Like so many, I was deeply saddened by the news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. He produced many great TV shows and pretty much created modern food culture with Kitchen Confidential. He was a once in a generation influence.
I was watching one of his final interviews where he made a point that I’ve been thinking a lot about ever since. (I highly recommend watching the full thing.) He said, “I’d much rather not make TV at all or make unsuccessful TV than competent television…I detest competent, workman-like storytelling…I’d rather fail.” At the face of it, attacking competency seems wilfully ignorant, but what Bourdain means here by “competent storytelling” is by the numbers acceptable mediocrity. He’d rather take a chance at something different and fail. “There are shows where people are just going to hate it. They don’t like the style, they think it’s self-indulgent. But that’s the kind of failure I like. A powerful reaction one way or another is infinitely preferable to pleasing everybody.” Continue reading Do or Do Not: Anthony Bourdain, Star Wars, and Failure