As Anthony Bourdain’s passing took over the internet, I wondered why this particular celebrity death affected everyone so much? I enjoyed Bourdain’s story telling, either in print form or on TV. He inspire me to eat differently and have a more fluid culinary point of view. His suicide caught me by surprise and saddened me very much.
As I was pondering this, I stumbled upon a PBS special celebrating 50 years of Mr. Rodgers, another celebrity whose work has been everywhere lately. There’s a book coming out this fall, a documentary in theaters now,
and a Rodgers-centric movie, staring Tom Hanks, in the works. Growing up, Fred Rodgers most certainly inspired me to live differently and affected they way I understood the world and my feelings. His death from stomach cancer over a decade ago also caught me off guard.
Then I thought about the other person covered 24 hours a day online, in print and on TV.
Clearly, two of these things is not like the other.
Two were truth tellers. One spoke his gospel gently, using kid friendly language while sporting Keds and a cardigan. The other was a tattoed, bad boy chef turned wordsmith. His stories like his dishes were distinctive, savory, sometimes even pungent.
Both had a points of view they were passionate about which resulted in the creation of authentic, televised content that millions enjoyed for years. Both believed that the truth, no matter how uncomfortable, was meant to be shared. Both felt that we not only deserved the truth, but needed to hear it. The truth would answer our questions, calm our fears and ultimately be something we would survive.
Anthony and Fred didn’t expect all truths to be homogeneous or agreeable, even. They embraced principles that challenged the status quo or people’s innate belief systems. They wanted revelations to encourage discussion, empathy and understanding. They didn’t need us to think alike or see eye to eye, but our points of view had to be based in truth. Creating a false narrative based on lies was not permitted. Ever. Which is why the third person in this story is so foreboding.
Trump is a liar. He lies about entire swaths of people, words that come out of his own mouth and tweets that he himself posts. He states falsehoods about our allies, our trade policies, and our history while praising our adversaries. He has completely misrepresented the conservative platform and the Christian belief system, all for a voting base Congress is too cowardly to speak the truth to.
Why have millions fallen for this charlatan? Why has Congress fortified such unprecedented complacency? Because this liar also benefits from a televised platform. He doesn’t simply have his own show, he has an entire network that not only supports but helps to create and produce an erroneous narrative.
Because so many lies get tossed in the word salad our Narcissist in Chief continually feeds us, we need as many truth tellers as possible. So when one, like Bourdain, leaves us, it’s upsetting. And when folks that love a pathetic liar like Trump, claim to also admire an iconic truth teller like Mr. Rodgers, it’s unnerving.
Lots of Trump supporters have been drinking his deceptive kool-aid for a while. Perhaps the recent talk regarding culinary credibility will make folks aware of the nasty aftertaste Trump’s aspersions have left in their mouths?
I doubt it.
Unless a Fox News spokesperson became an actual conservative truth teller! Imagine what he or she could do with a national platform and some fortitude? Just sit for a second and imagine what that would look and feel like. Perhaps the truth could finally set a lot of people, politicians and points of view, free.
I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted from this 24-hour stream of deception and misdirection. Must be why the death of candor effects us so deeply. We need it now more than ever.
Featured Image is courtesy of Unsplash / Jon Tyson.