Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Thumb Up

I rarely tell people what to do (unless, of course, you're my kid) but I strongly encourage you to follow Roger Ebert on Twitter (@ebertchicago).

YA novelist John Green called Ebert one of the few remaining public intellectuals, a description that will make sense to you after reading only a handful of his tweets. I'd say only a fourth pertain to movies, the rest cover the gamut from politics to religion to race relations to healthcare.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Roger Ebert. He's made his name in my hometown, for one, and I have a lot of admiration for anyone who courageously meets each day with a smile and shrug while fighting a devastating illness. I also have a great Roger Ebert story (I know, I always have a story, but stick with me):

In the early nineties I scored tickets to see Oprah. Siskel and Ebert were slated to appear. I went in to the taping a fan of Siskel. Of the two, I thought he was the cute one, and a charmer. Ebert, I thought, was a chubby know-it-all movie geek.

I won't say anything about Siskel except that I was disappointed. Ebert, though...wow. Before the show began he talked to people in the audience, talked with people, not at them. He had a great, friendly laugh and an upbeat attitude. His wife, Chaz, was there and she sat by herself at the side of the room. As soon as the director called for a break, Ebert jumped off the stage and went right to her, just so he could hold her hand and keep her company (She would have been sitting rather uncomfortably alone if he hadn't). He stayed after the show wrapped, and acted like he had all the time in the world to meet and greet. I walked out of Harpo Studios a fan.

We've lost a lot of iconic Chicagoans since then (Studs Terkel, Irv Kupcinet, and even Gene Siskel), so we're lucky to have such a lively mind as Ebert's still active in the public sphere. Check him out!


  1. Okay. Sold!

    I'm heading over to twitter. That is . . . if I can remember my password.


  2. Done. I like him already! Can't wait to check out his tweets.

  3. He was one of the reasons I caved to twitter. One of my prized possessions is an autographed copy of one of his books that reads, "To Alexa, a real film buff!"