#roger ebert

So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.

Roger Ebert, writing in his online journal just two days ago.

The fact that he seemed so enthusiastic about the projects on his plate —and that he had so many of them — even with the return of his cancer, makes his passing today even more sad. But what a great life.

And what a perfect sendoff.

I just quoted Roger Ebert’s excellent New York Times op-ed about the Aurora shooting, but really, you should read the whole thing. The entire thing is quote-worthy. 

Another key excerpt:

Should this young man — whose nature was apparently so obvious to his mother that, when a ABC News reporter called, she said “You have the right person” — have been able to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes. And the endless gun control debate will begin again, and the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association will go to work, and the op-ed thinkers will have their usual thoughts, and the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change. And there will be another mass murder.

That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.

If anyone’s stance is really going to be that citizens need guns to protect themselves, it should be viewed that this idea failed yesterday in a way far worse than if guns were outlawed in this country. Nearly 100 people failed to use their gun rights to protect themselves. And 12 people have died as a result. A complete and utter failure of that right.

Of course, that right is actually preposterous. It’s 2012, not 1712.

I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity.

Roger Ebert on the Aurora shooting.

He’s exactly right. The “Joker” nonsense simply adds to and elevates the publicity angle here — which the killer played perfectly. That’s not a problem with the movies, it’s a problem with the media. Sometimes it’s sad how easily psychopaths can outsmart us.

When I write, I fall into the zone many writers, painters, musicians, athletes, and craftsmen of all sorts seem to share: In doing something I enjoy and am expert at, deliberate thoughts fall aside and it is all just there. I think of the next word no more than the composer thinks of the next note.

Roger Ebert on the joy of writing. I love this thought. I tried to convey the same thing a few weeks ago while thinking about my (much shorter) career as a writer:

The real key is rhythm. When you’re regularly blogging, you get a rhythm going and it keeps going. Content is key, of course, but at times, words can seem to find a flow. It’s almost as if you don’t have to think about what you’re going to write, you just write it.

You should read all 15 of the excerpts from Ebert’s memoir Life Itself, that The Atlantic collected.