A Different Opinion about Anthony Bourdain

Whenever the corporate media start saturation hagiography, I become suspicious. The non-stop lionizing of Anthony Bourdain is the latest instance that set off my dissatisfaction with the conventional narrative. For the record, I have watched some of Bourdain's stuff. I found him to be simultaneously arrogant and self-effacing, simultaneously leftish and rightish - an icon of the rebel consumer crowd that Thomas Franks pilloried so well in the 1990s. In short, To me, Bourdain was just another sardonic bit of consumerist froth with huge dollops of dishabille and attitude, which is so essential in our egocentric, look-at-me society.

I offer you the only dissenting opinion I have found from the canonization of St. Anthony. It is a poorly written article. It runs on. It states embarrassing facts but does not really tie them up into a knockout summary. Nevertheless, it is worth a read.

To spare you the chaos, the writer recites and critiques soundbites from various shows, and demonstrates the "convenience" of Bourdain's visits to countries that just happened to be in the crosshairs of the US/Israeli regime change machinery. He points out how Bourdain is praised for humanizing the common folks in the target countries. Then he notes how Bourdain towed the corporate party line on the leadership and politics of those countries. The disconnect between the non-political/leftish facade that Bourdain adopts and the utterly conventional corporatist politics he spouts is the main takeaway.

In no particular order, you can read about his trips:

- Cuba in 2014(railing against the lack of freedom),
- Lebanon in 2006 (where he acquired a hatred of Hezbollah - how left wing),
- Libya in 2012 (where he worked with UK spies and cheered the overthrow of Gaddafi),
- Iran in 2014, and
- Russia in 2002, 2007, and 2014 (all of them bashing Putin and pushing how corrupt the country was).

The man was a one-man NED operation. But, the pithiest indictment of Bourdain is this:

At the time of this writing (March 15 2018), the first page of Bourdain’s twitter feed contained 15 tweets. 2 were promotional. 13 were political. The political tweets broke down like so:

—4 tweets about Trump and his family, and 1 retweet about Trump’s cabinet.
—3 retweets from major US media about the danger posed by Russia.
—3 quote-tweets about the danger posed by Russia.
—1 tweet about Russian corruption and perfidy, followed-up with 1 retweet of someone quoting The Wire (as it relates to Russian corruption and perfidy).
—A tweet about “Neville Chamberlain 2020” (Chamberlain in this analogy is Donald Trump, and Nazi Germany is, of course, Russia).

This is not only is this more warmongering material than can be found on the feeds of David Simon and Deray McKesson, it’s more than is on the official twitter accounts of the US State Department and the CIA. From this non-scientific survey, Bourdain’s twitter feed most closely resembles that of not another star, but State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, although Bourdain boasts more than 30 times as many followers. This is certainly a lot more anti-Russia material than dick jokes.


Anthony Bourdain’s State Department Smorgasbord

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Another aspect of the article is the dissection of Bourdain's "bad boy" biography. We learn that his mother was an editor at NYT. His father was a marketing director at Columbia records. He went to Vassar for a while, then got a degree from Culinary Institute of America. He is another of David Brooks' bourgeouis bohemians (Bobos). As the author put it:

Against all odds, the son of a music industry executive and a New York Times editor managed to get his foot in the door of the media world.

----

I have to ask folks here (who might be closer to the "deplorables" crowd than to frequenters of mid-town Manhattan brasseries) what flyover country thinks of Mr. Bourdain. Are they buying this propaganda campaign? Rejecting it? Too busy to be bothered with it?

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Comments

Raggedy Ann's picture

He was a suffering human being who committed suicide. The MSM needs to distract us with the details, which mean nothing to anyone but his family. I've suffered loss. They need to STFU and we need to let the family grieve without comment.

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25 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

arendt's picture

@Raggedy Ann @Raggedy Ann

Yes, they should shut up; and they should stop hounding his family and friends.

However, he was a well-known public figure; and how his life is spun makes a difference politically. The article I posted is the only one to note how Bourdain was a tool for the corporate agenda of regime change - working the same turf as the NED and the despicable neocons.

If they would have just said "he's dead" and moved on, like with Kate Spade, it would be better - as you say. However, the piling on has nothing to do with his personal life or problems. It has everything to do with protecting the "edgy" brand that Bourdain created and bequethed to CNN.

I really doubt that one article on a fringe leftie website is going to undo the massive propaganda campaign about what a great, non-political guy Bourdain was. But, it is worth mentioning the article. The guy doesn't deserve hatred, like Margaret Thatcher; but the public needs to understand that nobody who is high profile in the media would be there if they were truly dangerous to TPTB.

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27 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

I didn't watch his show. The few times I saw parts of it, I didn't enjoy it or him. So the biggest part of me agrees with "who cares". OtH he is a public figure, and all public figures are fair game even in death. There are definitely a few people in the public domain and in my private life on whose graves I would gladly dance.

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arendt's picture

@dkmich

that, without the hagiography, I would have simply forgotten about Bourdain, and all the other "celebrities" of cooking, home improvement, and vehicle customization.

It is only because the hagiography made me nauseous that I found the Off-Guardian article. And, that article completely changed my view of the man - and cemented it forever, since he is dead.

I won't dance on his grave, but I would certainly try to enlighten the folks who put flowers on his grave.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

I've been rather "on the outs" with Anthony Bourdain ever since he bashed Paula Deen in 2011. In fact, I boycotted his broadcasts for several years. His criticism of Ms. Deen for the alleged nutritional deficiencies of traditional Southern cuisine (Deen's specialty), and his churlish crowing when Ms. Deen contracted diabetes and began advocacy about the disease, ring really hollow when Bourdain himself still smoked cigarettes on camera.

And now the distinct possibility that Bourdain was really selling us a geopolitical narrative rather than the cuisine travelogue he advertised only confirms my dissatisfaction with Bourdain's work.

If I wanted a geopolitical pain in the ass, I'd tune in Fox "News"! Wink

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17 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

arendt's picture

@thanatokephaloides

There was a section of the article which talked about how Bourdain was a "meathead" who hated vegetarians. The article also mentioned Bourdain's praise of KFC (albeit in Libya).

I'm trying to square what he said about Deen to what I just read about his meat-loving.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@arendt

I'm trying to square what he said about Deen to what I just read about his meat-loving.

Lotsa luck on that one! It seems that old Anthony was an equal-opportunity basher.....

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9 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

CS in AZ's picture

I don’t watch much TV and especially not “reality” shows (which I guess his were), so this is all news to me, and I wasn’t sure why it mattered so much but evidently he was a big name.

I’m not really surprised his shows had this subtext.

The only thing in all the media coverage about him that interested me at all, was the fact that his girlfriend was one of the women who has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her.

There were speculations his death might not even be a suicide, but a reprisal. This doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility to me, but at any rate we will never know.

I am very sad for her, Asia Argento is her name. And then, her good friend and support system, and fellow Weinstein accuser, Rose McGowan, has been indicted on a drug charge. Hum.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@CS in AZ They wait until the attention is elsewhere, then attempt to destroy the person when nobody is looking. Same tactic that internet trolls use, and unfortunately you can't just ignore the PTB when they decide to fuck with you.

Drug charges are the great catch all.
Doesn't even require you to do any work, just anonymously tip.
Cops are more than happy to help loot. They'll come to your house, search everything, and if they find any money or drugs they get to keep it! Win, Win, Win!

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You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

@detroitmechworks And really, who cares if an actress is brought up on drug charges? Isn't that just a part of the scene?

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arendt's picture

@CS in AZ

The only thing in all the media coverage about him that interested me at all, was the fact that his girlfriend was one of the women who has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her.

There were speculations his death might not even be a suicide, but a reprisal. This doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility to me, but at any rate we will never know.

I'm not criticizing you personally for this. You probably just saw the idea posted somewhere. But, for the sake of common sense, let's apply some critical thinking.

1. The OG article demonstrates that Bourdain was a corporate asset/propagandist. No one from the corporate state is going to kill him.

2. The whole #meToo energy (e.g., Weinstein) is coming from the left fake/IP-left. Hence, the left fake-left didn't do it. That leaves only some renegade (non-corporate state) rightwinger or Weinstein himself. The idea that someone is going to take revenge for public shaming/prosecution of a really nasty bad guy by MURDERing someone related to a minor one of Weinstein's accusers just makes no sense. It is the kind of plot 20 year old cokeheads in Hollywood dream up for bad movies (or MI5 made up for the Skripals).

3. The suicide happened in France. That Weinstein, under indictment in the US, is going to put himself further into jeapordy/blackmail by ordering a contract hit on someone in France to "send a message" is beyond belief.You don't think the NSA is monitoring his every voice call, every email, every text message? And, he just happens to have hit men in his Rolodex?

4. No evidence, or even theory, is offered as to how the "hit squad" found out where Bourdain was staying (since his travels were probably a night here, a night there), got into his room (in a presumably swanky hotel), did the deed and escaped. Just assert it might have happened, magically, and leave the proof to others.

This is the kind of six degrees of separation stuff that gives genuine conspiracy theories a bad reputation.

Again, no offense meant to you. But this kind of bad CT is toxic.

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CS in AZ's picture

@arendt

I admit I’ve done no research on this idea. It was just a speculation, as I said, and I don’t recall where I read it.

I disagree with the idea that Rose McGowan and other women who stood up to Weinstein were motivated by politics.

I also have no idea who might have taken this retaliation, if someone did. Weinstein is known to have used mafia-like tactics to silence and punish his accusers in numerous ways, and has power and resources to hurt the women who helped take him down.

“Not outside the realm of possibility” also doesn’t mean I think it’s true. The fact that Rose has now been indicted on a drug charge is suspicious to me.

But again we will never know, there’s not enough facts or information to have a serious debate on it and reach a valid conclusion, imo.

Ymmv of course. Thanks for the reply!

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arendt's picture

@CS in AZ @CS in AZ

I also have no idea who might have taken this retaliation, if someone did.

I appreciate the nuance. I understand that you do not necessarily believe this; but it is clear that you do not immediately dismiss it.

I can certainly believe that Weinstein has threatened people with more than simply the end of their Hollywood careers. I can certainly believe that the drug charges against McGowan are suspicious. (But, I'm not following the Weinstein distraction (just part of the extra-legal media circus that Identity Politics uses in place of legislation), so I don't appreciate who McGowan is and how she fits in.)

However, false prosecutions, blackmail, extortion, and "you'll never eat lunch in this town again" Hollywood hardball are on a different level than international contract murder of a known corporate-state asset. As the saying goes: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

I suppose, in light of all the sketchy mass murders in the news, its OK to wonder about this single suicide. But, we all have limited bandwidth for processing news events. This theory about an event is one I have not got bandwidth for.

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CS in AZ's picture

@arendt

No, I don’t dismiss it out of hand, that’s true. Guilty as charged on that one.

Also, since you don’t know how Rose McGowan fits into it, her personal crusade against Weinstein, and her relationship with Asia, then it’s no wonder you don’t see any thread to follow there.

What’s been happening with her battle with Weinstein is not about “identity” — it is about how she and some other women (including Asia) who were raped by him and were furious at his immunity to any consequences. They wanted the rapist to have consequences. It’s not a “distraction” to them.

When Weinstein was finally arrested and perp walked, Rose tweeted something like “we got you” — and maybe she was just a little too smug there.

Yes, it’s hard for me these days to dismiss much of anything as simply impossible, especially when it comes to the rich and powerful.

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GreyWolf's picture

@CS in AZ

And the obligatory article (with more tweets) saying the tinfoil hat crowd is crazy: https://www.truthorfiction.com/anthony-bourdain-tweets-hillary-clinton/

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@arendt
It’s driven by the right wing of a particular sub-culture (Feminism). I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the preponderance of it’s targets are at least left-ish (Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley, Garrison Keillor...)?

Check out the wsws.org website for actual left wing thoughts on mob justice and loss of due process as a detriment to democratic rights and social order.

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arendt's picture

@FutureNow

Yes. MeToo is another corporatist/neoliberal/Identity Politics poor excuse for serving the little people.

I was in a rush and did not distinguish between left and fake-left. In my defense, the real left has no power in this country. The fake-left is the only institutional player who might get involved here.

Apologies.

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Deja's picture

I only watched a couple episodes of his most popular show, and after reading your essay, I'm definitely thinking back on one, THE one that made me think the guy was an arrogant dick, and made me ashamed.

He was somewhere in the middle east. Surrounded by locals (men), in a dumpy cafe, he sat there and basically talked shit about the place, the food, and if I recall correctly, the area. I remember hoping none of the locals understood enough English to know what he was saying. I was ashamed. Never watched another episode. That episode revealed the opposite of a man who gets to know locals, showing their humanity, like all the talking heads are saying he was.

So, when I heard he died? Meh. I just feel sorry for the dick's daughter.

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

arendt's picture

@Deja

Both Rickles and Bourndain made a living talking nasty to people. They both created this edgy persona and got people to pay money to watch it.

Actually, I had more respect for Rickles. He got famous for publicly roasting some name Mafioso in a night club. He was famous because he didn't get whacked for that. Bourdain hid behind his "humble chef" act while committing as much mockery as Rickles.

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10 users have voted.

most of his shows over the years and have admired his artistry, the photography, the color, the complexity and yet cohesiveness of each piece, and the good sound, the compactness of each episode as a kind of gem. And I've winced at what I felt was misogyny, not sure exactly where I was finding it, except that most of the chefs he featured, whether home cooks or professionals, were men.

As a person, as he expressed himself in these programs, I found him to be arrogant, intelligent, humane, insightful, and opinionated, like most of us. I thought his episode on Iran from a few years ago was so wonderful that I wished everyone would see it. I thought it could make a real difference in preventing a world tragedy. It showed darling children, hilarious families, college girls expressing their hopes for progress and peace, teenaged boys laughing about growing up. I wanted Bourdain to win at least the Pulitzer if not the Nobel Peace Prize.

So I think he was honest enough to express his limited understanding of world events. In a recent piece in Armenia he took a shot at Russia, I thought, and I chalked that up to CNN requiring shots at Russia. I had all along wondered why he switched from the Travel Channel to CNN, and I always picked up on corporate sales pitches after the switch. No doubt part of that was my imagination. But I am such a conspiracy theorist I have reservations about his death being suicide, given the power I think he had to promote a vision of the world at peace.

But the biggest sales pitch that was obvious after the switch was the open advocacy of alcoholism, which Bourdain appeared to be in total denial about. Among the many things his programs expressed, the planet, the ecosystem, food, war, business, craftsmanship, alcoholism is one he lived onscreen with defiant abandon. I hope at least that subject will be acknowledged as part of his publicly diagnosed depression.

And, arendt, I respect your understanding of him and his work completely. I just truly have a different impression, for what it's worth.

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arendt's picture

@Linda Wood

but I disagree.

I think he was honest enough to express his limited understanding of world events. In a recent piece in Armenia he took a shot at Russia, I thought, and I chalked that up to CNN requiring shots at Russia. I had all along wondered why he switched from the Travel Channel to CNN, and I always picked up on corporate sales pitches after the switch. No doubt part of that was my imagination. But I am such a conspiracy theorist I have reservations about his death being suicide, given the power I think he had to promote a vision of the world at peace.

Madison Avenue has been abusing people's trust of basic good stuff for decades. They invented the athlete endorsement. They have turned children into product salesmen. If there is something intrinsically good, Madison Ave will find away to use it to sell someone's product - and cheapen it in the process.

Mr. Bourdain may have been a good man. He may also have been nothing more than a highly marketable hot mess. The people he presented in his shows were clearly ordinary, decent people - with the kind of sincerity that makes Madison Ave. drool.

The problem is the lengthy list of neoliberal/neocon political spin in his purportedly leftwing shows, as chronicled by the OG article. In that article, political spin is documented as early as 2002, long before he came to CNN.

As I said in closing the OP:

the public needs to understand that nobody who is high profile in the media would be there if they were truly dangerous to TPTB.

I certainly can't dictate your feelings about Mr. Bourdain. They are yours. Its just that I have long since tuned out on the emotional manipulation that is the bread and butter of corporate media. The facts in the OG article mean more to me than the sentiments he was able to arouse in his audience.

As for this being a murder, see my comment above: A reprisal? I just can't buy that.

I have always had trouble defending my positions without coming across as attacking. I hope you understand that I have a different opinion than you; and opinions are not facts. So we can just disagree, respectfully.

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@arendt

I haven't yet, but I will read the OG article. I have read other absolutely great pieces there. I completely agree that the corporate media are not going to allow a peace-promoting series to exist much less thrive on their channels. And I don't think Bourdain envisioned himself as a promoter of peace. But I do think no matter how CNN or even Bourdain himself sought to control what they expressed with this series, humanity's basic right to live and to exist in peace made its way to the forefront of their work, at least for a pacifist like myself.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

I wasn’t going to do it again. Then totally forgot all about him. I’m surprised he’s such an **icon**.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

gulfgal98's picture

It appears that no one here had ever met Anthony Bourdain in person. Well, I know someone very well, a family member, who saw him in a NYC restaurant (which was owned by Bourdain, but this person did not know that at the time). Bourdain was eating dinner at the bar and my family member who was a fan walked up to him and told him how much he admired his show.

Like many celebrities, Bourdain could have brushed off my family member. But instead, he enganged my family member and was very kind and gracious to them. I have no idea who Anthony Bourdain was like in his private life, but I do know from my family member that he was a very gracious and charitable person to a fan who had interrupted his dinner.

What I am saying is that perhaps sometimes we can rush to judgment about people we have never met. And sometimes we can have favorable opinions about people we have met just once. The bottom line is no one knows who someone really is. However, how someone treats a total stranger may be a better indication than what we read or see on tv.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

thanatokephaloides's picture

@gulfgal98

Like many celebrities, Bourdain could have brushed off my family member. But instead, he enganged my family member and was very kind and gracious to them. I have no idea who Anthony Bourdain was like in his private life, but I do know from my family member that he was a very gracious and charitable person to a fan who had interrupted his dinner.

What I am saying is that perhaps sometimes we can rush to judgment about people we have never met. And sometimes we can have favorable opinions about people we have met just once. The bottom line is no one knows who someone really is. However, how someone treats a total stranger may be a better indication than what we read or see on tv.

Ac minime (at the very least), this falls under the category of "give credit where it's due".

And perhaps Bourdain is really like this at the core. I wouldn't doubt it; those who go into personal-service occupations like food service really need to be kind and gracious in nature. Otherwise, they will fail at these occupations.

But then, perhaps, he should have kept a tighter rein on the tendency to make those nasty comments, especially his full-scale pamphlet war against Paula Deen and Rachael Ray. What one sows, one will reap; and if it was all just an act, there are several places where Anthony Bourdain could have used some good, old-fashioned crop failure!

So, to my view, your comment says a lot more (good stuff!) to me about you than it does about Anthony Bourdain! Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Cassiodorus's picture

I'm a commie vegetarian.

Oh well.

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6 users have voted.

"The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can’t really tell the difference." -- Michael Harriot

wendy davis's picture

mentioned him, the additional folks on his account weighed in.

@akahnnyc Jun 11 Replying to @cordeliers
Thanks for sharing - and it didn't even touch on Bourdain's "Fuck Hugo Chavez" tweet or last month's attack on Venezuela and Nicaragua

and @SaiGonSeamus Jun 9 Anglo Liberals are super triggered over the dead chef. Lot of projection wrapped up in how they saw him & their idea of themselves & their place in the world. He was a liberal imperialist. A Netflix comforter for the white helmet / Vice brigade.
and

dinnae even to look to see if he's got a cooking show on saturday a.m.pbs cooking shows, many of which i used to watch to learn cooking from other cultures (and spices, ingredients as medicines).

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Deja's picture

@wendy davis

dinnae even to look to see if he's got a cooking show on saturday a.m.pbs cooking shows . . .

Is it just a typo, or is it slang? Honest question, because I tend to find these things I don't understand when I read your comments. I don't know what a tankie is, either. My guess would be a tank mate, as in military tank, but I'm guessing that's not it, hence the tweets. So, I guess it has something to do with Twitter?

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

arendt's picture

@Deja

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Deja's picture

@arendt
Also, on a phone, so I don't do a lot of googling words I find in comments, so thanks for the tankie definition below as well.

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

wendy davis's picture

@Deja

i've had a lot of e-friends in europe and canuckistan (canada), long-time blogging allies, and likely picked it up from one of them, 'dunno', 'crikey', 'i reckon'... as well. lots of first americans as well, and i watch a lot of native-made films, pick up their colloquialisms as well. 'ennit' for 'isn't it?' in some tribes, i forget what all. cord may roughly be a leninist, i'm pretty sure phil greaves is, but oy, is he a tough taskmaster! just checked: marxist-leninist propagandist.

and yep, some of the commies on twitter call themselves 'tankies', red kahina, cordeliers is my fave. ya'll are so funny around here quoting something back to a commenter in them boxes to ask questions, lol. i'm demented, but not quite that far gone i need to be reminded.

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Deja's picture

@wendy davis
Being southern, I can handle dunno and reckon, but I wasn't sure if the first one was a typo or slang. Now I see it's not even English.

I quote things back for clarity. More than once I wish I had quoted the whole comment because they'll pull an edit (a couple members are much worse than others), making my reply either irrelevant or look like I'm a demented idiot. For everyone else, I do it for clarity, not as a jab at you.

Thank for the explanation. I live a sheltered online life lol.

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1 user has voted.

"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

arendt's picture

@wendy davis

I missed the F**k Hugo Chavez.

Thanks for your post. I especially liked:

Anglo Liberals are super triggered over the dead chef. Lot of projection wrapped up in how they saw him & their idea of themselves & their place in the world. He was a liberal imperialist. A Netflix comforter for the white helmet / Vice brigade.

BTW, what's a "tankie"? Googling says its some UK communist reference;

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/08/what-exactly-are-...

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wendy davis's picture

@arendt

one of them had also retweeted bourdain's tweet close to 'anyone who believes libya was better under gadaffi [of course it was) should slam their nuts is a drawer'. but srsly, don't trust my memory, but you'd see it on cordelier's twitter thang.

as i'd said, i'd never heard of bourdain till he'd committed suicide. hadn't seen xi hung on twitter, for that matter. but yeah, i get sick of 'don't speak ill of the dead: throw flowers at them instead" (for what.ev.er reasons). wait until madeleine albright falls off her perch... ah: valley girl: 'gag me with a spoon'.

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Bob In Portland's picture

My partner really liked Bourdain, and his travelogues were interesting, but I too noticed his "NED" political posturing. While it flew over most folks heads it was screaming at me. Made me wonder if his suicide had something to do with his scriptwriters in Foggy Bottom.

Also, his most recent show's theme song was annoying, and long ago I once was in a punk band.

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arendt's picture

@Bob In Portland

coming from the awesome biographer of Robert Mueller. Thanks.

I am terminally tired of people getting distracted from policy by personality. The entire effort of the media is to get people to pick a side (or a personality) and fight. They want everything simpleminded, which is why a deep political player like Putin drives them crazy and they demonize him as "evil" - the all purpose doubleplusungood word.

I can like personalities, but I will drop them like a hot rock if their policies go South. Case in point, Rachel Maddow. It took me about a month to stop watching her after she drank the kool aid. Ditto Stephen Colbert when he switched from attacking the right to attacking progressives. (Although, his material is so convoluted that I needed to debrief myself to sort out whether a given piece was really satire or if he meant you to take the performance as his genuine attitude.) IMHO, Jon Stewart was made an offer to sell out, so he simply left the business. One final example is the sad case of Bernie Sanders. He sold out completely (maybe he was leaned on); While I respect his contribution in 2016, I have no use for his sheepdog organization today.

Judging from the comments on this thread, many at c99p still have sentimental attachments to personalities. That is fatal in today's world, when any individual can be leaned on, coopted, or bribed to change policy. I don't have the bandwidth to figure out why Bourdain was an NED cheerleader. All that matters is that he was. His persona is irrelevant except insofar as it got him audience share.

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Bob In Portland's picture

A tell for me is how a thought leader handles the JFK assassination, or any of the political assassinations. Maddow fell down there. When she refers to them at all she presumes that Oswald was a lone nut and James Earl Ray was a lone racist. Both Chomsky and Seymour Hersh wrote awful books on JFK.

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That personal trait comes in handy when you are trying to generate shit to talk about. I didn't know much about him but my impression was he was portraying himself as a product of blue collar folks. Interesting to know his parents were likely highly paid and jacking up media empires...apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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