Anthony Bourdain #5
By Michael Moriarty
Pure Thai blood soup?!
“Delicious! Utterly delicious,” proclaims food expert, chef, TV host and proud alcoholic, Anthony Bourdain.
What he seems to be saying throughout is, “I can handle all of this, all of Life! And do so without any help from a so-called Higher Power or God!”
His suicide, in my opinion, utterly belies the certainty of such atheism.
The relatively new, mostly Mexican and very revolutionary Church of Santa Muerte might disagree. Its members actually worship death.
They occasionally murder Mexican children as a favor for their female God of Death.
Even though I suspect that a film journalist of many places, including Mexico, might have heard of Santa Muerte, Anthony Bourdain would have, if his boldest claims are to be believed, singlehandedly strangled, with his own bare hands, the Santa Muerte killers of two, 10-year-old children.
Anything that even sounds like religion is an emetic for Tony.
He might have vomited at any, prolonged thoughts of religious or spiritual faith declared by anyone not formally allowed into his documentaries.
A genetically radical atheist, if there ever was one. Mildly short of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.. Yet Tony has no respect for Communism, nor, as I’ve finally learned, Socialism!
The impossibility of impending Bourdainism?! Is that what drove him to suicide?
His certainty that the world, as it is, will never really understand him or truly love him. I love him as completely as his alcoholism allows me to.
But he says he’s not an alcoholic.
Yet booze, for Tony, appears to be the only immediate solution for the pains and ecstasies of Life, the Manic-Depressive Inevitabilities of Existence?!
Let’s see what he himself describes as a revolutionary experience with the land of Thailand.
There was clearly, if he is to be believed, a Tony-Before-Thailand and a Tony-After-Thailand.
After the experience with Chiang Mai, Thailand particularly,
There, he and his friend, a fellow Thai connoisseur and actual owner of a Thai restaurant in America, dive with abandon into the culinary and alcohol-laden possibilities of not a gourmet’s paradise but the grossly fattening and delirious heaven of The Gourmand!
The “interplay” of wildly separate “elements” within Thai food, according to Tony, is what makes the experience unforgettable.
Friday night in Chiang Mai?!
“This may surprise you,” declares Anthony Bourdain, “but I am not an alcoholic.”
My father, another, much fatter gourmand than Tony seems to be, said the same thing.
My father was what is known of as a “functioning alcoholic”.
So is, or rather was Anthony Bourdain.
It anything killed him, it was the inevitably terminating depressions and utterly misleading hangovers from alcohol. If treated as the mere equivalent of a headache, an early death of some kind is inevitable.
I should know.
I’m a sober-for-almost-13-years alcoholic!
So far: a successful graduate of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I’m not an alcoholic” is the very and terrifyingly dangerous declaration of a possibly suicidal alcoholic.
Tony Bourdain just proclaimed what, for me, is a soul-shattering self-delusion.
He compounds his self-deceit with the sentence: “If I were an alcoholic, I’d hang here.”
Oh no, Tony and his friend are drinking themselves to death in a Karaoke Bar in Chiang Mai!
Yes, indeed, it’s clearly their particularly American right to do so.
Yes, I’ve seen Humphry Bogart’s Rick of Casablanca doing the same thing in his own bar in the safer environs of a Hollywood, California film studio.
It was much more romantic then.
And Dooley Wilson was far more acceptable a singer than what the increasingly “bombed” but ever articulate Tony honors with, “This guy’s good!”
The life of Rick in Casablanca. That myth has owned at least two extraordinary men in my experience: Joe Allen of New York’s legendary restaurant, Joe Allen’s, and, via this seemingly endless TV series, Parts Unkown.
However, I never really ever saw Joe Allen drinking.
Mr. Bourdain, however!
He seems to do nothing but eat and drink, drink and eat, and in Thailand, he drinks more than he has in any other episode so far.
This singer and Tony’s opinion of him is a clear indication of how many drinks he’s already had.
He rarely sounds inebriated.
The editing and post-production dubbing make sure of that.
Of course, the producers of Tony’s show had no idea that eventually Tony would commit suicide and place an entirely new but increasingly dark light on the entire series.
With, however, Tony’s indisputable genius, he confesses that he could very well see himself as that singer in Chiang Mai, only doing so in German, while drunk in a bar he finds in Jakarta!
Nothing more alcohol-soaked and richly romantic than that!
At the excerpt’s end, Tony says, “This is going to stick in my head now!”
The next episode appears to be, not-so-inferentially, about “pussy”!
Not the theme-cat lying on a pool table, but the female temptresses we see working the nights and knights of Chiang Mai.
The most shameless question for that particular night seems to be, “Will Tony and his friend get laid?!”
Such inferences, for porn-lovers such as myself, certainly keep me glued to my computer.
As a teasing but mildly infuriating postponement, Tony says, “It’s time to eat!”
No wonder alcoholics end up the worst of lovers.
There’s a Pilgrim’s Progress and then there’s the “Increasingly Bombed Pilgrimage of Two Drunk, Culinary Experts Through Chiang Mai
As always, “The food is really tasty!”
The camera crew seem more interested in pussy than our two hosts on this exploration of Chiang Mai.
At least the editor knows where most of his male audience is coming from.
Yes, they are more interested in orgasm than drinking and eating orgies.
And we’re only halfway through the episode! So, perhaps there’s hope!
“Your body isn’t a temple! It’s an amusement park!”
This rule for life explains much more than I really want to know about Anthony Bourdain.
The need for amusement as a part of the human animal, or any animal for that matter, is undeniable.
The human body as an amusement park could explain the quality of Tony’s obvious fascination with everything, including Death!
The question: “What must it feel like to die?!”
Tony certainly answered that question for himself.
But not before he and his friend kept drinking late into the Thailand night at the, wow, “Lady Boy Café”!
Once there, our brilliantly entertaining leading man, Tony Bourdain, begins to describe his idea for New York: A sports bar with a Lady Boy Show!
“Around beer number eight, bring out the Lady Boys!”
With his clearly intended showmanship, our head host treats us with this sight! As he says, “I end up kissing the one Lady Boy that looks like Ernest Borgnine!”
This isn’t quite what most of our audience was waiting for.
With still one third more to go for this episode, Tony’s companion suggests: “Snacks?!”
The drunken need for more food becomes “an emergency situation!”
The ongoing references, as they eat, to “Earnest Borgnine” are adorably hilarious.
The spices in the food and restaurant of their very late-night-choice is, if you’ll excuse the allusion, “suicidal”!
“An ice-cream headache, but it’s like a pepper-head!”
“You’re halfway through and you feel like your hair is on fire!”
“That perfect combination of pain and pleasure! And more pain!!”
“Brain flooding with endorphins!”
Here are two, terminally addicted victims of food porn!
The two of them are now seriously dreaming of “getting tattoos tomorrow!”
But, as they hallucinate their way back to their hotel, the editor divinely assembles a phantasmagoric, Daliesque film clip of our buddy team’s imaginations and we’re not even close to over with this taste of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Next morning: “I woke up with deep concern… after inadvertently making out with Earnest Borgnine last night.”
Somehow the series suddenly jumped to Episode 8 of Series 3, Brazil.
I didn’t know how to return to Thailand!!
So, let’s see what Tony’s life in the land of Bossa Nova has to offer.
I have been suddenly and without explanation dropped into the next Episode of Parts Unknown and I can’t seem to get back to Thailand for the exciting climax!
Things had grown so sexually promising and the warnings about sexually provocative material so frequent that… well… damn.
Will I ever know how this episode ends?!
Perhaps I’m better off imagining what it might be rather than what it actually is.
How it actually ends!
I have a promising talent for dealing with omissions like this!!
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.