Monday, November 19, 2018

Final Reflections on What We've Lost

WARNING: This piece contains explicit language, PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED!

This week Americans will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, with a lavish dinner of roast (or deep fried) turkey, dressing, potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, biscuits, and an array of other epicurean delights.  Food bloggers will be busy publishing appropriate recipes.  This isn't that.  I've done that, and if you want my recipe for oyster dressing I'll post it on the bottom of the page.

However, inspired by the airing of the final episode of Parts Unknown, these are some final thoughts regarding Chef Anthony Bourdain.  Shortly after Anthony Bourdain's suicide, I wrote a tribute to his life and work.  This isn't that either,

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After his death, CNN had bits of unfinished episode on their proverbial cutting room floor.  Rather than wasting the last footage of Bourdain's show, Parts Unknown, the network hired a new narrator to finish the episodes.

I just watched the episode about New York's Lower East Side.  Watching him through a lens colored by what I know now, his sunken eyes and deep facial lines broadcast the portrait of a pained soul which is quite... simply... done.

One thought kept running through my mind as I partook of the visual depictions of the prolific chef interviewing colourful musicians artists, and activists over meals of octopus, chuletas, and cheesy potato dumplings.  All I could think was, "Fuck you Tony!  Fuuuuuuuuuck you!"

Seriously, he had a career of meeting people I'll never meet and eating things I'll never get to eat in places I'll never get to see.  He robbed me, and other fans, of his perspective on the foods and people of the world.  Even though I initially began watching the show for the food, it wasn't solely his role as a culinary tour guide that made him special.

One quote Bourdain was famous for was,"I don't have to agree with you to like you or respect you."  It may as well have been the tagline for the series, if not his life.  He could talk to vegan nuns, satanic metal-heads, gun toting conservatives, and pacifist liberal activists with equal comfort and respect.  In a day of them vs us, we need people who can bridge the gap the way he could.  He took one of those rare people from us, and it pisses me off.

The worst part is that I can't shake him by the shoulders and ask him what he was thinking.  We can guess what was going through his mind, but we'll never know.  We'll never know what made him feel so empty that the thought of one more day on this Earth so unbearable to him.  We'll never know what more he could have given to the world through his writings and TV shows.

In the end, all we can do is to hold on to the memory of what he meant to us and revisit his body of work in the hope of gleaning some morsel of wisdom we may have missed the first time.
Publicly traded Meme


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   If you even think you need help, call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone, or click here to chat with someone online.  I can testify first hand that help helps.

Bonus Thanksgiving Recipe:
 photo oysterdressing.jpg
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