Dead Celebrity


It’s funny. I got up in the middle of the night last night, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I sometimes find i can fall asleep to a quiet television in times like this, so I turned on the tv and scrolled through the hours of programs that I have stored, but never got around to watching, and came across a couple of episodes of Parts Unknown. I’ve been interested in all of the shows Bourdain has done, but I haven’t watched this show religiously. At some point, I’d decided that Bourdain was a bit of a phony, fawning over food that didn’t deserve it, or because of who he was with.

But as I watched this particular episode, I began to think about how I was unfair to criticise him for acting that way, because how was he supposed to act? “This food that you slavishly prepared for me totally sucks!” So I admitted to myself that I was still a fan of his, as I drifted off to sleep.

Three hours later, I woke up to see that he was gone.


Between this and the news about Kate Spade, the CDC released a report indicating that suicides had gone up something like 25% since 1999, and 30% in over half the states. My wife and I were talking about it this morning. Figuring that people (not here – I mean in general) are going to draw all sorts of conclusions, I pointed out that internet use had also gone way up since 1999, and for that matter, so had the use of antidepressants.

My wife then pointed out that suicidal thoughts are a side effect of antidepressants (she’s an RN so I’ll defer to her on that). I figured that was the purpose (if not the whole point) of prescribing them!? (And I just checked to make sure neither of us were pulling that out of the air; there’s some evidence; but I didn’t know that when I brought it up – my point, like about the Internet, was about correlation vs. causality. Also I don’t presume to know what happened to Mr. Bourdain.)

I particularly liked the Parts Unknown when he went to Oman, because I’d been there myself, 6 years ago. It was a business trip, and I loved it there, and would love to go back some day. Most people couldn’t understand why I enjoyed it so much (including someone else who’d been on the trip – we really didn’t do a whole lot outside of work), but once that episode was on the air I could tell them to tune in and see. And I didn’t really even make it out of Muscat! He was all over the country: in the Hajar Mountains, in the desert etc. (The thing I don’t recall him describing, is that a traveler is unlikely to encounter Omani food outside of people’s homes. There are restaurants that serve it, but from what I gather, when Omanis go out to eat they want something else.)

(I’ve been to Ethiopia, too – my wife’s from there – and Bourdain made at least one episode there, but I figure more people are familiar with Ethiopia (one way or another) than with Oman.)


Watch anything he did when he was with Eric Ripert. They were best friends and it shows how much love, respect, and admiration they had for one another. I know most people are thinking about Bourdain’s ex wife, his current girlfriend and his daughter…but I imagine this is hitting Ripert hard as well.


I am not a psychiatrist, but:

In psychiatric circles there is support for the idea that suicidality, though frequently comorbid with depression, is its own disease. In one study, lithium was shown to reduce suicidal behavior in patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, even when it did nothing to relieve their other symptoms:

The link between an increase in short term suicidality and SSRI onset is well documented at this point. According to this article from Plos One, the effect peaks between 8-11 days after starting the medication, then returns to pre-medication levels. Activation Syndrome has been proposed as a mechanism behind the increased risk.

The last 10 or 15 years have seen massive paradigm shifts in the ways in which people interact with one another, both for good and ill. This comments section is as close as I get to a social media presence, but my friends who are involved with that stuff say they often find it exhausting and paradoxically isolating. You weren’t suggesting a causal relationship, but there’s food for thought there.


That’s just crazy. I think if him as somebody that had it all - famous, funny, beloved, charismatic, polymath, talented, dashing, had a family, was paid good money to travel the world and get into crazy adventures. Yet underneath all that was a person that still felt their life wasn’t worth living. That hits me hard, man.


Fucking FUCK Anthony. Jesus fucking christ, what a waste. Why why why? Your daughter, Asia, Eric Ripert (who found you… how could you do that to your best friend?)… what the fuck. I’m really really angry about this. Fucking MOTHERFUCKER.

I’ve been home about an hour after a roughly-month long trip to Africa… about which a couple of his shows helped educate me. Now I’m just furious. And lost. Fuck.


That the overall suicide rate in the US is basically sky-rocketing is no surprise given the current negative socio-political climate, wealth inequality, and the disenfranchisement of the masses.

What’s shocking to me is when even affluent people of privilege are so terribly vulnerable.

Something is very wrong with society when even people who “have it all” are still deeply unhappy, enough to the point that they’re willing to end their own lives.

RIP to both Bourdain and Kate Spade.


You know, this sometimes plays a role, when a person thinks he’s seen it all, lived it all. Which he hadn’t really. He didn’t wait to see his daughter graduating, for example.

Me, I do not discount the possibility that he had cancer or some other rapidly developing disease, and simply said “you know what? Fuck it. I’ve had a good life. A great life! I’ll just OD, and if I don’t die after all, then I’ll fucking go on.”


Apparently they had everything but peace of mind.

(apparently, because I don’t know what was in their heads. But as someone who has and who is still battling depression, those moments of quiet enjoyment and peace of mind are what keeps me keeping on.)


Add this anecdatum to the pile of information screaming at us that we are valuing the wrong things.
which is what I think you were getting at by your use of quotes


Hmm, it’s almost like the things that neoliberal capitalism posits as the keys to happiness actually . . . aren’t that.

Edit: @tachin1 :




Aye, it’s almost like we’ve been deceived and led astray…


My only real question here is deliberately or accidentally. I mean, did the salespeople set out to dupe us maliciously or did it all just kind of happen that way, like a big capitalist snowball?
Not really expecting a definitive answer to that one, but I err on the side of "Hey, look what I can make people buy! Oh. Shit… "


Well, if I replace salespeople there with ownership class, then I’d say the by-now proverbial, Why not both?

Though certainly not 50/50 – I think the ownership class has generally been pretty intentional with strategies that stabilize and normalize inequality.


Yeah, unfortunately you seem to be right. Wish you weren’t.
At least I’m not alone in not being driven by material needs. There is hope.


I could be wrong (usually), but it seems Bourdain has struck enough of a chord that there ought to be a holy-shit mental health thread…?


Cool politics too.

Anthony Bourdain: “Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop want to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia—the fruits of his genius for statesmanship—and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock next to Milosevic. While Henry continues to nibble nori rolls and remake at A-list parties, Cambodia, the neutral nation he secretly and illegally bombed, invaded, undermined, and then threw to the dogs, is still trying to raise itself up on its one remaining leg.”




Rumen Petkov died yesterday.

This will go front page, I presume.


Bourdain has touched so many people on this planet.