Friday, June 08, 2018

RIP Anthony Bourdain


This is a hard one to accept. At 61, Bourdain hung himself in a hotel room in France. He was there shooting his CNN show Parts Unknown. His good friend Eric Ripert found his body.

Back in 2002, his first TV show, A Cook's Tour, stoked my desire to travel to exotic yet mundane places, to meet people who didn't look like me, and to try every morsel of food, at least once. His ability to transform overnight from a working stiff to celebrity writer played a part in influencing me to start this blog. He has without a doubt been a net positive in the lives of millions.

But in the end, he was haunted by demons. We all have demons, but some are much more menacing than others. My wife went to one of his book signings and reported back that Bourdain was painfully shy and thoroughly uncomfortable with his fame.

I started watching his latest episode earlier this week. It was set in Hong Kong and was directed by his girlfriend, Asia Argento. She is also haunted by demons. In the beginning of the show, Bourdain, during a montage of jarring shots of frenetic cityscapes, espoused his love for Asia. Of his love of being IN Asia. I got really uncomfortable and felt sympathy for his ex-wife and young daughter. I was even a bit disgusted. The gut feeling was so visceral, I felt like I may not be able to watch another episode of his show again. So I deleted the episode at the 14 minute mark. I didn't tell anybody because I thought I was overreacting and misreading the whole situation.

In the end, it did not matter what I thought or how I judged. Bourdain was an extraordinarily talented and genuine human being who made our lives better. He will be missed.

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