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The enormous life of Anthony Bourdain, according to those who knew him best (gq.com)
116 points by cyanbane 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

I've been to the edge, and there I stood and looked down. And then I turned around and walked away. I've been back for a few visits but have kept turning around. I lost a lot of friends there. Anthony and Ernest and Robin and so many others didn't turn back. It's easy for me to sympathize.

But maybe it's better to give them contempt. Moral opprobrium, disgrace, dishonor, could help the marginally committed to turn back.

Contempt for such great human beings, who did far more with their lives than I ever will? No. Just for one choice.

The ability to not sympathize with that choice is a blessing, an apple you may be better off not eating.

Just wanted to say that was quite a poignant piece of writing. I wish you well.

Yea, but ... Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love?

hahaha. I don't listen to them much, clearly.


>Mental illness is not an excuse to abandon children. Bourdain deserves more than contempt —- he deserves vilification.

What you're saying here is "I acknowledge that guy had a condition that made his thought process irrational. But.. what an asshole for making an irrational decision!"

How can you call that logical?

If you want to deny the existence of Mental Illness, thats one thing. But to acknowledge it exists and still blame the patient for succumbing to it? That my friend, a level of mental gymnastics that even climate change deniers or flat earthers would envy.

Why is the highest purpose in life children? Of course he had a responsibility for another human being, but why is that the highest good? Are we not allowed to strive for more? Or consider other higher goods?

Did you read my comment? I never said having children is the highest purpose in life, or that it’s the highest good. Your comment bears zero relation to mine

I said that abandoning children is contemptible and all child abandoners including bourdain deserve vilification.

According to the article, prior to Bourdain's publication of Kitchen Confidential when he was in his early 40's, his outside-the-US travel experience consisted solely of a few trips to France as a child and one trip as an adult to Japan:

> He just talked about what traveling the world would be like for him. He had gone to France as a kid, he had gone to Japan once, and that was it.

The fact that Bourdain not only achieved massive professional success after toiling in obscurity well into his 40s, but more specifically became the most famous traveler in the world after barely having traveled in 2+ decades of adult life is pretty damn impressive. Definitely gives weight to the argument that "it's never too late"!

There's another quote of his somewhere where he claims to have not even had a bank account until into his 40s.

I refuse to watch the last episode. This way his series will never end.

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."

-- Orson Welles

The final season is still siting on my DVR. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to watch it.

I wasn't able to watch for a while, and then they pulled most/all? of his shows of Netflix. Guess I'll never finish now.

I found it...macabre. It was very dark.

Watching old episodes is very ambivalent: The constant joke/open secret discussion of his own self-worth/esteem is still refreshingly honest - even after his death - but now takes on a harrowing new (Although in hindsight perhaps unseen) meaning.

just curious if you could expand on that a little, as i'd have trouble watching it too.

macabre because of what you know now, or was there a shift evident in the tone/subject of the shows themselves?

I'm not too sure which the last series is, as I was only introduced fairly shortly before his death to Bourdain's work, but as someone new to him — all his appearances have that faint background noise of world weary despair. It's not overwrought and doesn't in any way taint his shows, but it's a distinct undercurrent. Perhaps I'm sensitive to his language and vaguely grim manner because I've in a very small way seen into various worlds of despair, but I was in no way surprised by his last choice.

It's sad, but he seemed to have lived a good life and at least was in control of his final journey — most of us aren't.

I don't think anyone was surprised by his choice. It was part of his person. He knew the other side well, and didn't try to hide it.

That's what made him stand out to me. He wasn't singing the praises of every place he went to. He was a real human being, exploring and talking about what he saw and felt while he was bouncing from place to place. Always a little dismissive, but not because he didn't care about the people or places he was visiting. More because he was an observer to the world, not a participant.

He taught us so much about the world, and still had so much more to show us.

I'm rarely saddened by celebrity deaths; Anthony Bourdain hit me right in the gut and it continues to hurt. Such a special person. Such a huge loss.

RIP Tony.

The global reaction to his death felt like the entire world realizing at once how much they loved him.

The news of his death kind of shocked me in that I had just stayed a few months earlier in the hotel[0] he died in... News article was a photo of the hotel and I was all recalling the great memories of the trip, until read the headline! :( Brutal!

Apparently it was his favorite hotel, which didn't surprise me to hear. If you ever get the chance, trust his (and my) judgement and at least visit the town of Kayserberg, France!

[0] https://www.lechambard.fr/en/

His death was tragic, shocking, sad and... helpful for me, in a way. This is a person who does almost all my worldly fantasies, in the way that I would hope to do them, and the cup goes dry still.

If there was one guy I'd like to have beer with..

Bourdain once described San Francisco as a two-fisted drinking town. Ain’t that the god damn truth.

One of my fav people :(

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