News

My Opinion: Jón Gnarr - President Jón

By Jón Gnarr
Jón Gnarr.
Jón Gnarr. Vísir/Stefán
In 1982 I was at the boarding school at Núpur in Dýrafjörður. On the ground floor of the dormitory there was a room called the Smoker, where we were allowed to smoke. We were not allowed to smoke in our rooms, so everyone assembled in the Smoker. As most of us smoked, this was the main hangout, and the discussions there were often lively. Once we were talking about what we wanted to do when we grew up. When it was my turn I announced my intention to become the Mayor of Reykjavik. This caused much laughter. A week later this subject came up again and someone recalled that I wanted to become the Mayor of Reykjavik when I grew up. “Well, I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve been thinking about this, and I think this is a really boring job. I think I’ll rather become the President of Iceland.”

This caused even more amusement. Jónsi “punk” becoming a mayor, not to mention a president, was a completely ridiculous and laughable idea.

I then forgot all about this. It wasn’t until I had been a Mayor and people had started naming me as potentially the next President that old friends from Núpur reminded me of this. I had not contemplated this until Fréttablaðið published the results of a poll on November 2, last year, where 47% of the people asked wanted to see me do this. This was a big surprise to me, and I was really moved, and proud, that people should have so much faith in me that they trusted me to do this. In every interview I give, I am asked about this. On Facebook more than 6,000 people have urged me to run for President.

I think I would be a good President

I appreciate this trust, this friendship and support, and I have seriously thought about it.

I think I would be a good President. I love Iceland and the people who live there, and there is nothing I would rather want than to see them grow and prosper in the future. I think I would be a rather informal President. But I would also use my influence internationally. I would take a clear stand in matters of equality and human rights, issues concerning peace and the climate. I would try to use the office and myself to promote Iceland and attract directors, musicians, writers, movie makers, and just everybody with exciting and interesting ideas, to the country. But I know I would also provoke many people. I would want to change many things that I find stagnant and outdated. I would try to avoid things that I feel are pretentious or snobbish. And I don’t believe in God. That is very important to me, and I am not ready to hide it or ignore it.

Should I?

I have thought a lot about this for the last few months and gone over the pros and cons. Being the President of Iceland is a rather comfortable indoors job. It is nothing like being a mayor. The President has no people working under him, while the Mayor of Reykjavik is the boss of 8,000 people. The work of the Mayor is mostly about management and finances. The President is free from all that. Above all he needs to be neat and make a good impression, preferably at the right places. The role of the President is to a great extent fashioned by the person who holds the office each time. If I was the President, I would hold the coolest Halloween party ever and it would attract international attention. I would use the landscape at Bessastaðir, the houses and, of course, the church and the churchyard to create an unforgettable atmosphere. I would get the best visual effects guys in the country and actors to assist me and have an open house for children, where ghost stories and fairy tales would intertwine and the Deacon of Dark River would ride past while the Fairy Queen would address the guests. This would be unforgettable for everybody. But this would also most certainly upset many, especially those who think dignity and prestige are more important than joy and magic.

Of course the job comes with a lot of responsibility. I can do that. I would happily attend premieres, welcome new ambassadors to the country, watch operas and open the Agricultural Convention, have receptions and eat confit de canard with the royalty of Denmark. What I don’t know, I can learn. But there is another thing that I cannot accept. I don’t like haughtiness, aggressiveness and rudeness. I try to avoid people who find this a normal part of everyday interaction. I shudder at the thought of becoming a part of the deplorable and pathetic culture which is the Icelandic political culture. I cannot be bothered to face the pushy guy again. I simply cannot let myself and my wife be treated like that again. I cannot let my son be treated like that. I have, therefore, decided that I will not run for the office of the President of Iceland this time around. Perhaps later. I appreciate all the friendship and respect shown to me.

With humility and warmth.




Fleiri fréttir

Sjá meira


Velkomin á Vísi. Þessi vefur notar vafrakökur. Sjá nánar.