Bourdain’s Legacy Was Seeing Humanity

Posted By Mandi Lindner on Jun 8, 2018 | 0 comments


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So I haven’t touched this site in awhile. I find that when my life is full and I’m feeling satisfied and fulfilled that my creative juices flow a little bit more slowly. I interpret that as a good thing most of the time.

My life has been pretty great for quite awhile now. It’s not without it’s ups and downs. In fact I’ve experienced kind of a major downturn the past few months. Not that anything is inherently wrong, per se, but heightened stress levels and major bouts of imposter syndrome tend to keep me up at night.

I think I’m over the hump. Though sometimes I worry that I’m not over anything, but am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. A very rough period of double digit months a few years ago affected me more deeply than I realized at the time and I still sometimes deal with the fallout.

But I’m not here to talk about me today. I’m here to talk about Anthony Bourdain.

I fucking HATE the public pile-on we do when a celebrity dies. Pretending we all know a person because his or her work meant something to us.

But dammit, Bourdain was different.

And do you know why?

Because to me his legacy isn’t food or a TV show.

His legacy was seeing the humanity in people.

He was the real deal.

He admitted his past equal opportunity assholery and for the rest of his life vocally called out the misogyny in his industry. He didn’t just visit the places he traveled to, he saw them. When the world ridiculed a nice elderly woman from middle America, he fucking. published. her work. Plus, he HATED Henry Kissinger with the fire of a thousand suns – something this particular gal of indigenous persuasion truly appreciates.

True ally-ship. That’s what Anthony Bourdain was to me.

He had the power and the privilege to be an asshole if he wanted to, but instead couldn’t help but see the humanity in this world and give voice to it. Sure, his style was DGAF off-putting to some people, but he never seemed to treat those with less power and privilege than him with anything but the utmost respect and interest. In fact, he seemed to reserve his real disdain and judgment for the ridiculous aristocratic bullshit that permeated his industry.

Some people have the ability to make everyone they meet feel interesting and important. I believe Anthony Bourdain was one of those people. I envy him that trait. And to me it’s not surprising that he was fighting some demons. In my experience it’s those who are struggling who have the empathy required to view others with grace.

What do you think?