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July 18, 2011

Well, at least we aren't the only ones.

A couple of months ago, a thread was created on Reddit asking Anthony Bourdain to "do an AMA." AMA, as you may or may not know, is short for "Ask Me Anything," and is a type of Reddit thread where a famous or interesting Redditor creates a thread and allows other users to do a sort of Q&A in the comments. These are also sometimes called IAMA, which is short for "I am a _________. AMA. Popular AMAs have featured people ranging all the way from John Colbert and Ken Jennings to government whistleblowers and full-time sex slaves.

As a person who loves to read about all the little corners of the world that I don't get to visit in person, I'm a big fan of AMA threads, but was particularly intrigued when I read that Anthony Bourdain would be participating in one. I'm a food geek, you see, and Bourdain has always been my favorite food personality - probably because he's just as much writer as he is chef. 

Anyway, the Q&A video came out a couple of days ago, and Mr. Bourdain's answers seemed just as introspective, opinionated and entertaining as usual. And then he dropped this bomb on me:

I mock the Food Network, yet I work for Scripps Howard. I make fun of celebrity chefs. In fact I made a career out of making fun of Emeril, and yet here I am, part of the problem. I’m ambivalent about foodies and people who take pictures of food in restaurants, yet I’m one of the premier vendors of food porn.

Yes, I am aware of the contradictions. I experience mood swings of extreme happiness and excitement about the world followed by long hours of regret, uncertainty and self-loathing.

So is there an internal struggle? Yes. Yes there is.

And all of a sudden, I could finally put my finger on why a copywriter from Missouri could relate to a chef/TV host/author from Manhattan: We both hate ourselves for doing what we do. God damn it. Why does it always come back to this?

All creative whining aside, if you have thirty minutes to spare and enjoy food culture even a little, the full Q&A is worth a watch. Also, if you want to hear a nice Kansas City BBQ reference, just fast forward to 27:22.

 

 

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Comments

I love Anthony Bourdain!! This is a really cool blog that I can relate to. I am in advertising with www.biznextdoor.com. We are creating a database of similar business's.to see which internet marketing service works for which type of business. If you have a minute, share your story. We are giving away $100 Adword Coupon’s to highly rated reviews. Thanks for taking the time and sharing

Your feelings of kinship towards Bourdain, and your epiphany, are interesting to read about.

"We both hate ourselves for doing what we do."

Thought much about cognitive dissonance? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance)

It's a state of psychological discomfort we naturally try to resolve, one way or another. But when we find ourselves in a situation we can’t resolve (e.g. when you feel who you are and what you do for a living don't jive, but those bills ain’t going to pay themselves) interesting things can happen.

Personally I find myself more creative in these times, ideas and inspiration serving as a sort of mental liniment. Furthering my theory, those rare times when I'm fat drunk and happy? Creative I am not.

Give the Wiki article a read, good thought for food.

Cheers,
b

Nice point, Ben.

One good thing about developing the skills and knowledge needed to promote products is that you can work towards using what you learn to promote whatever you prefer.

Of course, the day-to-day needs of putting 'food on your family', as Bush does, might leave precious little time to work on those other things. But with the right focuses, perhaps side projects can become main projects...?

Of course, I'm saying that without really knowing that much about Nick's particular situation.


Richard Clunan
Wordfruit Copywriters
http://wordfruit.com

"One good thing about developing the skills and knowledge needed to promote products is that you can work towards using what you learn to promote whatever you prefer."

Agree Richard, and I believe a healthy reciprocity between the two is helpful, if not essential.

Each tends to keep the other honest.

-b

It's a state of psychological discomfort we naturally try to resolve, one way interesting things can happen.

Two thoughts...

1. So, change what you do. Change your needs by scaling back on your lifestyle, and find something you (might) make less money at but that you can believe in.

2. Increasing your clients' sales so that they can provide for their families (and so that you can provide for yours) *is* a worthy endeavor.

I believe a healthy reciprocity between the two is helpful, if not essential.

Each tends to keep the other honest. one way interesting things can happen.

Bourdain is quite the character. After reading this post:

http://www.theyucadiaries.com/2011/07/12/no-reservations-a-little-reservation-would-have-been-appropriate-mr-bourdain/

I have mixed feelings about his show, but taking the time to seek out the things he has to say outside of the show always turns into an interesting endeavor. I agree: as much as he is a chef, he has the creative suffering that marks the great writers.

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