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Bourdain to Myers: Asshole


In his Phoenix interview with Lindsay Crudele, Anthony Bourdain called Atlantic contributing B. R. Myers an asshole:

I think this asshole in the Atlantic who just wrote about the menace of foodie-ism... It's actually a pretty well-written article. Complaining about foodie-ism and fetishization of food, that's all true, but I think it is a good thing for society that people actually care what chefs think now. The elevated status of chefs, even in its most awful and ridiculous manifestation, the fact that people walk into a restaurant and now actually have a higher estimation of the chef, that they actually care what he thinks, they don't see him as a sort of a glorified butler or backstairs help, I think is good.

Bourdain is, of course, referring to Myers' recent, epic article,The Moral Crusade Against Foodies: Gluttony Dressed Up as Foodie-ism Is Still Gluttony. In it, Myers takes issue with the habit of foodies and food writers to conflate eating expensive, delicious food with moral superiority. In the first paragraph, Myers dismissed Bourdain's latest book:

Anthony Bourdain's new book, his 10th, is Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. In it he announces, in his trademark thuggish style, that "it is now time to make the idea of not cooking ‘un-cool'-and, in the harshest possible way short of physical brutality, drive that message home." Having finished the book, I think I'd rather have absorbed a few punches and had the rest of the evening to myself.

 Bourdain, not content to weep into the arms of his adoring fans or his bags of money, went on to defend himself and his fellow foodies from charges of gluttony:
The more we care about what we're eating and the more central to our lives food as a meal becomes  . . . I don't equate that with gluttony. The Italians and the French and most Asian countries where the meal is a really big important time and experience, I don't see any connection between bad health, I don't see any downside to it. I see the raising prestige of food as moving us on a par with what the European countries have always understood, that eating well, even if you don't have a lot of money, should be a birthright.

Myers also takes arms against Bourdain's account of evolutionary history, a narrative in which "the human animal evolved 'with eyes in the front of its head, long legs, fingernails, eyeteeth--so that it could better chase down slower, stupider creatures, kill them, and eat them.'" Myers cites anthropological research that understands man's origins as a "paltry prey animal." Refutes Bourdain: "Civilization began arguably when people began cooking meat. It required cooperation between cavemen."

Will the celebrity chef and the contributing editor, like their cavemen ancestors, sit down together with a hunk of meat? Only time will tell.

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