Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some of my thoughts on Anthony Bourdain while I am still dealing with finals...

I know it seems odd, but I wrote about Anthony Bourdain for my Pop lit final essay.   I am just going to share it with you all.  I'll be back around some time after wed.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Anthony Bourdain doesn't give a shit

The show that I want to write about is Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. I have been watching travel channel for years and his food show is my favorite. He is the new journalist of the food world. Often crass and always unapologetic his show is very opinion based and he is admittedly self-absorbed. The funniest thing is that even with is attitude he gets to the heart of the different cultures and he connects more with the people than any other show. He shows the good and the bad. He presents the truth and connects with the people while traveling and experiencing food and culture all over the world.

He does his traveling food show from a new journalism perspective. His show is based on his opinions and his experience and is extremely subjective. He seems to be the Hunter S Thompson of the food world. In fact he does emulate him in some ways. He even did a spoof off Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as an intro to his Las Vegas Episode.

Much of his ex druggie, alcoholic, stoner personality comes through in all of his shows. Tony is blatant in how he feels about anything in his shows. Hate it or love it he expresses it in Anthony Bourdain flair. One of my favorite quotes from him was during his Vienna episode where he said "this tastes like ass, but in a good way." He is cynical and very critical of everything, but is not afraid to admit when he is wrong and change his opinion. He does things how he wants them and portrays his show the way he wants to.

He is aware of his popularity and uses it to his advantage when it comes to being vulgar and obscene and that plays into identity. He is aware of his identity and uses that by exaggerating it to gain popularity and get what he wants in life. There is no question that the Tony that we see on TV is his true character. He is self-aware and pokes fun of himself on his own show. He knows he is the epitome of an asshole New Yorker and he uses it to his advantage and without bending his standards. Tony isn’t afraid to get completely wasted or trash talk something he hates. He plays into the need for spectacle culture that our population feeds off of, but he also relates to those that want something different. For those of us that follow him because he is different love that he gives honest opinions. Some think that may be an elitist opinion, but the un-sugarcoated view is just what people need in the postmodern world. Knowing the bad with the good is the best part.

He doesn’t try to play up the cultures and the foods. He gets down to the heart of things. He displays things as they are wither it’s a good thing or not and he is honest; it is not romanticized. He expresses his opinion of each place and the food he eats in any way he wants. There are places that he talks about hating and says that he will not visit then when someone offers him enough money to get him there he admits it unashamedly and delves into it even with his prejudices. If something is better than he expects he admits it if things are horrible he talks about that too.

The best example of Tony's unromantic approach was in Haiti. The place was destroyed and desolate and fighting against disease and it all was shown including the art, the local restaurant establishments, and the relief camps. Everything was shown and even though there were starving sick and beaten down people of the country you also got to see the hope in the desolate landscape. The people carried on because what is there else to do. He doesn’t try to make it fancy and find a spot that tourists can visit and get great food. He experienced everything and admitted he didn’t know how people could live like that, but respects the culture for what they endure.

This postmodern food writer is so widely recognized that he has reached cult status. People want to see the truth unveiled and raw. He provides this in abundance and does it all his way. He travels the world with his chip on his shoulder eating good food and getting drunk and gets paid to do it. The thing that makes him so postmodern is that he could not give a shit either way. He is just doing what he loves his way and making no apologies about it.


  1. If it makes you feel better, I have never watched his "show".

  2. lolm How can something take like a-- but in a good way? o.O