What is the measure of a man?chuck_norris

Whoa, whoa! Slow down. I know you want to say “Chuck Norris,” but hear me out.

The internet-meme-turned-annoying-T-shirt-franchise Chuck Norris Facts is actually a solid starting point for our discussion, as the Ideal of Chuck Norris seems to have overtaken the man himself – at least, that’s what I gather after finding that www.chucknorrisfacts.com outranks the actor’s actual homepage on a Google search.

Quasi-facts like “Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise” speak to the notion of a man skilled at everything, beyond limits, always in control (to the extent that he also apparently has no need for a CTRL key on his computer). A man to aspire to, were it in any way possible.

StathamAnd as Jason Statham’s reputation for absurd superhumanity builds through movies each more reality-defying than the last (per Television Without Pity: “Statham does not get dressed; he briefly considers it and his skin cells instantly transform themselves into tailored suits out of sheer terror”), expect the trend to continue as we search for a true representation of the archetype of Manliness.Most Interesting Man

Keep in mind, this need not be a physically intimidating man – my personal favorite example of this trend lies in Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, featuring a distinguished, bearded older gent who, reportedly, “can speak French – in Russian,” and other feats of smooth, if illogical, awesomeness.

But is there a man out there who actually embodies the renaissance-manliness that has so far only been dreamt of by bloggers and beer advertisers?

I believe so: his name is Dolph Lundgren.

Lundgren, best known as Rocky’s nemesis Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (“Rocky Defeats Communism,” not to be confused with the third installment, “Rocky Learns to Dance Like a Black Guy”), is a man of many talents, and “actor” is actually the least of them. For instance, did you know that Dolph Lundgren:

– is a skilled martial artist, recently earning a third-degree black belt

– holds a masters degree in chemical engineering

– plays the drums

– speaks fluent Swedish, English and German, while also dabbling in Spanish and Japanese, and

– served in the Swedish Marines.

These aren’t made up. These are actual Dolph Lundgren Facts (not that IMDB hasn’t been known to fudge a few details, but it all seems to check out).

Dolph LundgrenIn fact, the only field where Lundgren does not seem to excel – at least at first glance – is in the area he is best known, as thespian. And while at first I thought this tragically ironic (the man who is talented in so many fields cannot master the one thing his heart might yearn for – to be someone else!), I thought about the four films I’ve seen him in, and realized I may have underestimated the man.

In Rocky IV, he is suitably convincing as a monosyllabic fighting machine. In The Punisher, he effectively conveys the personality of an emotionless killer. In Masters of the Universe, he manages to perform while also wearing clearly binding black rubber underwear (and a diligent waxing protocol!). And in Johnny Mnemonic, he seems at home as a crazy person in a pretty crazy movie.

Based on this partial resume, I now believe that on top of everything else, Dolph Lundgren actually has mastered acting, albeit in a very small niche, to his satisfaction.

So I posit this: the finest example of manliness – the impossible ideal, as we’ve concocted by mythologizing real people (like Norris) and creating from whole cloth (the Most Interesting Man in the World) does exist…in Dolph Lundgren.

If you disagree, I would advise you to take it up with the man himself. But be warned – he can cripple you with his incredibly long limbs, or with the power of science itself. Not that he would. Because on top of his other vast areas of knowledge, he is also incredibly humble.

And isn’t that the true measure of a man?

  1. V.I.P. Referee says:

    I hate the “Dos Equis” ads! They’re funny in their own special, special way but there’s also something irritating about a decidedly mature man surrounded by very young women as window-dressing. But it’s not like liquor ads haven’t played that card before; they’re often plastered with scantily clad, clueless women and it never fazes me. Maybe the ads are often so dumb that any possible insult never really sticks? I don’t know. Hear it now: I’m a young woman who only wears black, velvet club-wear and I will never be fooled by Mr. Dos Equis! I’ll call him on his fabulous Dos Equis-ness!

    Oooo…Dolph Lundgren reminds me of one of my friends, but I shall not utter his name here for fear of conjuring up his ire; i.e., the fruits of his humiliation.

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    Let’s see if we can nail down your frustration

    If we were to swap out the Dos Equis guy, and replace him with a paunchy but somehow still rugged Bruce Campbell – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg6bZSM48vU – would that be more or less acceptable?

  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    See, I love that ad (is it Bruce Campbell’s unexplainable likeability?)! Yet, both ads are essentially the same thing. Maybe replacing “skeevy” with “cheesy” works better for me? I also think there’s just enough of an age difference between Mr. Equis and his “lady friends” to creep me out. A decade, even two between the liquor-ad guy and his usual harem is pushing it…heading into the territory of 40 years’ difference makes it a tad more uncomfortable to watch. Not always, but often. I get it: Mr. Dos Equis is a charismatic, worldly smoothie with a lifetime of “experience”–but it would’ve been fun if they’d thrown someone like “Helen Mirren” into the mix.

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    If they could somehow make a sequel campaign with Helen Mirren, I would be a lifetime Dos Equis Drinker.

  5. braak says:

    They should totally do that, and just have her hanging out with young, handsome men.

    I mean, all they’d really have to do is film Helen Mirren while she does her thing, and maybe make sure she’s got some Dos Equis in her hand. It’d be pretty easy, I think.

  6. Lisa says:

    AND Dolph Lundgren has not been seen in any total gym ads, so that Lundgren -1, Norris – 0.

  7. Jeff Holland says:

    Ah. BUT, if we are keeping score, Norris had to film with Christie Brinkley. Who is resolutely NOT awesome. So we’re back to 0-0.

  8. Moff says:

    So you’re saying Dolph Lundgren is totally some kind of “Masculine-Man”? A real “He-Male”? Something like that?

  9. Moff says:

    And you haven’t seen Universal Soldier? I mean, I haven’t. But I feel like you should have.

  10. Jeff Holland says:

    I believe Lundgren is some kind of Dude-Guy, yes.

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