How Anthony Bourdain's Final Instagram Post Has Been Turned Into A Memorial

Tuesday marked the three-year anniversary of Anthony Bourdain's passing. For many of his fans, the pain inflicted by his sudden absence has yet to scab. Even on the day of writing this piece, people have gone to his Instagram page to express their sorrow on his account's last post, a picture of pork stacked upon sauerkraut, potato, and sausage with the typically wry comment of "Late Lunch."

"Miss you Tony x." "I wish you could have stayed." "Missing you quite a bit today." These comments and more were all added to this final post within the past day.

In Grub Street's report of the phenomenon, they describe the attitude toward that specific post as a kin to Jim Morrison or Jean-Michel Basquiat's graves in Paris and Brooklyn, respectively. The fact that, as Find a Grave notes, Bourdain was cremated and his ashes were given to a friend might have spurred this continued focus on the social media page.

The account is an official memorial

Toward the end of the Grub Street piece, Tom Taylor makes a passing comment about how Instagram has memorialized Anthony Bourdain's account, which means it cannot be changed and won't be deleted.

At first hearing, the transformation of an Instagram account into a memorial may not sound like much. After all, without Bourdain, it could just lie there dormant and achieve the same effect. In practice, however, it proves slightly more dramatic. As Bella Najia covered when Instagram announced this feature in 2020, Instagram would, upon accepting a valid application, prevent anyone from logging into the account, making it an inaccessible digital preserve of the users output.

Compare, for example, the difference between Bourdain's quiet record and the reanimated social media presence of David Bowie. As David Bowie was always a brand created by David Jones, his Instagram account continues to promote his work and new bootleg releases despite the unfortunate aspect that he is dead. 

In that light, the way Bourdain's account acts as a memorial is a nice gift to fans of the man who lived so much of himself before the camera.