David Simon Calls the Loss of Anthony Bourdain "Hideous and Grievous"

David Simon and Anthony Bourdain-Split-Getty-H 2018
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"He remains, for many of us, the American that we wish ourselves to be in the world’s sight," 'The Wire' creator says of his late friend.

David Simon is devastated over the death of his friend Anthony Bourdain, a man who "knew everything," The Wire creator said.

In a lengthy tribute posted Monday, Simon recalls his times with Bourdain and marveled at how the chef turned journalist turned celebrity never failed to amaze him and inspire him.

Bourdain died Friday; he was 61.

"He remains, for many of us, the American that we wish ourselves to be in the world’s sight," Simon writes. "To have him deliver the simple dignity of a countryman open to and caring about the rest of the world, and doing so amid our current national degradation — this was ever more important and heroic."

He continues, "To lose him now, amid so many fear-mongering, xenophobic tantrums by those engaged in our current misrule, is hideous and grievous. But make no mistake: It wasn’t love of food that led Bourdain to the embrace of a shared human experience, of a world merely hiding its great commonalities behind vast and obvious culinary variations. It was the other way around. Tony was intensely political, a man always aware of those at the margins, or those who seem never to be reached by wealth or status or recognition."

The two men were friends for years and updated one another on the projects they were chasing, those that landed and, of course, those that crashed. Bourdain also wrote for Simon's HBO series Treme

"I could spend days explaining how perfectly his written scenes for Treme serviced Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens' chef character) and her journey – and more importantly, how carefully and honestly he traversed the wounded, shoulder-chipped post-Katrina moodiness and pride of the New Orleans culinary world," Simon says. "The scenes were fresh butter. They need only be trimmed to fit in the expanse of fifty-eight minute episodes, and even then, what we had to consign to the cutting-room floor was entirely worthy. It died heedlessly, for space only."

The last time the two men hung out was in December. After a charity event, the duo wandered to a bar and went drink for drink, as Simon tells it. 

"We had one too many. I was ready to sleep," Simon recalls. "We stood in the cold on Park Avenue South a little while longer, then hugged, which always seemed a ridiculous gesture with Bourdain, whose height made you feel as though you were embracing a cathedral. He was flying somewhere absurd in the morning. He still had to pack."

During their long, intoxicated conversation, Simon says he explained some issues he was having with his upcoming project. Still hurting from the night before, he checked his email the next morning and there was a message from Bourdain with some thoughts on how to fix the problem. 

"I read that and wondered how the fuck how," Simon writes. "Motherfucker was as drunk as I was, and between all the travel and the Weinstein battle, so much more tired. Now, today, it’s tempting for me to seize on the drinking and the weariness and the offhand command that he couldn’t stop making those journeys and extrapolate some portentous meaning. But I know that I’d be lying to myself and grafting meaning to a moment only in retrospect. No, I went to work that next day hungover, but sated with smart talk and good drinks and savage jokes and the hug goodbye, having watching my friend cross the avenue, head for the subway, and then disappear down the hole."

Read Simon's full tribute here