If you only knew the Movie Critic version of Roger Ebert, you might have been a little thrown with the rather deep mourning that hit a lot of people on Twitter yesterday when they found out that he had passed away. The general response in my wife's office, for example, was basically, "The movie guy? Didn't he die a long time ago?"
But if you are a writer/blogger type, and if you stumbled across Ebert's blog when he started writing a few years ago, you probably fell in love with a different Roger Ebert.
Now, make no mistake: Movie Critic Roger Ebert was enough. The man was a star in a field that doesn't exactly produce many stars. He made art out of criticism, if you will. For more than a decade now, when his new reviews were released, I checked to see if there were any one-star reviews in the batch because there was nothing -- nothing -- in the world more entertaining than Roger Ebert reviewing a bad movie. (For evidence, go here.) Ebert was smart and immensely talented, and I grew to enjoy his reviews so much even though a) I've always been more of a TV guy, and b) I frequently disagreed with him. He was a writer first, critic second, and he was just fun to read no matter what movie he was writing about. His talent and passion for cinema (and his job) shined through almost 100 percent of the time.
In recent years, though, he started writing prolifically about things other than just movies. (He still wrote an insane number of reviews, however.) Blogging fit him like a glove, and once he started -- once he discovered that you can build a strange, wonderful community online and interact with it (don't I know it) -- he embraced it entirely. Those following his blog read his thoughts about death, and politics, and literature, and Gene Siskel, and his wife, and his family, and his faith. Sometimes his views mirrored mine exactly, and sometimes they very much did not. But his writing either taught or verified certain things for me that I feel and reflect on nearly every day.
1. If you love what you do, people can tell. And if you love what you do, share that love. Communicate that love as much as possible.
2. Try to learn as much as possible about everything. Don't be ashamed of knowing things. And don't ever stop asking questions.
3. Demand as much as possible from others.
4. When you realize you're wrong, admit it. Have strong opinions and challenge people to change them. And never, ever be afraid to make fun of yourself.
5. Pride, confidence, and humility are infinitely more important than appearance.
It's not like I didn't know these things before Ebert came around. I've had some pretty good role models in my life. But he embodied those beliefs as well as any public figure I can remember. He served as a role model for me and so many other young writer/bloggers. Cancer is an asshole, as The Champaign Room says below, and we always knew this day was going to come (even though, after what he posted on his journal earlier this week, we all thought we would get at least a few more months of him with us). But he fought that bastard off for quite a while, and we are all better for it. He lived a full, and surely very satisfying 70 years. And we should all hope that both our lives and our passing can so deeply impact so many.
- Chicago Sun-Times: Roger Ebert dead at 70 after battle with cancer
Chicago Sun-Times: A statement from Chaz Ebert
Film Drunk: RIP, Roger Ebert
The Champaign Room: R.I.P. Roger Ebert
This is a really odd transition to links, now, but since I included so many Ebert pieces in this links space through the years, I wanted to share my thoughts about him here, too.
Mizzou Diamond Sports Links
- Next Up for Softball:
MUtigers.com: No. 7 Mizzou Heads to No. 4 Alabama for Top 10 Series
The Missourian: Missouri prepares for tough road test at Alabama
- Next Up for Baseball:
SimmonsField.com: MIZZOU MATCHUP: Georgia Bulldogs
SimmonsField.com: SEC Weekend: Georgia Bulldogs
The Trib: Tigers put high hopes on ace Thomas as she starts nearly every game
- Swinging Those Bats
The Trib: Missouri softball on historic offensive stretch
The Maneater: Tiger hitters catching fire
SimmonsField.com: Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Nick Tepesch
Fox Sports MW: Tepesch taking advantage of major opportunity
- ...Until It's Rained/Snowed Out, Anyway
MUtigers.com: Doubleheader at UMKC Added to Schedule
The Missourian: Missouri baseball benches last season's top performers
- The Next Softball Ace
Washington Post: O'Connell ace Tori Finucane is feeling it early
- Extra Bases!
Mizzou Network (YouTube): Extra Bases w/Coach E
Mizzou Basketball Links
MUtigers.com: Future Tiger Torren Jones Invited to West Coast All-Star Game
The Trib (AP): Keyon Dooling is lured from retirement
The Trib: Miami details alleged unethical conduct by investigators in motion to dismiss NCAA case
KC Star: Miami's motion to dismiss Haith case outlines unethical tactics by NCAA
Post-Dispatch: Miami motion asserts more NCAA misconduct
- You Say "Metaphor," I Say ... It Was A Dunk Contest
The Maneater: Keion Bell's defeat a fitting ending to Tigers' season
Mizzou Football Links
As usual, there will be a standalone post about the most recent football practice ... but here are a couple of other football links. Including a challenge to be meaner from Senator Blutarsky. I know that's a challenge we can live up to...
- In Response To The Rivalry Check...
Senator Blutarsky: Welcome South, Tigers!
- 2014 Recruiting
PowerMizzou: Hance makes return trip to Mizzou
Other Mizzou Links
- Mizzou Tennis
MUtigers.com: Tennis Hosts Alabama, Auburn in St. Louis
- Mizzou Gymnastics
The Missourian: Missouri gymnast Rachel Updike takes quiet confidence into regionals
- Mizzou Track & Field
MUtigers.com: Track Heads into Alabama Weekend with National Rankings
- Mizzou Women's Golf
MUtigers.com: Tigers Continue Spring Season at Rebel Intercollegiate
- Mizzou Men's Swimming
MUtigers.com: Hladik Named Male SEC Community Service Leader of the Year
- This. Sounds. Disgusting.
So Good: Pizza Hut's Crazy New Crust