A few words about the late, great Roger Ebert...

Like most people, I came to know Roger Ebert as "the fat one" half of the most famous televised movie critic duo of all time, via Siskel & Ebert At the Movies. Sometimes I agreed with Ebert's criticism. Often I didn't. I always enjoyed reading or listening to his opinion though, even when I didn't agree with it.

Ebert started early as a journalist, writing movie reviews professionally as a teenager. He became the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, a position he held until he died of complications of his long fight with cancer on Thursday April 4th 2013.

Ebert was a rare example of a cat that could write high quality discourse that was still legible to common people, which enabled his long and stellar career in journalism and criticism. It won him a Pulitzer before he became a household name on television. He became famous because of the accessibility of his intellectualism, his nerd-next-door persona, and -obviously- his love of the movies.

In recent years, more than the vast majority of the professional press, Ebert embraced and excelled in the  world of social media, which turned every person who wanted to be (like me) into a published amateur critic. Rather than childishly railing against the social internet the way many journalists and critics did, Ebert navigated it like a boss. His Facebook and Twitter presence was huge but strangely intimate, and exposed his flair for writing and sharing about any and every topic. He wrote about his illness, his fears (or lack thereof) and just about everything else.

I didn't follow Ebert everyday the way many did, but word of his passing still hit me hard. His wife Chaz said he passed with "no struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition." I'm thankful for that at least.


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