February 16, 2006

Chuck Norris, you let me down

When did Chuck Norris ascent to his current title as the king of ironic hipness begin? I'm not a devout student of this history, but I'd guess it started with his cameo in Dodgeball-- who can forget the classic, inspirational thumbs-up and Stiller's immortal line, "F***in' Chuck Norris"? Now, it seems, Mr. Norris is more popular than ever, mostly due to the Chuck Norris facts site. I'm sure you've seen it by now, as it's been the most quoted thing on the internet for quite some time. The quotes have grown stale through overuse, but you have to admit it was funny for a time. (One of my favorites: "Chuck Norris uses all seven letters in Scrabble... Every turn.") The "Walker lever" on Conan O'Brien's (mostly unfunny) show (you suck, Conan!) probably also helped raise his image in the public consciousness. This article in the Washington Post does a good job of summing up more reasons for Norris' popularity.

Now, I enjoy myself a good episode of Walker (and especially the theme song) as much as the next guy, but I don't know if I can hold Chuck Norris up as a sterling hero any longer. I read today that Mr. Norris celebrated Valentine's Day at the White House with George and Laura (for the record, so did Joe Lieberman, D?-CT), and it piqued my interest. I did some googling, and it turns out that Chuck and George are pretty tight:

Here is a picture of the good ol' boys in the good ol' days (before Enron, 9/11, Iraq, Social Security, Katrina, Plamegate, and Shotgun Dick), taken in 1997. Further research reveals that Mr. Norris has maxed out in his contributions to Bush a few times, and has given at least $32,225 in political donations since 1989-- all to Republicans. He must be close with the family; Chuck accompanied H.W. on his infamous sky-diving trip, and in this official WH press release from a 2004 campaign rally, G-Dubs gives a shout-out to "my friend Chuck Norris." I guess I don't begrudge Mr. Norris his right to have an opinion, and to exercise his quasi-constitutional right to corrupt the political process with vast sums of money, but it somehow hurts deep inside that a man who had seemed so good, so pure, and so invincible, could be so wrong on everything that is so important.

Remember that Walker episode where a high-school teacher is thrown off of a roof by a shop teacher/drug lord because he uncovers the guy's drug ring, and Walker steps in as principal to uncover the devastating truth (and deliver some devastating roundhouse kicks?) To encourage the kids to break their addiction to drugs and to identify the perpetrator of this horrific crime, Chuck brings in a few extremely muscular friends, the Power Team, members of an body-building/inspirational speaking squad, who perform amazing feats of strength involving fists, foreheads and piles of bricks. There is an inspirational moment where a man snaps a pair of handcuffs in two, and the crowd erupts in cheers. Chuck Norris, this could be you. Stand up and break the manacles of oppression, and you will be revered as much more than a washed-up martial arts star: you, too, can be a True American Hero.

*An all-time classic video: two legends collide as Norris meets Danza on Danza's show. Danza reads Norris some quotes from the "facts" website.
*Chuck speaks out about the "facts":

“I’m aware of the made up declarations about me that have recently begun to appear on the Internet and in emails as “Chuck Norris facts.? I’ve seen some of them. Some are funny. Some are pretty far out. Being more a student of the Wild West than the wild world of the Internet, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It’s quite surprising. I do know that boys will be boys, and I neither take offense nor take these things too seriously. Who knows, maybe these made up one-liners will prompt young people to seek out the real facts as found in my recent autobiographical book, “Against All Odds?? They may even be interested enough to check out my novels set in the Old West, “The Justice Riders,? released this month. I’m very proud of these literary efforts.?

I'll put 'em on my reading list, Chuck.

Posted by smit2174 at February 16, 2006 12:05 AM