I watched last night the season finale of CNN’s Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain which was shot in Beirut, and I hated every single bit of it except for the short interview with Joumana Haddad. I really had high expectations for that episode, but I lowered my expectations after seeing the comments on Facebook and it turned to be even worse than I thought it would be and did not reflect the words Bourdain used to describe our capital. In fact, if I didn’t know Bourdain, I would have thought he’s some clueless foreign reporter who’s visiting Beirut for the first time and still thinks we are at war. All he talked about for nearly 45 minutes was Syrian & Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, ISIS, Hezbollah, bombings, ISIS, 2006 war, recent suicide bombings, ISIS, the 1975-1990 civil war and more ISIS.
Let me just start by telling Bourdain that ISIS is far from Lebanon and its borders, and the map (shown above) does not reflect ISIS control in Syria, nor its threat to Lebanon. The Lebanese Army and Hezbollah are not even fighting ISIS on the borders but Jobhat el Nousra.
Moving on to the full episode, I went through it minute by minute and took notes along the way. The episode kicked off with the cliché mosque and church contrasts, and then of course showing veiled women walking next to lingerie shops or billboards. We are proud of this co-existence of course but it gets boring when someone mentions it 10 times in the episode and randomly shows pictures of the Virgin Mary or Jesus or a mosque.
Bourdain then took a ride with the Harley Davidson Lebanon chapter and they visited a snack shop in Beirut (Broasted Rizk) which I’ve never heard of before. They barely mentioned the food there and talked for about five minutes about the civil war, the war of the hotels back in the 1970s, thee Holiday Inn and other war-related stories.
Afterwards, Bourdain kept talking for few minutes about explosions and the civil war before he got to Burj el Brajneh camp in Beirut and continued his war talks by covering Syria, Palestinians, ISIS and wars in the region. He visited poor families and children and had Syrian food inside the camp. They also showed gruesome pictures of war victims which weren’t really necessary.
Bourdain moved back to Raouche, showing people dancing the Dabke and then ISIS fighters somewhere in Iraq or Syria I don’t know. He then mentioned that you can swim and ski on the same day in Lebanon, and headed to Ras Beirut to have lunch with his security guard in Beirut, who thinks that Lebanon looks a lot like 2006 now (Don’t ask me how). In fact, all they talked about over lunch was war, explosions and the terrifying ISIS. Of course after lunch, we got another cliché church-mosque-night club constrast.
Radio Beirut was next on Bourdain’s to-do list and it was a short but fun act. He met with Chino and Lebanese Rapper Hussein Charafeddine who was once arrested and mistaken for a suicide bomber.
Moving on, Bourdain then had dinner somewhere in Beirut’s suburbs in a Hezbollah area. Food looked nice but the guy had a machine gun in the kitchen for some reason along with Hezbollah posters all around. Needless to say, everything they talked about was the 2006 war and ISIS and of course Hezbollah.
Bourdain was meeting Lebanese Journalist and activist Joumana Haddad but he made sure to include more cliché pictures of sexy Lebanese women, then a Virgin statue, a Chanel store and the reflection of a mosque, because Lebanon is the only country in the world where you will find conservative religious women, women in bikinis, a chanel store and a mosque (ma hek?).
Joumana’s three-minute interview was by far the best part in this episode and Joumana impressed as always with her opinions and take on things. She explained to Bourdain that it’s not “awesome not to have a president for a year”, and that the chaos that we are living in is not something you’d want to experience for over a year and she’s right.
I then skipped the part with Elefteriadis because I don’t think he’s the right person to talk to about Lebanon or Beirut as a whole. I love Music Hall and I admire the things he has done to improve nightlife in Lebanon but he’s a self-proclaimed emperor who lives in an imaginary kingdom. That’s all I have to say here. Bourdain finished the episode by visiting a cafe which I haven’t heard of as well and that is managed by Syrians and Lebanese.
All in all, “Parts Unknown” is an American travel and food show where Anthony Bourdain is supposed to go around the world and uncover lesser known places and explore cultures and cuisine. That said, coming to Beirut and visiting camps and war-torn areas is definitely not the right way to explore cuisine and culture and the way he portrayed Beirut to the whole world was a rather negative one. It’s as if we are living in constant fear of a new civil war or of ISIS invading the country which is far from the truth. We trust and believe in our Lebanese Army and we’ve always stood as one against terrorism and hopefully always will.
There are so many things that Bourdain missed out on and that could have made this episode a much better one:
– Uruguay Street, Gemmayze, Mar Mikhael, Badaro and Hamra’s nightlife.
– Beirut’s rooftops and open venues.
– Authentic Lebanese snacks and restaurants in Beirut. Since when is broasted chicken part of our culture?
– Zaitunay Bay, Beirut Souks and Solidere as a whole.
– Beirut’s beautiful graffiti murals and art scene.
– The dozens of cultural and artistic festivals happening in Beirut.
– Shawarma, Falafel, Manakish, Knefe, Lebanese sweets, etc …
– A walk around in old Achrafieh and Hamra streets.
– A close look at certain NGOs and their awesome work (ex: LiveLoveBeirut ).
I’m just talking about things to do in Beirut here and I’m sure there is tons of other stuff as well. If Bourdain wanted to see how Lebanese are reacting to ISIS threats, he should have visited Tripoli and seen how vibrant and peaceful the city is right now. We are not living in denial, we know we have a lot of issues to deal with, but that doesn’t mean we need to live in constant fear of war and stop enjoying our everyday life.
That’s what Bourdain should have focused on instead of reviving the civil war and the 2006 war in his report.
Bourdain came to Lebanon twice before in the past. One time his trip was cut short, the other time he had a full episode that featured food and culture. The difference between his trip back then and his trip now is that he’s doing a different show. This isn’t the foodie Anthony Bourdain, this is the more serious Anthony Bourdain. His Tumblr post (http://anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/post/122071979918/back-to-beirut) is very telling about his attitudes and how much his last two trips changed him. Parts Unknown isn’t a show about food, food is a passenger. Take the name of the show literally. He was never going to go to the popular places in Lebanon. Why in the world would Anthony Bourdain go to Zaitunay Bay, Beirut Souks and Solidere? That’s not him and that’s not what he does on this show (or his previous shows).
You also have to keep in mind the target audience of this show. To you and I the opening shots are cliche, but to new audiences, it’s something they haven’t seen before. I think this episode did a decent job at showing Lebanon from different perspectives. You had the pessimists, the optimists, the depressed, the hopeful. You had the refugees, the foreigners and the fighters.
The episode was political, but at the end of the day that’s part of Lebanon’s identity. If you want to watch a more food oriented Anthony Bourdain show I would recommend the Layover or No Reservations. His second episode in Lebanon had more to do with Lebanese food and culture. Parts Unknown is Bourdain being interested in more than just food and I personally thought the episode reflected Lebanon quite well.
The show’s definition is “uncovering lesser known places and exploring cultures and cuisine”. That’s not what he’s doing in this episode. He’s visiting Beirut we are supposed to see Beiruti or Lebanese cuisine to begin with. I mentioned Zaitunay bay and Beirut souks and Solidere because they contrast with the unknown parts he’s discovering. He did visit Raouche, Ain el Mraisse and Mar Mikhael which r quite popular as well. I’m not saying he should only visit popular places but he should give a general view specially that his audience has never been to Beirut before maybe.
Speaking of which, every single report about Beirut mentions the church mosque thing and it’s as cliche as it gets. His episode was a purely political one and not one aimed at unveiling Lebanon’s unknown parts. Lebanon’s identity is not just politics but how we make the best out of shitty situations, something he failed to show.
How did you conclude that the episode reflected Lebanon so well? Are we like in 2006 now? Is ISIS in Beirut? Are we terrified to watch the news? Is all of Beirut war-torn and destroyed? Is the nightlife restricted to Syrian-Lebanese owned cafes and Radio Beirut?
How did he fail to show that the Lebanese make the best out of a shitty situation? A lot of the episode was about how a lot of Lebanese, even though pessimistic, are making the best out of their situation.
You and I know Lebanon has a ton of issues now. There’s no president and there’s a refugee crisis. There are hopeful people, there are pessimists. I think the episode did a good job at showing that. He showed Lebanese food, he showed people living. He didn’t only show people being scared of ISIS. That was part of the show, like it is part of our region.
I’m not sure what kind of show you were expecting. But he wasn’t going to make an overly optimistic show that only showed Lebanons nightlife, popular restaurants and celebrities. This isn’t a pro-anything show or propaganda.
As a Lebanese living outside of Lebanon, I think it did a good job at reflecting my feelings.
I wasn’t expecting an overly optimistic show but at least one that shows both sides of Lebanon, the one that ignores the presence of ISIS and enjoys life as it is and the sad part that reflects our problems and the regional crisis.
Speaking of food, there was barely any mention of Lebanese food in this 45 minute long episode.
I’m of the same mind, Patrick. I wrote up a reaction on my blog (Beirutista.co) to this latest episode and the criticism being thrown at him, and I was much softer on him than Najib.
Najib–great piece, I see where you’re coming from, but again, keep in mind the focus of the show is more about exploring the character of a place rather than indulging in its foods. Bourdain did come to Lebanon twice before, and he didn’t want to churn out just another tribute to our culinary success. We’ve become renowned for that, so it would have been redundant.
In all honesty, if you wade through the comments on the Parts Unknown Facebook page, you’ll see that almost all non-Lebanese commentators were extremely positive and grateful to Bourdain for this episode and that they are in fact gung ho about coming here! So in the end, mission accomplished!!
I understand it’s not about the food but camps, war-torn buildings, news on ISIS and civil war flashbacks don’t reflect the character of Beirut at least not for me. Things have changed ever since Bourdain last came to Beirut and we have new hot spots and hidden gems to explore. He could have done a better job at looking for them. For ex, Mar Mikhael was unheard of back then.
I looked through the comments and it saddens me to see people happy with this episode because what he’s recommending will make them visit once and never come back.
Showing pictures of sexy Lebanese women is cliché? Since when?
You want to see shawarma & falafel, which could be found on any street corner in NYC? Those foods aren’t considered cliché?
This article strikes me as a guy trying to show off his knowledge of the country, rather than making a valid criticism of the episode.
I agree with Danielle. I can understand why people are upset about the show but 1) you have to remember this isn’t his first time in Beirut, so he’s not going to do the typical circuit because he’s done many of those things before 2) his show has evolved from a strictly food show into a more in-depth travel show, as the title ‘Parts Unknown’ suggests. I’m not Lebanese, so maybe I don’t have the right to comment, but I thought the episode was pretty good. The cliches were a bit heavy-handed at times, yes, and I too don’t see what the Music Hall owner has to offer the audience. But, what Bourdain wanted to show is that this is a complex country that has suffered a lot and is under a huge strain now, and yet it still manages to be ‘awesome’, as he would say. People here do worry about IS, and pretending that there aren’t tensions created by the Syrian refugees or the political violence that has thankfully calmed a bit now, is not an honest representation. I love Lebanon because it contains all these complex elements, some of which are less than ideal. I think he wanted to try to get at the many aspects to the country that go beyond the Paris of the Middle East notion and show that the place is still fantastic. I think he succeeded.
He didn’t emphasize much on this part of “managing to be awesome”.
I disagree, he was constantly talking about how much he loves the place, how everyone should come, etc etc. Actually, I think he did Beirut a service. I know quite a few people who’ve come here expecting the place to look like either Dubai or Cairo and are totally confused and frankly a little disappointed by what they discover. He painted an honest picture that shows the great and the difficult, and made a strong case throughout that this city is great. Maybe he didn’t present the city the way its residents would have, but he’s not a local, and his show is not for locals. I think people watching it would learn things they didn’t know and come away thinking ‘wow, what a funky, unexpected city’ — and I think that’s about right and totally ‘awesome’ 🙂
He kept telling about how much he loves the place but I don’t see how someone would love what he was showing them. I was misled by his earlier post before the episode came out because it beautifully described Beirut but the show didn’t reflect these thoughts.
He didn’t show the great as much as emphasize on the difficult and sad. I fail to see where he showed our city as being a great one? By showing lingerie and Virgin Mary statues next to veiled women and night clubs?
If I were a tourist and wanted to go to Beirut after his show, I would ask myself where should I go? And I would probably end up in all the places Bourdain failed to mention.
I think maybe the problem is that people were thinking the show would be him visiting Qadisha and Baalbek or the National Museum or something. When he goes to these places, he doesn’t visit the obvious tourist sites. His whole idea is to show the sort of ‘gritty underbelly’. And I think he showed all kinds of great things: the rap scene at Radio Beirut, the shared public space of the Corniche, the weirdness of Music Hall, the casual drinking at Abu Elie, the fact that someone like Joumana can exist in a Middle Eastern country, the way some Syrian refugees here feels free for the first time. All of that is going to be surprising in a great way to someone who doesn’t know Lebanon and thinks it’s just another Saudi or Syria somewhere over there in the crazy Middle East. I totally understand that the picture he presents is maybe one that isn’t familiar to every Lebanese and to the average visitor, but that’s sort of what he aims at. Sure, most visitors aren’t going to go Dahiyeh or Bourj al Barajneh (and plenty of Lebanese wouldn’t either), but those are also ‘real’ parts of Beirut, and I think he presented them sensitively. Ultimately, I think people are upset because they worry he’s presented a negative picture of Beirut, but I really don’t think he has. It’s not the picture the Tourism Ministry might put out, but it’s honest and wonderful nonetheless.
Lebanon does have a refugee crisis, warn torn political and social backdrop, fiery neighbours, and internal unrest. Acknowledging these realties, as tough to stomach or dramatic as they may be, is precisely what makes Lebanon rich, exceptional and unique. You seem to root for a polished, picture perfect, “vitrine” image you’d like to advertise to the World. No harm in that. However, as a “Lebanon Advocate”, it would be plain and simple deceiving advertising.
…Are indeed present in Beirut City (and Beirut city only for that matter), but in no way a representation of Lebanon’s vast social fabric, popular classes, and critical mass belonging. These places are soulless, pray on oppression of public space and glorification of privatisation, while not having produced any cultural, economical or social value for the country and its unity.
Trendy bars, concept stores, rooftops, and skyscrapers that you blame Bourdain for not showing, are universal symbols of modernity and cultural elitism, that can be identified anywhere in the World. From emerging countries to wealthy states, these landmarks are only accessible to the happy few.
Granted, these are sexier, more mainstream and acceptable elements to showcase to the World, but for a show trying to highlight local culture, I believe going straight to its conflicts, contrasts and nerve centres is the best and most honest way to the truth. The World viewers will survive by missing the never ending cliche of Lebanon’s Gemmayzeh/SkyBar/Zaituna Bay facade segment. Really felt like you would’ve preferred this Bourdain episode to look like the MEA suffocating 20min national advert video force-played on all flights…SKIP BUTTON PLEASE.
I’ll grant you that the food spots are utterly ridiculously selected, but then again, for his third trip in town, it was very clear that Bourdain was going for a personal, honest, and intimate presentation of Beirut, away from your suggested postcard of ZaitunaBay, DT, Mar Mikhail, Hamra BS, which he has previously covered, and mostly importantly uncovered by now.
You claim you could’ve mistaken Bourdain for “some clueless foreign reporter who’s visiting Beirut for the first time and still thinks we are at war”. After reading your piece, I can confidently retort that I could’ve mistaken a Blog that calls itself “Baladi” as clueless as a foreigner reporter in Beirut.
The issue with this blog-post-for-most is that it dramatically fails and crashes hard both as a TV critic and a “Lebanon advocate”. However, it flawlessly succeeds at being utterly Political, and poorly Misleading, the two things it ironically accuses a seasoned Media professional as Anthony Bourdain of being,
I see both side of what you to are saying….Every part of this world is embroiled in problems…nothing on the face of this wart is perfect. I now want to visit and have the grape leaves…it seams like a very intresting place…be proud and thank you for deepening my understanding!
wow and everyone he talked to made it all worse from Joumana to the Syrian English Teacher. He highlighted on a narrow part of the city “mokhayamet”, & this would just make his episode topic “Refugee Camps and Their Reflections on The City”.
As a Lebanese living abroad (for the past two years) I found the episode totally reasonable, his show isn’t only about food and culture. I think we should stop living in a fairytale and get back to reality. Lebanese get angry whenever someone brings up any serious issues the country is facing instead of the nightlife. We try too hard to sugarcoat everything, the country has been in a stalemate for years and the situation is just getting worse. All of the subjects brought up in the episode concern Lebanon and Beirut. Also, you might be fed up with the church mosque cliche but my friend from Canada who was watching the show with me was amazed, the show is destined for an international audience not just Lebanese. Showing Zaitunay Bay, Beirut Souks and Solidere as a whole, that must be a joke.
No one is asking Bourdain to show Lebanon as a beautiful destination where everyone is living a fairytale. That’s not what I said in the post but Beirut is not just camps and war-torn areas. There’s another part that should be shown as well and Zaitunay and Solidere are part of it whether we like it or not. Mar Mikhael, Hamra, Badaro and other parts as well which u skipped for some reason.
When your friend from Canada will visit Beirut, where will he stay? in a small hotel in Mar Mikhael or near Burj Brajneh? He may have found the episode an amazing one but once he comes here, he wouldnt know where to go and probably never end up where Bourdain went, and if he does, he might not visit again.
Again I’m not saying let’s pretend we live in lalaland but a little less emphasis on war and terorism would have been better.
I’ve got to agree with the commenters above – I don’t think he did an entirely bad job and I also wrote a review on my blog (not trying to plug it here but I just don’t want to retype it all!).
These problems are part of our nation’s struggles but they’re not the only thing we’ve got going on – so yes, Najib, you’re right about that. However, we can’t assume that everyone in Lebanon is living the way we do either. Bourdain had to show Beirut from a bunch of different perspectives because that’s who makes up the population right now: from the hipsters in Mar Mikhael to the people in the camps.
Exactly. Don’t forget–Mar Mikhael, Badaro, Hamra, Beirut Souks, and Zaitunay Bay may be where all the action is for a fair share of us, but we are certainly not the rule here. Bourdain gave us a refreshing new glimpse of Lebanon that even we as locals have to wrestle with! Hell, how many of you actually recognized Broasted Rizk or any of the other joints Bourdain visited? My point precisely–we have a lot to explore and discover in our own beautiful Beirut!!!
Don’t u think he should have shown both parts then? Mar Mikhael and Burj Brajneh? Of course we have a lot to explore but again the emphasis on war was way too overwhelming in his episode and might frighten more tourists away from Lebanon than attract them and it’s not the truth.
We are not at war. We have tons of problems but civil wars and ISIS aren’t the real problems now.
Isn’t Radio Beirut in Mar Mikhail?
It was so bad, I wanted to vomit after watching it and just about everything in your assessment was absolutely correct. I even visited his site and let him know what a terrible job he did. Shame on him…Please, do all Lebanese worldwide a BIG favor and DO NOT go back to Beirut for another episode….move on…
Najib is RIGHT….The replies to his post in this forum might be the only postings I have seen anywhere in support of this terrible piece of ‘journalism’. Please tell that clown to NOT go “Back to Beirut” to do another show….I was so looking forward to this episode, yet SO disappointed and Najib’s critique was right on the money, as were his replies in this forum, supporting who calls himself a ‘journalist’…take that clown off the air and find him a new job….Maybe he can get coffee for Brian Williams..??
I agree with Najib. It did not reflect anything he so profusely tried to project. If it were a UNRWA show then I’d say great reporting. I think Bourdain could have tried to sample his food/experiences of this exotic land from different angles.
He kept on flashing to Mosque/Church/multi sect theme. Well, he could have visited Ain Safa, mukhtara, Tannourine etc. Why gets stuck in a minimalist way. I will be the first to say that Beirut/Lebanon is not heaven on earth (sorry party goers); but not reflecting on anything that makes Lebanon what it is is absolutely unacceptable.
Why not Sidon/Tyre etc…
You’re just mad because he showed the ugly side of Lebanon and Beirut, no matter how ugly it is its the reality. You cant deny its not there and you cant try to hide it. Lebanon is just a couple of strips of pubs and a few beaches. Lebanon in fact is one big refugee camp that harbors fanatics and fundamentalists. The truth is ugly but its real.
I think he did a pretty good job. Najib whether u like it or not this is beirut, if you think beirut is all about roof tops, Mar mkhael, badaro, zaytouna bay and co. Well your wrong. The reason why we love lebanon is because of what he mentions in this episode. Don’t worry about the tourists visiting lebanon I think they’ll have a great time as always and they’ll find their way to Mar mkhael, roof tops etc… As for the situation in Lebanon it’s worse than 2006 and worse than the civil war. If u think everything is fine well you are all living in denial. I have to agree with George.
A true disappointment! I had friends over to see the program and after building up our beautiful Beirut, all we had were scenes in the worst possible parts of the City. Instead of showing off the beautiful parts and dining at a par with the best Europe has to offer—-we saw “joints”. What about all of the upscale shopping areas, etc. We know about the scars left, show us what the greatest Traders on earth have accomplished even with all the problems of the past. No one will ever take over our beloved Lebanon. It is for the Lebanese!!!
The ugly part of Lebanon has been broadcast to the world since the start of civil war in the 70’s and 80’s.. we all know ugly exists , but this was an opportunity, in only for once, to focus on the some of the beauty and reconstruction that Lebanon poses that the world has never seen. Whenever any outsider thinks of Lebanon, negativity surely comes to mind. Why not show the beauty for once ?
I never asked Bourdain to root for a polished picture perfect Lebanon but he should have shown both sides, not this tiny dark side of Beirut. What he did was deceiving advertising as he’s promoting places that tourists cannot even visit and security zones that you’re not even allowed in and pretending to love them. I did not ask him just to cover Zaitunay bay and Beirut’s rooftops but the same way he reflected on the camps and the ugly side, he should have shown the other side that’s flourishing now and that’s not necessarily Solidere. Mar Mikhail is a beautiful area that’s a mixture of old and new places, same for Achrafieh, Badaro, Hamra and plenty of other spots. Mar Mikhail is for everyone and there are plenty of hidden gems there to explore. Don’t just focus on trendy rooftops and miss out on the rest of what I wrote.
His show is about food and culture and we got nothing from those. If he’s going for a personal, honest presentation of Beirut he should have stayed a bit longer and saw both sides (even politically). Who told him everyone is afraid of ISIS in Lebanon and not of Hezbollah for ex? How does that reflect the truth about Lebanese politics?
I ll stop here because I’ve said almost everything I had to say in the post.
“You claim you could’ve mistaken Bourdain for “some clueless foreign reporter who’s visiting Beirut for the first time and still thinks we are at war”. After reading your piece, I can confidently retort that I could’ve mistaken a Blog that calls itself “Baladi” as clueless as a foreigner reporter in Beirut.”
I’m sorry to hear that but I’m not convinced by your arguments and it shows again that you haven’t read my piece properly.
If he forgot one thing it would be to show how much lebanese like to complain and dramatize.
Thats how he sees beirut and its very close to accurate
You can also ask any foreigner that moved here working or studying and they will give you the same reasons why they came in the first place. Most Beautiful/ Ugliest / dirtiest most breathtaking place in the world….
Ma thats why it’s called ‘Parts Unknown’, so you shouldn’t know the places he visited !!
I liked nothing about Beirut Part 3. Even less the interview with Joumana Haddad – who, let’s be frank, is a hypocrite.
Part 3 resembled a lot Bourdain’s visit to Israel: sinister.
In Part 1, Bourdain (and his team) fell in love with Beirut and Lebanon. They managed, despite the war, to make the best out of it. It turned out to be more of a documentary than anything and it was just great because it was not improvised.
In Part 2, Bourdain (and his team) returned to finish what they could not in Part 1. They discovered Beirut/Lebanon, its food, its culture and people. It was clear, by then, that Bourdain was in love with the city/country.
In Part 3, despite Bourdain (endlessly) proclaiming his love for Beirut, anyone who had not seen seen Part 1 and 2 would think that Bourdain was a crazy man: he loves Beirut but shows it so darkly? . Part 3 was about Palestinian/Syrian refugees (especially Syrian), the demonization of Assad, ISIS and Hezbollah. How would anyone, in his right mind, want to visit Beirut/Lebanon after watching Part 3? Were the long close-up footage of wounded refugees necessary? What was that about?
I don’t know, call me crazy, but I think CNN needed to tarnish Beirut/Lebanon’s image. Especially after Bourdain visited Israel, and, did not seem to like it at all.
I would like to know the name of the vegetable and meat dish (seven something) made in the pressure cooker (the pressure cooker was a much-repeated and heavy-handed image which supposedly describes the pressure cooker atmosphere of Beirut).
The episode was crap, except for the interview with the beautiful and bright female journalist.
I watched the episode just after reading this entry. I agree with Najib that the episode only showed the politicised version but to be honest, as a non resident of Lebanon I don’t really wanna see Zeitounay Bay and Solidaire in a Bourdain show. I expect that kind of content (as well as the other more “constructive” suggestions made in the post) in a youtube montage made locally, shots of jetskis, bikinis, and downtown…the nightlife, resorts, shopping and all that…that’s anywhere in the world, and in Lebanon it is so annoyingly fake. Bourdain’s episode gave a snapshot of a certain side of life in Lebanon at the time from a certain angle and whilst some of what was shown and mentioned wasn’t very necessary, I’d much rather the episode be how it is than be yet another hyped up ad campaign for Lebanon. Still, in the end, the overwhelming impression left on me, as someone who hasn’t been following lebanese affairs is one of positivity and hope.