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Congratulations! You're a Douchebag!

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 14, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 14, 2010 |

David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) has acquired the rights for a movie version of the nonfiction book Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw. Here’s the gist of it: Colton Harris-Moore is a kid who grew up poor and started stealing compulsively at a young age. He’s only eighteen and yet has been living in the woods of Washington for the last two years avoiding police despite having stolen or wrecked over $1.5 million in vehicles, including an airplane that he managed to take off in and crash to get away from police.

The media has picked up on the story and likes spinning the whole teen outlaw angle to the hilt, if only so that we can hear the endless diatribes on how movies or video games caused this. The real root of the attention is the simple fact that a writer named Bob Friel at Outside magazine picked up the story and wrote a whole expose on the affair. Then he wrote a book. Then he sold the movie rights to the book before the book was even actually released. And not one dime of that money influenced him towards sensationalism in the least.

The story has a certain appeal to it, Americans do love their outlaws, I mean shit, all of our ancestors got kicked out of every decent country on the planet. But see, Americans love their outlaws right out of the Robin Hood mold. Everything’s okay as long as you’re stealing from the man.

But as Friel says in his article on the kid:

“Ever the opportunist, Colt found that, along with cans of tuna, people leave all kinds of property in their weekend homes. He helped himself to laptops, cash, jewelry, camcorders, cell phones, a telescope, a GPS unit, iPods, radio-controlled toys like boats and a helicopter, and a Trek mountain bike. There’s not much evidence that he pawned the loot, just collected it. Sometimes the homeowners left behind credit cards. Another Colt innovation: Simply punch in those numbers online and you get custom burglary, with overnight delivery of such on-the-lam necessities as bear mace, aviation magazines, a police scanner, and “evidence eraser” software. This was a risky escalation, though, because Colt now had to return to the scene of the crime to collect his packages once they’d been delivered.”

Congratulations, kid, you’re not an outlaw, you’re just a douchebag. See, the difference is that if you’re not rebelling against something or fighting for something, then breaking the rules is the ethical equivalent of throwing a tantrum, especially when it comes to fucking with other people. I could rant for a few paragraphs, but the essence is this: grow up.

“Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

(sources: Cinema Blend, Outside)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.