I don’t normally get worked up over celebrity deaths. I may feel sympathy for the loved ones left behind, but a celebrity death has never affected me on any personal level. Somehow, the loss of Anthony Bourdain is different. This one has kind of shaken me.
Bourdain represented everything I love: food, writing, sardonicism. He showed affection for the city of New Orleans and even seemed to understand it. He never came across as superficial. His pretense was minimal. He had a way of showcasing a culture through its food and letting people speak for themselves. Though his stories were framed in his own narrative, they always felt authentic.
I have to credit my husband for introducing me to Bourdain’s work. I was not a big fan of food and travel shows before Bourdain. He was different because he was not afraid to travel to an unpopular destination and approach it with both a sense of humor and a sense of reverence. He questioned things that didn’t make sense, yet he remained (mostly) respectful. There were times I really didn’t want to watch his show, because I didn’t want to be pushed outside of my own comfortable bubble. Some of his work could haunt my mind for days.
I know there are much better tributes out there than this meager blog post. I never met the man, and I’m not shedding actual tears. But I do feel like the world has gotten a little darker.
Bourdain was rough around the edges, easy on the eyes, something of a rock-and-roll poet. He seemed to have already battled his demons and come out successfully on the other side. That’s what makes it so disturbing. Suicide always bring up so many questions, and I don’t have any answers.