Irony is something that confuses me. My sense of humor is a decent one, but irony isn't really something I'm equipped for.

This article came about because of Rick Astley.



I first heard the song "Never Gonna Give You Up" on VH1's "Pop Up Video". It immediately became a personal favorite. The song expressed some great sentiments...Ideas of love that could last forever. Astley has a great singing voice as well. Blue eyed soul can come from anywhere, even England, and Astley was great proof of that.

I purchased his album "Whenever You Need Somebody" from Columbia House back in the late 90s.



I've lost the disc, so it's difficult to remember any of the songs besides "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Together Forever", but he has great singing skills.

Fast-forward to the 2006-2007 area. Astley has become popular again all of a sudden. Did he make a new album? Did the popularity of 80s nostalgia revive his career? Nope. Some irony-infused people decided to come up with a prank of epic proportions.

Although YouTube is said to be designed for "Broadcasting Yourself", it's become a popular place for old music videos, commercials, movie trailers...I think these items are posted because a lot of people can't really speak for themselves, so pop culture speaks for them.

Anyway, these irony-oriented people started posting YouTube links on message boards. For example, if it were on a board for the Disney Channel, it would say things like "Hillary Duff and Anneliese Van Der Pol return to the Disney Channel to appear on the first episode of a new version of 'Kids Incorporated'. Check it out!".



You're eager to see a connection between the Disney Channel of the 80s and the Disney Channel of the 00s, but instead, you see the video for "Never Gonna Give You Up".

It's reminiscent of the Chuck Norris facts in a way.



I like Norris' work. He's a good actor and his movies always have great amounts of action. I often wonder how many people genuinely like his work, though.

A few years ago, someone came up with a spin-off of Vin Diesel Facts (which, in turn, was rumored to have been inspired by the Bill Brasky sketches on "Saturday Night Live"), only this time they were based around Norris. They're basically one-liners that turn the actor into an immortal, God-like figure. I had fallen prey to these in a period of retro uncertainty, but I decided that they really aren't funny. If you pick a celebrity who can either represent the fact or look the part, you can pretty much get the same result.

Let's try this one on for size:

Michelle Pfeiffer's tears cure cancer. Too bad she never cries.



Or how about:

There is no chin beneath Rick Rubin's beard. There is only another fist.



As I read what I've written so far, I've come to a conclusion. I think that younger people do genuinely like Astley, Norris and other aspects of retro culture (I would say 80s, but considering the age range on here, I'll have to include the 90s as well) for the same reason I like all 80s culture.

What it is is that we all have troubles and issues. It doesn't matter where you're at mentally, physically, or emotionally. Life is very difficult.

When many people say the Chuck Norris Facts, they're saying them because Norris has projected an image of confidence and strength throughout his career. Not everybody has those two characteristics. Many people walk through life frightened and afraid. When the facts come up, I think these people use Norris as an inspiration for themselves. They talk about him kicking ass, even though a lot of it is fantasy, and then they think "You know, maybe I can do this, too". Thus, they then walk through the world saying "Bring it on. Whatever you can dish out, I can handle. If Norris could do it, I could, too!".

As for RickRolling, upon thinking about it, maybe this phenomenon came about due to a tiredness with the current music scene. Me? I think there's some great stuff out there today (Badly Drawn Boy and Leona Lewis are two favorites right now), but if one visits YouTube or even peruses RetroJunk's message boards, many a hue and cry of exasperation is voiced with today's music. Maybe it's a matter of musicianship, the idea of memories, or maybe the influence of VH1's "I Love..." programs, but 70s, 80s and 90s music is popular among young people because it allows them to see that there's life beyond, say, Soulja Boy (although I like him, too, and I'm not ashamed of it).

There's always been bad times in the past (the 90s was a very rough time for me), but as they say, music soothes the savage beast, and if it takes RickRolling to do the deed, then so be it.

In the end, it's not for any of us to question it. Let's just roll with it and see what happens.

So, what do all of you make of RickRolling, Chuck Norris Facts and other items of irony?