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Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain was a rare talent.  I’m not as familiar with his work as no doubt many other LGM community members are, but I read his wonderful memoir/ethnographic glimpse into the restaurant world “Kitchen Confidential,” and have seen a number of his superb travelogue/mini-documentaries, broadcast on his programs No Reservations and Parts Unknown.  These episodic glimpses of other cultures and cuisines were uniformly fascinating, inspired, and inspiring.  Bourdain was the exact opposite of the stereotype — so often unfortunately accurate — of the Ugly American.   Everywhere he went, he opened himself up to being amazed and delighted by the infinite variety of human beings, especially their foods, but more broadly the cultures in which those foods (and drinks!) are embedded.

My first thought on hearing the news this morning was appallingly selfish:  In a world in which our country is becoming something between a punch line and the political equivalent of the villain of a horror movie, we need Americans like you now more than ever, and now you’re gone.

 In the midst of life, Martin Cunningham said.
 But the worst of all, Mr Power said, is the man who takes his own life.
Martin Cunningham drew out his watch briskly, coughed and put it back.
 The greatest disgrace to have in the family, Mr Power added.
 Temporary insanity, of course, Martin Cunningham said decisively. We
must take a charitable view of it.
 They say a man who does it is a coward, Mr Dedalus said.
 It is not for us to judge, Martin Cunningham said.
Mr Bloom, about to speak, closed his lips again. Martin Cunningham’s
large eyes. Looking away now. Sympathetic human man he is. Intelligent.
Like Shakespeare’s face. Always a good word to say. They have no mercy on
that here or infanticide. Refuse christian burial. They used to drive a stake of
wood through his heart in the grave. As if it wasn’t broken already.

James Joyce, Ulysses

 

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