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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roger Ebert

I don't really have anything to say at the moment, so I'll just talk about this article: Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

Anyone who grew up in the 80's remembers the immortal duo of Siskel and Ebert. Movies came and went, but their they stayed, thrusting thumbs in various directions as in the gladitorial battles of old. Their opinion of the movie at discussion never mattered as much as their love/hate debates. When you're parodied in things like Sesame Street and movies like "Godzilla" and "Hollywood Shuffle", you know you've made it.

Siskel died before his time, in the midst of their celebrity. The phenomenom was never the same, but Ebert continued doing what he does best--write about movies.

And that's why I'm writing this. When we think about writers, we think about novelists--Stephen King, Michael Chabon, Michael Crichton, Barbara Kingsolver, Flannery O'Connor. And so on.

But we forget there's so much out there that's written. Someone's got to write that copy you see on Yahoo news. Someone's writing the label on your Hostess cupcake. Someone's writing all those wikipedia entries, cartoons, web tutorials. I don't know if these people consider themselves writers but they should.

And Ebert's one of those guys no one realizes is a writer. Not only that, but a good writer. An original writer. It's too bad he never wrote fiction, because 1) he's seen so many movies it would be a breeze and 2) his style is sublime and superb. You have to be to write for so long on the same subject.

That's why I admire the guy. He writes about movies. Over and over and over. And he can't repeat himself, can't say the same thing twice. You should really read some of his reviews. His style, his word choice, is so dynamic that his words can't be ignored. Maybe that's why he's lasted so long.

Most beginning authors list other novelists as their inspirations and role models. I do too. But now I realize I made a mistake. I should realize that there's more to writing than constructing a saleable story. There's the joy of writing something exciting, even if it's someone else's story, or your own opinion. I always wonder how he does it. I think the world is worse off that Ebert's never written a book on how to write. I think authors would benefit from it.

It wasn't until this article that I found out that Ebert has cancer and he's walking The Long Walk. He's already had his jaw removed. Now the lower part of his face hangs in a Joker-like perma-smile. He can't talk, eat, or drink anymore. But he still sees movies, and he can still write. I think that's

I just wanted to say a few words about him, because the article moved me. It sounds like I'm writing his obituary, even though he's not dead. But when he does, the world will lose something that they never knew they had.
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