Auteurs are not like you and me. For example, the German director Werner Herzog is at first glance something of an eccentric. When you learn more about him, however, you realise he is not simply an eccentric, but an ECCENTRIC, written in foot-high capitals carved into an enormous granite boulder that has crushed our will to live.
Recently there was a fad for listing fake facts about actor Chuck Norris: “When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.” These even have their own website, novelty book, and amusing t-shirt.
After reading a recent interview, I realised that one could compile a similar list of Facts About Werner Herzog.
It would be just like chucknorrisfacts.com, except everything would be true.
- Werner Herzog was invited to guest star on The Simpsons, but asked for a DVD because he had never seen an episode.
- Werner Herzog saw Avatar, but didn’t care what happened in it.
- Herzog was once shot during an interview but rather than stop, tell the police, or get first aid, he kept speaking dourly.
- Herzog hates introspection so much he won’t look in a mirror and so doesn’t know the colour of his own eyes.
- To propose to his wife, Werner Herzog walked a thousand miles across the Alps, because that is what a manly man does.
- Herzog (unlike Oliver Stone) read the Warren Commission Report into the JFK Assassination. He quite enjoyed it.
- Werner Herzog only respects people who know how to milk a cow, and he can tell who knows how just by looking at them.
- Klaus Kinski and Herzog simultaneously plotted to kill each other; Herzog was about to firebomb Kinski’s house, but was too scared of his big dog.
- More people die in Werner Herzog’s movies than Chuck Norris’s if you count his crew.
- Herzog thinks of himself as a little girl in a fairy tale who steps out at night and holds open her apron and stars rain into it.
If you were to put these on a t-shirt, I think Herzog himself would hunt you down, fix you with his pitiless gaze, and anatomise your sad buttonless-shirt-wearing hipsterness until you cried. This is, after all, a man who really believes the twentieth century was a mistake; the entire twentieth century. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.