“After watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” season opener last night on the Travel Channel, I really want to visit Cuba!”
Similar gushing about visiting Cuba is is viral on the net today.
Bourdain’s visa-issuers got a damn good return. “Yes, Go to Cuba!” he gushed at the end. That’s all that matters–especially right now. I can’t imagine Manuel Marrero (Cuba’s Minister of Tourism) or his bosses are exactly complaining. Does anyone really think The Travel Channel’s target market cares that Cubans can’t eat where tourists eat and are kept in check by pervasive surveilance? Hell! Most tourists probably PREFER it that way, especially given the “typical Cuban” as depicted on the show.
All Bourdain watchers have seen him much “spunkier” and “snarkier” elsewhere.
Now where have we seen this lion to lamb metamorphosis before…hummm? Well, how about Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, Barbara Walters, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. They say weird things happen in the Bermuda Triangle. I say much weirder things happen in the Florida straits. Let a Beltway reporter confront a Republican official and he’s a roaring Torquemada. North of the Florida straits and in front of Republicans no question is too rude, irrelevant or offensive; no demeanor too haughty, combative or insolent.
But just let these identical paragons of “feistiness” cross the Florida Straits and find themselves in front of “President” Castro or any of his apparatchiks. Remember Eddie Haskell addressing June Cleaver? “Why Mrs Cleaver, you certainly look wonderful today! I was just telling little Theodore how I marvel at how you manage to look younger and younger every single day! And isn’t that a wonderful smell coming from the kitchen! I was just telling Theodore how lucky he is to have such a wonderful cook…!”
No, Bourdain didn’t quite go that far. But if only he’d demonstrated 1/1,000,000 of his vaunted “spunk” and “feistiness” against a regime that jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin during the Great Terror, murdered more Cubans than Hitler murdered Germans during the Night of Long Knives, and craved to nuke his homeland as he has against Tea Partiers: “marginal, very angry white people.” who remind him of George Wallace voters and the murderer of Martin Luther King.”
Or the James Beard Foundation: “an insular, elitist organization more interested in an ego-stroke than the well-being of the people it purports to honor. I’ve been loudly peeing on this organization at every opportunity for years.”
Gosh, Tony–you’re so damn SPUNKY!!!!
Predictably Bourdain snarks at Travel-writers who crassly commercialize their “reviews”: such as in “The World’s 50 Best List.”:
“The guys who put together that list all call each other and horse trade. It’s good for business, it’s good for chefs, but I mean, no one takes it seriously. It’s not even a popularity contest, it is a list brokered by a lot of people with common interests. They’re in the business.”
But only a hopeless hard-line intransigent could dream-up any “horse-trading” between The Travel Channel and the Stalinist apparatchiks who issued the Travel Channel’s visas.
(BTW: Our genuinely spunky colleague, Ziva, reports that the Travel Channel’s Bourdain page now links the Stalinist regime-owned Hotel Nacional, for quick and easy reservations!)