Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rich People Can Be Sad

When I opened Facebook last Friday morning, the status of one of my friends read "Don't turn on CNN".

In the comment below, it said "Dear God, not Anthony Bourdain."

Dear God, indeed.  I am not usually one to get upset about the death of a celebrity, as I'm practical and recognize that there are vastly more important things to worry about right now, but I fucking loved Anthony Bourdain.  He was sexy and unapologetic and smart and absolutely obsessed with food.  He was the stereotypical entitled white male, and I should have hated him based on my usual patterns, but I didn't.  Because although he was rich and had every door in the world open to him, he was also kind.  He treated the guests on his show, and the food they served him, with respect.  It's possible that he was a total jerk in real life, but his public persona was good.

He also responded to me on Twitter.

I recently called him out for his lack of female representation on The Layover, and he responded with a "Yep".  It was the absolute minimum he could have done to acknowledge me, but I was still gleeful about receiving a response from The.  Anthony.  Bourdain.

And now he's gone.

Within minutes of the news that he had killed himself, people were starting to speculate about the whys of it.  And of course, there were people who said things like "What did he have to be depressed about?  He had so much money."


Don't get me wrong.  We all know that there are some very good things about money, starting from its ability to provide us with necessities (food, clothing, shelter) and extending to its ability to fly us to France for fancy pastries.  Water is also wet.  But while some amount of money is necessary for happiness, no amount of it is enough to buy happiness.

It doesn't fix loneliness.
Or broken brain chemistry.
Or a traumatic past.

It doesn't create love.
Or community.
Or a life purpose.

I have had no money and I have had lots of money in my life, and while I definitely prefer the latter, I also know that money doesn't protect me from being sad.

And we need to stop thinking that it does.

Because even rich people like Anthony Bourdain deserve to be cared for when they're depressed.  They deserve forgiveness and understanding for not being able to stay in this often hostile world.

I forgive and understand you Tony.  And I will miss the heck out of you.


  1. For the record, I am not trying to equate "sad" and "depressed", as I recognize that they are very different things. I'm just being a bit sloppy with my language because I don't feel like doing a careful edit on this.

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  2. That was a rough one to hear. So many questions. Would have loved to sit down for a meal and several beers with the man. The odds of that happening were extraordinaly slim, but now they're zero.


    1. Wouldn't that have been amazing? I wanted him to come do a show in my small city that is filled with amazing cuisine from all over the world.

  3. Like you, I view celebrities mainly as people who we think we know but will never talk to and I don't have much visceral reaction to their news other than feeling a bit bad that their lives, by dint of their career choice, is so on display all the time, but his death hit me hard too.

    I respected how much he respected his art and the people that he worked with and I admired that, so far as I could tell, he seemed like a genuine and generally kind person who tried to reach out and make a true connection to humanity in a way I couldn't imagine doing.

  4. There are some celebrities who look like they might need a friend and then those who are surrounded by people, but very lonely. I figure they are just like the rest of us, but with a few less worries. So far I have won all my battles with depression, but there was a close one once. It would help if we all cared for each other just a little more. After all we are all in this together.

    1. I am glad that you have won all of your battles, and I hope that you will win any more that may come in the future. Caring for each other is definitely an important thing. Thank you for visiting here and being part of this online community!

  5. Tony Bourdain's death gutted me. And you're right-his having money and what seemed like the ideal lifestyle (although, 250+ days of travel a year? Might not have been that great) had nothing to do with the fact that he was depressed. Again, health doesn't discriminate.

    The version of India he went to, over and over again, is so divorced from my reality. I wanted to go where he was going. I wanted him to eat my grandmother's cooking. I will never get to go to half the places he visited, but he inspired me to learn about all of them.

    And in his honor, I raise a shot, and cook from my 'Burma: Rivers of Flavor' cookbook. And I think of how we should, as my program coordinator once said, "take care of each other".

    1. We should indeed take care of each other. There is so little of that going on in the States right now, but our world would be so much better if we would.

  6. I agree with this post. Money isn't going to solve all of life's problems, but it'll help with some of it. Sadly, I didn't know of Anthony Bourdain until he passed away.

    1. It definitely helps with many things: it allows you to work less, take vacations, access mental health resources, live in a comfortable home, hire a housekeeper, get takeout, etc. But it absolutely isn't enough.

      I hope you enjoy discovering Anthony Bourdain! His shows are amazing.

  7. I didn't really know anything about him, but hearing folks talk about how respectful he was to others encouraged me to start watching his show. A man who unabashedly loved food and still would call a bad person a bad person is definitely a man to be missed.

    The idea that rich folks are not human and don't experience the full range of human experience is laughable. Rich people are just as likely to have terrible battles.

    1. I don't think I've ever encountered someone who loves food as much as he did. It was wonderful to watch. definitely makes things easier, but it isn't enough to make the hard things go away. It's easy to think it does when you don't have money, but it can be a rude awakening when you have money and realize the truth.

  8. I hate leaving the comments at 13...totally random 14th comment! (Not that I'm superstitious...)

  9. Looks like he's not exactly rich. A report I just read put him at 1.2 million? Ugh...I hate that he is gone.

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