In the matter of the stunning, inexplicable suicide of Anthony Bourdain, it has long been my belief…okay, my strong suspicion that Bourdain was tragically triggered by the behavior of his turbulent girlfriend, Asia Argento.
I’m sorry but there was just too much sensual and philosophical and person-to-person pleasure in Bourdain’s life…he was seemingly all but smothered by the stuff, perhaps not by the reality but certainly the appearance of one orgasmic Zen delight after another…not to mention the charge of travelling from one place to another on a near-constant basis.
Of all the people who’ve ever offed themselves, Bourdain has to be the least likely of all time. And hanging himself just doesn’t make sense without some kind of emotional trigger, without some kind of brief drop into despair…some kind of cause-and-effect.
It is my belief that in the parallel realm of the last scene in Vertigo, Asia Argento was Scotty Ferguson and Anthony Bourdain was Judy Barton.
How do I mean that? I mean that Asia unwittingly (or carelessly) pushed Anthony over the cliff as surely as that shadowed nun in Vertigo scared Judy Barton into fearfully leaping out of that San Juan Batista bell tower.
Did Scotty kill Judy? No, he did not. She leapt out of her own sense of panic, clearly of her own accord — but Scotty was damn sure part of the reason why her life ended so suddenly and tragically.
And you’d better believe that without Asia Argento in his life, Anthony Bourdain might well be with us today.
To what extent does Roadrunner, Morgan Neville‘s just-premiered doc about Bourdain’s life, get into the whole Asia Argento mishegoss, or at least fiddle around with the possibility that Argento’s influence served as a fatal trigger in Bourdain’s psyche?
According to early Roadrunner reviews as well as a heads-up from a friendo, Neville “barely” goes there. Which sounds to me like he glances at the Argento factor without getting into it. He takes a snapshot or two and then moves on.
Here are some notes and thoughts I assembled this morning…partly from past HE posts, partly not:
So Roadrunner doesn’t get into the whole Asia Argento flagrant-infidelity-in-Rome thing? Various reports stated that she was fucking Hugo Clement, a younger journalist, just before Bourdain hung himself. It seemed to many of us that this may have tipped the secretly depressed Bourdain into nihilist despair and self-destruction. Maybe.
And the film more or less ignores the whole paying-off-Jimmy-Bennett thing?
And therefore the film barely ponders the distinct possibility that Bourdain’s suicide was significantly influenced by Argento’s messy (i.e., human) appetites and messy (i.e., human) life?
Does Neville address ANY of this stuff?
It is is my personal belief that if (a) Bourdain hadn’t gotten wrapped up with Argento and the whole Jimmy Bennett mishegoss, and (b) if Argento hadn’t decided to have a wide-open affair with that younger journalist (Hugo Clement) in the wake of the Bennett thing and just before the suicide…it is my belief that Bourdain would probably be alive today. Maybe.
From “Argento and Hypocrisy,” posted on 8.20.18:
“My limited understanding is that Argento manipulated [Bennett] into submitting to oral sex and then rode him like Hopalong Cassidy. As in ‘come over here, you scamp.’ Okay, maybe Bennett wasn’t into it. Maybe he found getting blown to be unbearably traumatic. Maybe on some level what Argento did with Bennett was vaguely akin to Kevin Spacey’s reported assault of Anthony Rapp. I wouldn’t know.
“I have to be honest — my first reaction was ‘manipulated’? Five years ago Bennett was a teen actor trying to land parts. Has anyone ever heard of a male actor of any persuasion who wasn’t randy, particularly one in his hormonal prime? Has there ever been a young actor in the history of the planet whose basic attitude was ‘gee, I’m not sure if I’m ready for sex’?
“Has anyone ever read about what Mickey Rooney was up to in the 1930s, when he was in his mid teens? Were there any half-willing older female actresses whom Rooney ran into that he didn’t have it off with? When he was 24 Rooney reportedly had a longish affair with 14 year-old Liz Taylor. Imagine what the Twitter comintern would’ve done with that, etc.
“I was 17 once. I got shitty grades in school because I spent half my day dreaming about some older ravenous hottie having her way with me. I started dreaming about older naked women when I was nine or ten. I couldn’t get laid to save my life in my mid teens — I was a teenage incel before anyone knew the term — and it was a very sad and lonely time, let me tell you.
“I don’t mean to sound callous or indifferent, but my understanding of ‘assault’ does not include notions of some Asia Argento-level woman winking and saying ‘come over here, Jeffie…it’s playtime.’ Not when I was 17 or 16 or 15 or even 14.
From “Her Brand Is Crisis,” posted on 8.22.18:
“Having read the TMZ piece with the Asia Argento-Jimmy Bennett photos and Argento’s text to a friend about same, a colleague says the following:
“’Asia says she wants to be part of the 90% that doesn’t give a fuck about this shit? Really? Fuck you, lady. You’ve been doing nothing but being a #MeToo crusader for a year. YOU are the one that made people freak about nearly every man in Hollywood. What the fuck?
“’And by the way it doesn’t matter if Jimmy came onto her or not. It really doesn’t. Sure, if she wants to stand on the side of those who deny they assaulted people because those people were willing participants, just like Harvey Weinstein? Great. Go for it. But that is not who she has been in the public eye.
“’She’s also ready to lay 100% of the blame on poor, dead Anthony Bourdain, who’s beginning to look more and more like the one who wanted it covered up because his reputation was also on the line.”
A statement from Asia Argento about that N.Y. Times sexual assault-and-payoff story (8.19.18) was posted this morning by New York‘s Ashar Ali. She denies she ever had any sexual encounter or relationship with Jimmy Bennett, claims that Bennett is/was a financially unstable shakedown artist and asserts that she and late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain (whom she names as ‘Antony’ at one point in the statement) decided to pay Bennett off anyway to keep the allegedly spurious allegation out of the press.
Who gives an alleged shakedown artist over $300K?
From “Bourdain San” posted on 6.8.18: “Bourdain was right at the top of my spitball list of famous fellows who would never, ever kill themselves because he seemed so imbued with the sensual joy of living, who had found so much happiness and fulfillment in so many foods and kitchens, in so many sights and sounds and aromas and atmospheres, travelling and roaming around 250 days per year and inhaling the seismic wonder of it all.
“Bourdain apparently suffered from depression, or so it’s being said this morning. He was 61, and by all indications was at the absolute peak of his personal journey. Like me, Bourdain’s life didn’t really take off until the late ’90s, when he was in his early 40s. But when everything finally fell into place and he became famous and semi-wealthy, he seemed to revel in the feast but without losing his head. He always kept his sanity and sense of modesty.
“In a perfect world Donald Trump would hang himself in his White House bedroom and Bourdain would go on living and travelling and taping episodes of Parts Unknown until he was 98 and perhaps beyond.
From Owen Gleiberman’s Roadrunner review: “Roadrunner is full of good stories — from Bourdain’s chef pals, like Eric Ripert and David Chang, from the producers and the loyal crew he shot his shows with, and from musician friends like Iggy Pop, Josh Homme and Alison Mosshart.
“What emerges is that Bourdain, though he commanded the room and always looked like the star he was (he could hardly walk a New York block without being approached by someone wanting a moment), was also a ‘big nerd’ whose insecurity was a projection of his judgmental nature: He gazed at the world with scalding eyes, and expected it to scald him back. He was a perfectionist, a junkie hedonist, a creature of strong attitude but weak identity.
“In Roadrunner, the ultimate why eludes us. How could a man so beloved, who gave so much pleasure, whose life was so much about pleasure not find his way out of the darkness? To ask that question is to be haunted by it.
“Yet Bourdain, without resolving it, says something early on that is very zen and very Anthony Bourdain. ‘I realized,’ he says, ‘that one thing led directly to the other. Had I not taken a dead-end dishwashing job, I would not have become a cook. Had I not become a cook, I would never have become a chef. Had I not become a chef, I never would have been able to fuck up so spectacularly. Had I not known what it was like to really fuck up, that obnoxious but wildly successful memoir I wrote wouldn’t have been half as interesting.’
And had it not been half as interesting, he wouldn’t have become so addicted to tasting the far ends of the earth that he melted down his sense of self. Bourdain’s death was a tragedy, but Roadrunner suggests it was a tragedy with a touch of destiny.”
I repeat: Asia Argento pushed Anthony Bourdain over the cliff as surely as that shadowed nun in Vertigo scared Judy Barton into fearfully leaping out of that San Juan Batista bell tower…
Did Scotty kill Judy? No — but he was damn sure and bet-your-boots part of the reason why her life ended so suddenly and tragically.