Chuck Norris

Which brings us to Chuck Norris, a U.S. martial artist, who reportedly lost only one fight - to Bruce Lee - from the time he became a professional fighter, until now when he is old, has a malfunctioning left leg, and can be defeated relatively easily by some of the most competent of his younger peers. However, I am sure this is not the only battle that Chuck Norris has lost. This is because we all had many disappointments in our lives: things that didn't work like we wanted to; people we liked or even loved that hated us, moved out of our reach, or died; and finally - opinions we held or proclaimed that turned out to be mistaken. Chuck Norris had those too. These lost battles are part of who we are as human beings and a natural part of life on Earth.

That put aside, Chuck Norris recently lost a much bigger battle than the one with Bruce Lee, because the seemingly silly and popular Internet meme, the Chuck Norris facts (and other memes that they span) have become a much bigger and better fighting machine than he has ever have been. Only it is not a physical war - it is a gentle and subversive (but equally as powerful) psychological war. And despite common beliefs, a good psychological war is not won by intimidation or “defeat”, but by Saladin’s method of respecting your adversary, showing mercy towards him, even supporting him by what appear to be his mistakes, forgiving him and trying to reach a common ground.

Many people were easily indoctrinated into the Chuck Norris facts meme. I recall this conversation on Freenode’s #perl in June 2006, shortly after Randal L. Schwartz told me about the Chuck Norris Facts Internet “meme” and I was quickly able to come out with my own fact. After collecting a few original facts like that, I set up a page for them on the humour section of my homepage having figured out that even if I had a silly quirk of writing such factoids about people and things, then people will still take me more seriously due to my longer stories and screenplays and my longer and more serious essays.

But the reason why Chuck Norris/etc. facts are so powerful is because they are so accessible and easy to create, not in spite of it. Chuck Norris facts like “Guns don’t kill people. Chuck Norris kills people.” or “There is no theory of evolution - only species of animals that Chuck Norris allow to live.” or my own “Chuck Norris read the entire English Wikipedia in 24 hours. Twice.” or “A is A and A is not not-A — Unless Chuck Norris says so.” highlight some major problems and assumptions about our existence, and makes us think. They give us questions. A lot of questions.