Tag Archives: Roger Ebert

I was kind of hoping they could make it

The Westboro Baptist Church will picket Roger Ebert’s funeral on Monday, because he obviously asked for it. They’re very clear about that in their statement:

“American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist church, just days before he received the horrifying summons.”

To be fair, the tweets were pretty obscene. You may want to close your eyes:

ebert tweet

Once more, Ebert . . .

“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.”

I’m adding this to my QUOTES page right now. At The Week, they’ve compiled more Ebert quotes.

An elegant and kind man with a poet’s touch

roger_ebertRoger Ebert, who died yesterday, began blogging in earnest some years back after cancer robbed him of speech. He racked up millions of hits and every post generated hundreds of comments.  I’ve written about him a few times. From March of 2010:

I discovered his blog a few months ago and was enchanted – a fine writer, a profoundly human man and very very brave. He’s wasting away from cancer – can no longer speak or eat. He doesn’t even have a jaw anymore. And yet he blogs. And he cares. And he has his finger on the pulse of the humanity that is us. I wish I knew him.

Roger Ebert’s Journal was much more than movies; while he chronicled the challenges of his illness he also wrote – always elegantly – of so many other things – of politics, music, art, children and cooking.

He and I were born in the same year, so when he wrote of his own youth, which he often did – as often happens with those battling terminal illnesses – I went back in time with him. Like in this passage from a very recent post titled “How I am a Roman Catholic”:

The nuns at St. Mary’s were Dominicans. They lived in a small square convent behind the school, holding six nuns (some taught two grades) and a cook and their housekeeping nun, who kept a sharp eye trained on us through her screen door. We had humble playground equipment, a swing set and two basketball hoops. Our principal sport was playing King of the World. This involved two boys standing on a log, each trying to push the other off. The housekeeper would open the screen door and shout, “If you break your necks, you have only yourselves to blame.”

It was from these nuns, especially Sister Nathan and Sister Rosanne, that I learned my core moral and political principles. I assumed they were Roman Catholic dogma. Many of them involved a Social Contract between God and man, which represented classical liberalism based on empathy and economic fairness. We heard much of Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum”–“On Capital and Labor.”

I’ll miss him and his writing but I’ll go back now and again to the archives. There is wisdom there.

How tidy that a fan has fans

Roger Ebert. Former movie critic, Chicago Trib and syndicated TV. I discovered his blog a few months ago and was enchanted – a fine writer, a profoundly human man and very very brave. He’s wasting away from cancer – can no longer speak or eat. He doesn’t even have a jaw anymore. And yet he blogs. And he cares. And he has his finger on the pulse of the humanity that is us. I wish I knew him.

This morning I checked in to see if he’d posted since his absolutely definitive take down of Glenn Beck following the TV star’s absolutely astonishing ‘social justice’ rant and was very glad to see he’s still bangin’ them out.

And his Glenn Beck post has 693 comments! So don’t even bother. 693 comments.

I’ll bet some of them came from the Americans on the ground in Afghanistan where it is the 167th day of the ninth year of the war there.

The newfound movie critic

I just read something touching and remarkable by a man who is himself remarkable. Who knew? All those years watching or listening to Roger Ebert tell us about movies, and the whole time, hiding in plain sight, there was a philosopher, a raconteur, an acute observer of life. A few weeks ago, I posted a link to a letter he’d written to Rush Limbaugh. (Whether he actually sent it or not who knows, but Ebert was pretty fed up with the nonsense.) As soon as my post was up, I forgot about Roger Ebert.

But just now, following a stray link, I found myself back there. And this time I found the man himself. A man who’s been fighting cancer, has had endless surgeries, has lost his speech and oddly, his ability to eat and drink. Life is a different place for him now, and I just read a long post about eating and drinking – and not eating and drinking. Not an appealing subject matter, but in his hands . . . His writing is elegant in its simplicity. His voice is true and honest and humble and makes me wish I knew the guy. This passage makes me think we would get along very well indeed.

EBERT:  [driving around town] I never look at a trendy new restaurant and wish I could eat there. I peer into little storefront places, diners, ethnic places, and then I feel envy. After a movie we’ll drive past a formica restaurant with only two tables occupied, and I’ll wish I could be at one of them, having ordered something familiar and reading a book. I never felt alone in a situation like that. I was a soloist.

He wrote the post recently and it has nearly 700 comments. One doesn’t see those kinds of comment numbers outside the rarified atmosphere of the blog giants. I will explore his blog a bit more now – I’m sure it’ll be worth it.  While he still does movie stuff, his writing often veers toward this new journey he finds himself on.

Here’s another gem, from another post. First, he quotes Brendan Behan:
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.
And he adds, speaking for himself:
For 57 words, that does a pretty good job of summing it up. “Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. “

Nice stuff.

UPDATE: Just added a link to Roger Ebert’s Journal to the blogroll on the right.