I hereby admit to be a huge fan of a dutch journalist called Joris Luyendijk. It all started when I read his book People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East. I loved the way he writes and to me a man who knows his way with words and has the ability to write intelligently is pretty irresistible. Last year I had the opportunity to listen to Joris speak about his book Swimming with Sharks: My Journey into the World of the Bankers (also a great read by the way) at the economy department of the university of Stockholm. After his speech I stood in line with a copy of his book together with a bunch of other people, shaking like a teenager. So completely and utterly embarrassing! When it was my turn to meet him for an autograph, my face literally turned red and the only words I could stutter were: I’m a huge fan of yours. To which he wrote in my book: To my big fan. He even allowed me to take a picture of us together (gah!).
I wonder: why did I suddenly lose my ability of coherent speech (and normality) altogether? I’m still today pretty embarrassed just to think about it, really. I mean: how old am I? Apparently age is not a factor when it comes to being a fan.
I am also a wingnut. It’s so corny, I know! But it means a person who is a fan of the 1999-2006 TV series The West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin. There are 7 seasons with a total of 154 episodes and I am not joking when I tell you that I know a large part of The West Wing dialogue by heart. According to me it’s The Most Intelligent Dialogue ever written in the history of television and I have seen the whole series so many times that I don’t feel comfortable writing exactly how many (hint: it’s a two digit number). I also now hugely enjoy listening to a brilliant podcast about the series called The West Wing Weekly where each episode is discussed in detail by Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina (an actor of the series). So you can imagine the amount of time in my life I have spent, and still spend, on all things West Wing.
Once again, this is not really normal, is it?
The word fan apparently comes from the modern Latin word fanaticus which means (get this): insanely but divinely inspired. So I guess I will hereby have to admit that a part of me is pretty insane, at least when it comes to Joris Luyendijk and his writing or Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. It really is true for me also, the inspired-part. Reading or listening to intelligent texts and dialogue happens to inspire me tremendously! I love it when I am challenged to reflect upon interesting topics and when words are used so brilliantly. In the case of Joris’ writing, his words are powerful and the professional journalistic way in which he approaches the topics of his books blows me away. In the case of The West Wing dialogue, the words are like pieces of perfectly composed music to which I’m quite simply hooked.
Today I’m hoping there will be a reboot of The West Wing (apparently there’s talk of it!). Especially these days I find it comforting to watch Martin Sheen play Jed Bartlet, the Nobel prize winning-president of the United States, instead of watching the person who currently holds this office in the real world. A part of me would also really like to believe that if I ever would meet Joris Luyendijk again (not so likely, but if) I would be cool, composed and completely my usual self. But honestly, I’m afraid I will be just as starstruck as the last time. So I think I’ll just avoid Joris altogether, keep on reading his books and admiring him from a distance. You know, like normal people….