Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Travel Channel Host Has "No Reservations" Using The B-Word

Anthony Bourdain, the host of the Travel Channel show "No Reservations", recently had this to say about dance hall music he encountered during a recent trip to Jamaica:

"There's no rootsy, laid back Rasta vibe," Bourdain narrates. "This ain't about standing up for your rights or praising Jah or anything like that. Like Reggaet├│n, its mutant cousin, dance hall is the hardcore beat behind lyrics concerning, for the most part: acquiring possessions, getting respect on the street, beating down perceived enemies and enjoying the physical charms of varied, if not multitudinous, b****es."

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Bourdain's show, he is a chef who goes around the world looking to experience different kinds of cuisine as it relates to various cultures around the world. I admit, I have watched his show before, and until this point, kind of liked the show and its clearly chauvinist host. But to use the word "bitches" here when the word "women" could have easily been used shows obviously poor judgement on the part of Bourdain. Perhaps he doesn't think women of Color watch his show?

What's even worse than Mr. Bourdain's lack of good judgement is that the show's producers obviously didn't see anything wrong with it either.

Video Courtesy of YouTube. What did we do before Youtube?

Shout out to Supersize Spanishfly Lynx of Extravagangsta Radio for bringing this to our attention. Be sure to check out her response to Mr. Bourdain's potty mouth and the music industry's use of the "b" word on her blog on Egradioonline.com.

Also be sure to check out this article on Yardflex.com about the issue and the response by several dancehall artists.

What do you think, ladies & gents? Is this Imus PartII (or Part III since Imus himself has put his foot in his mouth yet again most recently)? Or is this much ado about nothing?


asha said...

normally i would agree that using the b word is inappropriate but i don't that it is the case in this context. he was referring to dance hall music and in dance hall, the artists are not referring to women. they are referring to b*tches. there is a difference. dance hall music has always been controversial, as has hip-hop, for its misogyny and homophobia. i think that it would be unfair to say that anthony bourdain is a misogynist because he used the language of dance hall. the difference between his remark and don imus' comment about the rutgers' basketball team is that imus equated women with b*tches. the context was a basketball game, not a rap video or a street fight. it was inappropriate all around.

Unknown said...

@ Asha: So, if I am understanding you correctly, there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. If a woman is acting in a certain manner, it is perfectly fine to call her the b-word because she is acting like what we would describe as one?

Just a question. I admittedly do not know much about dancehall, but I think it is a tad on the dangerous side to say that using the b-word in one instance is okay (i.e. artists using it in music) but then criticize someone else for calling a group of women out their name. Aren't we ALL women first?

Anonymous said...

That's the problem right there,how can it be acceptable in one instance and not okay in another. This certainly has caused quite a commotion. Women shouldn't be called nothing other than their name "Woman". If she is a fast and loose woman then call her that but B****, and pucblicly on a major netwok? What is the message and because it was Bourdain who said it as opposed to Imus does that make it ok? Dance hall and basketball,music and sports, women struggled to find their place in both do they deserve to be called B***hes?

Anonymous said...

I read the quote, but I had an unanswered question. Since I didn't see the entire segment I wanted to know was he referring to women when he made the comment or was he referring to people in general in opposition of the particular genre of music? It appears either way he was using it in a demeaning way. I don't know if you read my blog regarding this term, but for some time I did use it for myself not in the derogatory text that most people are familiar with, but in recognition of being a female partner to my husband who is often referred to as "Big Dog". I do have to say though that some of the language and scenarios on television are a bit much. When I was a kid I used to think it was so stupid when I watched shows like I Love Lucy and such where married couples slept in separate beds because they didn't want to show two people in bed together on television. It seemed so unrealistic. Now today the shows are so much reality that there are times that I just don't turn it on because of the garbage that is being portrayed. I wish we could revert back to the days of The Honeymooners, Leave It To Beaver, The Jeffersons, and Good Times. They gave you the storyline without smacking you in the face with it. TV back then had so much more tact.

asha said...

i'm really shocked (i don't know why) that people are still so reactionary. it's like only certain words are heard or read and then there is a rush to respond. are news reporters held responsible for reporting what someone else said? no. bourdain used the language of the music he was discussing. he did not call women b*tches. the dance hall artists did (and i never said that it was alright for them to use it). that's where the battle should be brought, to them. but i believe it was easier for people to react because it was a white man speaking about a black subculture, never mind the context. (sidenote: before it is even miscontrued, i'm referring to dance hall as a subculture, not because it is less important than anything else but because it is an off-shoot of reggae, it's rude lil brother, if you will.) imus called women, basketball players, b*tches. there was no context. he wasn't using the language of the sport. but again, it was so much easier for people to react to imus when women are referred to or portrayed as b*tches in almost every song or video out. we can either continue to be reactionary and treat symptoms or be proactive and deal with the root of the issue. getting mad at anthony bourdain is misplaced anger that would be more effective focused elsewhere.

p.s. i didn't hear anyone complaining when comedian d.l. hugley said that the team was "nappy-headed" and that some of the team were probably "hoes". i guess it was acceptable because he was black.

p.p.s while no-one should be called out of their name, i am not going to give someone a title they don't deserve. girls' socialization and women's leadership, that's another battle.