A Chewbacca Defense is part of an argument that has the effect of confusing the opponent so much that they stop arguing with you. If they are too chicken to continue the argument, the point they are trying to argue must be equally as flimsy, right? Right?
The sad part? It works. Not just in media, but inReal Life, too. In fact, most political systems are based on doing this.
Key signs of a Chewbacca Defense include:
Being accused of loving or hating X, where X is a subject unrelated to the debate.
Having a point repeated over and over again.
Shouting (because if your voice is louder, you seem more powerful, and powerful people always win, so you must be the winner!).
If you can prove the other side wrong, it makes you right. See False Dichotomy.
If you can word your statements and arguments in a way that is too confusing, intelligent-sounding, or nonsensical for the opponent to respond to, it makes them wrong and it makes you right. See Insane Troll Logic.
If you can shock or confuse your opponent and make them think you are a lost cause and not worth arguing with, you've won. See Argumentum Ad Nauseam.
If you can make an opponent look bad, their logic must be equally as bad, and therefore you are right (see also: Godwin's Law, Ad Hominem, Straw Man). In real life, this one has long been discredited among people with common sense, so it usually won't work.
Unfortunately, the mere existence of the Chewbacca Defense leads to an unfortunate problem in debate called Chewbacca's Dilemma: No matter what you say in an argument, no matter how intelligently and clearly you word your rebuttals and assertions, it is possible that your opponent will always perceive whatever you say to be a Chewbacca Defense. In fact, a common political maneuver is to use a Chewbacca Defense in order to accuse the opponent of using a Chewbacca Defense.
Confusing, isn't it?
Compare Confusion Fu, Passive Aggressive Kombat and Abomination Accusation Attack. As the strategy can work very well in conjunction with Obfuscating Stupidity, it's often popular with Simple Country Lawyers. A Chewbacca Prosecution may also be used in a Kangaroo Court, where it doesn't matter what the prosecuter says because he's going to win anyway.
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Isaac and Miria from Baccano. The argument referenced in the quote? It wasn't even an argument at all, but rather a Shrinking Violet trying to introduce himself to them.
Used in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon by Pope Innocentius when he's debating against Masazumi. Masazumi has just accused the Testament Union of abusing the system of History Recreation to benefit themselves at the cost of an innocent person's life. She then proposes an alternative course of action that requires no deaths and benefits not just the far east but ultimately the whole world. The Pope's response? He reveals to everyone listening that Masazumi (who presents herself as male) is actually a girl and then accuses her of just using the situation to take power for herself. It was totally irrelevant, did nothing to counter her arguments and it almost worked.
Parodied in Astérix and the Laurel Wreath, where both opposing lawyers on a case attempt to use the same Chewbacca Defence.
In Youngblood: Judgment Day, defense attorney Skipper calls several witnesses to testify about a seemingly irrelevant detail of Riptide's murder (a book missing from her shelf), completely derailing the trial. At first, this seems like a textbook Chewbacca Defense, but the alternate sequence of events he proposes, that the theft of the book was the real motive for the murder and the perpetrator was Youngblood teammate Sentinel actually turns out to be true.
The One PieceFan Fic series Gorgon Zolo makes reference to the South Park episode with Gaimon, the midget-afro-treasure chest-pirate taking the place of Chewbacca — as part of a disclaimer, no less.
Octavia: What do solving mysteries have to do with music anyway?
Vinyl: What don't they have to do with it?
Octavia: ...That's so stupid I don't know how to respond.
Vinyl: Hurray, that means I win by default!
Thank You For Smoking provides an excellent example of this trope when the protagonist, a pro-tobacco lobbyist, demonstrates this debate technique to his son.
Nick: Okay, let's say that you're defending chocolate, and I'm defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you: 'Vanilla is the best flavor of ice cream', you'd say: Joey:(playing along) No, chocolate is. Nick: Exactly, but you can't win that argument... so, I'll ask you: so you think chocolate is the be all and end all of ice cream, do you? Joey: It's the best ice cream, I wouldn't order any other. Nick: Oh! So it's all chocolate for you, is it? Joey: Yes, chocolate is all I need. Nick: Well, I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice cream, and that, Joey Naylor, that is the definition of liberty. Joey: But that's not what we're talking about. Nick: Ah, but that's what I'm talking about. Joey: ...But you didn't prove that vanilla was the best... Nick: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong, I'm right. Joey: But you still didn't convince me. Nick: (Pointing to the passers-by) Yeah, but I'm not after you. I'm after them.
Cut to the two of them eating vanilla ice cream cones.
Plus when Joey has to write an essay on what's best about America, Nick replies "Our endless appeals system," with almost knee-jerk response time.
Kronk's shoulder devil in The Emperor's New Groove tried this: his argument for why Kronk should let Kuzco die was that (1) his angel counterpart was a pansy; and (2) he, the devil, could do a one-handed handstand. The latter actually convinced the angel more than it did Kronk, who was just confused and told them both to leave. This is particularly amusing because this is one of the few times Kronk actually poses an intelligent question as opposed to his usual demeanor as Dumb Muscle.
Shoulder Devil: Reason number two: Look what I can do! (Does a one-handed handstand)
Kronk: But... what does that have to do with -
Shoulder Angel: No, no... he's got a point.
In The Coen Brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, ace lawyer Freddy Riedenschnieder seems to base his career on this. His defense of the protagonist's wife involves a truly baffling spiel about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, while his defense of the protagonist himself involves some weird, vaguely existentialist drivel about him being a "New Man" in a modern, morally ambiguous world and thus presumably he isn't responsible. Unfortunately it gets interrupted.
In Animal House, Otter somehow turns the charges against the Deltas for having sex with their drunk party guests into an attack on the fraternity system, which is an attack on college, which is an attack on America. Then all the Deltas march out humming The Star-Spangled Banner.
A prime example is the movie Listen To Me, where the debates got so convoluted, that you didn't know if either team was for or against abortion. It starts off with the protagonist's team being against abortion, and ends up with them being for it in the same debate.
Surprisingly enough, it actually happened to Star Wars with Chewbacca himself. It's in the special features of the DVD set. When George Lucas proved too difficult for the executives to meddle with (thanks to Alan Ladd, Jr.), they turned to a different approach: "But the Wookiee has no pants!" knowing that changing that would require re-shooting a lot of scenes, which would put Lucas severely over budget. Thankfully, that didn't work either.
Not so much that the post office is awesome, as the argument that the post office is part of the US government, and if they recognize the man as Santa, it must be true (at least as far as the courts are concerned).
The entire purpose of Newspeak grammar B in 1984 was to make a Chewbacca Defense easier - that is, to throw so many arguments at the opponent that he won't be able to answer, and leave people with no words to use anyway.
In Gormenghast, Steerpike uses this method to manipulate two mentally retarded sisters into doing his bidding and keeping quiet about it- after all, he must know what he's talking about if he uses so many long words...
The Tom Clancy novel Executive Orders has politically-inexperienced President Jack Ryan questioned about abortion. He states that he's pro-life, but the decision should be left in the hands of the Senate. After he gets offstage, his Chief of Staff angrily points out that he just alienated the conservatives and the liberals; the former probably think he's using the Senate as an excuse, and the latter think the Senate is the only thing keeping him from rampaging all over a woman's right to choose. This is a rare example of an unintentional Chewie Defense (the CoS, incidentally, mentions that he himself is pro-choice).
America (The Book) lampshades this process with one of the interesting moments in Senate history.
Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) set the record for longest filibuster with his 24-hour, 18-minute speech railing against a civil rights bill. Thurmond's oration obliterated the previous filibuster record, a 13-hour description by Daniel Webster of the massive dump he just took.
On Community this is Amoral Attorney Jeff Winger's go to strategy as a lawyer. He particularly seems to like invoking 9/11. Subverted when he uses it in Debate: his team loses, 50-8 (and the 8 were to Annie).
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon proves an exemplar of this. He gets into an argument with Stuart, the comic book store manager (about which Robin would make a better replacement Batman). They argue for hours, until Stuart says that he's tired of it and going home. They have this exchange:
Sheldon: Then I win.
Stuart: No, it's late and I'm tired.
Sheldon: Then... I win.
Stuart: Fine, you win.
Sheldon: Darn right I win.
His friends often don't even bother trying to argue; such is Sheldon's committed use of this trope. Leonard even admits to knuckling under as a matter of policy. On one occasion we clearly see the aftermath of such a defense, Leonard tiredly saying 'Three of us voted to go by plane, Sheldon voted to go by train, so we're taking the train'.
Painfully used on Monk in "Mr. Monk Takes the Stand" (S08E05) with Jay Mohr's role as attorney Harrison Powell while defending Evan Gildea, accused of murdering his wife: "Does this piece fit? What about this piece?" And the guy actually wins.
To clarify, a large piece of the evidence was a slab of marble that Gildea smashed apart and distributed across his driveway to use as an alibi. Powell brings in a wheelbarrow of said marble, claiming that if Monk's theory held up the pieces would fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, which he "disproved" by randomly selecting pieces and holding them together. To be fair, though, the case was probably lost through Powell discrediting Monk by citing his psychological instability, which Monk unknowingly supports by fiddling with his microphone for a length of time, climbing out of the witness stand to put the marble together himself, and, purportedly, screaming "Mayday!" after realizing he was losing. It was a lucky break for Powell that he managed that, because his reasoning with the smashed marble was a case of Insane Troll Logic. Powell's logic: if the accused, Gildea, had destroyed the marble slab that was his alibi, then why not put it back together like a puzzle? This makes no sense: anyone who works in construction might be aware that the vibrations of a jackhammer break up marble into lots of smaller pieces and each piece is significantly different than each other. Had the prosecution had someone like an iron worker to explain this, Powell would have lost because his "argument" would have been found bogus. Instead it was Monk who was being questioned, and we all know how that went. Even if it was like a giant puzzle, since when would two random pieces of a huge puzzle have more than an infinitesimal chance of fitting together? It's like he shook a box of nuts and bolts and metal sheets, noticed they failed to assemble themselves into something, and concluded that engineering is impossible.
Lawyer: So, Miss Talliot, you expect the court to believe that on the evening of the fourteenth of November last year, the very year, I would remind the court, on which the crime that my client is accused of committing took place, you just happened to be walking in the park? Witness: That is correct. Lawyer: That is what? Witness: Correct. Lawyer: Oh it's correct, is it? I see. I wonder, Miss Talliot, whether you were aware that the American novelist Gertrude Stein was a self-confessed Lesbian?
Many TV pundits make a living out of using this trope. Just about any public commentator of any political leaning may eventually end up here once they get enough fame. Of course, this calls for a lot of parodies — not always discernible from the real thing.
Which is parodied by Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, who uses several variations of this when arguing with his guests, such as asking them why they hate America, and bombarding them with foolish overblown questions. He's even done this when arguing with himself, creating circular arguments along the lines of the following: If you were sent to Gitmo unfairly, you'd be angry enough at the government to want to overthrow it, and hence you'd deserve to be sent to Gitmo.
While still on The Daily Show, the Even Stevens bits which he performed along with Steve Carell were excellent parodies of this trope. The bits would begin with one of the Stevens saying the question under debate, followed by both alternating YES! or NO! as loudly as possible.
Played for Laughs in the Leverage episode The Juror #6 Job. Hardison (who has no formal law training) needs to pose as a lawyer to help the plaintiff win her lawsuit. He stalls as long as possible, and discredits the defendant's scientific expert by getting him to admit that he (the expert) is on the no-fly list because of a history of lewd conduct on airplanes.
An episode of Law & Order: SVU in which Detective Benson investigates the role of an Army-administered drug (I think for malaria) in assaults committed by veterans. During the trial, the military officer defending the Army accuses her of hating American soldiers, rather than challenging her on the evidence.
Played for drama in one Suits episode, where Donna is on mock-trial in the firm for perjury for covering up for Harvey and Louis is playing the prosecutor. His Armor-Piercing Question: "Do you love Harvey Specter?", which he repeats over and over again until Donna breaks down and runs out. Louis wasn't doing it out of spite, however, and explains in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Harvey that in a real court case the prosecuting lawyer would use the same dirty tactics.
Ford: I think they're very clever; they're trying to confuse us to death.
Used often, sometimes by both sides at once, on The Debaters.
Stand Up Comedy
Comedian Ron White joked about this once.
Ron White: I got kicked off the high school debate team for saying "Yeah?! Well, fuck you!" I thought I had won. The other kid was speechless. I thought that was what we were tryin' to do.
This was a common tactic of Roman lawyers, especially Cicero. His "Pro Caelio" is an excellent example, using everything from immense verbosity to pretending to channel a certain woman's dead father to call her a slut. These tactics pull the judges completely off-topic and acquit the defendant Caelius, who is most likely guilty.
This particular case was also a bit unethical of Cicero, as the personal attacks he used to such great effect were on the sister of Publius Clodius Pulcher; Clodius and Cicero hated each other, so it wasn't at all difficult for Cicero to lambast the Clodii. Additionally, Clodius and some of his family did not have the most savory reputation at the time, so the personal attacks were effective as an appeal to existing prejudices more than to justice.
The musical Chicago has a song titled "Razzle Dazzle" that explains the trope quite thoroughly. It includes the line, "How can they see [the truth] with sequins in their eyes?"
In the court scene of Oklahoma!, about Curly not being taken to the Police:
Man: I feel funny about this! I feel funny!
Aunt Eller: You'll feel funny when I tell your wife you're carrying on with another woman.
Man: I ain't carrying on with no one!
Aunt Eller: Maybe not, but you'll sure feel funny when I tell your wife you are.
Phoenix Wright is accused of doing this in the second game's final case by his long lost rival, Edgeworth. It's arguable that Phoenix did so in that case to stall for time, as well as in the third case of the third game in order to make the guilty party point out a detail of a piece of incriminating evidence introduced for the first time a few minutes ago, when he was out of the room - something he couldn't have known unless he was the killer.
This is also the perennial strategy of his protege, Apollo Justice. In the third case of his game, it turns out to be impossible to do because Apollo doesn't have the necessary evidence (he only wins the case because he threatens to call a decisive witness, causing the real killer to break down and confess).
It's more than just the fact that Apollo threatens to call a witness. The true killer had to be a Borginian cocoon smuggler as was previously proven. So, Apollo says that if the witness admits he's a smuggler, thus proving that Daryan is his accomplice, it in turn decisively proves that the only one who could be the killer is Daryan himself, as he is the only smuggler with no alibi for the murder. On top of this, considering that Borginian cocoon smuggling is punished with the death sentence in Borginia, if he admits he smuggled the cocoons during the current trial, the duty of punishment would fall on the American (Japanese in original version) courts instead of those of Borginia, meaning he would not be killed. So in other words, the killer must testify about his crimes, otherwise he will die, which means that there is no escape for the true killer.
In Escape from Monkey Island, amoral real-estate developer Ozzie Mandrill nearly succeeds in taking over the Caribbean with this method. All pirate disputes are settled with Insult Swordfighting and other insult-based games, but no one can understand Ozzie's Australian slang. Since no one who fights Ozzie can come up with the counter to his insults, he wins by default.
The Paragon speech options also offer its own variant of the Chewbacca Defense, by arguing that Tali's character makes her incapable of being guilty by means of the hundreds of Geth she destroyed in the first game. It works.
This nicely outlines the differences between Paragon and Renegade: Renegade!Shep will call the court out for their "political bullshit" (using those precise words), while Paragon!Shep uses their political bullshit against them by pointing out that Tali is the biggest hero of their race - exiling her would look really bad.
The admirals all privately admit that none of them want to exile Tali, and that at worst they believe Tali made a mistake; Tali is just caught up in their factional struggles (between those that want to attack the Geth to retake their homeworld, and those that want to give up the war and attempt to colonize a new planet). By exposing their ulterior motives, the admirals no longer can justify basing their judgement on politics and thus let Tali off on the grounds that her actions did not constitute treason. Essentially, this Chewbacca Defense was designed to make the judges act on the letter of the law instead of external factors, somewhat inverting the usual intent of the trope.
Used offensively in Umineko No Naku Koro Ni during the third arc. Battler has to prove that magic wasn't used to do something and rather than preparing actual logical arguments he just rushes on ahead and declares his victory before his opponent has any idea how the logic game even works. She turns out to be really good at it when she's given a chance to think, however.
In the webcomic Elf Only Inn April uses the "silence means consent/defeat" strategy in this discussion with Percy the sarcastic paladin:
April: I can tell by your silence that you know I am right.
Percy: (frowning) I bet you find that people "know you are right" an awful lot.
April: (happily) I don't like to brag but no one even tries to argue with me anymore.
You are working at a toy store, yes? Does that not make you a hypocrite? What? How does that even - ?" Money equals power. Power equals camel. Camel equals five celery sticks. Five. Quid pro quo.
The Nostalgia Critic review of Suburban Commando suggests using the line "I was FROZEN today!" randomly in an argument to "watch what happens". He demonstrates it by acting out an argument with himself, in which the person who is yelled at with the line stares with a confused and slightly horrified look before slowly backing out of the room.
Most of the examples here are spoofs of the Chewbacca Defense. The list could itself be perceived as a straight example when someone tries to use it as proof that God does not exist. (And that, itself, is actually on the list.) Parts of its "real" counterpart, "Why Atheism?", could also be counted (for example, the seventh paragraph, which basically says that religion is bad because Aristotle was given virtually all credit for ancient science/math/etc, and he was wrong about gravity).
"Argument From Argumentation," where one arguer just says God exists over and over until the opponent leaves, is practically a template for all the others. The opponent's arguments, since they're ignored anyway, are all written as "[Atheist's counterargument]."
Of course, if the one USING the Chewbacca defense (AKA the one spouting the non-sense) says the sentence, it's usually a sign of their defeat because they cannot win against logic. Sadly, this version happens much more seldom than the example above.
A lot of internet discussions will also end the moment someone calls the opposing side a Nazi, racist, homophobe, sexist or some other derogatory name. It's designed to cut off any further communication because the opponent certainly doesn't want to be seen in that light. And let's not forget I don't wish to discuss this any further.
It is also acceptable to say whatever one may want, no matter how irritating, insulting, and, well, fucked-up it is, but the moment one's opponent shows anger, one can just say U MAD? and one may exult in victory.
Godwin's Law states that as any internet debate rages on, the probability of one side comparing the other side to Hitler gets closer and closer to one. Between reasonable, intelligent people who know what they're talking about? Not a problem. On the Internet, which is practically the homeland of insane people who have no clue about what they're talking about? Guaranteed. The "Hitler rule," a universal Internet rule established based on Godwin's Law, dictates that once the Godwin Point has been reached, the person who referenced Hitler or the Nazis has automatically lost the debate and there is to be no further discussion on the subject. A corollary to the rule, incidentally, holds that invoking Godwin's Law intentionally because you're sick of debating never works. It should be noted that the Hitler Rule itself also fits nicely into the category of a Chewbacca Defense. "This person mentioned Hitler, therefore their argument is false" doesn't really fly.
The trope name comes from the South Park episode "Chef Aid". In this episode, there was a parody of Johnnie Cochran who - bah, just see for yourself. It makes even less sense if you consider that Chewbacca doesn't live on Endor, which isn't even a planet, but a moon.
In an episode of Justice League, when the Green Lantern is accused of a crime, The Flash becomes his attorney. He doesn't have a clue what to use to turn the case around, so he uses a Chewbacca defense. He ends his speech with "If the ring wasn't lit, you must acquit!" The result being both of them getting sentenced to death.
Later, a talk show host accuses the League of causing more crimes than they solve. Proof? White collar crime (which the league doesn't cover) went up 3%! And the real kicker: half of marriages end in divorce, and the other half... in death! Clearly, DC needs a superhero to tackle white collar crime, and a superhero marriage counselor; now if only Doc Samson wasn't a Marvel character...
In The Spectacular Spider Man episode "Identity Crisis", Venom leaks Peter's Secret Identity to the press. Peter denies being Spider-Man, but Venom tells the press afterward that Peter has to be Spidey, since Spider-Man would have to unmask himself to prove he wasn't Peter Parker. Spider-Man stops mid-battle to tell him how little sense it would make for him to reveal his secret identity to the world just to prove who that identity isn't.
An episode of The Boondocks features R. Kelly on trial for urinating on a minor. Despite the absurdly overwhelming evidence against him, he wins the case because of his popularity and his lawyer using manipulative logical fallacies such as comparing R. Kelly's perversions to the Founding Fathers' (in an inversion of Hitler Ate Sugar) and accusing the staggering evidence of being "really" based on racism. The defense lawyer also makes an issue out of the DA's white wife. Huey calls the entire court out on their stupidity afterward, asserting that the racial persecutions of a few black people does not justify the mistakes of the entire race and that if the crowd really cared for R. Kelly, they would help him overcome his problem instead of passing it off as right. The crowd doesn't listen, of course...
In another episode of The Boondocks, Huey and Martin Luther King Jr. are on a Fox News-type show, and the host responds to King by saying "Do you love America?", implying that King is simply anti-American. What's worse is that the way he asked it seemed to imply that it's a standard question that he asks everybody in the hopes of sparking conflict. And what's even worse is that a political pundit (Sean Hannity) has said these very words verbatim multiple times. It also didn't help that the height of this line's popularity was during the lead-up to the Iraq War...
Though this trope doesn't really happen in the "Apprentice Games" episode of Chowder (unless you count the awkward singing that drives everyone the hell out of the stadium) it is outright explained by Mung Dal in these words: "Winning isn't about being the best. It's about being so incredibly bad that no one can ignore you!"
Family Guy: Adam West uses this when Lois is running against him for mayor. Lois then wins the election by taking Brian's advice to do the same thing (she answers every question with "9/11").
A recent episode of The Simpsons involved Lisa joining the school's debate team. In her first debate, her opponent, a brunette girl, immediately circumvents the subject for debate in favor of breaking down Lisa's argument on the grounds that Lisa is aDumb Blonde. Much to the chagrin of anyone with half a brain, it works.
Another Simpsons episode, when Marge was being prosecuted for shoplifting:
Prosecutor: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Who do you find more attractive. Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson? Judge: What is the point of all this? Prosecutor: Your Honor, I'm so confident of Marge Simpson's guilt, that I can waste the court's time rating the superhunks. Lionel Hutz: Ooohh. He's gonna win.
An episode of Martha Speaks has the titular talking dog taking part in a trial. To sum up the story so far, the cranky old lady next door had her lawn furniture wrecked by a guy who was clearly talking on his phone while driving and running a red light, almost running other Martha and the lady. Martha, being a TALKING dog and all, is brought in as a witness. Then the driver brings in a dog expert who says that Martha's testimony is wrong because she talks because she is a poorly trained dog (she isn't), and thus wouldn't know that she shouldn't be able to speak. True, the reason WHY is speaks only seems to work on her (and the letters from alphabet soup ending up in the brain is a little...impossible) but that's the same logic cartoons use with gravity only working when you look down or being able to fly until someone points out your particular species is incapable of flight. Around that point, the plot starts to get a little confusing, with the old lady, for no really explained reason, siding with the guy who almost ran her over.
In fact they are the origin for the modern term sophistry.
Apocryphally, famous mathematician Euler used one of these as a way of shutting up Diderot, an atheist who was converting local people away from God. They had an actual public debate, and Euler's first argument was to say "(a + b^n)/n = x, therefore God exists. Respond!" Diderot had no idea what to say, and ended up leaving.
This is almost certainly untrue, however - Diderot was actually a very good mathematician and Euler was too thoughtful to use such an asinine tactic.
The Trope Namer was based on Johnnie Cochran's defense of O.J. Simpson, which succeeded largely due to the ignorance of the jury and carelessness of the prosecution. First by focusing the jury on their confusion and uncertainty of what DNA is and how DNA testing really works, and turning that into "reasonable doubt". Second by portraying O.J. as the unjust black victim of white racism via the whole Mark Fuhrman debacle. Third, by using this to hold O.J. out as a prominent member of the black community, which he wasn't. Fourth by making it seem as though the bloody leather gloves did not fit Simpson's hands, when it fact he was putting them on incorrectly.
Incidentally, in his book To be a Trial Lawyer, F. Lee Bailey wrote disapprovingly that if a client is guilty, then a lawyer's best bet is to get the most unintelligent jury possible.
He also wrote that a lawyer should never ask a witness a question to which the lawyer doesn't know the answer (also one of Rumpole's maxims) ... which is quite telling in regards to the fact that he had evidence about the Mark Furhman "N-word" issue, and was unethically setting him up for an ambush — a Chewbacca Defense in itself.
High school and college debate in the US can get extremely convoluted. Since the point of competitive debate is not just to argue about a topic, but to defeat your opponent, most debate strategy is built around trying to trip up the other side. As a result, some coaches feel that implausible and goofy arguments are better, since it forces the other side to waste time trying to respond. If they ignore the argument, you can claim that you won the point since they didn't respond properly. The classic example is if you're arguing against a resolution, you try to prove that their plan will eventually lead to nuclear war, even if it's about something like homelessness or health care. Sometimes debaters will respond to an argument like that by agreeing that it will cause nuclear war, but that nuclear war is a good thing. The "correct" way to respond to it is to refute it with specific evidence in your debate file, taking advantage of your ability to speak last. Another method is to not even argue about the topic but object to your opponent's argument on philosophical grounds (e.g. accuse them of being racist or sexist). Depending on the judge, calling them out on their rule abusing Chewbacca Defense may or may not result in it getting dismissed.
Generally averted with Parliamentary debate styles, which are by far the most popular English-language debate styles outside the US. These include British Parliamentary (the style used at the World Universities Debating Championship), Canadian Parliamentary, Australasian, and indeed American Parliamentary, which is rapidly increasing in popularity. In such formats, using a Chewbacca defense can and will get you marked down heavily by the judge. The point is not to trip up the other side, but to attack the logic that lies at the heart of their argument. Not that the execution of this strategy doesn't sometimes devolve into Chewbacca defense-like action anyway.
Jargon and buzzwords in general mainly exist to make the person using them sound smarter and more sophisticated — and therefore more 'correct' — than the opposition. This can and generally does lead to people throwing around words like "privilege" and "erasure" in arguments without even knowing what they are.
According to the argumentative theory of reasoning, the entire evolutionary purpose of human reasoning is to win arguments; finding the truth is purely incidental. Therefore, the theory goes, bias and irrationality evolved because of this trope.
Commentary Programs. In any venue where a host holds a position opposed to that of his or her guests, arguments commonly degenerate into a maelstrom of very loud Chewbecca Defenses. Sometimes even occurs during formal debates where the host is supposedly neutral to all parties, but decides to insert personal bias anyways.
Most Parliaments and Senates during open debate or question period.
In some religiously skeptical communities, this kind of argument is also known as a Gish Gallop; named after Creationist, biochemist, and professional debater Duane Gish, who is known to be a fan of using the Chewbacca Defense against atheists. His typical method of winning debates is making sure he is the first to speak, rapidly firing off a massive number of points of questionable scientific validity which his opponent couldn't possibly have time to address individually, and claiming a win if as few as one of his arguments remains unchallenged.
Creationist arguments, such as those used by Duane Gish, can result in plenty of Insane Troll Logic. However, some arguments are capable of turning even insane troll logic Up to Eleven. For example, saying "Evolution isn't true because a cat has never gave birth to a dog," is not only nonsense, as evolution makes no such claims, but it actually goes even further, because a cat giving birth to a dog would actually be incredibly strong evidence against evolution. If explaining this simple point does not sway the creationist from thinking this is a legitimate objection, the evolutionist is likely to give up right then and there as it's clear evidence his opponent is either uninterested or incapable of holding a reasonable discussion. The creationist will then, as per this trope, claim that they have conclusively proven the evolution is false.
Gish himself used to use the exact same talk every single time. Michael Shermer once went first when debating him and not only explained why all his questions were wrong and how his quotes were all out of context, he even stole all his jokes. Gish then gave the same speech he always gave and his supporters still declared him the clear winner.
Shane Killian is infamous for utilizing the Chewbacca Defense both in Real Life politics and on the internet. In fact, it oftentimes is his only means of presenting an argument. Even when he is in the right, he has to present a Chewbacca Defense as though it is a necessary compulsion. Examples of his actions can be found here, here, and here.
Cato the Elder is famous for (among other things) ending his senate speeches with "Carthago delenda est,"Carthage must be destroyed. All of them. Regardless of what he was discussing. "Yes, I agree, let's raise the taxes on grain. And Carthage must be destroyed."