With globalization and todays technology there are far more ways to engage with one another than ever before. My father sent me this poem he wrote after hearing about the sad news of Anthony Bourdain's death. I was moved both by the depth of his reflection and by the mere fact that this one man, whom my father did not personally know, had left such an imprint. A man who had a platform doing something seemingly simplistic and common, had invited people into what felt like a meaningful relationship.
Yet, while many people were moved by Bourdain's life and felt deep connection to it, I wonder if he felt that same level of connection back? It's interesting to me that we can be invited into peoples lives via media and feel a weird sense of ownership and intimacy yet there is another truth that remains; that the relationship oftentimes is not a reciprocal one. To me this idea of fostering reciprocal relationships of meaning/ depth via media is an interesting one. Now more than ever I am beginning to hear of people becoming virtual friends and then actually transitioning that to in-person connection which fascinates me. Still the question I hold and which I seek to continue to explore on my on journey is what does it look like not to simply inspire with cool photos or quotes but to build authentic community on the various online platforms we've been given...
While we continue to sit with this question I invite you to read my fathers "Ode to Humanity" in hope that it stirs thought and reflection related to the journey that is life. Enjoy.
Anthony Bourdain Chef extraordinaire; Food aficionado; Bigger -than -life traveling story teller Who shrunk the world with “Parts Unknown”. An effable apostle, friend, teacher and evangelist of the gospel of diverse foods and peoples in the scope of human experience; A creative story teller, reminding through food, that we are only part of a world with much more to offer in tastes and human experience than exists in our own neighborhood. How much you taught humanity To see and value our commonality in and through food, forcing us to come to terms with the fact of our being; That we are a rich variety of peoples and foods, diverse as can be, with a slew of ordinary things, like eating and drinking, that make us human. Largely isolated by sundry bounds, we seem exotic to each other, limited in experience to the parts we know, and prejudiced to much of humanity elsewhere, unknown. You showed the world how food, abundant in its diversity of types and ways of preparation, should teach us to value our humanity in its variety of characteristics and activities. You taught us to see and enjoy food and people rather than fight wars of race, beauty, wealth and other superficialities that too often become the bane of our well being and existence. Silly it seems, but it took your travel to parts unknown, to keep us reminded that we are of the same basic stock of needs; That we all have to ingest and egest, living in this “demon haunted world”, whose imps and minions woo and goad us to wars that enrich their destiny of , destruction. And, but for the Grace and Armor of God, none would escape their luring bait proliferated in cities, suburbs, ghettos, villages and seedy urban districts; Many places from where “Parts Unknown” gave us vignettes of our human activity in its rich diversity. Gone too soon, may we, in memory of you, wake from the stupor of silly prejudices, to the facts of our humanity, through your gospel of food, as our common denominator. Goodbye Tony, Rest In Peace from the toil of teaching the world to simply be human; To enjoy life, people and food as you did, with “Beautiful!, “hmmm!, delicious”.... And however the end comes, for all the living share in the dying process, may yours always remind the living to live with hope, in view of eternity beyond the struggles with “Demons” that plague the living, to inure hopelessness. You made a great impact with your life, shining the light on ordinary people and things; Jewels hidden in parts to be discovered and known. You impacted those who watched and followed your shows, and inspired hope, that Life can be better characterized than by Shakespeare’s dejection.... “Life is but a walking shadow; A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. The world will remember for showing that life can be lived meaningfully, when we use and share our talents with the world, albeit, defying the demons there of. Adieu! Brother, father, husband, friend; Rest In Peace. - JZN