Twitter Misadventures Land Roger Avary Back in Jail
Movieline reported in October that Roger Avary had begun whispering sweet, incarcerated nothings in his Twitter followers' ears. For some reason it took Ventura County officials -- and the rest of the world, apparently -- almost a month to pick up on the writer-director-manslaughterer's accounts of life as "#34," resulting in Avary being bounced off his cushy, year-long work furlough and back into full-time jail over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The L.A. Times last week "discovered" the Oscar-winner's jailhouse micro-journal, which had blossomed from its raw, squalid, Oct. 29 germ to slightly more wry and much more frequent observations from Avary's life behind bars. Except that he wasn't really behind bars, at least not the way most ordinary folks would wind up doing time on the kind of felony manslaughter rap following Avary's drunken January 2008 car crash that killed his passenger Andrea Zini. Instead, Avary left the Ventura County Jail every weekday to continue his writing and developing, returning by 5 p.m. to spend nights and weekends in lock-up.
Avary struck that plea deal (plus five years' probation) at the time on the basis of a previously clean record and what his lawyer characterized as his potential to "contribute to society." By "society," he appears to have meant 13,000+ Twitter followers who have since been cut off from tweets hinting at heroin epidemics and recounting regular cavity searches experienced by his alter ego "#34." At the very least he meant author Neil Gaiman, who breathlessly referred his own followers over to Avary's feed, thus flagging the month's worth of tweets for everyone -- including the Ventura County district attorney -- to see. What might have evolved as another of Avary's intriguing Twitter-plays came to a halt on Thanksgiving with the note, "#34 is 'rolled up' to a higher security facility for exercising his first amendment rights. The truth he has discovered is too dangerous." Right.
So Avary will finish the remainder of his jail sentence in a cell, where the safe money has it that his legally required phone call(s) probably won't be used to describe the latest gang rivalries in 140 characters or less. And while greater minds than mine surely will determine whether or not the First Amendment protects the terminally stupid's rights to humiliate the law every day via Twitter, it seems fairly common-sensical that a good pseudonym never goes out of style.