who the f*ck is Gnarr ?

Zo dacht ik er net zo over toen ik in boekhandel Passa Porta “Gnarr ! How I became the mayor of a large city in Iceland – and – changed the world” van Jon Gnarr zag liggen.

Jon Gnarr was born in 1967 in Reykjavik. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavik in 2010. His acting work includes the movies “The Icelandic Dream” and “A man like me” and the television series “The Night Shift”, which aired on BBC4. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party was dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political part : Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic Parliament.


Gnarr werd als kind als achterlijk beschouwd. Hij vond een uitweg in comedy en werd zo een bekende televisiespersoonlijkheid. Uit dat gekken richtte hij  de Best Party op, een anti-establishment politieke beweging die uiteindelijk aan de macht komt. Gnarr wordt burgemeester van Reykjavik en doet dat out of the box. Het boek leest dubbel : als de biografie van een outcast en als het verhaal van een creatieve denker die vanuit het onvoorspelbare de leiding neemt. “We kijken vanuit andere verrassende invalshoeken naar het gekende en zoomen in op het onbegrepene, het onderbelichte, het onbekende”, schrijven mijn twee voortreffelijke collega’s. Ik sta helemaal achter mensen met een verhaal.

Ik zou een tijdje in Reykjavik moeten wonen om te begrijpen wat Jon Gnarr écht realiseerde maar ik geloof in zijn boodschap.

Een handvol passages uit het boek.

The more I learned about anarchism, the greater my certainty that I was an anarchist myself, and had always been one. Anarchy was and is for me the only way to classless society, a mutually supportive society that respects the freedom of every individual and in which everyone can live his life freely and without external control, so long as he or she does not impinge on the freedom of others. **
I am convinced that humor will soon be recognized as a key skill for all areas of life. In my view, if you don’t have a sense of humor, then you’ve got problems. It’s a perfectly natural development. In the future it won’t be enough that you’re good at your job and get along with other people – you’ll have to be entertaining too. But, like emotional intelligence and what is often derided as “feminine intuition”, humor is still often viewed with skepticism, and the more screwed-up a society, the more likely it will developed such prejudices. All this will change in the future. If you can’t raise a smile and never have a quip on your lips, you’ll be viewed askance and, perhaps, ignored. **
If we want to change politics, we need to change this entire frame of mind, to rethink what is really required to be a politician. To save democracy, politics must attract a wider range of people. We need scientists. We need artists. We need quite ordinary people who think slowly instead of quickly. People who admit it when they don’t know something, instead of pretending they know everything so they won’t be ousted from their jobs. We need shy people. We need the overweight, the stutterers, and the disabled. Punks, bakers, and manual workers. And above all, we need young people. We must make our politics more interesting, exciting, and cool, so that everyone will feel like getting involved. **
The most important person on earth is and will remain my wife, Joga, full name Johanna Johannsdottir. We are an inseparable unit. Although we are two different individuals, we work and function as one. I never decide anything without discussing it beforehand with my wife. In return, she benefits from my judgment. I would argue that she made a much more decisive and energetic contribution to founding and organizing the Best Party than I ever could have. She always sees an opportunity where others see a black hole, and now our brains are so perfectly matched that they function together as a kind of super brain. I’m the principal actor, and she directs. **
Despite all the media hype, I really don’t see myself as the founder of a new generation of politicians, and I’ve long stopped trying to cobble together some smart ideology for myself. Even as a small boy, I had an aversion to anything to do with contests and competition. I simply had no desire to be the best at anything. Not at playing football, not at dancing, and not at anything else. The true winner of the game for me is the one who has the most fun, and this is true not only in sport, but also in life. When I acknowledged my affinity for punk, this was a clear statement of my determination to break away fro all that success-oriented, competition-fixated, performance-related way of thinking.
“Gnarr ! How I became the mayor of a large city in Iceland – and – changed the world”, Jon Gnarr, Melville House , `Brooklyn / London, 2014.

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