Over at BlogCritics Magazine, Holly Hughes is questioning whether Anthony Bourdain has sold out:
In case you haven’t noticed, however, we live in a media age, and I can’t blame Anthony Bourdain for selling out as soon as TV came a-calling. It’s not like he was a Nobel Prize-winning poet, anyway – he was just a chef, folks, and not a particularly distinguished one at that. At least his first foray into the televisual realm was on the Food Network: the 12-part A Cook’s Tour, which played off on his willingness to eat gross local specialties from around the globe. Fair enough, and he did write a very entertaining book to go with it.
I dismiss the idea honestly. What is “selling out” anyway? Is it becoming popular? If so, it’s a bit ironic – and more than a bit hypocritical – that each and every one of us aspires to success and perhaps a bit of infamy in our line of work; yet when someone else accomplishes the same goals, we trash them for “selling out”.
Yes, on rare occassions, Bourdain’s taped doing things that he admits he’d rather not do (dancing, riding a bicycle through the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, etc.), but these are clearly the exceptions rather than the rule.
Simply having a television show is not selling out. Sacrificing who you are and what you’re willing to do for money is and I don’t believe Tony’s done either of these things. He’s still the same crass, rough around the edges, traveling foodie who’s unwilling to pull any punches. Have you heard how many times Bourdain swears and yells on his show? It’s not as though he’s sanitizing No Reservations content for family-hour cable television.
Luckily, the visual style of these Travel Channel shows has found an equivalent to Bourdain’s prose. The handheld camera, the quick-cut editing, the ambient soundtrack, put us right in the thick of his culinary adventures. Bourdain’s voice-overs are astringent, self-mocking, wry – a perfect antidote to the gushing prose usually found in travel documentaries.
You mean the kind of gushing prose found in travel documentaries of … sellouts? No Reservations is the antithesis of same. You can’t have it both ways.