Long Walk Home

Just gutted to read about Anthony Bourdain, enough that I’ll admit that I needed a few moments to get it together upon reading the news. I never met him, but devoured the books and the No Reservations and Parts Unknown programs. It’s a little selfish to get that level of upset on one hand. I mean I never met the guy in person, just an exchange on Twitter a couple years ago. But, a voice that resonates sticks with you like you have a genuine friend, drinking buddy, an actual bona fide wing man who takes really great travel photos. We got to go for a great ride without calling shot gun.

President Obama offered this: ““Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.”

He showed the nobility of Michelin starred restaurants alongside the virtues of the Waffle House. In an era where intolerance for anything that doesn’t fit, it saddens me greatly that somebody who showed that everybody deserves an audience for their beliefs, their culture, their food that their light is out. The types of adventures showed the world in a nontouristy way that afforded respect, reverence and intelligence by somebody who was a human being first.

I know he was for gun control, but that didn’t stop him from taking to the shooting range with Ted Nugent, was one of the few guys who dared to ask if more American companies were a good thing for Cuba (before those relations took a hit), put a human face to places most of us will never see (Iran, Jerusalem, Vietnam and countless others. He was obviously progressive and liberal minded but went to places that might not play like West Virginia and spoke with Trump voters and miners with no agenda and showed we can learn if we are willing. We are often needlessly scared of what we don’t know or readily understand. One of the many things I admire about how he did his work was that he admitted that and did something about it with an open mind and a willingness to learn and set aside preconceived notions to learn, to find out. We don’t have to be afraid of something or someone new. Everybody’s traditions and culture matter equally. More people need to think like that and now that we are down one, it does hurt. Makes the world less of curious place and in these anti-intellectual, anti-thinking, blind faith times, that is a very troublesome consequence.

“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

Yeah, I guess I admire the thinking or the free form “let’s see what happens” into the program and the writing that was all his. We’d collectively be in a better spot if that was a more universal perspective. It saddens me greatly that we have that void and he had demons that didn’t allow him to find what he was searching for. The foods provided the intellectual springboard for discussions of everything else and the platform he provided that allowed for everybody to have a place at the table is something many aspired to, but few actually did.

I already see some on the internet bitching about the level of homage for him or Kate Spade when suicides among veterans, police, and humans in general don’t seem to cause much discussion. If there is an upside, there has been considerable discussion in the aftermath.

“You know, I went right at those things — guns, God, and Trump — and I was very moved by what I found there (West Virgina). I hope that people who watch the show will feel the same kind of empathy and respect, and will be able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, or imagine walking in somebody else’s shoes, for a few minutes in the same way that hopefully they do with one of my other shows.”

I mean the lack of asskissing in his presentation made the shows even more real. Check the purveyor of unpopular opinon, before that was a twitter thing,

I found it very telling that he didn’t Instagram much or take too many photos. He just lived for the sake of living.

“I have the best job in the world. If I’m unhappy, it’s a failure of imagination.” I wonder about my own self a lot, but am just overwhelmed.

Hate the failure. Hope he’s finding what he needed.


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