Sympathy For A Straw man– Anthony Bourdain Edition by Molly


I want to like Anthony, I really do. I liked his first book. I like a lot of what I’ve seen of his shows. He’s edgy and smart and he connects to that American libertarian/left school of arts and letters, like Hunter S. Thompson  and William Burroughs. I think he works at it, too, which is fine by me. The gun fetish, the love of big powerful machines are reoccurring themes in that school. They’re reoccurring themes in American culture writ large so it makes sense. Of course that doesn’t mean any new American arts or letters or thinking should necessarily bow down to these toxic accessories. Personally I think if you want to be a real American innovator then you might take a look at these dangerous toys and consider if they’re still of any value.

Anthony has been giving interviews about the Trump Presidency lately. He seems to want to make two points: 1) He’s no friend of Trump, does not support him and won’t eat in any of his restaurants. 2) The Left needs to stop being mean to gun loving Middle America. He Says:

“But I think to mock constantly, as so much of the left has done — to demonize, to ridicule, to treat with abject contempt people who live in a very different America than they live in — is both ugly and counterproductive,” Bourdain said. “There are a lot of people who are pissed off, they’re tired of being talked to like that.”

He also talks in this interview, Anthony Bourdain’s wake-up call for liberals calling for revolution: “Whose heads are gonna be on the pike first? Us”, about a straw man who I rarely see in America anymore. He talked about a father taking his son out deer hunting. Anthony says he’s traveled around Middle America quite a bit, too.

Recently I went to a gun show in a rural area of Washington State. I went to research a piece I’m interested in writing. Guess how many deer rifles I saw at this gun show? Zero. Zero is the correct answer. I saw table after table covered in serious military grade weaponry. I say this as a former Marine with boatloads of training. Bushmasters, AR-15’s, AK-47’s, SKS’, Mini-14’s. A whole lot of combat grade weapons. Also: high capacity magazines, body armor, tactical vests for carrying extra magazines, night vision goggles, etc. Lots and lots of serious military hardware. Father’s getting bolt action deer rifles for their sons? Zero. I saw, even after the election, t-shirts and buttons that said: Hillary for Prison. I saw middle aged men with lightening bolt neck tats and patches from the Northwest militia groups. You know what else I saw? Latino guys from California with Latin King tats buying high capacity magazines and other gear to take south with them. I’m not making this up.

I believe  Anthony is trying to appear brave and have it both ways. He’s trying to say: “I am a progressive who is concerned about his daughter’s future but I’m also brave enough to criticize the progressive Left.”

God knows there’s plenty to call out on the progressive Left. I do it all the time myself. Call out and criticize anyone who’s full of shit is a pretty good policy. But calling out the Left for being mean to gun worshipping Middle America? Ha. It’s a lie. Really, if parents want to teach their children to hunt because it’s part of their culture– Buy a bolt action, single shot deer rifle and have at it. Or, better yet, get a bow. Personally I’m a big fan of bows. Takes a lot more skill to hunt an animal with a bow. Get a bow. If you claim you want a firearm for cultural reasons, for hunting and you have a Bushmaster 5.56, four thirty round magazines; an Ak-47 and a Glock 40 cal with several high capacity magazines– you’re full of shit. You’re a liar. You worship weapons because you think they make you powerful. You’ve probably called Michelle Obama an ape and Barack Obama a Muslim from Kenyan. That’s the profile, isn’t it? You probably voted against your own interest by putting people like Louie Gohmert and Paul Ryan and Mitch Mcconnell in positions of authority. Hell, you probably voted for Trump who may well cause irreparably harm to this country, and your childrens’ future. And Anthony Bourdain thinks the Left should spoon feed you love.

I think you should get your own goddamn country and Anthony Bourdain and his daughter should join you.

If Anthony really wants to be brave, and not just pretend to be brave, and if this toxic weapon worship is part of American Culture, then it’s something that needs to be cured. Called out, ridiculed, separated and cured.

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