Anthony Bourdain, hater of home fries and lover of steak, has a delightful new interview with Reason to promote his perpetual Parts Unknown voyage on CNN. As luck had it (for readers), this talk took place right after the electoral college symbolically confirmed Donald Trump for the presidency. And as writer Alexander Bisley puts it during the introduction, Bourdain “continues not to give any f*cks” while discussing this subject.
Naturally, Bourdain does do some Trump-trashing in this interview, but he does not discriminate down party lines here. In addition to equating Trump with a larger trend — the rise of authoritarianism — Bourdain (a liberal) also takes aim at the left side of the political spectrum. In particular, he’s not a fan of the Real Time With Bill Maher host, who did not impress him when Bourdain guested a few years ago. Here’s what Bourdain thinks of 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.”
Bourdain also expresses disgust at political correctness, which he says has quashed free speech in universities and demonized comedians. He then hints at how this election could very well have been a response to how liberals regard gun-toting red staters:
“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.”
Bourdain has observed plenty during his travels, so of course he’s proficient at contextualizing what he’s seeing in America with the rest of the world. It’s also refreshing to see that he’s willing to take his own party behind the shed. The world could use more of the same as a forward-looking approach, rather than waiting for the next political mess to happen.
And it will.