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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Anthony Bourdain 1956 - 2018 (Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1861)

I had never made the comparison before this morning. It only came to me after spending a couple of hours trying to wrap my head around his suicide. Now I see it clearly that Anthony Bourdain was the Hemingway of the TV generation. I don’t even know how or why this thought occurred to me. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that they were both famous and famous travelers. They both seemed to have it all when they gave it all up.

There are a few parallels I didn’t consider, like the fact that they both took their lives just before reaching their 62nd birthday (Hemingway: July 21 1899 – July 2, 1961 * Bourdain: June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018). I don’t know, but I would imagine that they were both tortured by depression, a condition that I couldn’t imagine.

I’m sure that countless people have thought to themselves, “I wish I had his job.” That honestly never passed my mind, because I could have never done it as well as Anthony Bourdain did his job on TV for so many years.

I’ve been a huge fan of travel writing since back before I had ever traveled anywhere. Two of my favorites, Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson, are colossal whiners and I wouldn’t care to share a train carriage, canoe, tandem bicycle, or a car with either one of them, not even for the shortest of treks. Anthony Bourdain was probably the life of the party wherever he happened to be that day. I wish that I could have hung out with him to have a beer and some cheap food, like our coolest president was able to do in the above photo.

So not only will I never get that chance, I'm also denied the pleasure of following him around to places I've never even dreamed of visiting. AdiĆ³s, Anthony Bourdain.


  1. I am a Hemingway fan and have followed bourdain since 2000. I believe it is no coincidence Tony took life when he did. Maybe a perfect storm of happenings

  2. Tony Bourdain outlived Hemingway by at least a day, and probably more. But it was a close thing. It's easier to figure because both got 15, not 16 leap days. Hemingway because 1900 wasn't a leap year, and Tony because he wasn't yet born in Feb. 1956. So count back 19 days from the birthday for Hem. He was born about 8 AM and died early in the morning, so he got an almost even number of days. Tony was born about 8:30 AM in NYC, so you count back 19 days and get that time on June 6, or 1:30 PM in France. But Tony made it at least to the next day after 1:30, because they finished shooting work that day. They he went back to his hotel and was never seen alive again, being found the next AM about 9:30. So Tony gets the extra day and then some. A small victory. "Life breaks everybody, and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those it cannot break, it kills."

  3. Steve, you really took my Hemingway comparison to the next level. I was fascinated when this thought occurred to me. I admired both men immensely for almost the same qualities.


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