The episode is highly reminiscent of one he did several seasons ago where he zipped across the southwest, ending up at Ted Dickhead Nugent's survivalist mansion/compound, where Tony cheerfully joined Uncle Ted in shooting machine guns and listening to foaming-at-the-mouth libertarianism given free reign.
I like Tony Bourdain, I like his show a lot, but I hate these episodes. It strikes me that he suffers from a bizarre kind of liberal guilt in which he feels guilty for BEING liberal; it's not so much that he questions his own politics, but instead that he feels ethically obligated to demonstrate with great force that his open-mindedness extends to people on the other side of the aisle. He also makes a big show of his dislike for mealy-mouthed political correctness; his whole San Francisco episode consisted of him trying to find something he hated, gloomily concluding that San Francisco is really cool and fun, much to his own irritation.
I have two problems with this:
- The other side doesn't launch liberal-outreach programs. Ann Coulter does not visit Berkeley or Austin or Portland and ask around to try to understand us better; she instead compares us to satanic Stalinists and hopes that we get what we got comin'. I do not think Bourdain does "his" side any service by putting on a one-man dog and pony show to conspicuously reach out to them.
- Liberalism has always needed more balls. Obama in his second term, whatever else can be said about him, is at least coming out swinging. He wasted so much time and political capital in his first term being a good liberal conciliator, and it's nice to see that he's finally acknowledged that Republicans are not reasonable people capable of compromise. For his part, Bourdain has plenty of balls, and I hate to see him wasting his ballsiness trying to hate on liberal stereotypes (another tired vegetarian joke, anyone?) rather than sticking it to the idiots who, like Nugent, think every man is an island, and that island should be surrounded by guard towers and stocked with wild game to kill.