Source: The New Democrat
When I first heard about Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown coming to CNN in 2013 or 14, I thought this was another one of those so-called reality TV shows where the lead character is some loudmouth who makes an asshole out of himself ( to be frank ) in order to gain ratings. I’m not a fan of what’s called reality TV generally, except for what’s actually reality TV which are documentary programs even documentaries about Hollywood, so I was thinking Parts Unknown is not something I’m going to be interested in.
But so-called reality TV is wasn’t Tony Bourdain’s show and what he wanted to communicate to people. He was a food and cultural documentarian who traveled the world to show people what other people eat and how they live. Who brought people together over good meals and got to learn about them by experiencing them, what they eat, the sites and sounds of their countries. And then he would show everyone else what he learned about Vietnam, Italy, Ecuador, Cuba, and wherever else he would travel to.
In a country and world where we’re so divided mainly on political and cultural grounds and now unfortunately even by race, ethnicity, and class, Bourdain brought different together with food and cultural. And showed millions of Americans and people outside of America, that even with all of our differences that we can still share a great meal together, get to know each other and realize we’re not that strange from one another after all.
I’m not a cook and all I know about food and cooking is that food can taste really good, it can taste really bad, and generally somewhere in between, in less you what you’re doing or where to eat and have the resources to eat great food on a regular basis. But I know what I like and how to cook for myself and what I got from Bourdain was that not all good food has to taste alike and look alike. That good food comes in all different forms made from all different types of people in different countries.
The other thing that I got from Bourdain which I already knew, but hopefully now millions of other Americans and people outside of America hopefully also know, is that it isn’t okay to be yourself, but that being yourself is the only person you should be. Because you’re the only person you know really well. When you try to be someone other than yourself especially a famous celebrity that you look up to, all you’re doing is acting. And I realize some people do that for a living and even do it on so-called reality TV. But the non-reality actors are professional actors. And when everyone else tries to be someone other than them self, they’re not only not just actors, but now they’re amateurs and amateurs actors.
In a country and world where so many people especially young people feel the need to be like their favorite celebrity and in many cases reality star, Tony Bourdain taught so many people how to be themselves and why they should always be them self. He taught us about individualism and how to be an individual. I think Ayn Rand would’ve loved Anthony Bourdain even if was just for that reason. And if you don’t like yourself, maybe it’s because you have character issues, or you suffer from low self-esteem, which is something that perhaps Bourdain also had issues with.
But that we’re the only person we know really well and the only person where we always know what we’re thinking and what we know. And when we try to be someone other than ourself, we’re just pretending. Anthony Bourdain’s belief in individualism and his ability to bring different people together with food and culture, is what I’m going to miss about him.