Monday, February 9, 2009

Chuck Norris Jokes, and the Art of the Impossible

I'm going to assume that most everyone reading this has heard quite a few "Chuck Norris Jokes", i.e., 'Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice' or 'Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open'. The general idea is to attribute some ridiculous, impossible, or ironic ability to the earnest, B-list celebrity that is Chuck. I had thought that, aside from the occasional ironic T-shirt or Facebook wall quote, I had forever left Chuck Norris back at college.

But no - like numerous other aspects of American pop culture, Chuck Norris jokes have traveled to Macedonia, once again stripped of their former context. The ironic, ridiculous nature of the jokes in America has become a sort of Balkan-fatalistic way of expressing hopelessness and frustration at the bogged-down, post-communist, semi-free bureaucratic government. Two Macedonian-Chuck jokes I have heard:

'Chuck Norris got his paycheck for January' = The government recently tried to change their revenue gathering system, or something like that - whatever happened, the new software completely crashed the computer system, meaning that a whole lot of people in Macedonia didn't get paid at all for the month of January. Read about it here.

'Chuck Norris can buy alcohol after 7' = Just before I arrived, the government started passing a lot of piddling nanny-state type regulations. One of the first was banning the purchase of alcohol from shops after 7 p.m. It's irritating, believe me.

It's the hip, humorous equivalent of shrugging and saying, 'Oh well.' Chuck just enhances the futility of it all. Can Chuck solve the Greek-Macedonian name dispute? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Nuvious said...

I feel blessed and sympathetic to the people of Macedonia :(. Maybe some day the Chuck Norris jokes will become more aligned with the fantastic and physically impossible as they are here in the US.