Anthony Bourdain’s toxic masculinity

Anthony Bourdain killed himself on the 8th of last month, which by today’s standards for news cycles makes it ancient history. Just the same, and despite the fact that I’ve already addressed this, I want to take a second look at what happened considering information that has come to the surface in the days after his death.

I took the position at the time, and still do, that his suicide was primarily a product of being suicidal. Or in other words, he died because he wanted to. No great mystery to unwrap. Well, unless you’re one of the nutcases I found in the comments who are bent on claiming that Bourdain’s supposed suicide was actually a CIA black op conducted on behalf of Hillary Clinton. I have taken the liberty to assume, to hope actually, that this is the same group of intellectual cripples that claim that school shootings like the one in Florida were also staged by government agents.

Stupid. It grows on trees these days.

Alex Jones worthy conspiracies aside, there is another reason to take a second look at the death of Anthony Bourdain. The story behind it is a worthy one in spite of the outcome, which, as I’ve already belabored, had a fixed outcome. Anthony Bourdain was bound to take his own life. Driven by some form of clinical depression, life trapped in an anhedonic fog would eventually do him in. He was destined to find a reason to kill himself.

What is interesting to me is that his reason, his personal back-breaking straw, appears to have been a familiar trait in so many men of his ilk. Toxic masculinity. And yes, it is surely, most certainly a thing. It’s not the bullshit about men from feminists. That toxic masculinity mostly exists in the warped minds of the gender studies crowd.

Toxic masculinity, the kind I am talking about, is actually something much more real. And Anthony Bourdain had it, really, really bad. In fact, he had such a profoundly toxic sense of his own manhood that it surprises me that it took him almost 62 years to find an existential crisis that would bring the curtain down on his life.

To understand this, we need to look at the one factor that can always, reliably tell us how sick a man is. Relationships with women. Because relationships, if you’ll pardon the religious reference, are god’s way of showing us just how sick we really are.

In the case of Anthony Bourdain, his primary relationship in life was with a woman named Asia Argento, an Italian actress with a lot of b-role work. She is also a singer and a feminist activist who levied a claim, 20 years after the supposed fact, that Harvey Weinstein forced her to give him a massage and forced her to allow him to perform oral sex on her.

Uh, yeah. And I am sure that Argento’s desire for fame and fortune in Hollywood had nothing to do with her massaging Weinstein’s fat, hairy back or letting him go down on her. After all, women don’t do those things for movie roles, right?

Anyway, twenty years later, Argento made an Oscar-worthy performance of her totally unsubstantiated claim at the Cannes Film Festival as soon as it appeared that the MeToo movement was gaining traction. In other words, as soon as there was blood in the water.

This is who Anthony Bourdain fell in love with. And not just in love, but crazy in love. After his death a Daily Mirror article came out titled, and I quote, “Anthony Bourdain was ‘so crazy in love’ with girlfriend Asia Argento before suicide that ‘friends were worried’”

It was subtitled, “The intensity of the tragic TV chef’s feelings is said to have been a ‘red flag’ for friends before his suicide.” Now, that article uses unnamed sources, which may or may not cast doubts on its authenticity, but Bourdain’s well-documented public reaction to Argento’s damseling over Harvey Weinstein and the rest of the male world hardly contradicts it.

Bourdain wasn’t just a supportive boyfriend, standing by his girlfriend as she fought through 20 years of oppressive patriarchy to push valiantly for justice. An article in the Independent revealed a streak of sadistic fantasy in Bourdain quite common to toxically masculine men.

“However much people want to see Harvey Weinstein dead or in jail, he’s in fucking Arizona,” Bourdain said, unable to resist his trademark condescension of American flyover country. “He is in Arizona, eating in restaurants in Arizona. And at off-the-grid restaurants in Arizona, so he can’t even eat at the best sushi restaurant in Scottsdale.”

“He’s gotta go to some shit fucking place,” Bourdain continued, “So Arizona, I mean, as much as I’d like to see him, you know beaten to death in his cell.”

In addition to his thoughts on Arizona being Weinstein’s hell, the article said, “Bourdain also revealed his theory around Weinstein’s eventual death – which he imagined will occur in a bathtub.”

Picturing him “naked in his famous bathrobe,” Bourdain suggested that Weinstein will be brushing his teeth and holding his cellphone when a massive stroke hits him.

Stumbling backwards into the bathtub, Bourdain imagined that Weinstein’s life will end as the ex-Hollywood producer “scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone.”

According to Bourdain, Weinstein dying “knowing that no one will help him” and that he does not look his best, will be fitting.

All this, because Asia Agento claims that Harvey Weinstein forced her to oil up her hands and give the movie mogul a massage. Because she alleged that he forced her to allow him to go down on her.

One might wonder if, in the fervor of his white knighting, it did not occur to him to ask her what she was doing in Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room. Maybe he didn’t even wonder what stopped her from getting up and walking out. Was there a gun to her head? A knife? A threat of bodily harm? Did he put the lotion in her hands, or did she put it there herself? Where the ever-loving fuck was her agency in any of this?

It appears that asking any of these questions wasn’t in Bourdain’s otherwise considerable skillset. He was too busy donning armor and calling for his trusty steed to bother with a moment’s consideration for just how lacking in plausibility Argento’s story is. But that is hardly surprising for a man whose feelings for the woman was raising red flags among his friends.

Blind infatuation with a woman. The most prolific source of toxic masculinity there is.

It appears that Bourdain’s feelings for Argento knew no bounds. Not of reason, nor rationality, nor even of basic human decency. And so, too, were her feelings for him. At least if you take her word for it.

“I am beyond devastated,” she tweeted after hearing of his death. “He was my rock.”

Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps he was her rock. But it appears that while he may have been her rock he wasn’t her cock. At least not exclusively.

In the days just prior to Bourdain’s suicide, Argento, 42, was photographed canoodling in public with a French reporter named Hugo Clément, 14 years her junior and 33 years younger than Bourdain, while Bourdain was on set filming an episode of Parts Unknown.

An Italian photographer apparently snapped photos of them in the act and had them online. He reportedly pulled the pics down immediately after news of Bourdain’s death broke.

Now, to be fair, there is a lot of parts unknown here. I can’t prove that Anthony Bourdain ever saw those pics, or that he heard the truth about Argento cheating on him before deciding to hang himself in his hotel room just 5 days after those photos were taken. I can’t prove that his suicide was even remotely connected to his relationship with the MeToo poser, Argento.

I am satisfied, though, that the series of events point to the plausibility of an Argento betrayal of Anthony Bourdain that served as the final straw on his clinically depressed back, leading to his suicide. And I can imagine that with a lot more credibility than any ridiculous notion that it was a black operation constructed by the deep state. Least credible is the notion that the day he committed suicide was arbitrary.

Something triggered him to snap, fatally, and my money says it was Argento’s knife being plunged through his misguided, chivalrous heart.

It appears very likely from the public record that Anthony Bourdain was crazily, toxically in love with Asia Argento, who cheated on him publicly while they were separated by work. That served as his reward for loving her; for the fake gallantry of white knighting for someone who was ultimately just out for one more ride on the cock carousel.

For all his vengeful fantasies and sadistic ideations about Harvey Weinstein’s death, it is Anthony Bourdain dead in the ground, even meeting his untimely end in the bathroom of his hotel room with the belt of a bathrobe, eerily similar to the way he imagined Harvey Weinstein dying. He didn’t even have the luxury of being sentenced to life in Arizona.

I hope, as always in life, that there is more here than just an opportunity to looked smugly on the foolishness of blue pill men. That at the very least their folly at life serves the larger lesson.

Surely, Anthony Bourdain is dead because he had a malady of thinking, of perceiving life that diminished its importance to him. That is a formidable thing to oppose, both for the victim and the society around them.

But what is also apparent here is that for all his creative genius, his uncanny capacity to step outside of himself and shape a story about people and places in this world, he could not apply those gifts to himself. He could not see himself, even for a moment, outside the gynocentric mold. He invested everything, down to his very identity, in a woman, and he inevitably choked on it.

I don’t feel smug in the least saying this. There’s no gloating here. Just gratitude that there are ways to elude the tragedy that Anthony Bourdain couldn’t. And I hope that anyone contemplating this bad ending is able to see that the ability of a man to reimagine himself, away from all this gynocentric madness, this toxic masculinity that perverts and degrades the self, may also bear the ability beat back the demon of depression; to restore and revitalize not only the will to live, but the determination to do so with passion.

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