Searching as hard as ever for trends, the NY Times style section finds Chuck Norris — enabled by Mike Huckabee — is not the only brawling, stomping hero of 1980s culture enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Rambo is coming back, too, remember? Does this mean something deeper?
The leading action symbols of the Reagan era — with all their excess, jingoism and good vs. evil bombast — have returned, as outsize and obvious as they were in the decade of stonewash. Yet as stars of prime-time hits and feature films (not to mention Republican mascots), these actors are still as ripped and imposing as they were 20 years ago, and they continue to carry an undeniable authority with fans old and new.
Indeed, at a time when the country is faced with a new tangle of problems, the return of the ’80s action hero suggests that some Americans, particularly men, are looking to revel in the vestigial pleasures of older times and seemingly simpler ways. (Witness the popularity of the best-selling “Dangerous Book for Boys,” a celebration of the traditional rugged joys of boyhood.)
Here’s an alternate theory: maybe we have an overpopulation of insecure men who turn to guns and Rambos to deal with their fears, such as a woman president.