I’m posting this exactly nine days after discovering that I will never again read another new Roger Ebert review. He died on April 4, which was exactly one day after I had privately expressed to my best friend an earnest and sincere worry about Mr. Ebert’s health. I texted my friend a somewhat melodramatic statement: “I’m not ready for Roger Ebert to die. I can’t deal with it.” And truthfully, this was not the first occasion I had said something along these lines to someone in my life.
In fact, on April 4, no less than three people I know contacted me to offer their condolences, just as if someone actually close to me had died. That’s probably a little weird. I acknowledge how strange it is that I feel so personally sad about it. But he was very active online, and I was a big fan, and so he ended up practically a daily part of my life. I visited his website. I read his reviews, his blog, his books. Even the one he wrote about his love of preparing one-pot recipes in his automatic rice cooker.* He was a regular fixture on my Facebook feed, to which, like so many other people, I have become addicted.
When some celebrities die, you have this fanciful regret about never getting to know them (as if that ever would’ve happened even if he or she had lived a thousand years). But he revealed so much of himself in his writing, that on some level I feel like I did know Mr. Ebert. So, in this instance, my conceited, little regret is just that he never knew me. And that isn’t so very farfetched at all because he interacted with his fans every day. He read and responded to their tweets and their blogs. He even grew to admire some of them and elevated them from obscurity by giving them a place of honor at his virtual table on his website.
I doubt that ever would’ve happened to me, no matter what, but the point is this: I never even commented, not once, not on a single blog entry. Not on a single status update. I admired him so much, and I had so many opportunities to engage with him on subjects of mutual interest. And I just never did. I guess I just never felt like anything I had to say was interesting enough to justify grasping for his attention.
Which brings us to this blog.
Did I begin a blog in the wake of the death of the world’s most beloved film critic because I think I can replace him? Nope. I have not quite reached that level of delusional yet. It’s just that I talk and think and even write about movies and other media all the time, but I typically do it in email to friends or to a limited audience on Facebook. I have never before seriously contemplated making a real attempt to blog about these ideas because there’s an entire overwhelming universe of blogs already out there. What could I possibly add to that ginormous conversation already happening?
Well, we’ll see now, won’t we?
Some Good Ebert-related Tidbits:
“Epitaph for a Titan” by James Berardinelli
Funny or Die: 11 Funniest Lines from Roger Ebert’s Reviews of Bad Movies
The Onion: Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence as “A Triumph”
“Roger Loves Chaz” by Roger Ebert
A bunch of previously written, mostly pointless filler (because I hate an empty blog).
* I seriously doubt anyone else on the planet could’ve interested me in this topic. I’m not much of a cook (understatement), and I don’t even own a rice cooker.