And I am sure Charles will happily take up the role of Chair of the Politburo....

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 17, 2007 10:51 AM
3

Charles, you are lacking in proper expanded universe nerdology. Chewbacca has a speech imepediment compared to other Wookies, thus allowing him to speak basic, which is english is the Star Wars universe. Chewbacca and all the other Wookies got enslaved by Emperor Palpatine(alluded to in Revenge of the Sith)after the Jedi Purge, and participated in the rebellion with the smuggler named Han Solo.

Yes I used to be infatuated with Star Wars.

Posted by Geek #1 | July 17, 2007 10:55 AM
4

In sum, Chewbacca is the ideal slave.

Except for the fact that he can rip your fucking arms off.

Posted by Paulus | July 17, 2007 10:59 AM
5

Quoth wikipedia:

The novel Rebel Dawn explains that Chewie and Solo first meet when Solo, a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, finds him unconscious aboard a slave ship. Solo's commanding officer orders him to skin Chewie, but Solo refuses and rescues the helpless prisoner. Upon regaining consciousness, Chewie swears a "life-debt" to Solo, and the two become business partners and best friends.

In short, he's no slave. Before you go off on your pretentious little nonsense rants, at least do some basic research.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 11:02 AM
6

Marxism is such a good idea.

I wonder if anyone has given it a try yet.

Hey Chuckers, since you want equal distribution of wealth, how about sending some of your cash my way? Do you scream at resteraunts that your food should be free?

In a workers paradise, you would be shoveling coal, or sweeping streets. Too bad this isn't a workers paradise.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 11:12 AM
7

Go fuck yourself and I wish Jon lovitz would kick your ass, you troll ass retard.

Posted by fuck you delicous homo | July 17, 2007 11:20 AM
8

@3, there's some confusion about Chewbacca and Shyriiwook vs. Basic. From what I understand of the Star Wars canon, Wookiees are universally capable of understanding Basic, but because of their unique vocal apparatus, they are incapable of speaking it. However, Leia does encounter a Wookiee named Ralrracheen who has a speech impediment, thus making it easier for Leia (who is attempting to learn Shyriiwook) to discern and understand his Shyriiwook words.

Posted by Nick | July 17, 2007 11:22 AM
9

Your excessive intellectual masturbation is getting my internet all sticky. Really, Charles - more than once a day is unhealthy.

Posted by steve | July 17, 2007 11:23 AM
10

Animals aren't dumb, Charles (unless by dumb you simply mean they can't speak English). For we all know - from that other film - wherefore the muskrat guards its musk. Courage, Charles, courage!

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | July 17, 2007 11:30 AM
11

You are right Nick, it's been awhile, I guess we are taking the canon from the Thrawn trilogy.


Charles Mudede=worst Star Wars nerd ever

Posted by sorry nick | July 17, 2007 11:31 AM
12

Shouldn't you be reading Lolita again?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 11:31 AM
13

Agree with @8.

Also, Han Solo doesn't understand Chewbacca as a person might understand a dog -- Han understands Shyriiwook just as well as Chewbacca understands Basic. He is incapable of speaking it, however, due to the structure of his vocal cords.

Posted by joykiller | July 17, 2007 11:32 AM
14

It would be a lot easier to understand Chuck if he spoke Shyriiwook.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 11:36 AM
15

or if he just stopped speaking all together...

Posted by ddv | July 17, 2007 11:42 AM
16

I agree with 8 & 13. I used the analogy with a friend (yes, I've had this argument before, such a dork) that Solo could understand French, but only spoke English and Chewie could understand English but only spoke French.
As a dog and cat owner, I will say that Solo and Chewie have more complex conversations than I ever have with my pets.
Silly Charles. :P

Posted by Dee in SF | July 17, 2007 11:48 AM
17

Yeah! Star Wars content! With discussion! It is all good.

Posted by ebsur | July 17, 2007 11:49 AM
18

@5

From your basic "research" it certainly sounds like Chewie had a variety of reasons to have uncle Tom tendencies, which subconsciously came out as loyalty to Han Solo, same as the slave-master relationship, and the weird dynamic of the master as the savior; thus, the rant might actually make sense. Maybe. I would argue that more research is necessary.

I'm still not sure if I am ready to accept this postís view that Chewie was a Wookie Tom. Maybe wookies had been oppressed so long (they certainly had suffered slavery as was pointed out by #3, though it is not clear how long this enslavement lasted) that they disguised their rebellion by Toming a la Louie Armstrong; while at the same time plotting to lead a rebellion. More research is required into wookie society and its different models and hierarchies.

Perhaps wookies were waiting for the right time to advance from being a rural- agricultural society to a trans-galactic industrial one. The chance presented itself and the wookie insurrection began, eventhough they were still a rural society. It is not fair to say that wookies were Maoists who believed in peasant rebellions, though in the last installment of Star Wars ( or first part) they did join the struggle as rural guerillas, not as leaders of the rebellion, but as grunts and footsoldiers.


Posted by SeMe | July 17, 2007 11:51 AM
19

Sounds like the perfect marxist tool

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 17, 2007 11:56 AM
20

In the Star Wars Cannon Wookies were very technicologicallylly(sorry I'm drunk) advanced. More so than humans. Please remember we are talking about a galaxy far far away 10 thousand years ago. Which would mean it is older today.

Fiction, Science Fiction.

Where Animals are smarter than humans.

Posted by No offense SeMe | July 17, 2007 12:00 PM
21

When and where did Capitalism come up in the original post? Colonialism is not by definition Capitalist. (Nor, for that matter, is Colonialism automatically slavery).

If we're going to talk about heady things, let's get the semantics straight.

Posted by Rachelina | July 17, 2007 12:03 PM
22

Charles Mudede, I love you.

Posted by Jonah S | July 17, 2007 12:04 PM
23

You should watch Star Wars again.

I think that you're forgetting that Han Solo could understand Chewbacca perfectly. They were completely equal, communication-wise. I'd view Chewbacca more as a sidekick than a subject.

Posted by demolator | July 17, 2007 12:14 PM
24

Can wookies and ewoks produce offspring?

Posted by Paulus | July 17, 2007 12:15 PM
25

@23, But if Chewie is just a sidekick does that not imply a lower status?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 17, 2007 12:23 PM
26

@25, A sidekick is definitely a subordinate, but far from a slave.

Chewie and Han's interests were often parallel and complimentary, as compared to the opposing interests within the master/slave model.

Posted by demolator | July 17, 2007 12:30 PM
27

@24: I have to believe so. The result would be akin to South Park's potbelly elephant or Andre The Giant and Mrs. The Giant's offspring.

It warms my heart to see such enthusiastic and insightful Star Wars commentary.

Posted by Greedo had it coming | July 17, 2007 12:45 PM
28

Charles, please go back to making horse-fucking porn and spare us your ill-informed Marxist rants about Star Wars.

Posted by Trey | July 17, 2007 1:29 PM
29

I'm not enough of a geek to be familiar with the larger SW canon, but I have seen the original trilogy too many times to count. Demolator @23 is right. At many times in the original movies, Chewy is clearly delivering complex sentences to Han. Take an early scene from Empire Strikes Back for example. Chewbacca chews Han out for not helping him repair the Falcon.

You can see the same thing with R2D2. His beeps and whistles are apparently a type of language that C3PO, at least, can understand completely.

I'm also not buying the master/slave analogy. Chewy chooses to join Lando to rescue Han from Jabba the Hut. If Chewbacca were a slave, that seems like an excellent time to escape. In Return of the Jedi, Han leaves it up to Chewbacca to decide whether he wants to join the mission to Endor.

If there are any slave/master relationships in Star Wars, it's between the droids and humans.

Oy, OK, maybe I am that much of a geek.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 17, 2007 1:36 PM
30

@29: Droids have no free will. So although they can be slaves in the sense that they take orders from "organics" and often perform menial tasks, they are not oppressed -- they're simply doing what they were "born" to do.

Posted by joykiller | July 17, 2007 2:08 PM
31

You are so smart S-M-R-T, you are so smart S-M-R-T.

Dude, check yourself before you wreck yourself... Like most folks have pointed out, you need to check your facts. You write a pretty paragraph but you don't know shit from Shine'Ola when it comes to Star Wars facts and trivia.

Posted by AuBnOxIoUs | July 17, 2007 2:13 PM
32

Just because Chewy chooses to save Han or stay by his side on later missions does not necessarily preclude him from being and "Uncle Wookie." In fact, it only furthers the case that Chewy was a "House Wookie" as the "Field Wookies" would no-doubt refer to him.

However, I would have to agree with earlier posters who argue that Han and Chewy can converse just fine in their respective languages.

Shockingly, as someone so fond of bestiality, Charles failed to pick up that element which runs so rampant in the Han/Chewy relationship. I'd even hear arguments that Chewy is a furry.

While the holy trilogy is rampant with racist overtones (watch Chasing Amy sometime) this is clearly not one.

Posted by Joselito | July 17, 2007 2:58 PM
33

Chewie owes Han a "life-debt." Take from that what you will, but clearly the playing field's not entirely level.

Posted by Jonah S | July 17, 2007 3:10 PM
34

Please. In light of the new trilogy, it's pretty clear here that Chewbacca is in control, not Han Solo. Chewbacca was involved in the original revolt against the Emperor, and assisted Yoda in his escape. This means that for all the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Chewbacca has been a spy for the Rebel Alliance, and has been manipulating Han Solo into joining the Rebel Alliance. Who is it that introduces Obi-Wan, one of the greatest and best known Jedis of the Old Republic to Han? Chewbacca.

Posted by Gitai | July 17, 2007 3:10 PM
35

shut the fuck up charles.

go watch star wars again and try a re-write.

Posted by joshzilla | July 17, 2007 3:16 PM
36

@33: Yes, but the life debt was pledged by Chewie and the only one holding him to it is Chewie himself. It's self-imposed -- he's still in control.

Posted by joykiller | July 17, 2007 3:30 PM
37

@30,

Then what's the point of the slave bolt?

Posted by keshmeshi | July 17, 2007 3:48 PM
38

Ya ever notice how all the marxists, hippies, wookies, "near-do-wells" and black people who should be doing all the menial tasks of society are all into post-modernism, I mean whats up with that?

and what about how certain people are always saying bro and "holmes" to each other. I mean cracker please? am I right folks??

thank you, thank you and be sure to catch me Thursday night at the Sea-Tac Holiday Inn Express.

peas out
--ecce rimshot

Posted by ecce rimshot | July 17, 2007 4:08 PM
39

@37: Yeah, the bolt never made a ton of sense to me -- you never see it anywhere than R2 (in the movies, at least).

But consider this: the restraining bolt in A New Hope forces R2 to serve Luke in place of his prior master. R2 does not recognize Luke as his master and seeks to carry out his original mission instead of Luke's plans. He's not acting out of his own free will, but on his prior master's instructions. The restraining bolt does not force R2 to serve; it acts as a temporary bridge while ownership is transferred (i.e., the R2-D2 memory wipe that never happened).

Also, before someone mentions the spice mines of Kessel, I should point out that I'm not denying droids can be slaves, only that they are inherently slaves.

Posted by joykiller | July 17, 2007 4:55 PM
40


"Go fuck yourself and I wish Jon lovitz would kick your ass, you troll ass retard."

#1 post of the day!

I dream of a pay per view event wherein Jon Lovitz smashes Ecce Homo's face into a bar over and over...

Posted by K X One | July 17, 2007 5:08 PM
41


"Go fuck yourself and I wish Jon lovitz would kick your ass, you troll ass retard."

#1 post of the day!

I dream of a pay per view event wherein Jon Lovitz smashes Ecce Homo's face into a bar over and over...

Posted by K X One | July 17, 2007 5:14 PM
42

@39,

Yeah, good point. But then it raises the question why C-3PO was so eager to shift loyalties to Luke when Captain Antilles was supposedly his master at the time.

Although now it occurs to me that it's pointless to try to find consistency in the Star Wars universe, considering the glaring inconsistencies in the prequels vs. original trilogy.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 17, 2007 5:42 PM
43

This post is like seeing the worst of the left clash with the worst the right in an ideological no holds bar match of misguided politics and vague economics. It's kind of awesome.

Posted by Jay | July 17, 2007 8:22 PM
44

That should be "no holds barred" btw.

Posted by Jay | July 17, 2007 8:24 PM
45

I think in another five years Charles will be a good writer worth reading. I can see the glimmer in there. But right now he is just soooooooooooooo fucking boring due to his deeply academic and formalistic view of everything.

Charles- and you know I'm being serious here because I normally insult you by calling you Chuck- get a job in a service industry for a year or two. Retail, construction, sales, whatever. Mingle with average joes. Talk to them about the stuff that interests them. Go to happy hour with your coworkers. Go bowling with them. Keep a journal.

Then come back and do the literary and film criticism. I guarantee you that at that point what you write will be something people will be much more likely to want to read.

Posted by Big Sven | July 17, 2007 11:42 PM
46

K X One:

You prove my point. I am amazed that someone of your stature can afford a computer and internet access. Then again, your probably at the library jerkin it to porn and just come over to SLOG to let us all know how important you are. Get a life, dirtbag.

Then again, threatening people with physical violence demonstrates just what a useless piece of monkey trash you are.

Obi Wan would not be proud of you.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 12:30 AM
47

#38

Near-do-wells are attracted to post-modernity because post-modernity is the refuse of western philosophy.

It will go down as the biggest con in the legacy of western intellectual history. It has dragged down our socciety to an enormous extent.

Although, what this has to do with chewie is beyond me. I always thought Joseph Campbell was a tool despite his admirable Jungian background.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 12:35 AM
48

And using star wars to launch some sort of Marxist sermon, initially struck me as infantile, misleading and uncreative. The more I have thought about it, it definately is those things. I expect more from you Chuck. THis read like a Freshman "Intro. to Political Theory" paper subject.

Along the same lines as "The Gospel according to the Simpsons."

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 12:38 AM
49

this is why chaz might be intelligent but is definitely not smart.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 18, 2007 10:07 AM
50

Minus twenty rhetorical points for anyone who tried to address Charles' assertions by pointing to ancillary material published years or decades after "Star Wars" the movie came out. "Canon" or not, they give no insight into what the character of Chewbacca meant when the film was written.

...and besides, it's really not necessary. Even staying strictly within the text of the screenplay for "A New Hope", Charles' argument is a really hard sell: Chewbacca's vocalizings are certainly played up for exoticism, but he and Solo are very clearly having discussions and even arguments about both technical and business issues. A blanket assertion that Solo understood Chewbacca "in the way the owner of a dog feels the meaning of his/her dogís bark" needs to be backed up with some reference to the text, and Charles hasn't even tried.

Posted by Doctor Memory | July 18, 2007 11:54 AM
51

I'm not too savvy with all the Star War minutae but I do have to disagree with Mundede's assertion that it's a sublimated slave relationship Solo and Chewy always always reminded me of Ishmail and Queequeg.
I remember that bit from Achebe, reading it in lieu of the topic I could't help but picture dude on a Ton Ton. Made me giggle.

Posted by pidgin | July 18, 2007 2:48 PM
52

"K X One:

You prove my point. I am amazed that someone of your stature can afford a computer and internet access. Then again, your probably at the library jerkin it to porn and just come over to SLOG to let us all know how important you are. Get a life, dirtbag.

Then again, threatening people with physical violence demonstrates just what a useless piece of monkey trash you are.

Obi Wan would not be proud of you."

Threaten with violence? I just said that I'd be happy to pay to see someone hurt you, I didn't actually threaten you with it.

How is it that you take the high horse concerning violence considering that you advocate running over cyclists just because they annoy you?

Stature? How do you know how tall I am?

I take it it is you who is jerking off at the library and who is too poor to afford a computer, as just like your ranting about meth, you come across as a typical reichwing overcompensation hypocrite once again.

Classist much?

"your"? What you are reaching for is the contraction 'you're', it is short for 'you are'. If you really want to try and look down your nose at someone you're going about it the wrong way.

Thanks for showing us how reality based you are by attempting to scold me from the perspective of a fictional character.

Posted by K X One | July 19, 2007 12:24 AM
53

"pay to see someone hurt you"= on pay per view TV, not something more sinister, see original post

Posted by K X One | July 19, 2007 12:27 AM

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