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Just finished watching Parts Unknown episode on Iran. Couldn’t help myself from smiling almost the…
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2 days ago by ardeguire
Latino food writer Gustavo Arellano on why Anthony Bourdain meant so much to marginalized communities.
Food writer Gustavo Arellano on why Anthony Bourdain meant so much to marginalized communities.
anthonybourdain  food 
6 days ago by laurenipsum
Anthony Bourdain’s State Department Smorgasbord > June 10, 2018 by (author not listed)
Danica linked me to this article on 06.12.18

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide in June 2018 will cement his reputation as a progressive celebrity with a unique acumen for explaining the world to his fans.

CNN’s obituary says that the most common sentiment in response to his death is “I feel like I’ve lost a friend.” You’d have to go back to the death of Steve Jobs to find a celebrity who provoked this kind of personal investment on the part of his fans.

Bourdain’s reputation was built for this, because the chef could be relied on to impart a very specific view of the world, and more importantly, to not look like he was doing it. This was the most consequential part of his work—why he was hired by CNN—and it’s the part that will get discussed the least as the adulation pours in. The following was written a few months ago but it is offered today with minor changes.

As of March 2018 Patrick Radden Keefe, a journalist who typically covers El Chapo and ISIS, can add to his list of accolades a nomination for a James Beard award, given for excellence in culinary writing. What’s a writer who used to work for the Department of Defense doing covering the cooking beat? Well, his New Yorker piece, “Anthony Bourdain’s moveable feast,” covers the eponymous celebrity. Bourdain, whose awards include Emmys and a Peabody, has come to straddle multiple worlds, not only cooking, travel and lifestyle, but what might be called foreign policy “storytelling” and explaining current events. “Moveable feast” opens by describing a 2016 episode of Bourdain’s CNN show Parts Unknown in which the chef dined with President Barack Obama in Hanoi. The meeting attested to the fact that Bourdain has long departed the realm of mere travel host and taken on a much more significant role as something like a pop-statesman.

One of the many glowing write-ups on Bourdain explained that “He’s gone from a chain-smoking line cook to a best-selling author, and then from a celebrity chef to a globe-trotting television host.” Another encomium calls him “a jack of many trades and a master of all of them,” offering one of many comparisons to the Dos Equis beer mascot “the most interesting man in the world.” “For Bourdain,” wrote FastCompany in a piece dubbing him the future of cable news, “it has been a long evolution: from heroin-addicted chef to punk-rock-foodie author to global citizen on a mission to simply understand a bit about our world.”

To his fans, the chef-turned-host’s myriad projects and travels made him into something more than the sum of his parts. In a 2016 Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” for instance, one person called Bourdain “one of the very few media figures I genuinely respect, outside of some musicians and a couple political activists and certain intellectuals.” Another said Bourdain covered the 2006 Lebanon War “better on a fucking cooking show than any other 24 hour news network.”

Bourdain hesitated to own any of these grandiose labels. However, people who are paid to tell us what to think and feel always cue us about what they are not as much as what they are: “I’m just a comedian, not a journalist,” or “I’m just a filmmaker, not a documentarian.” Of the celebrity thought-leaders, Bourdain might have been the least committal about what cultural role he actually occupied. He said he wasn’t “a man on a mission, an activist, journalist, or expert on anything,” just someone “who gets to travel around the world and talk about it.” In interviews throughout his career, Bourdain said something like “I kinda don’t really take myself that seriously, I’m very lucky in that I get paid to really be myself; I don’t have a script, [and] I decide where we go and what we do on the show.” He was just making “a funny, snarky-slash-heartfelt food-and-travel show,” and he claimed to do so as a blank slate with no agenda: “I merely show up and ask simple questions [and] people always surprise me.”

Sometimes Bourdain’s disavowals bordered on self-abnegation. One of his favorite lines in the last couple years was some variation on how he was usually “the stupidest person in a room.” People who learn about geo-politics from his culinary shows were told that “I’m not a cook, nor am I a journalist.” His twitter bio just read “Enthusiast,” and he said “The biggest revenue stream out there for me is going out and telling dick jokes.” According to Bourdain himself, he was just someone who enjoyed, in a Platonic sense, and did so with off-color humor.

But despite whatever Bourdain might have told his fans and sycophantic profilers, his most recent corporate patron, CNN, was resoundingly unconvinced about that humble position. “He’s not a conventional journalist,” said Mark Whitaker, CNN Worldwide executive VP and managing editor, “But what he does is highly journalistic.” Amy Entelis is a senior VP in charge of programming and content development at CNN, and she’s the executive most responsible for bringing Bourdain to CNN from the Travel Chanel. According to Entelis, talents like Bourdain are “compelling and authentic in a way that makes the content cut through. They can tell you things a lot of our anchors are a little more constrained from telling you. You really feel like the filter is dropped and you experience the world and you’re with them.”

Entelis also explained that “The host is very, very important in that I think our most successful hosts come across to the audience as authentic, passionate, curious and have a point of view. They tend to step a little more outside the lines than a CNN news anchor can. The host is very important in that they have to have that slightly larger than life personality, but the content they are bringing to the audience still has to connect to that overall CNN mission.” Entelis beamed that as CNN was extensively covering Cuba, Bourdain visited Havana for a season premier episode, which was “the perfect synchronization with CNN… It all adds up to something that is part of the whole.”

In other words, Bourdain’s purpose was to 1) turn a profit, 2) lend authenticity and credibility to the CNN brand, and 3) augment the network’s wider programming slate and overall goals. It’s precisely because he was not a traditional journalist that he was able to accomplish the second and third tasks.

As far as goal two: among people who pay attention to this stuff, CNN was once best known for getting dunked on by Jon Stewart for 15 years straight. Less than a year before the premier of Parts Unknown, a piece in the Columbia Journalism Review (titled “Dumb and Dumber”) said:

Last year, I suggested to an editor at CJR that it do a story titled, “Why Is CNN So Bad?” It never happened, but, prompted by the network’s recent shellacking, I decided to tune in after a long hiatus. It’s even worse than I remembered.

Between 4pm [and] 11pm, CNN basically features a succession of babbling anchors interviewing a series of talking heads, with clips from reporters in the field occasionally spliced in. The subjects slavishly follow the national political agenda.

Taking issue with nearly every aspect of CNN’s programming, the author concluded that the network “certainly couldn’t do much worse than it already is.” It’s likely that many viewers now think of CNN primarily as the home of Anthony Bourdain, instead of recalling the network’s embarrassing grabs for digital-age relevance and literal round-the-clock inanities.
AnthonyBourdain  CNN  Hollywood  Propaganda  DanicaNiketic 
7 days ago by juandante
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RT : While we mourn and , let's remember ñoz.

He killed himself on May 13 whe…
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9 days ago by kohlmannj
BOURDAIN - Every Day Should Be Saturday
There are people who can see the world in all its poverty and sorrow. But there are so few who recognize themselves in it and of it, and fewer still who invite it in to sit down, to eat, and to have a few minutes of peace and appreciation at the eternal, drunken forgiving present of a dinner table. Anthony Bourdain did — and most generously, tried to show everyone else how to do it, too.
anthonybourdain  inmemoriam  food  travel  rip 
9 days ago by beep
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RT : Been listening to interviews and am so struck that every time an interviewer tries to get him to…
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9 days ago by jesseatkinson
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Been listening to interviews and am so struck that every time an interviewer tries to get him to…
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9 days ago by bjm
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9 days ago by edenman

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