Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Louis, Louis, (unintelligible)

Back in August, I provided a list of 17 journalists I highly respect. A journalism all-star team, if you will. 17 people that are among the best in the business. To remind you, they are, in no particular order: Matt Taibbi, Jon Stewart, Shepard Smith, Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Gwen Ifill, Andrew Sullivan, Mariana van Zeller, Rachel Maddow, Christiane Amanpour, Stephen Colbert, Soledad O'Brien, Jim Lehrer, Nate Silver, Fareed Zakaria, and the Ling sisters, Laura and Lisa.

A few months later, this blog declared Fox News as inherently untrustworthy. It was also mentioned that this affected Smith. Obviously, it's nothing against Smith. He is doing his best over there. However, the culture at Fox News is so utterly poisonous that it makes quality journalism impossible. The day Smith finds work at another organization, he'll be back on the team, but until then, he has to come off the active roster. We'll say he's on the disabled list.

Luckily, there's someone else that can be called up to the all-star team. That person is Louis Theroux.

If you're American, you almost certainly have not heard of him. That's because he's with the BBC. He began in 1998 with a series called 'Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends', and his personality and style of reporting has always been somewhat in that vein, but ever since he started, the topics he's selected have been more intriguing and heavy than weird. Just like Stewart and Colbert, he does the kind of work you wish it wouldn't take him to be doing.

And that's always been the most prevalent criticism of Theroux: that his topics, particularly some of his more recent topics, are too heavy for him. That he's sometimes really not up to the tasks he gives himself, that he sometimes lets his aloofness get in the way. To which I say: well, why don't you get out and do it better.

When Theroux is on his game, though, he is absolutely sublime. As we did with the original 17 all-stars, Theroux will be shown here at his best. And his single finest hour appears to his his 2003 report, 'Louis and the Nazis', in which he explores California's Neo-Nazi subculture.

Like I said. Heavy subject matter.

Here's that report, segmented into six parts as per Youtube time limits...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

If a piece on Nazis is something you're simply not comfortable viewing, there are plenty of other Theroux pieces available online, and I can accomodate by linking to the opening parts of some of his other works (subsequent segments should pop up in the 'related videos' area if Youtube knows what's good for it)...

African Hunting Holiday
Law and Disorder in Johannesburg
The City Addicted to Crystal Meth (note: the city is Fresno, California)

Welcome to the squad, Theroux.

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