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