Friday, April 05, 2013


A fine meditation on death by movie critic Roger Ebert, who died today at age 70.

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.

Ebert was always my go-to guru, even though I didn't always agree with his opinions. We were generally on the same page unless Ebert happened to be reviewing science fiction or fantasy, at which point we would part ways: Ebert often complained about lapses in story logic with SFF films mainly because he couldn't or didn't grasp the internal laws of these fictional universes. Then again, some of his complaints were spot-on. For example, when he reviewed 2009's "Star Trek," Ebert wondered how it was that the Enterprise could be shifted out of warp manually, by means of a silver throttle. A miscalculation of even a thousandth of a second would be catastrophic, as the starship would end up millions or even billions of kilometers away from its intended target. Wouldn't it have been better to let a computer handle the warp-stoppage? Point taken, sir.

April 4 is a loaded date. It's Maya Angelou's birthday (she's now 85), as well as the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. We can now add Roger Ebert's gi-il/Yahrzeit to this particular pantheon.

RIP, Mr. Ebert.


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