I woke up this morning to the news of Anthony Bourdain's apparent death by suicide. It really came as quite a shock. He seemed like someone on top of the world, but this just goes to show we never really know what's going on inside a person.
I was slow to get on the bandwagon. We don't have cable on the farm, nor do we have the state flower (satellite dish). I first became a fan after my trip to Palestine in 2015, when a friend mentioned he did a show on that. I watched and it seemed like he got it right.
He really had a knack for combing cuisine with cultural observation, political insights, and empathy. (I also have to mention that he was a fellow martial artist who was pretty advanced in Brazilian jiu jitsu.)
When I heard he was doing a segment on McDowell County, WV, I was curious but had a feeling he'd do it right. In my opinion, he did. Here's what I wrote about it in an earlier post:
For natives of the state, it's almost never a good thing when WV gets national media attention. Stereotypes, over-simplifications and poverty porn about. But I'd have to say that aside from a few minor criticisms about certain outliers, he and his crew got it right. The school featured, Mount View High School, is one of the schools my domestic partner teaches at and she knew kids well. I saw some friends as well. And I love McDowell County, which was where most of it was filmed.
I know some people had issues with it, but I think it could have been SOOOOO much worse.I think the world will be a good bit worse without him. I know West Virginia lost a friend and advocate.
I wish him a good journey to parts unknown.