Thursday, June 23, 2016

"But look, I talk about everything. My dick has been on TMZ, so what’s left?"

Anthony Bourdain Turns 60, An Exclusive Interview: "At the turn of the millennium, on the back-end of a career spent mostly dropping pre-poached Benedict eggs on half-toasted English muffins, recovering junkie Anthony Bourdain did something nobody could have guessed an obscure 44-year-old chef could do: He changed the voice of food. Kitchen Confidential is Bourdain’s confessional as chef at Les Halles in Manhattan; it piled the comfortable myths, the bullshit of restaurants in a burn barrel, sprayed them with accelerant, and tossed in a flaming rag. 

In Medium Raw (2010), the follow-up to Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain surfed the lip between insider and outside watcher, a perspective that let him write about the complexity of chefs—their motivations, fails, and gaping brilliance—in a way nobody did before...

Do you ever feel guilt for being a white male gatekeeping the food of other cultures? 
I’m aware of the sort of destructive aspects of what I do. I understand I’m altering the world by putting it on TV. I’m aware that I am fetishizing what is seen as a birthright to millions of people around the world. Do I feel guilty? I am who I am. I’m a white boy from New Jersey in the suburbs. I can live with that. I’m not conflicted about it. 

Eddie [Huang], he’s someone who grew up in that generation. The kids at school would make fun of his lunches. That’s something I really respond to: Guys like Eddie who find themselves in this weird place where no one wanted their food when they were a kid and now everyone wants it, the cultural appropriation issue. Even when Eddie is wrong—his article on Marcus* was as wrong as it could be, but it was a valuable, painful—unfair, but valuable—discussion, he always knows how to put his thumb in the wound: What is cultural appropriation, what is authentic? That’s interesting to me. We've all been having sex with each other and mashing up cultures for centuries...

Do you write as well as you’d like? 
No. When I’m writing, most of the writers I love I will not read. I will keep away from fissionable material. So no. I wish I could write like Don DeLillo, Nabokov, Martin Amis—I mean, if I read those guys when I’m writing I will just crawl under the bed and curl into a fetal ball and be blocked for a month. So no. But on the other hand, I can live with that. Clint Eastwood said a man should be aware of his limitations, and I’m aware of my limitations. Once I tell people something, it’s not the content that's embarrassing to me. If I write bad sentences, that's embarrassing to me. Bad sentences are mortifying. And there are plenty of examples. But look, I talk about everything. My dick has been on TMZ, so what’s left?"

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