Thoughts on the Passing of Anthony Bourdain

I am not someone who is a fan of food programs and travel programs on television. When I got home Friday morning, turned on the computer, and began seeing reports that Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide, it surprised me. I was even more surprised at how much of an emotional impact the news had on me.

I was familiar with and had watched a few episodes of “No Reservations” when Anthony Bourdain moved from the Travel Channel to CNN so I watched the first episode of his new show out of curiosity. I was hooked. “Parts Unknown” was more than just a food and travel program, it was a program about the people, cultures, and societies that he encountered. He took me to places that I’ll probably never go and introduced me to people I’ll probably never meet. I learned something from every episode of Parts Unknown and I’m grateful to him for that. I didn’t know him personally, only through television, but I’ll miss Anthony Bourdain and what he brought to my life.

“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.”  – Edward R. Murrow

Anthropology is defined as the study of human societies and cultures and their development, and I can’t help but think that “Parts Unknown” was an exercise in Anthropology. Through his television show, Bourdain used food to open up discussion about society and culture, exploring how current or recent events, History, and traditions have shaped and are shaping our society and societies around the world. Murrow told us that television could be a weapon in the fight against ignorance, intolerance, and indifference; Bourdain used television as a weapon in that fight. When he introduced us to people, sometimes in the world’s hotspots, other times to people we may be opposed to, he did so without judging them. Every episode was thought-provoking. He showed that while we may have opposing views or opinions, we also aren’t all that different from each other. Through “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain challenged our opinions of others, showed us that we can live and work with people different from us and that we should care about how what we do and what we have done effects others. Reflecting on what Edward R. Murrow had to say about television in his RTDNA speech in 1958, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Parts Unknown” was and is an example of the best that television can be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  -Martin Luther King Jr.

Earlier this week, I was reading articles about a documentary film premiering this week about Fred Rogers. As Mr. Rogers on PBS, Fred Rogers also used television to battle ignorance, intolerance, and indifference. Fred Rogers and Anthony Bourdain were very different men, but in their unique ways, they taught us to treat others with compassion, dignity, grace, and respect. They taught us to be open to new people and new experiences. Our President and the majority in both houses of our Legislature are for a large part people who aren’t curious, people who aren’t interested in learning, people who exhibit intolerance, and people who don’t care about how their actions affect others. More than ever, this country needs more people like Fred Rogers and Anthony Bourdain. I don’t know what darkness or what demons he fought or what brought him to take his life, but we were better off for having Anthony Bourdain in this world. I hope he knows that.

Social Media

I recently took a hiatus from social media. During that time, I decided to make some changes to which forms of social media I use. The biggest change was the deletion of Facebook. I had an account which I used strictly for family, amateur radio, and church use and the privacy tightened down on it as tight as I could get it. I don’t mind my data being used to target me with ads; I understand ads fund the service, so I’d rather see ads for things that interest me than things that don’t. The news of Facebook data breaches over the last few years, however, particularly the latest one involving Cambridge Analytica has convinced me that privacy and data security is not something Facebook is terribly concerned about and that they’re not really going to do anything about it. Particularly disturbing was that despite my privacy settings, someone could access my data through an account of someone I was friends with simply because they were using an app on their account. If you notice I am gone on Facebook, it isn’t because I was upset at someone or offended by something someone said, I simply don’t trust Facebook enough to use their service.

This leaves me on just two forms of social media: Twitter and Instagram, but I have also made changes to my footprint on those services. On both, I have set my account to private because I’m tired of certain words or subjects or following certain accounts causing me to be automatically followed by some people’s or organization’s accounts and bots. Being set to private means my tweets and photos won’t be public, but it also means that I can filter out followers from auto-followers and bots. If I get a follow request and you appear to be legitimate or I know you, I’ll approve the request.

Update: 177th Fighter Wing F-16s at the Savannah Air Dominance Center

Savannah – Over the weekend, I posted that 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey ANG arrived at the Air Dominance Center (ADC) at the Savannah-Hilton Head IAP. Apparently, while I was out of town in Clarkesville they weren’t active, but today they began flying sorties out of the ADC. I caught them flying sorties out to the offshore Special Use Areas (SUAs) around 1000 and 1200 hours local as three flights of two for both sorties and a single in the first set of sorties. Instead of the frequencies they used for air-to-air on their arrivals, they were using air-to-air frequencies used by visiting units at the ADC. Here’s what I heard today:

DEVIL 1# – (F-16C, 177th FW)
SPAWN 2# – (F-16C, 177th FW)
SATAN 3# – (F-16C, 177th FW)
SMASH 91 – (F-16C, 177th FW)

237.000 – ADC Ops
140.500 – ADC; 177th FW Air-to-Air
141.150 – ADC; 177th FW Air-to-Air
142.600 – ADC; 177th FW Air-to-Air
328.500 – ADC; 177th FW Air-to-Air

353.775 – Savannah Approach/Departure
282.200 – Jacksonville Center; Jekyll Low
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
349.800 – W-137 Discrete
376.900 – W-137 Discrete
385.300 – W-137 Discrete

Post Hurricane Matthew Note

Brunswick – Well, we’ve made it through Hurricane Matthew. Savannah saw a record tide of over 12.5 ft at Fort Pulaski and there’s been a lot of damage throughout the coastal and southeast Georgia area especially along the barrier islands. A lot of people are still without power and will be for some time. Thankfully loss of life has been minimal and people are starting to come back home throughout the area. I haven’t been home to Savannah yet and probably won’t get back until the end of the week, but someone checked on the house and it seems to be undamaged.

I’d love to be able to tell you what’s going on radio-wise around the area, but to be honest I’ve been far too busy at work and haven’t had the opportunity to turn on a radio to hear. I’ll look forward to hearing everyone else’s stories and reports.

Hurricane Matthew

To all of my friends along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts – Please heed the recommendations of you local Emergency Management officials. If they tell you that you should evacuate, please do. You can replace your stuff but you can’t replace your life. Take care, be safe, and know that my prayers are with you. We can get through this.

See you on the other side of the storm.