Monday, August 21, 2006

Tonight: No Reservations in Beirut

OK, I'll admit it: I like Anthony Bourdain. He's that rarest of individuals, a smart-ass Noo Yawkah (cough, cough). He's also a chef and best-selling foodie author. I like his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel. He'll go anywhere and eat anything, and investigates the local culture while he's at it. He's funnier'n and ironicer'n shit, with quite a bit of insight while he's about it.

When the trouble started in Lebanon a few weeks back, he was there to do his regular show. I doubt he got to do it, but whatever he did is going to be on tonight. I have no doubt it will be interesting. Read his article about Beirut at Salon.

Then, in the blink of an eye, everything went sideways: Relaxed smiles froze and disappeared. Suddenly, there was the sound of automatic weapons firing randomly in the air from a nearby neighborhood. And fireworks. Then cars -- a few of them -- teenage kids, women and adults, some leaning out the windows and waving Hezbollah flags and flashing the "V" for victory sign, celebrating what we were told, after a few quick cellphone calls, was the grabbing of two Israeli soldiers. Our fixer, a Sunni; Ali, a Shiite; and "Marwan," a Christian, who'd just minutes ago been pointing proudly at the mural -- all three looked down in embarrassment, a look of sorrow, shame and then resignation on their faces. Someone muttered "assholes" bitterly. They knew -- right away -- what was going to happen next.

Don't miss the article. Here's the 'printer friendly' page, but the ad I got to watch at the other link was for Spike Lee's documentary about New Orleans after Katrina, "When the Levees Broke".

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