Chuck Norris has decided that others making money from the Chuck Norris meme is unacceptable to a man who roundhouse-kicks cows into making butter. His means to shut down these money-making cowards/fans? Not another Mountain Dew ad or a Mike Huckabee endorsement spot, but in a recently-filed lawsuit. Once Justia and PACER have the docket, I’ll post all the documents. (Note how the Huckabee ad has the exact same meme-created pushup/ground “fact” as this one read by Mr. Norris himself)
The meme about Chuck Norris as the ultimate tough guy has been around for awhile, though whether it was done in homage to the man or to make fun of him isn’t clear and either way fits tightly within snark fandom. One snarkish fan, The Hot Librarian, gives a great social history of the meme — and what participating fans got out of the Norris effect. In 2005, THL wrote:
Someone sent me one of those FWD: emails that … had to do with Chuck Norris and roundhouse kicking and beards and such, and I know you’re saying, “Who cares about Chuck Norris and his roundhouse kicks?” to which I say, “EXACTLY. No one. That’s why it’s funny.” People don’t care about Chuck Norris or Amish people anymore. It’s a travesagedy. That’s a travesty and a tragedy combined. It means “something really really bad.” …
“If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, “Two seconds ’til.” After you ask, “Two seconds ’til what?” he roundhouse kicks you in the face.”
“Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.”
If you threw an Amish quilt over Chuck’s shoulders as he roundhouse kicked me in the face, I would die from laughing and beard-related injuries. I was explaining this Norris Phenomenon to my very good friend and he told me, probably just to humor me and get me to shut up about Chuck fuckin’ Norris, “Chuck Norris doesn’t churn butter. He roundhouse kicks the cows and the butter comes straight out.”
Many if not all of the Norris “facts” were created by fans and shared openly — such as Mr. Norris’ butter churning ability, yet he then used these facts to help his own image. The Hot Librarian states that
I would just like to point out that my very close personal friend MADE UP THE STARRED CHUCK NORRIS FUN FACT. AND THE FIRST TIME THAT FACT WAS SEEN ANYWHERE ON EARTH WAS ON MY BLOGBLOGBLOG. That website copied our little piece of Chuck-i-trivia (complete with homage to the butterchurning Amish I love so dearly) word for word. Of course, they gave us no credit but the thing is – we know. Immortality? We took it. It is ours.
Lest this go without being made clear — Mr. Norris capitalized on this bizarre form of Real Person Fanfic where he could do no wrong (like a modern-era urban-legend Paul Bunyan (sans Blue Ox), making himself $$$ in the process based on fan creativity. Other actors, such as Richard Dean Anderson (in a MasterCard ad “as” MacGyver) and William Shatner (see Boston Legal) have made money from making fun of their fan-created images without suing said fans.
I’ll have more to say after I read the complaint — but at this point, does Mr. Norris really think that his oeuvre is really being critiqued incorrectly by these “facts”? Or is the real fact that Chuck Norris will roundhouse fans into court (soon as look at them) if you complement him wrong? Or that only Chuck Norris is allowed to make fun of Chuck Norris?