In a much meme-ed line from 2008's The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent mused that "you either die a hero, or you live long enough to become the villain."
It's a bleak observation that's as true in the real world as it is in a Christopher Nolan hellscape. Once subversive comedians grow crotchety and rail against the younger generation's "PC culture" any time someone dares to challenge their own status quo. Men who capture the hearts, minds, and loins of a generation with their portrayals of dreamy young pinkos on TV unironically quote Thatcher a half century later. And sometimes martial arts and action heroes start writing columns for conservative opinion and news aggregation sites like WorldNetDaily.
Chuck Norris is best known as the star of some of Cannon's greatest (and worst) action films, the founder of Chun Kuk Do, the man who—if you're willing to believe the whimsical thesis of the documentary Chuck Norris vs Communism—helped inspire political change through his art, and the muse behind one of the Internet's most beloved and long-running in-jokes. But while multiple generations of fans and casual onlookers have been trying to shape him into more of a Platonic Form than a person, a projected ideal of morally upstanding martial artistry, bullshit-eschewing, and general bad assery, Norris has focused his work and activist efforts in a slightly different direction. And the chasm between man and meme grows wider with every piece he writes for WND.
When faced with a national tragedy and a catastrophic loss of life, for example, the Chuck Norris of Chuck Norris facts, who once played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won, and scared Hitler into suicide, would have flown (or jumped and decided when to come down) back in time to the scene of the mass shooting, and intimidated the perpetrator until he backed down. Actual Chuck Norris just used the mass murder at Pulse in Orlando to make another pro-Trump argument in his latest column, "Hilary abandons LGBT in defense of Islam."
To his credit, it's one of his more logically presented and articulate arguments, although that's not saying much. While the Idea of Chuck Norris has been wandering around the universe (he is the reason there's no life on Mars, after all) bludgeoning and vanquishing all that comes in his path, the real human being has been sitting at his computer and taking a similarly no-holds-barred approach to politicians he doesn't like, causes that concern him, and facts. And his way with words is nowhere near as technical and esthetically pleasing as his roundkick.
Last year, for example, he wrote a column based on a shaky comparison between the mass shooting in Charleston and a the murder of a young woman in San Francisco and argued that the American public should respond to concerns about illegal immigrants the way that they approach the continued use of the Confederate flag. This, in turn, inspired Political Insider, another conservative new site dedicated to giving readers "the real scoop, not just government propaganda," to write its own triumphant think piece on the subject with the Jonah "West Wing Man" Ryan-worthy headline "BOOM: After What Chuck Norris Just ANNOUNCED, Donald Trump is THRILLED."
Perhaps Norris's greatest (or "greatest") triumph as a writer, though, is his April, 2106 epic on the subject of chemtrails, titled "SKY CRIMINALS." With a Merle Haggard-invoking lede, Norris launches into a perversely fascinating discussion of the chemtrails conspiracy theory that includes the use of Wikipedia as a source, a freewheeling misrepresentation of a Smithsonian article by esteemed science writer Sarah Zielinski, and the dismissal of Snopes as a "liberal fact-finding website."
With all of the delicacy of a Texas Ranger informing a young boy of his HIV-positive status, he provides anecdotal evidence ("I know, because my wife, Gena, and I have seen it in the skies over our Texas ranch."), speculates about aerosol immunization, and generally appeals to the sheeple in an effort to expose some deeply evil X-Filesian government conspiracies that he insists are afoot in our skies.
Along the way, he drops borderline bon mots like "stratospheric lunacy" and down-folsky, Dr. Phil-for-the-tin-hat-set quips like "if you don't believe there's some smoke-screening in the sky trails above you, I have a London Bridge to sell you in Lake Havasu City, Arizona," and "I'm not Shakespeare, but something is definitely rotten in the state of Denmark."
But nothing compares 2 the conclusion, where Norris invokes the memory of The Purple One to drive his point home. "Or as another music legend, Prince, who just passed away this week, sang in his song 'Dreamer': 'While helicopter circles us, this theory's getting deep, Think they're spraying chemicals over the city while we sleep/ From now on I'm staying awake, you can call me a dreamer, too, wake up, wake up.'"
But at least he stopped short of suggesting the Prince was murdered for his chemtrail beliefs.
Still, though, it's becoming increasingly clear that you either die a hero fighting chemtrails or you live long enough to become the kind of villain your meme would roundkick into the stratosphere.