Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain on Sichuan Peppers, Sex, Eating Dogs, and Political Correctness

An exclusive post-election interview with the culinary celebrity host of Parts Unknown.

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JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/KRT/Newscom

From Iran to to Hanoi to rural New England: Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown on CNN has covered a lot of territory, like No Reservations before it. More than 15 years since his best-selling memoir Kitchen Confidential gutted New York's culinary underbelly, the former junkie and chef continues not to give any fucks. Bourdain has also just published Appetites (Ecco), his first cookbook in over a decade, co-authored with longtime collaborator Laurie Woolever.

New Zealand–based writer Alexander Bisley reached the traveler and chef by phone the day after the Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump as president of the United States, and Bourdain talked about how Sichuan peppers are like sex, whether animal-rights activists have any sense of humor, and how the "utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes" is a problem.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity.

Bisley: What concerns you about Trump?

Bourdain: What I am not concerned about with Trump? Wherever one lives in the world right now I wouldn't feel too comfortable about the rise of authoritarianism. I think it's a global trend, and one that should be of concern to everyone.

Bisley: You're a liberal. What should liberals be critiquing their own side for?

Bourdain: There's just so much. I hate the term political correctness, the way in which speech that is found to be unpleasant or offensive is often banned from universities. Which is exactly where speech that is potentially hurtful and offensive should be heard.

The way we demonize comedians for use of language or terminology is unspeakable. Because that's exactly what comedians should be doing, offending and upsetting people, and being offensive. Comedy is there, like art, to make people uncomfortable, and challenge their views, and hopefully have a spirited yet civil argument. If you're a comedian whose bread and butter seems to be language, situations, and jokes that I find racist and offensive, I won't buy tickets to your show or watch you on TV. I will not support you. If people ask me what I think, I will say you suck, and that I think you are racist and offensive. But I'm not going to try to put you out of work. I'm not going to start a boycott, or a hashtag, looking to get you driven out of the business.

The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we're seeing now.

I've spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn't change anyone's opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we've done.

Bisley: In your Brexit episode of Parts Unknown, Ralph Steadman, who illustrated Appetites eye-catching cover, said "I think human beings are still stupid." Does that explain Trump's election?

Bourdain: I don't think we've got the [exclusive] franchise on that. If you look around the world (in the Philippines, in England), the rise of nationalism, the fear of the Other. When people are afraid and feel that their government has failed them they do things that seem completely mad and unreasonable to those of who are perhaps under less pressure. As unhappy and surprised as I am with the outcome, I'm empathetic to the forces that push people towards what I see as an ultimately self-destructive act. Berlusconi, Putin, Duterte, the world is filled with bad choices, made in pressured times.

Bisley: A few years back you were on Real Time with Bill Maher and part of the discussion was about people living inside their own bubbles. What do you think of Bill Maher?

Bourdain: Insufferably smug. Really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left. I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He's a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.

Amazon

Bisley: In your new cookbook, Appetites, you have a section called "Big Fucking Steak." In Kitchen Confidential, you wrote this about vegetarians: "To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food."

Bourdain: I can certainly eat vegetarian food in India for a considerable period of time. They actually make good vegetarian dishes. Appetites is a representation of how I cook at home, and my personal preferences, and doesn't pretend to be anything other than that.

That line's the old-school French tradition I came out of. To live without any of those things would be very, very difficult for me. They're all fundamental ingredients. I equate them with joy, pleasure: that's the business chefs are in! We are in the pleasure business. I'm not your doctor, or your therapist.

Bisley: The food-sex connection is enduringly lively in your oeuvre. You recently met that old Chinese guy in Sichuan. Eyes red, clearly in pain, begging for more chili. That was the first time you understood S&M?

Bourdain: Yes. I use a lot of sexual metaphors in describing the food. I don't think you should have food and sex at the same time. I have a limited vocabulary perhaps.

Bisley: You recently gave a feisty response to a long-winded San Francisco animal-rights protester who was going after you about eating meat. You said, "I like dogs. But how much worse can they be than, like, kale?"

Bourdain: At least she had the courage of her convictions. I thought her malice was misplaced. I've never eaten dog. She went on a little long. A sense of humor is a terrible thing to waste. And I think that's the problem with a lot of animal activists, with whom I share a shocking amount of overlap actually. I mean, I'm against shark-finning, I take no pleasure in seeing animals hurt or suffer, I like humanely raised animals. I'm against fast food. I'm against fur, animal testing for cosmetics. What annoys me is these people are so devoid of any sense of humor or irony. And their priorities are so fucked! I mean Aleppo is happening right now. They also threaten to murder humans who piss them off with a regularity I find disturbing.

Bisley: I remember the outer islands of French Polynesia; including meeting lovely indigenous people for whom dog-eating is an occasional traditional practice.

Bourdain: Let's call this criticism what it is: racism. There are a lot of practices from the developing world that I find personally repellent, from my privileged Western point of view. But I don't feel like I have such a moral high ground that I can walk around lecturing people in developing nations on how they should live their lives.

I like to help where I can. If I can minimize the market for shark fin, that would be great. If I could help find a solution for traditional Chinese medicine that values Rhino horn over Viagra I would. I would donate to a fund to distribute Viagra for free in places where they think rhino horn is gonna give you a boner.

The way in which people dismiss whole centuries-old cultures–often older than their own and usually non-white–with just utter contempt aggravates me. People who suggest I shouldn't go to a country like China, look at or film it, because some people eat dog there, I find that racist, frankly. Understand people first: their economic, living situation. I've spent time in the not-so-Democratic Republic of the Congo. The forests there are denuded of any living thing. It's not because they particularly like to eat bush meat, it's because they're incredibly hungry, and seeking to survive.

One thing I constantly found in my travels, which is ignored by animal activism, is that where people live close to the edge, they are struggling to feed their families, and are living under all varieties of pressures that are largely unknown to these activists personally. Where people are suffering, animals who live in their orbit are suffering terribly. In cultures where people don't have the luxury of considering the feelings of a chicken, they tend to treat them rather poorly. Dogs do not live good lives in countries where people are starving and oppressed. Maybe if we spent a little of [our] attention on how humans live, I think as a consequence many of these people would have the luxury to think beyond their immediate needs, like water to drink and wash, and food to live. A little more empathy for human beings to balance out this overweening concern for puppies would be a more moral and effective strategy.

Bisley: That Parts Unknown about the Congo from 2013, on Belgian King Leopold's legacy, gains resonance with references to Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.

Bourdain: This was a genocide that's largely unknown and overlooked! Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now are obsessions of mine.

Bisley: Another great episode was set in Iran.

Bourdain: It is a beautiful country, with an ancient and very rich culture that seems often to be at odds with its religious leadership. Iran is deeply conflicted, exhilarating, heartbreaking. One of the exhilarations is Iranians' eagerness to communicate, to express themselves, to show the world more about themselves than what we see on the news. The hospitality from strangers is extraordinary.

Bisley: With all the delicious food on Parts Unknown, people often wonder how you keep in shape. Did those days slogging in uber-hot kitchens give you a speedy metabolism?

Bourdain: No, actually. You look back at those later episodes of No Reservations and The Layover, I was getting bloated with food and alcohol. I train Brazilian ju-jitsu nearly every day. I spend a lot of my time, nearly every day and around the world, working very hard trying not to let some 23-year-old former college wrestler choke me unconscious. That's how I'm in shape.

NEXT: California's Absurd and Insidious 'Bill of Rights for Children' Invites Pernicious Meddling

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  1. For how big of a douche and stereotypically liberal he is on his show, which is indeed entertaining, he at least seems to get it.

    1. Say what you will about a lot of progressive baby-boomers but at least the can take as good as they get.
      Bourdain never really struck me as a snowflake and it’s good to see he doesn’t care for such nonsense.

      1. He donates money to the Democratic Party, for sure. He doesn’t spend his resources advocating against snowflake culture. He supports slaver agendas.

        Lefties gotta lefty.

        He is smart enough to know that many different kind of political types watch his shows and buy his crap. It would be stupid to piss those people off, so they don’t give him money. Amirite?

        1. Probably.

      2. I do think there’s an opportunity for us to try to convert the lefties that are almost-sorta libertarian maybe. It would be a good long term investment. Picking up Mike Rowe and Tony Bourain and adding them to Drew Carey and Kennedy would be a big win. We should have a game show or something. Gary Coleman Nick could host.

        1. Mike Rowe is already a fairly staunch libertarian. In no way is he a leftist. Never has been AFAIK.

          1. Well he certainly talks that way (and I definitely don’t think he’s a leftist” – I just want him to come out of the closet. Oh and also admit to being libertarian.

            1. I actually like that he’s fairly circumspect. You can glean his beliefs if you actually pay attention to what he says and does.

              It would be nice for politicians if he came “out” as a libertarian and provided endorsements, but I don’t think it would enhance his life that much.

        2. Being “lefty” and being libertarian really shouldn’t be seen as being opposites or opponents needing “conversion”. There IS room on the Nolan chart in the left half of the libertarian quadrant, which is something that sometimes gets forgotten.

    2. This is an excellent interview. It’s good to know there are liberals out there worthy of my respect. I’ve always liked Bourdain, and now I like him even more.

    3. I imagine the editing could have something to do with how he comes off on TV. What we end up seeing is like half him and half the producers (or whatever)

    4. I’d honestly rather hang out with douches like Bourdain than with most people. They’re at least fun. I cringe a bit when they get daring and brave over things no one has cared about in years, but we all have a little narcissism in us. Bourdain is one of those guys who is both wildly entertaining and kid cringey- we’ve all known a guy like that, and we’ve all enjoyed hanging out with him. And we’ve all put him in a serious headlock once, at 3 AM, for the hell of it, just so he knows we know he is full of shit and we could kick his ass if we wanted to. Bourdain strikes me as the kind of sidekick who’d pop back up after a good tousling and pretend it never happened.

      I didn’t see a whole lot about Sichuan peppercorns in this, but… damn are they worth looking into. I love chili. I love Northeast chili, made with mostly tomatoes, ground beef, and beans, I love white chili, I love green chili, I love chili. I also love real Texas chili made with not much more than chilis, onion, peppers, beef, water, and maybe some cumin. Can I just say that if Sichuan peppercorns had been available in Texas when chili was invented they would be an indispensable part of the recipe? There’s nothing like a mouth-numbing bowl of red made with a lot of Sichuan peppercorns.

  2. *Bourdain on Bill Maher: “Insufferably smug. Really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left. I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He’s a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.”

    Nail, meet hammer.

    1. Bill Maher for a time claimed he was a libertarian. I always thought he was more of a libertine. He wanted to do whatever he wanted, when he wanted, but suffer no consequences for any mistakes he made.

      1. Bill Maher is too stupid to know the difference between libertine and libertarian.

        1. Bill Maher would disagree with this statement, thereby validating it.

    2. This statement from Bourdain made me the happiest in the entire interview.

    3. Bourdain can be an insufferable douche himself but he does have the ability unlike most of the left to not be contemptuous of the ‘little’ people. He reserves his snark for people who are successful but irritate him for usually petty reasons but occasionally legitimate reasons. One of my favorite Bourdain moments was when he was judging a chef contest and went full snark on a really good contestant and that guy didn’t take his crap at all. Bourdain sat there with a stunned look on his face. He obviously never dreamed that someone would call him out in front of a camera.

      Unlike most lefties he’s pretty honest about his shortcomings and he isn’t afraid to call out his own ‘tribe’.

    4. Two years ago I discovered I had been in high school with Bill Maher for 3 years in the class ahead of him. Without ever running into him or having any clue who he was. So I asked some friends about him. Who were, first off, frankly astonished that I never had any interaction with him. Apparently, negative interactions with him were common. And second, informed me his personality hasn’t changed one bit since HS. In fact, every one of them used the word smug somewhere in their description of him. Smarmy was also used.

      He’s much better known then me. Has much more money. Is materially better off. Runs with a more influential crowd then I do. I’m married. We have 5 kids, 4 grand-kids, and more to come as the years go on. He has none. In the Game of Life, I won, he lost.

      1. Good life perspective, amigo. But its apples to oranges: You’re a happy person comparing themselves to a miserable fuck.

    5. Bourdain may be a bit smug, but Bill Maher is in the smug ass hall of fame.

      1. Isn’t smugness Maher’s shtick? I mean, he literally jokes about starting a comedy duo with Jerry Seinfeld called “Smug and Arrogant”

        http://comediansincarsgettingc…..d-arrogant

    6. Nah, Bourdain’s a different animal than Maher is. He can be obnoxious, but he’s still, basically, a guy from the kitchen (even if he forgets that at times.)

      I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen, but there’s not a lot of bullshit involved. In an election year one line cook might be like “You’re an asshole if you vote for so and so” and another might be like “Fuck you- you’re an asshole if you vote for so and so.” And no one gives much of a fuck about it, past that. When one candidate wins the wining cook might rib the other a bit, but no one really cares.

      The guys in the kitchen are too busy trying to score drugs, trying to stay off drugs, hitting on waitresses, dealing with breaking up with waitresses, getting drunk, not getting drunk, and mostly getting ready to come in and cook again tomorrow, for too little money, and on not enough sleep, to actually give a shit about elections. This is as it should be, as it has to be, and if there’s talk about candidates it is trash-talk. Bourdain knows this, and is trash-talking in a way Maher is not.

  3. I generally like Bourdain, but he’s one of those anti-gun people that thinks it’s cool when he gets to shoot. That’s one of my biggest political pet peeves: “guns for me, but not for thee”.

    1. You can repeat that with pretty much anything that people try to use the law to prevent, be it guns, drugs, fast driving, or any other enjoyable activity. People tend to think that they’re somehow special and can handle their shit, but that the public as a whole is not competent enough to do so. It’s probably related to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      1. FWIW, most people really can’t handle their drugs. Trust me.

    2. Actually, he does that fully conscious of the hypocrisy and does so more or less as a humorous aside on his inconsistency.

  4. One of the best part of Parts Unknown is the intro theme song.

    1. *parts*

      *** gets coffee ***

      1. At least you know your place.

        Cream, no sugar please.

  5. This is a guy who publicly scorns chefs that have the nerve to work in Trump’s restaurants.

    Fuck this hypocrite.

    1. Well, to be fair, he was a junkie, right?

    2. I’m addressing your logic, not defending AB, but his comment apparently requires analysis for some to avoid misunderstanding him.

      Here, try it.

      “If people ask me what I think, I will say you suck, and that I think you are racist and offensive. But I’m not going to try to put you out of work. I’m not going to start a boycott, or a hashtag, looking to get you driven out of the business.”

      So…no, not hypocritical.

  6. Sichuan pepper does not make a dish picante.

    The headline is utterly disconnected from the actual interview. The distinguishing characteristic of the dish that the old Chinese guy enjoyed in picante agony was from a variety of the capsicum pepper (genus Capsicum of the nightshade family), not the Sichuan pepper (genus Zanthoxylum of the citrus family) which is entirely different.

    If one orders a dish heavily spiced with Sichuan pepper and expects it to be picante, he’s going to be surprised and probably disappointed.

    By the way, picante Sichuan dishes are the result of cultural appropriation. Capricum is native to the Americas and was spread to Asia by European imperialists.

    1. Stop saying “picante”. lol.

    2. Yes, Sichuan peppers have a numbing, tingly, buzzing flavor. They are hard to find, unless you go to an Asian market or get them online (they are cheap). I love Sichuan food. There aren’t many cookbooks available in English.

      1. They’re really not very hard to find anymore, in a lot of places, including where I live now. They were _very_ hard to get here before 2005 as their import was literally banned until then.

    3. There is a reason for the term “ma la.”

  7. “From Iran to to Hanoi to rural New England…” A douche bag on many continents and a “recovering” junkie, just who’s opinion I give a shit about.

    1. I have actively avoided this guy’s shows and anything that gives him money.

      I have voted with my wallet!

      1. He wasn’t angling for your vote, and he applauds you for doing precisely the same thing he does.

        You and him aren’t really so different after all.

      2. Too bad, if you like food. Bourdain can be very entertaining.

    2. Yep, he’s a douchebag.

      His commentary here, however, is still spot on. It pisses me off when douchebags figure this out before more reputable and respectable characters.

      1. He is doucebag Jesus. Generally I can judge someone as a douchebag if they think this guy is ‘awesome’.

        What he said may be true, but it’s been said many times already, so why are we listening to him? Just another asshole repeating something he read in the NYT and pretending to be intelligent.

        1. I can assure you that just about none of my establishment “conservative” friends who cast a rage vote for Trump have yet to understand this message. I don’t expect that many of them read the NYT, maybe a few stumble across the Reason article on occasion, but this is unlikely to be found on their red-meat news sources where they get their hating points.

          They are doomed to repeat history as they become the next self-congratulatory mocking voice of contempt who will be shocked to find themselves a marginalized minority again in just a few short years.

          BTW, what’s a douchebag Jesus? And who said anyone is ‘awesome?’

          1. Douchebag Jesus: A great messiah that many other douchebags worship. Ex: Kanye West

      2. the question remains: will his actions support his rhetoric or was he simply playing to the crowd likely to read the interview? Sorry, but self-awareness and introspection are not common among progs.

        1. I’m guessing you haven’t watched his pre-CNN shows, then.

          He’s actually seems to make a point of showing self-awareness, on shows that are decidedly not for “this audience”.

      3. My first clue that someone may be a douchebag is when they take to calling others douchebags.

      4. Actually, Bourdain has a lot of interesting things to say about food. He is, without a doubt, a douche, and his douchiness sometimes intrudes on his take on food. That said, you’re robbing yourself of his valuable take on things if you dismiss entirely because you disagree.

    3. I don’t automatically discount people who have recovered from anything, quite often they have the life experience that make them interesting

  8. I’m a fan of Bourdain’s shows and I think he’s an interesting guy. He seems like he’d be a lot of fun to hang out with, and there’s a lot about his personal story that resonates with me, minus the heroin.

    He reminds me of a good friend of mine. Very intelligent, a genuinely nice guy, reasonably down to Earth, healthy amount of self-awareness…not at all the kind of person you’d expect to have such absolutely insane political beliefs. And because he sounds smart and he’s charismatic it sometimes takes you a minute to notice he’s saying things like, “Liberal east-coast privileged elites are contemptuous of red-state gun owners,” which is really just another way of saying, “We should be nice to the yokels because they didn’t have the chance to be as smart and well-off as we right-thinking people are.” He has the progressive’s obsession with race, which he interprets as sensitivity and empathy but really is just a way of thinking of different people as less able to make good decisions. It’s the difference between, “Maybe Chinese people just like eating dogs,” and “Maybe if Chinese people weren’t so poor and so Chinese they wouldn’t have to eat dogs.”

    1. “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.[To Hindu priests complaining to him about the prohibition of Sati religious funeral practice of burning widows alive on her husband’s funeral pyre.]”
      ? Charles James Napier

      1. Who else is not surprised that Longtorso is trying to establish moral equivalence between dogs and women?

        1. Well, you know my family was at Madras for three generations, so…

      2. Great quote on the absurdity of moral relativism w/ regard to culture. I never understood why the widow’s family would let that shit go down: “My sister’s husband died and y’all wanna throw her on his pyre? Which of the bereaved wanna die first trying?”

    2. “It’s the difference between, “Maybe Chinese people just like eating dogs,” and “Maybe if Chinese people weren’t so poor and so Chinese they wouldn’t have to eat dogs.”‘

      why can’t it be both?

      1. Maybe dogs are fucking delicious and no more deserving of remaining uneaten than what Americans commonly consider livestock.

        I’d eat a dog. IDGAF if someone else thinks they’re too cute to eat. If it used to have a soul, I’ll eat it.

        1. If it used to have a soul, I’ll eat it.
          Andrew Zimmern to the white courtesy phone; we may have a new tag line for you.

        2. So you would eat an aborted fetus? That is the sickest thing I have ever read on here. Move over, SugarFree.

        3. “Maybe dogs are fucking delicious…”

          No, dog meat is not particularly tasty. It’s not all that different from rat or cat or rabbit, all cute animals the Chinese are known to eat. Like much of Chinese cuisine, dog meat is eaten for its ‘medicinal’ qualities, ie aphrodiasiac.

          1. I’m sure the Chinese that eat dog have found a way to make it taste good even if it didn’t.

            1. “I’m sure the Chinese that eat dog have found a way to make it taste good even if it didn’t.”

              They use their typical 5 spice combo, if memory serves. But don’t think like a Westerner. Chinese believe that dog meat is medicinal and that’s about all they ask of it. Similarly, they don’t really care about what the Rhino Powder tastes like. It’s the effect they are after.

        4. My response to people who ask me why we should treat dogs differently from other domesticated animals is complicated, but boils down to this: there is reasonably good evidence that dogs, themselves the descendants of wolves who had a high tolerance for humans and low levels of cortisol, have been companions in our survival around the globe for anywhere between 10K to 100K years. They shared our camps, our fires, our sleeping arrangements; they warned us by their growls and barks when there were terrors of the night beyond the light of our fires; they assisted us in hunting, they gave us companionship when we were lonely, and they even seemed to grok us in ways that no other animal ever has.

          All this and more leads me to be willing to extend an eternal Get Out Of Jail Free card to dogs, who arguably helped us become human and create civilization. In contrast, there’s no evidence that cats (as just one example of many) threw their lot in to our mutual survival.

          Dogs aren’t just Canis familiaris, they’re our partners. I wouldn’t eat any human for precisely the same reason.

          1. Totally agree with this sentiment. Dogs deserve special treatment because humans have such a strong emotional bond with them.

          2. “they’re our partners”

            You show a lot more loyalty to dogs than others here. Are you sure you haven’t got any dog blood running through your veins? Loyalty is more pronounced in dogs than humans.

            1. Pigs are pets in Asian households, and actually a bit smarter than dogs. So why eat THEM?

              1. Apparently you missed the first part of my argument ? there’s anthro evidence that dogs “threw their lot in” with our survival and partnered with us in ways no other species ever has. Pigs may be pets (there’s LOTS of pets out there), but they never protected us from the terrors of the forest or the night. Dogs, arguably, have done precisely that. They freed us from the anxieties of the moment, helped us hunt and bolstered our numbers with their own, all of which gave us more intellectual breathing room (and breeding opportunities) to ultimately create civilization.

                If true, we owe them a species-to-species solid.

              2. When was the last time a pig fended off a sabre tooth tiger?

              3. Because unlike dogs, they’re fucking delicious.

    3. “He has the progressive’s obsession with race”

      Dog eating is not a racial characteristic. You can tell your friend.

      “Maybe Chinese people just like eating dogs,”

      There’s a reason why Chinese eat dogs. It’s ‘medicinal.’ And it’s not the food of China’s poor. That honour falls on the chicken. Dog meat is more expensive than beef, I’m pretty sure.

  9. quit reading after his first response I and many like me are fed up with the automatically answer of Trump is an authoritarianist that really has not been shown. And if you think enforcing existing laws, which is the presidents job, is authoritarianism then your argument is not with Trump its with the laws so change the laws

  10. There is a semi-hipster restaurant downtown called Hell’s Kitchen that collected Ralph Steadman art and showcased them on the walls and restaurant printed material, Mr. Bourdain.

    It moved to a new locale downtown and Steadman is still featured, I would guess, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been there as I didn’t like the new digs (a bar/eatery in a basement).

  11. Bourdain is a fool. Food and sex go great together.

    1. Not honey. In my experience, anyway.

      1. You have to use whipped honey.

        1. She complains that it hurts too much.

    2. Food and sex go great together.

      Reminds me of the old joke:

      “Woman’s definition of a perfect man: gives great sex and turns into a pizza afterwards.”

      1. “Woman’s definition of a perfect man: gives great sex and turns into a pizza afterwards.”

        Just what a female praying mantis says about her male counterparts.

        1. Considering a few of the females I’ve met in my lifetime, sometimes there’s not that much difference.

  12. “There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love.”

    A decent sentiment. Which is impossible to square with his very public decision to boycott any chefs who work for, or in a Trump affiliated establishment. Unless he equates employment with blanket endorsement (which I highly doubt.)

    I have two questions for Bourdain:

    1. Is this really a boycott, or merely a pose?

    Just how often, prior to the election, did he actually dine at a Trump restaurant? If he didn’t, then it’s purely a pose. And an asinine one at that.

    2. If he has actually been a patron of any of those chefs or establishments then what exactly about Trump has changed?

    If he was ok in private, how is he now not ok in public? And if you think you have an answer for that last bit, then also explain what it means to the meaning of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    1. You do realize there is a difference between his personal boycott vs a demand that everyone else boycott a trump restaurant, right? He actually spoke against people who demand boycotts.

      I was certainly not the pretentious type to be a patron of trump products before, but now my boycott of trump products is on principle, and there is nothing wrong with that.

      1. You also realize there is a difference between what he chooses to do, and what he very publicly announces he intends to do?

        Such difference possibly explaining why Madison Avenue pays celebrities so much for particular sorts of public announcements.

        As to your boycott of something you never have, and likely never would purchase?

        Well, ok then. Just don’t do anything you one day might regret.

        1. Uh, OK.

      2. I was certainly not the pretentious type to be a patron of trump products before, but now my boycott of trump products is on principle, and there is nothing wrong with that.

        Please explain the principle behind your decision to not purchase things that you were not purchasing in the first place.

        1. Hmmmm…Virtue Signalling?

        2. “”Please explain the principle behind your decision to not purchase things that you were not purchasing in the first place.””

          Isn’t that how a liberal boycott works?

          1. Isn’t that how a liberal boycott works?

            Many Conservative boycotts, too.

            1. And just about every Libertarian boycott as well.

        3. Are you saying you don’t know the difference between pretentious and principle?

    2. Trump should instruct his kids to buy all of Bourdain’s favorite places.

      Take that, d-bag!

  13. FWIW: Bourdain filmed scenes in a bar I used to go to for the San Francisco episode of his “Layover” show. According to the staff, he’s a really nice guy. Bought his film crew a round of drinks when they walked in the door, and took the bar staff out for a round after they were done. Asked the staff a lot of questions about themselves and the bar.

    He is a gifted writer – Kitchen Confidential is a great book. And his pre-CNN shows are very worthwhile. Parts Unknown is beautifully photographed, and sometimes very interesting, but it’s heavily slanted towards the politics you’d expect CNN to offer up.

    As far as the interview, he has shown a few libertarian tendencies in the past (he hated CA’s foie gras ban also), and I think he’s far more thoughtful than most liberals.

    1. i agree; he’s snarky, but that seems to be his schtick, more or less, and it is pretty funny for the most part.

      I do appreciate his departure from hard line liberal stances, including the utter enjoyment of participating in gun play and the presentation of us “flyover bumpkins” and more than troglodytes.

      Is there a bit of condescension if saying things like “the self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left?just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition?this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us?” Likely there is, but I do appreciate his calling them on it, even if they are his kind.

      And we do need more of that, not less.

    2. Yeah, I like biourdain. He’s obnoxious, but he’s the kind of obnoxious I like.

  14. Oh Well.. Excuuuuuse us. Sorry for noticing that Red-State America is predominantly populated with right-wing, gun hugging racist scum, high school dropouts, hate-fueled violent morons and double digit IQ rubes.

    1. “Sorry for noticing that Red-State America is predominantly populated with right-wing, gun hugging racist scum, high school dropouts, hate-fueled violent morons and double digit IQ rubes.”

      Let them eat dog.

    2. Blue America is populated by hate-filled, violent racists. They make everything be about race even if it isn’t. They constantly make laws that treat people differently based on race. They say race doesn’t exist but then say there’s too many white people. They cheer the minoritization and genocide of white people in white-majority countries even though white people are already a global minority.

      They hate everyone with a different opinion. They promote fascist-like censorship if you disagree with them. They try to destroy the 1st Amendment because they get triggered when seeing “Trump 2016” written in chalk on a sidewalk. They go out of their way to ruin your life on both a personal and professional level if you disagree with them.

      They are violent, as seen during the presidential election when they swarmed upon Trump supporters, when they literally ran after Trump supporters to attack them, when they used violence to get Trump rallies shut down. And the left’s hate-filled violence and racism has continued after the election with their protests, with their calls to kill Trump and rape Melania, and their even louder hatred of white people, even though lots of those white people voted for Obama twice.

      The delusional, hate-filled, racist left is so intolerant they are unable to comprehend that white Hillary lost due to reasons such as she is a corrupt establishment warmonger, or because the corrupt DNC and corrupt Donna Brazile rigged the election against Bernie Sanders.

      1. “The delusional, hate-filled, racist left…”

        Did you see the campaign? Trump’s rapport with the Left is evident in his rally in Eugene, Oregon, an American city notorious for the number its of anti-capitalists.

        1. I certainly did see the campaign. I saw Hillary’s campaign that literally paid people to bully Trump supporters. I saw Hillary’s campaign with the help of Divider-in-Chief Obama practically say Trump was head of the KKK. (Even though Hillary’s “mentor” and lifelong Democrat Robert Byrd was an actual high-up in the KKK.)

          I saw Dilbert creator Scott Adams endorse Trump basically for the sole reason that Hillary’s campaign was based on dividing the country and bullying people. He has a good video and blog explaining it and said it’s the worst thing he’s ever seen a presidential candidate do.

          1. Watch Trump among the Leftists in Eugene. Why bother with Hillary? She’s a nobody.

      2. I see you swallowed it all, hook line and sinker. You and drchristie are just each other’s mirror image. If you don’t like what you see in your reflection, it’s time for a personal make-over.

        1. You can’t compare the two. Hillary/Bernie supporters made it physically unsafe to publicly support Trump. Dilbert’s Scott Adams said it was physically not safe to be a Trump supporter in California, and all anyone has to do for evidence is look on Youtube and see the endless footage of Democrats rioting and attacking police and assaulting Trump supporters and starting fires and carrying foreign flags and swarming Trump supporters in their cars, getting Trump’s Chicago rally canceled, etc. Trump supporters may have thrown a few punches, but their behavior is nothing on the scale of what the left did.

          That’s why many areas Trump won didn’t have any Trump signs or bumper stickers or people saying they were going to vote for Trump. Because Trump supporters were so concerned about the hate-filled, violent, intolerant left causing them physical harm or doing physical damage to their car or house. And the left’s hate-filled intolerance and violence and racism has continued even after the election.

    3. You ever notice that Bourdain is, when it comes down to his basic values, a red-stater?

      You ever work in a kitchen, man? If you work in a kitchen you come to appreciate Conquest’s first law. There is no room in a kitchen for anything other than a very conservative work ethic. Bourdain mouths off about what he doesn’t understand, but.. he knows, in the end, that a kitchen works because the people in it work.

    4. You ever notice that Bourdain is, when it comes down to his basic values, a red-stater?

      You ever work in a kitchen, man? If you work in a kitchen you come to appreciate Conquest’s first law. There is no room in a kitchen for anything other than a very conservative work ethic. Bourdain mouths off about what he doesn’t understand, but.. he knows, in the end, that a kitchen works because the people in it work.

  15. “In Russia we do not eat this part of the dog.”

    Yaacov Smirnov on hot dogs

    1. In Russia, dog eats you.

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  17. The success of mediocrities like Bourdain never ceases to amaze me. I really need to become more cynical.

    1. “The success of mediocrities like Bourdain never ceases to amaze me”

      The revered Bill Maher is even more successful. Scarcely a day goes by without a tip of the hat to him by one or more of Reason’s writers.

      1. Can Bourdain make 98652$ at home?

        1. Is that the special secret backward code?

  18. Ok, but of someone snorts powdered rhino horn because they think it’ll make them horny, I’m going to have justified contempt for him. Because it’s pure nonsense irrespective of what color the idiot doing that is.

    Eating taboo animals for survival is totally understandable. Would it aggravate him if I just dismissed aspects of other cultures as bullshit?

    1. “Eating taboo animals for survival is totally understandable. ”

      I bet you eat taboo animals every day and it’s not as though your life depends on it. It’s just part of your bullshit culture.

      1. Umm, if I were really hungry and had no prospect of getting other food, and you were clearly dead… I’d eat you man. I’m not sure I’d even feel that bad about it. I would, if apposite, send your family a postcard.

        1. I’m not clearly dead yet. In the meantime, you’re welcome to drink my bodily fluids.

  19. Except of course Tony is just another left wing elitist prickly who defends his views almost entirely on his own ignorance. This whole ‘everyone is an idiot!’ is in fact the highest idiocy in its own right.

    1. What I didn’t like was his conflating authoritarianism with nationalism. Nationalism is not a problem per se. I can be a proud American precisely because the America I love is a freedom loving, constitutional Republic.

      Of course, the leftists hate themselves and their country and want everyone else to do the same. (…oikophobia.)

  20. There’s a video clip from Anthony Bourdain’s show where he agrees with his guest that eliminating all white people is “the only way” for people to get along and that it would be a utopia. Bourdain should be smart enough and have traveled enough to know just because people look the same doesn’t mean they won’t hate each other, but for some reason Bourdain encourages white genocide and encourages eliminating an entire race of people anyway.

    In that same clip he also says the world is going back into nazism — even though what’s really going on is nationalism of citizens trying to protect their country from millions of third-world welfare invaders who often want to change the country and culture they’re immigrating to, and if they’re not stopped will out-breed the country’s own citizens and will turn the county into the third-world country they left. With current excessive immigration, how many Germans will be left in Germany in 30 years?

    1. You’d think that as well-traveled as he is he’d have understood that the *more* people look like each other the more likely they’ll hate each other and the more violently that hate will be expressed.

      Who can tell the difference between a Hutu and a Tutsi? Between a Hatfield and a McCoy?

      1. Helps to remember that he’s really still nothing more than a tourist on what are effectively guided tours.

      2. Apparently THEY could.

  21. Hey, Reason, why don’t you come up with a workable “printer friendly” format for those of us who dislike reading long articles off a monitor (or whose eyesight just doesn’t allow it)? Or aren’t your techs that savvy to come up with one!

  22. “Wherever one lives in the world right now I wouldn’t feel too comfortable about the rise of authoritarianism.”

    What a schlub. HRC represented authoritarianism to a far greater degree than Trump. And he’s objectively wrong, as authoritarianism has been receding in the world for decades now.

    “the rise of nationalism”

    Nationalism is NECESSARY for the health of any nation. Fucks like this faggot have been falsely equating the love and pride of country and culture, i.e., nationalism, with authoritarianism. This faggot, who apparently despises America the country and American culture, is part and parcel of the authoritarian party that wants politicians to determine who gets what when they’re sick, when they retire, when they go to school, etc. Authoritarianism is independent of nationalism. At least authoritarian nationalists want authority to preserve a loved culture, whereas this dipshit wants authority because he wants to destroy a culture he despises. Then this preachy bitch wants to tell the people who love the culture he’s destroying that destruction is good for them because he knows better.

    Fuck this prick.

    1. “HRC represented authoritarianism to a far greater degree than Trump. ”

      That’s called damning with faint praise. If the best Trump can claim is that a nobody like HRC is more authoritarian than the president elect, then we’re in for a hellish ride.

      1. Not true. The comment wasn’t that Trump was at least somewhat less a threat to authoritarianism but HRC was far, greater.

        If you look at Trump’s list of Supreme court nominee candidates, the country avoided suicide by selecting Trump.

        1. “If you look at Trump’s list of Supreme court nominee candidates”

          Your optimism is quite a change from the cynical attitude shown toward presidents here.

  23. It is comment threads like this that make me love Reason.

  24. I have yet to meet a lefty that isn’t a hypocrite. I’ve watched a fair amount of AB – I like him as a entertainer but his politics suck. He’s a hypocrite of the minor order. Or was until he started boycotting Trump restaurants – has he ever been in one? Ever? If not, it’s just virtue signaling – boycotting something you don’t use has no meaning. Then saying he’s not going to start any boycotts or anything? – Oh, well, except this one.

  25. He’s uncomfortable about the “rise of authoritarianism” but, I gather, regrets Brexit. Odd that considering the crowd in Brussels is about as authoritarian as you can get.

    1. “Brussels is about as authoritarian as you can get”

      Worse than that, it’s democratic too. That crackpot Nigel Farage has sat in his MEP seat for years now, a feat he couldn’t accomplish in the British parliament.

      1. Democratic – two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. Democracy is NOT anything more than a dictatorship by the mob. Only a constitutional republic that protects the rights of individuals (the smallest minority is the individual) is a moral and just government.

        Prop 8 in CA was democracy at its best – according to you.

        1. “Prop 8 in CA was democracy at its best – according to you.”

          CA is not as democratic as Europe is.

  26. Mr. Bourdain seems to be confusing authoritarianism with nationalism. Authoritarianism means centralized powerful government, and restricted personal freedoms–the sorts of things desired by the Left in this country. Trump definitely rode a tide of nationalism (Make America Great Again) -but he’s not advocating for bigger government, as a matter of fact, he’s promised to deregulate. The accusations that can be leveled at Trump as far as curtailing personal freedoms go are his desire to hold the media to account (I thought we were all against “fake news”) and of course that flag burning disaster. The Left on the other hand has waged a far more serious war on free speech via Political Correctness, not to mention hate-speech. I shudder to imagine what New York landlords are in for. Their war on guns is also of a far more serious nature than anything Trump’s threatened America with to date. Personally, I can’t stand the man, he’s conceited and obnoxious, irresponsible and dangerously unfiltered—but trying to label him authoritarian, especially after Pres. Obama is laughable.

  27. “Where people are suffering, animals who live in their orbit are suffering terribly. In cultures where people don’t have the luxury of considering the feelings of a chicken, they tend to treat them rather poorly. Dogs do not live good lives in countries where people are starving and oppressed.”

    How could you make these observations and not have libertarian instincts?

    He’s a libertarian. He just either doesn’t know it or doesn’t understand the aesthetic.

    I wonder if he knows about our general enthusiasm for punk rock and that The Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” is a libertarian anthem?

    1. He’s not in the slightest Libertarian. For starters, he’s extremely pro-gun control, and praises countries because they have nice “mass transit” systems.

      1. I’d have to see a link for that.

        If you’re saying he praises authoritarianism specifically because of mass transit, I’m gonna call bullshit.

        For a lot of New Yorkers, those are aesthetic issues anyway. For a lot of social conservatives who supposedly support gun rights, it’s just an aesthetic issue, too. Libertarianism isn’t really about where you land on any issue so much as it’s about how you get there, and the way he addressed animal abuse is very libertarian.

        His instincts are libertarian. I bet he sees the ultimate answer to gun crime as being a lot like hus real answer to animal abuse.

    2. “He’s a libertarian”

      Nope, sorry Ken, watched to much of his previous shows to believe that. To be sure he’s personally lived a very libertine life, and is willing to extend a tolerance (of sort) to those doing mostly the same . But he loves himself some heavy hand of government when it comes to “aiding the benighted.”

  28. I used to love No Reservations but he became more insufferable as the show went on. He’s always had a Too Cool for School vibe that is grating. I’d love to know where the Maher thing came from because you couldn’t tell it from this appearance.

    http://www.haydenplanetarium.o…..bill-maher

    Hell, Maher admitted to reading his book and seemingly respected him immensely. Perhaps the smug comment comes from Maher’s association with PETA and Bourdain’s disdain for that organization.

  29. He is right being concerned with the rise of authoritarianism. But who is pushing speech codes? Which had the least transparent administration in the history of the country while promising the most? Fascism always comes from the left not from those who advocate small, constitutionally limited government.

    1. Sure, that would explain Mussolini, Franco, Hitler – not! You don’t have to parrot this tripe, you know – you could think about it first.

      1. Excuse me. Mussoline, Franco, and HItler were all leftists – socialism and fascism are collectivist (leftist) economic systems.

        You are conflating fascism with nationalism or militarism. Militarism spans the range from far right to far left. The leftist militarists (Mao, Stalin, HItler) have the highest scores in murder and mayhem, however.

  30. AB: “I’m against fast food.”

    AB: “One of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles, In-N-Out Burger”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4J1seTHAMU

  31. This guy is just a plain asshole. Can’t believe anyone watches his show. Good for Bill Maher if he put him in his place.

  32. Actually, between Bourdain & Maher, I would say Bourdain is the bigger douchebag. Maher had a show called Politically Incorrect – between Bourdain and Maher, Maher is the one more about challenging norms. He has always called out the universities that protect against microaggressions and the pampered liberal elites.

  33. Amusing, maybe. Sharp? Not so much.

    Denigrating the eating practices of others is ethnocentrism, not in itself racism. Racism is the attribution of different essential qualities (e.g., intelligence, morality) to peoples based on inherited physical traits such as skin color. Condemning another’s food choices does not rise to the level of racism.

    Political Correctness is a term used primarily by conservatives to insult liberals by pretending that calling for speech respectful of others, particularly marginalized social groups, is political censorship. It ignores the sacred tropes of conservatives which may not be questioned, and ignores the fact that consistent and widespread denigration of others is political action. If you lack the wit to make argument and instead resort to insult and insinuation, we’re going to call you on it. Great comedians don’t make other social groups the target of their ‘humor’; they use their own. The best jokes about Jews come from Jewish comedians. And it’s ok to punch up. not to punch down.

    And yes, Maher is insufferably smug – but he is a distinct minority among liberals and it is as big an error to use him to typify liberals as it is to use the worst of low lifes to typify rural or Red America. Most of the liberals I know have their roots in rural America and know their relatives and old neighbors better than that.

    1. “Racism is the attribution of different essential qualities (e.g., intelligence, morality) to peoples based on inherited physical traits such as skin color.”

      Eh, that is quite the homebrew definition you have there. Wtf is “essential,” there are plenty of inherited traits that have nothing to do with being demographically classified as part of a particular race, etc.

      A better definition of racism would be, perhaps, “prejudging someone based on their perceived race.” Once you start attaching the label of observed distinctions and outcomes (e.g., overabundance of blacks in the NBA, ergo, NBA is racist), you’ve lost it.

  34. He knows a thing or two about smug and sanctimonious…just ask Sandra Lee, Guy Fieri or Paula Deen.

    1. An unstable cake mix hack, a pig, and a racist. Go figure.

  35. I didn’t know I was reading on FOX. I’ve never seen more ‘smug’ and ‘sanctimonious’ right-wing ‘snobs’ in my life.
    You are the first to cry ‘hypocrite’ yet that’s what you all are. Have a good time, while it lasts.
    Let’s see how ya’ll feel about Trump in a couple of years.

    1. Let’s see how ya’ll feel about Trump in a couple of years.

      Most of the commenters will still hate Trump. Some of us will find a mix of things to like and dislike. He won’t be as bad as many fear or as good as some hope – just like most others.

    2. Well, Trump at least probably won’t try to start World War 3 with Russia like Hillary planned on doing. And since she lost, Obama is trying to get WW3 with Russia started before he leaves office. Hillary has a history of unconstitutionally knocking over countries, she would have finished “regime changing” Syria, and she would have been George W. Bush’s 5th term. There’s plenty of reasons to dislike Trump, but between him and Hillary he is easily the peace candidate and will hopefully be the first President in a long time who will defend America’s borders more than defending the borders of foreign countries that don’t like America anyway.

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  37. Wait…suddenly those on the left are worried about authoritarianism now that they aren’t in power? After cheering the overreach of our current President in exercising supra-Presidential power, they now fear authoritarianism? Authoritarianism in the guise of globalism is cool! Authoritarianism in the guise of nationalism is un-cool. How about we stop authoritarianism in all guises?

    Perhaps our libertarian fellows in Congress can convince their co-legislators to pull the power back for all parties.to

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  39. Oh, brother! Spare me!

    From Yahoo, referencing this very article…..’Bourdain, who is a New York City native and an outspoken critic of the president-elect, said he thinks “the rise of authoritarianism” is a “global trend and one that should be of concern to everyone.” Still, he argued, the belittling or dismissive attitudes of his peers toward Trump’s supporters is counterproductive.’

    He’s still delusional. What’s more authoritarian than forcing bakeries or photography studios to make cakes or take pictures for ANY reason they disagree with? Last I heard, neither Mr. Trump nor his supporters would EVER think about doing something like that.

    No, it’s Anthony Bourdain’s ideology that is authoritarian and HE CANNOT see it. Shaming people of his ilk to sit down with us “rubes” will only reinforce the arrogant to leave the meeting more determined than ever to force us to do whatever it is that they think is the “right” thing to do. It’s the arrogance of his side that is their downfall. They will not condescend to “see” our side because they cannot see where they are wrong.

    1. “What’s more authoritarian than forcing bakeries or photography studios to make cakes or take pictures for ANY reason they disagree with?”

      if you have to ask….

  40. Bottom line: Lefty slaver with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Fuck him.

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  42. Please get over the “Douchebag” title to him. He is a history teacher of the most courageous kind. There are points I do fervently disagree with him such as the slaughtering of dogs in Yulin which to me is a “heart of Darkness” moment in time, albeit I shall not get into that now.
    Bourdain is use to eating meat from countries that actually allow their animals to graze and laze and roam and have the fun being what they are. Although I am near vegetarian, I have not given up all meat yet. So, I cannot fault him for his ideas on meat (except the dogmeat in China, S. Korea,etc where they create joyous festivals out of the suffering of even the transporting of them to their long destination.
    I love his show. He is a witty, bright, intelligent teacher of the history and cultures of our global village.
    And he a REAL star in the galaxy of the abundant fakery of life on this planet Earth.
    I applaud what he does to humanize the forgotten, the disenfranchised and criticized people here on the planet.
    A show does not go by in which I learn at least one new item about food, people and their cultures.
    Why do people call him a douchebag? Perhaps because he tells it like it is in HIS mind and oftentimes in the minds of others. He is not racist, ethnocentric, islamophobic, misogynistic and a truly empathetic ambassador of the world.
    You want peace and understanding within this “Global Village” in which we live?
    Make him Secretary of State, Mr. Trump.

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  45. I used to buy this hoser’s books and watch all his programs. Now I’ve tossed them out and avoid his smarmy little soujourns to places I used to enjoy watching him tour.

    His whole brain is utterly colonized and there’s really no hope he’ll improve.

    He’s over and he knows it which is why he’s handing out these semi-meaCulpa interviews.

    Flush him.

  46. I used to buy this hoser’s books and watch all his programs. Now I’ve tossed them out and avoid his smarmy little soujourns to places I used to enjoy watching him tour.

    His whole brain is utterly colonized and there’s really no hope he’ll improve.

    He’s over and he knows it which is why he’s handing out these semi-meaCulpa interviews.

    Flush him.
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