Australian documentary lovers UNITE.
Over the weekend we were confronted with the life-changing news that Louis Theroux is coming to Australia.
Louis is known for his documentary series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, When Louis Met…, and his BBC specials that explore everything that you’ve ever been interested in.
You see, some people love Channing Tatum. Others love Ryan Gosling.
My heart, however, belongs to Louis.
It is not his rock hard abs I dream about. Or his smouldering eyes. It’s something else.
It’s his brain.
In light of his imminent trip to Australia – I am going to write the love letter I feel I have been penning ever since I discovered him on television late one Friday night as a teenager. He is, after all, the reason I decided to pursue journalism, so it is the least I can do.
To my dearest Louis,
Over the weekend, I read that you were coming to Australia.
At first, I wondered if it was to explore some of our weird and wacky subcultures, like the Reclaim Australia Movement, or anti vaxxers, or…Federal parliament. I was very excited.
But then I read that you are coming to do a Q&A, and my heart skipped a beat.
You see, Louis, I have looked up to you for as long as I can remember.
You are everything that modern day journalism is not. Your investigative style illustrates that one need not shout to be heard. I learnt from watching your documentaries that journalism doesn’t have to be about who has the loudest voice. You are nuanced and considered. You have no interest in forcing people to change- because deep down you accept that each and every person comes from a different place.
I know this because I have stalked your Wikipedia page more times than I’d care to admit and everyone knows that Wikipedia is where you get the most reliable information. In case you forgot, you studied Modern History at Oxford. And guess what Louis? I too majored in Modern History (#soulmates). With your intellectual background in Arts you offer a philosophical perspective that is as unique as it is important; no individual exists in a vacuum. We are all a messy product of culture and counter culture, and going after the individual often serves little purpose.
Listen: I wax lyrical about Louis on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio.
Watch Louis interview Pastor Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Post continues after video…
A while back I listened to you explain to Joe Rogan that in each project, you search for the shades of grey. The tension. You are not interested in arbitrary dichotomies of good or bad, evil or heroic. You see humans as complex and flawed. That is why you can so sensitively, and so inquisitively, approach subcultures that range from sex-workers, to sex criminals to Neo-Nazis.
Your investment in human connection is what makes each and every documentary you make so powerful. You seek to learn from your subjects rather than crucify them and THAT’S hot. You dare to lift the lid on forbidden subcultures. You engage with those that many of us don’t want to understand, that we don’t want to talk about. You engage with the fringes of humanity that make us profoundly uncomfortable.
With your dorky glasses and awkward demeanor, you, Louis, have forged a space for the intellectual on television. You’ve made not being cool, so, SO, cool. You made smart and articulate hot long before the ‘Making a Murderer’ lawyers came along.
You use your medium to show us what life looks like in the porn industry, or inside a jail cell, or as a crystal meth addict. You do not intend to ‘tell’ us what to think – unlike the authoritative lecturing we often see on commercial television.
But most of all Louis, even though you are painfully articulate, you are also profoundly relatable.
You are openly self-conscious. You put yourself in situations that make you vulnerable, like jumping in a wrestling ring with a guy that clearly does not like you. You are not always (ever) completely comfortable, and wear your ignorance on your sleeve. Sometimes you appear to like people you don’t agree with, whilst also feeling understandably intimidated by people who are bullies. You make us feel like it is us, standing there, trying to get into the mind of the family that runs the Westboro Baptist Church.
Watch Louis try and be a wrestler. Post continues after video…
At the heart of all good journalism is curiosity. And you taught me that.
Our world needs more of what you do.
Social media incites us to jump on the bandwagon, armed with a pitchfork, ready to throw it at someone who transgresses our own morality. Rather than writing an angry column about plastic surgery, you spoke to those who endorse it, and then got liposuction. If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.
Exploitation is not your style. Understanding is or at least an attempt to understand.
So, thank you Louis. Thank you for being such a goddamn heartthrob.
I cannot wait to admire you from afar on the 27th of September.
Yours truly (marry me please),
Louis will be speaking on the following dates:
Thursday, September 22 — Riverside Theatre, Perth
Sunday, September 25 — Arts Centre, Melbourne
Tuesday, September 27 — State Theatre, Sydney
Friday, September 30 — Festival Theatre, Adelaide
Saturday, October 1 — QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane