Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Layover with Anthony Bourdain

Generally speaking, TV is evil.  Granted, this is a minority view, given that crowds are (this very moment) either "flocking" or waddling to Best Buy for wide-screen high-def cable-ready even 3D monstrosities, while X Box is reaping bonuses for their Microsoft managers in the multi-millions.  But I say it anyway.  Why?  Consider all the wasted time involved in watching junk game shows and naval picking talk shows and truck commercials.  America could balance the budget in one year, without TV.  Still, there are a few rare moments when I'm not listening to books, and many of those moments include watching (besides 60 Minutes or NOVA or Frontline) No Reservations and The Layover.  I think they should just broadcast Anthony Bourdain continuously: all Tony all the time, so on those rare occasions whenever we do need a diversion, there he is.  Do we really need Top Chef, Iron Chef, Cake Boss, and a zillion other cooking shows on The Food Network or the Cooking Channel?  No, we do not. . . not anymore than we need endless documentaries on Hitler’s bodyguards or Ancient Aliens or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Kick the Kardashians out.  Tony can stay. (Even though his company did strike down one of my videos for copyright infringement...hey, it was just a clip, and I pitched his book! Ever heard of Fair Use?)  Anyway, at least you don’t get pretense with Bourdain.  You’re not stuck in the kitchen with perfectionists who care more about winning than enjoying anything.  You don’t get egomaniacs or gotta-be-famous zero-self-esteem lemmings vying for workaholic Gordon Ramsay to crown them with some title other than “Loser,” (or flaky History Channel pseudoscience UFO nutjobs yammering about the latest evidence they never get around to produce.)  With Tony you get reflection, opinion, and a humorous spin.  He’s not a rabid sports jarhead, either.  True, he eats a lot of meat, and so is not a friend of any animal with tasty flesh.  But he’s not fat, either.  (Which is a mystery, given his age, and how much beer he consumes.  Tony, if you’re reading this, please leave a comment including your secret.)  Anyway, although I’m not a foodie who sees the world through the lens of a white wine bottle, I say bravo, but not to Bravo or even Direct TV.  Those guys want you to see your friends as $100 bills (or Benjamins, as a bonus to sign them up) so they can add more infomercials and televangelists.  What I recommend is you buy Tony’s audiobooks (like Medium Raw), and turn the damn TV off after Tony signs off.  Otherwise you’ll start gaining water on the brain while watching ESPN and Neil Cavuto.  In short, Tony is a real writer, not just a chef, and would probably agree with me as I now say, “Better dead than Unread.” 

 

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