Life and Death: Paris in the Spring

Facebook Life

Today, Facebook, and perhaps all social media, is consumed by the Caps winning the Stanley Cup and the death of Anthony Bourdain, apparently by suicide, in France.

I posted on Facebook, “Was Anthony Bourdain a Knights Fan?” which elicited some tut-tutting including:

  • Not Funny
  • Sorry, not a good post.
  • Suicide is not a funny matter. Not cool

Truth is, I can be funny though my post was not an attempt at humor.

It was a commentary on our obsessions, with sports and with the famous people we adore and choose to mourn.

Who knew that a food critic would be a collective American grief point?

I could offer my suicide bona fides here as if I needed to, but I’ll pass.

Outwardly at least, Bourdain was at the top of his game; perhaps he chose this as the perfect time for his exit.

In truth, suicide becomes less tragic as age advances; the idea that it is some great selfish catastrophe in every case is ridiculous.

That view simply reinforces society’s need to always make taking one’s own life a taboo.

Where suicide is concerned, when does compassion become judgement and arrogance?

Taking control of our ending is inherently a “thumbing of the nose” at organized religion which has decreed human life is a divine gift, except when it’s not.

Suicide calls into question the validity and role of religion and therefore must be quelled by whatever means necessary.

What about the 103 year-old-man who was recently forced to travel from Australia to Europe in order to die after living a long and fruitful life?

The tragedy isn’t in the ending of life but the brutal difficulty in doing so.

Perhaps some of us feel betrayed by Bourdain because his choice upset our apple cart of religious expectations and middle-class values; he disappointed us both by leaving and the manner of his doing so.

Selfish guy.

Does Bourdain’s suicide remind us of our own mortality and fragile hold on it?

I am the same age as Bourdain and though I have no plans to head out soon, the number of good years is far less than those that have gone before and thoughts of the eventual end-game are ok and even enriching.

I celebrate Bourdain’s arc of professional success including his literary talent and captivating on-screen presence.

I also respect his decision whether it comports with my values or not.

To assume he was automatically beyond his reason is the real selfish act.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *