Tag Archives: irony

Reading Chuck Norris

Yesterday, in our discussion, Chuck Norris surfaced a couple of times. 

Specifically, the question was, “did everyone see the irony intended in the Old Spice ad.”  Or was this, for some people, a return to the old stereotypes of masculinity?

There are 4 possibilities here (see the chart below).

  • The first, far left, is the fan who sees no irony in Chuck Norris. Norris is masterful, heroic and exemplary.  
  • The last, far right, is the fan who is hip to the joke.  He/she scorns Norris, and loves these ads because they scorn Norris too.
  • In between are people who are more or less admiring of Norris but who are also more or less hip to the joke.

It’s astounding that these ads should have this kind of range. It’s as if our culture accumulates meanings and does not shed them.  So irony comes in but admiration remains available.  

Still more remarkably, people in the middle categories are holding opposing ideas at the same time.  (Very Roger Martin.)  And that is never supposed to happen in popular culture.