Tough, vibrant, witty, wonderful Anthony Bourdain took his own life, at the age of 61, in France. The news about chef, journalist, fearless traveler Bourdain felt like a gut punch this morning, knocking the wind out of me. I’d never met Bourdain, but his travel and food shows—Parts Unknown and No Reservations—were welcomed into my home and made me want to see the world, experience more, eat better, love more people and love harder. The funny, irreverent, smart, writer-chef who advocated for marginalized people and good food for everyone is dead just a couple of days after the amazing Kate Spade killed herself. Some people should never leave willingly because they are too badly needed. How did Bourdain or Kate Spade—even with their personal demons—not know this? Suicides are up and unlikely to go down any time soon.
There is no equivalency intended with the headline pointing to Bourdain’s tragic death and the politics, but there is conflation. On a day when we should reflect and mourn the loss of the generous and gifted, there are screaming intrusions from Trump world. He’s broken into our homes and is taking the china—although he is apparently making great deals for himself and his family with China.
Let me be honest, it is not Trump taking our china and merely continuing to enrich himself: his takeover of America feels like rape—personal and demeaning, and we keep blaming ourselves (even though we didn’t vote for him). Somehow the victim is to blame.
No matter how hard we try to fight against it or tune Trump and his corruption, his crime-spree administration out or dismiss predictions of where our country and the world are heading, as a result of Trump’s disastrous policies and actions, we can’t. I want to mourn Bourdain, think about the contributions of the lovely, smart Kate Spade, but I’m forced to recognize the Trump administration is in the process of striking down one of the last bulwarks of democracy—a free press. Trump has already declared the press the “enemy of the American people,” and demeaned and closed them out of his secret meetings with Putin. Now, he has had his administration take the phone and email records of a New York Times reporter.
We are there, America. It is as bleak as it appears. There may be no turning back. Trump has shown he can do whatever he wants—even murder as he himself pointed out during his campaign and his toady Rudy Giuliani just reminded us—and a gutless, thoroughly corrupt, or Putin-held hostage through compromise Congress is unwilling to do anything except follow orders.
And the suicide rate continues to go up.
Nancy Avery Dafoe