Roger Ebert R.I.P.

Ebert was a great film critic, a joyful viewer who always preached that great art and popular entertainment were not exclusive.

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“The movies won’t be the same without Roger,” the President of the United States said today in a statement upon the death of Roger Ebert, one of the most influential American writers and critics of the last quarter century. He was, to begin, a great film critic, a joyful viewer who always preached that great art and popular entertainment were not exclusive. (See his defense of Star Wars, above.) He was also a great essayist, and the world now begs some book publisher to come along to bind his best blog posts, if only so they can be preserved by others who loved the printed word as much as he did. But most importantly, he celebrated humanity, and the things it creates. In 2011, he wrote about his own mortality for Salon:

What I expect to happen is that my body will fail, my mind will cease to function and that will be that. My genes will not live on, because I have had no children. I am comforted by Richard Dawkins’ theory of memes. Those are mental units: thoughts, ideas, gestures, notions, songs, beliefs, rhymes, ideals, teachings, sayings, phrases, clichés that move from mind to mind as genes move from body to body. After a lifetime of writing, teaching, broadcasting and telling too many jokes, I will leave behind more memes than many. They will all also eventually die, but so it goes.

O’Rourke’s had a photograph of Brendan Behan on the wall, and under it this quotation, which I memorized:

“I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”

That does a pretty good job of summing it up. “Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Rest in Peace, Roger Ebert (1942-2013).

10 comments
JPRTaylor
JPRTaylor

Was missing you, Roger, when I was watching a new film the other day and thought to myself "I can't wait to hear what you would think about this..." only then to have it hit me again. It is amazing how often this still happens, imagining your reaction, looking forward to reading a new review, and remembering with sadness that I'll never hear your always passionate and eye-opening opinions on a new movie ever again. But the many wise words you penned will always be with us, and our memories of you will be in our hearts for many years to come.

Farewell Roger, our mentor and friend.

~ The Audience

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

We've been robbed of yet another talented individual. Instead of endless talk about protecting our right to kill other people with weapons of war, what say we blast cancer off the face of this earth?

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

He published his last blog post on April 2. It was a wonderful read and the last sentence has been frequently quoted in obits. Worth reading the whole post.

So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2013/04/a_leave_of_presense.html

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

So, one of my friends back in University was organizing this trip to see Pan's Labyrinth.  Another friend of ours was absolutely mortified - how could she see it, Ebert hadn't published his review yet!  How was she to know whether it was good or not.  As it turned out, the group collectively disliked it - a position held by the Ebert-drone.  By Monday, the review had been published - a positive one - and she was talking about how wonderful the movie was.

Sad case, hers - I don't think she ever got the help she needed.  Every time I hear about Ebert these days, I'm reminded of her.

Sorry, a bit off topic, this.

TyPollard
TyPollard

I am proudly a liberal. I am also patriotic, reasonable, pro-American, and stand for family values.

-Roger Ebert

MrObvious
MrObvious

@TyPollard 

Sums up true liberalism, not the boogie man version 'wingers scares themselves with.