Gotta Get Theroux This
Louis Theroux and his documentaries are known the world over due to two things: Theroux’s idiosyncratic, self-deprecating approach to journalism and unique way of eliciting information and the themes that are more often than not situated on the outer rim of mainstream culture.
Gotta Get Theroux This is a memoir that sheds light on the angle the man himself channels his alchemy from and it does not disappoint as it draws the curtain and allows the reader insights on what is actually happening behind the scene before and during his documentaries are shot. The latter is intriguing when he muses on his dealing with Jimmy Saville and reflects on how and why things went the way they did, i.e. him failing to nail him for being the paedophile his actions revealed him to be and striking up a friendship instead.
What I find particularly interesting is that Theroux examines and questions his feelings, thoughts and values as he guides us through his life and the encounters that paved his long-standing career that led him from a green, naïve and unqualified newbie to one of the popular and unique journalists mainstream culture has to offer.
The book being a memoir, one learn about Theroux’s upbringing in an unconventional and bohemian environment, which he not only details but assesses to have had a tangible influence on his development, work and traits, i.e. becoming a shy and bookish socially awkward who excelled at Oxford and developed an interested in the exploration of human nature and how morality corresponds with the signs of times.
The book should be interesting for both the uninitiated as well as those fairly familiar with his oeuvre as it reveals how his melange of piss-taking, faux naivety, giving people the benefit of doubt, compassion and interest in outlandish and weird phenomena has been shaped into an art form.
The book culminates in prompting some interesting questions that leave one questioning mainstream media’s interpretation of what is “weird” and the conclusion that there are no silver bullet answers and that all we can endeavour to do is pushing forward, making small contributions in a bid to make things better.