Op-Ed: Anthony Bourdain’s death has us asking the wrong questions about suicide
Anthony Bourdain, the late chef, was found dead Tuesday while apparently sleeping on a stranger’s couch in a hotel room in France. He was 58.
As a former reporter and an editor, Bourdain loved to ask the wrong questions, and for good reason — we all hate to feel stupid when speaking to us.
We’ve asked ourselves: What happened to Anthony Bourdain?
Who was he? What was he like?
A lot has been said about him. Here are five of them:
I’m going to ask you a couple of tough questions, and when you are done with them, I will ask you two more.
That’s how he answered them on his website, where he wrote in the past “I’m a chef. I make delicious food.”
Here is his first question: “Who are you, if you’re not talking about me and my food?”
The simple question, meant to be rhetorical but also open to multiple interpretations, opened up a space for him to reveal more about himself.
The second question — how many famous people have attempted suicide? — is one that I believe we, as humans, have to take seriously. As a culture, we tend to look back in horror at people who have lost weight, or who seem to be having trouble getting along.
And yet, it’s always surprising to me how easy it is to look at someone who has lost weight and find other ways to judge them.
I would never compare the loss of weight with suicide, except to give a context for Bourdain’s statement.
When we look at someone who has lost weight and then judge them as someone who has already lost weight, we are judging them based on the weight that was lost.
It’s also a way to distance ourselves from the person behind the loss of weight.
If we focus on the weight we lost, then we will be able to look at how we lost it,