What does it mean that Anthony Bourdain, Mr. Bobbleheaded Badboy, scourge of the Food Network, defender of the depraved, the debauched, the foul and the filthy, is now fodder for Academia?  As Bob del Grosso writes in the following post, generously offered here (as well as on his own excellent blog), Kris Ray, a scholar of the culinary world, a voice and intelligence I admire ENORMOUSLY, and former colleague of del Grosso at the CIA, takes on the Food Network, American culture and The Meaning of Bourdain.  (I hope this doesn’t emasculate the poor guy, people writing scholarly papers on him—will we soon see Tony strolling through Washington Square Park wearing a smock and leg-warmers, fitting a Lark into a cork-tipped holder?)


31 Wonderful responses to “Bourdain Deconstructed!”

  • Suzy, t.u.Pastry Chef, ...class of '07

    You’ve got the BOURDAIN BOBBLE-HEAD?!!!

    I have been searching Ebay for DAYS for that bobble-head – How much do you want for it?

    Is PayPal OK???

  • Tags

    Hey, if Hunter Thompson can become a Kentucky Colonel, why can’t Tony become a dandy if he wants to?

  • sorcha

    Heh – I think it’s more likely he’ll be seen strolling through Washington Square Park wearing Baby in a Snugli and chomping on some Nicorette.(Poor guy. Makes me glad I’d already quit smoking years before my son came along.)

    As for academia, well, they get into everything sooner or later, no matter how depraved.

  • Claudia

    Ooooo-kay! Does this mean Tony will be giving commencement speeches at NYU? And will have to start calling him Dr. Bourdain when he gets his honorary Ph.d. in Lit.?

    (If he is out with the Snugli, it would most likely be the Columbus Circle end of Central Park, though, Sorscha.)

  • Claudia

    Oh, Rule-man! Washington Square Park if Tony is guest-lecturing at NYU, Central Park if he’s strolling up to Barney Greengrass! Leg warmers only if he’s speaking at American Ballet Theatre/Lincoln Center! Cork-tipped cigarette holders? OMG, now THAT would be appalling. How very Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy of him that would be. Just because they’re both published by Bloomsbury?


    Shuddering . . .

  • fiat lux

    Truth be told, I still have my favorite pair of legwarmers tucked away in a box. I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them.

    I think the last time I wore then was when the heat went out on the coldest night of the year & I was layering everything in the house on to keep warm.

  • Maya

    To Scorcha and Claudia – cigarette smokers can’t be ballet dancers. And a six-foot hottie like Bourdain won’t fit into the tights anyway.

  • sorcha

    Depends on the tights. My husband is 6’10” and he was in Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school – he had to search, but he found some tights to fit.

    At least, that’s his story about why he had tights in his dresser when we started dating. 😉

  • Claudia

    6′ 4″, by the way, Maya. And then, there is the incongruity of even contemplating Bourdain snapping on leg warmers, let alone man tights – let alone speaking before the American Ballet Theatre (!) (See, Michael? See what you started? (!!))

  • Zhopsik

    To Maya: well, maybe things have changed, but Back In The Day, the dressing rooms backstage used to be blue with smoke.

  • Erin

    It probably means that most of academia has never snorted a rail of coke off the bar, screwed someone in dry storage, or nursed really effing bad hot oil burns for weeks on end.

  • Claudia

    Academia’s loss, don’t you think? (Although I know someone in academia who managed two of those three!)

  • RI Swampyankee

    If Tony recieves an honorary doctorate we won’t have to call him Dr. In fact, it is extremely bad form to refer to yourself or allow others to address you as Doctor if you did not earn that PhD.

  • RI Swampyankee

    Erin, the private lives of academics might surprise you. Coke on a bar and hookups in storerooms? Yeah, we got that. Effin bad hot oil burns? Yeah, we got that too but the oil didn’t come from a Fry-O-Lator.

  • Larkrise

    Baby in a snugli…..Oh, that’s so sweet. I hope he does stop smoking. Bad for a baby,bad for him. Tony can be snarky in some other way, like running his mouth. I treasure his words,those little golden gems of irony. They are much more individualistic than puffing putrid chemicals out of his nostrils.

  • latenac

    Although the article and analysis is interesting. This is the kind of stuff that was hot in academia almost 20 years ago. Maybe it means post-modern is hot again. Which would be find by me. I’ve always been amused by it.

    I have it on good authority that academics do lead wild lives as well. At least that’s what I was told by the student who was helping to entertain Foucault while he was visiting his college after Foucault asked to be taken to the nearest leather bar and wasn’t seen until well into the next day.

  • Claudia

    You know, SwampYankee, it’s true that it is tres gauche to use “Dr.” if you didn’t actually earn the credential academically, but plenty of people still do. (Dr. Gonzo himself bought that “credential” from the Universal Life Church back in the 60s – he was not, in fact, an accredited Ph.D in Journalism). That being said, I do think “Dr. Bourdain” and “Dr. Thompson” (Hunter S.) have a nice kind of symmetry/synergy to it, should NYU or Vassar ever decide to give Tony a honorary Ph.D. 🙂

  • RI Swampyankee

    I did not know about Dr Gonzo’s “degree”. How wonderfully apropos!

    Hunter S. was no stranger to the authorities and during a police raid one of the officers held up a bag of doobies and a revolver and asked,”What are these?” Hunter, without missing a beat replied, “Party favors.”

  • sorcha

    That’s awesome, Claudia. I’m a ULC reverend, m’self. So far nobody’s let me marry them, though.

  • Isaw Manok o Baboy?

    wow… real scholarly writing on the subject of The Anthony Bourdain. right about time! i did ponder doing it myself but i’m sure i won’t do tony justice.

    thank you, ruhlman and bob!

  • FangIT

    RE. The Bobble Head comment. I was watching some early Cook’s Tour episodes recently. He popps up in one scene with a grey 80’s style bobble of hair on top of his head. Talk about a bad hair day! Looked like Alice from the Brady Bunch! I wonder if he goes to his makeup person and asks “I think I’ll go for the ‘Alice’ this time”.