I love it when the stars align for a meaty blog post. Notice that I used the word “meaty.” it won’t be the last time you’ll see a food reference or metaphor in this piece, because while Rome burns, and you put another weenie on your skewer, I have to chime in on the nasty Anthony Bourdain/Paula Deen food fight. I knew Bourdain is a Cancer. Of course he is. Surly, moody, taciturn, but somehow always managing to channel some discernible gravitas when appropriate, like when he had simple country fare with a Laotian family, and the man of the family had a leg and an arm blown off from a vagrant mine, leftover from the Nam war. Or the time he watched in horror and disbelief in Nicaragua as families pored through mountains of refuse, foraging for food scraps.
I’m a pretty good reader and his concern was anything but manufactured. And yeah, he takes pot shots at Rachel Ray and all of the other Food Channel’s McChefs, but its funny (and honest). And yeah, his world weary act wears a little thin, but he gets it right more than he doesn’t. He’s got an ego, but with Jupiter in Leo, how can he not? And I will tell you that anyone in front of a camera has an ego, even aw shucks Paula.
So Bourdain is a Cancer (3 degrees) and Deen is a Capricorn (28 degrees). Its perfect really. In fact, if you wanted to teach someone about astrology and wanted to use two disparate personalities to demonstrate it, well these two would have to merit consideration. They’re like salt and sugar.
If you don’t know how this spicy feud started, Bourdain roasted Deen and her, ahem cuisine;
“She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is fucking bad for you. If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people at every age, I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us. Plus, her food sucks.”
Nothing like dropping a career skidding rant on one of America’s feel-good food stars. But I get Bourdain’s angst and rage, his sour to her sweet and its in their signs.
Bourdain as we have discerned is a Cancer. He’s got Moon in Aquarius as well. He also has Mercury in Gemini. All three of these aspects match-up with The US chart, not necessarily by degree, but most certainly by sign. Even though he’s been labeled a food snob, he’s actually more at home in someones home, food cart on the street or out of the way cafe. His taste in food is anything but elite and he revels in the company of plain folk. He’ll also eat anything that is local or indigenous. Hell, he’s even BBQ’d with Ted Nugent at “The Nuge’s” ranch in Texas and he dug it. In essence, Bourdain is much more of a populist than his edgy persona conveys most of the time. He can’t stand corporations and the commodification of food. He battles with soulless co-optation, sometimes even inside himself on his own show. While he loves his job, he’s not always okay with being on.
His Aquarius Moon is reflected in his love for Punk Rock. And I have always seen Punk as being the dark side Aquarian musical genre. “Anarchy In The UK” was pure Uranus, and The Sex Pistols were fronted by Johnny Rotten (Aquarius). Bourdain’s favorite band is The Ramones and he even went to a Tiki Lounge on Staten Island with David Johansen of The New York Dolls on one episode. Tony with his Aquarian Moon doesn’t give a flip.
Mercury in Gemini is a dangerous thing in a “Fire Monkey” which Bourdain is. He gets bored easy. His Mercury is conjunct his Venus in Gemini. Yes, of course, he gets bored in relationships as well. He likes to stir shit up. But its those first three signs I want to focus on now, especially the Cancer Sun. Bourdain is much more of a traditionalist than people give him credit for. He detests trendy food as well as trendy eating, such as veganism. He sees veganism as a luxury that reflects mostly American cultural arrogance, since the majority of the world doesn’t indulge in what he would call “fringe cuisine,” since they eat what they catch or what they find. This is where he gets crusty with Deen.
Paula Deen is the opposite Bourdain and not just astrologically. She’s all shucks and smiles. Her recipes use copious amounts of butter and fat. She once cooked up a double burger with bacon between two donuts. Her food is a fried soporific that goes down well with shitty country and western music, but beyond that, she snuggles up to those “evil” corporations Bourdain disdains. In fact Deen got in bed with Smithfield Farms, who butcher and prepare pork products. Deen became their spokesperson; ““When I was looking for a company (Smithfield) to partner with, I wanted to make sure it was someone who shares my family values and traditions.” The only problem is that Smithfield has a terrible reputation. Jim Hightower sums up their gross misdeeds; “Smithfield is not at all sweet. It is notorious as a massive factory farm polluter of its neighbors’ air and water, as a monopolist that squeezes out small family farmers and as an anti-union abuser of working families. Family values? Try these: In recent years, Smithfield has been cited by federal regulators, courts and other independent monitors for spying, coercing, beating, assaulting, illegally arresting, intimidating, harassing, illegally firing and racially insulting its employees.”
Dipping into the shallows of Deen’s chart, we can see why she would align with Smithfield or at the very least a major corporation. She has Sun, Moon, Mercury and Mars, all in Capricorn. Sun/Merc/Mars are all conjunct. Paula Deen may come off like warm corn muffin dripping with honey, but the lady is into power and she’s tough. She’s no pushover like mousy Virgo, Rachel Ray, whom Bourdain has seared on many occasions. Smithfield in her corner is not at all surprising and this is really what gets Bourdain’s goat. From killing factories, to killing foods, he understands the danger of Paula Deen and what she’s pushing.
Drilling down just a little further, some other interesting aspects emerge. Deen has Jupiter in Scorpio, 23 degrees, (finding opportunity through power and others resources) and Saturn in Leo 6 degrees R, (challenges with true creativity, needs to be in charge, holds back emotionally). Bourdain has Jupiter in Leo, 27 degrees, (open, gregarious, indulgent, creative, generous) and Saturn in Scorpio, 27 degrees, (suspicious, sexually frustrated, addiction problems, uneasy with personal power, control issues). Interesting how they have Jupiter and Saturn flipped. Bourdain’s Jupiter/Saturn square is fixed and really tight. Its no surprise that he is unapologetic towards Deen or anyone else he dishes and disses.
I know its food and media and in the grand feast of life, where people in the horn of Africa are being starved, it seems a trite dust-up, but its not. In these two personas, we see two, very different sides of America, engaging in a surprisingly relevant debate on what we eat and why.
Now Bourdain is anything but the Bob Woodward of international cuisine. I saw him tromp around Dubai, which has one of the worst records of human rights on the planet. Most of Dubai was built on the backs of slave labor from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Bourdain shoveled food in his mouth while he listened to the citizens of Dubai wax poetically about their country and how quickly it rose from the sands of the gulf. They swelled with pride like those bullfrogs he hunted in the dark of night down in the Everglades during the Miami episode. I’m sure that no more than just a few miles away, in what amounts to a concrete bunker, dozens of trapped workers unable to go home, ate modest portions of negligible foods, during a brief respite from their 16 hour days while the new class of emirates wined and dined Bourdain.
When he was in Panama, he walked through Noriega’s abandoned mansion, but only skimmed the surface of the complex political situation in a country that is only now recovering from the blitzkrieg of 1990, when GHWB forcefully removed Noriega,
While Deen chooses to deal with pig merchants on the Food Network, Bourdain has to honor the shinier sides of his destinations, because he does work for a leisure and lifestyle network. And even though he might not have any reservations, I’m sure the Travel Channel does and what happens in places like Dubai, stays in Dubai.
By the way, Mercury Retro is conjuncting Bourdain’s Pluto and Jupiter, which does not bode well for him. Middle America loves Paula Deen and there could very well be a backlash as long and thick as one of her Tammy Faye Baker inspired eyelashes. And as much as I love Tony, he’s been treading perilously close to shark jumping waters this past season. His debauched Guinness and Jamesons romp through Boston wasn’t a good look for him.
Successful, wealthy, well traveled, on his second marriage with a young daughter, he’s close to being an anachronism, as the angry-young-man that he captured in print in “Kitchen Confidential” isn’t the same man sucking on boar cheeks in Harbin, China. I have no doubt that someday soon, he’ll emulate his hero, Marco Pierre White and start a little restaurant somewhere in the countryside and clear out before the Paula Deens of the food world march with fixed smiles and painted faces, arm-in-arm, to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” right into your living room, with reels of recipes, fueled by genetically modified corn syrup and cloned meats. But until Bourdain does, this beef is on high simmer and ready to boil.
TONY AND TED CHEW THE FAT