In the epicenter of the world financial crisis, a comedian launched a joke campaign that didn’t seem so funny to the country’s leading politicians . . .
It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership.
Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises.
But then something strange started happening: his campaign began to succeed. And in the party’s electoral debut, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner. Gnarr promptly proposed a coalition government, although he ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire.
And just like that, a man whose previous foreign-relations experience consisted of a radio show (in which he regularly crank-called the White House and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet) was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital.
Here, Gnarr recounts how it all happened and, with admirable candor, describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future. The point, he writes, is not to be afraid to get involved—or to take on the system.
|Publisher:||Melville House Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
JÓN GNARR was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavík 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 will be dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.
ANDREW BROWN's recent translations include works by Proust, Zola, Flaubert, Stendhal, Rabelais, and Baudelaire.
Table of Contents
The Future 3
Send in the Clown 17
The Politics of My Youth 23
Being Silly 33
The Financial Crash 39
The Third Way 45
What You Need to Be a Politician 51
Our Coals: A New Kind of Political Program 57
The Campaign 67
The Best Party: We Are Better Than All the Others 73
After the Election 85
Our Moral Code 93
Becoming Mayor 97
A Clown in City Hall 103
Wu Wei 107
My Family 111
Interview with Jóhanna (Jóga) Jóhannsdóttir 117
Facebook and Co. 129
Reykjavík-City of Peace 139
International Politics 145
A Letter to Barack Obama 149
The World Is Getting Better and Better 155
And Now? 169
The End 173
Inside Iceland 173