Anthony Bourdain on the Nerdist Podcast:
How foodies use Instagram. Hypothetically when somebody takes pictures of their food–and everybody does now–I’m guilty of it, we all sit down and eat at a restaurant, everybody out with the cell phones and we’re all taking pictures of our food. Are we sharing? “Look at this wonderful food I’m eating.” Are you sharing, are you educating, are you inspiring? No, it’s an aggressive act. You say, “Look what I’m eating. I really hope you’re sitting there in some shit-stained undies on your couch eating Cheetos right now.” You don’t want other people to share with you and say, “Oh, that’s so interesting, look what I’m eating.” No, it’s an aggressive act, and I think a lot of foodie-ism is sort of aggressive. It’s the whole point of taking pictures of your food, is to make other people feel bad about their food choices. […] It’s something that I’m guilty of for sure.
Well, he’s not wrong.
If we’re honest with ourselves, taking pictures of our food is terribly aggressive. Perhaps not entirely in the way Anthony Bourdain asserts–that we want to make other people feel bad about their dining decisions–but in that we want other people to think we’re living this really fabulous life, one that’s significantly more classy and interesting and exciting than everyone else’s. “Look what I’m eating–isn’t it amazing and much, much tastier and prettier than what you’re eating, therefore validating the way I live my life and making you feel as though it’s superior to the way you’re living yours.” (And, like Bourdain, I’m certainly no innocent party to this.)
I don’t think the aggressiveness is about food choices. I think it’s about lifestyle choices, or even life choices. This has been covered extensively before by much better writers than myself–about how Facebook and Instagram and Twitter are all about branding yourself, selectively displaying the parts of your life that are the most “interesting” and leaving out the long, dreary hours of you sitting on your couch alone watching Netflix and eating corn nuts–so I won’t get into it, but I just really enjoyed this interview with Mr. Bourdain, and I wholeheartedly recommend the Nerdist Podcast if you’ve never listened to it.
Also he’s got a graphic novel out now.