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.
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?