Roger Ebert’s not just the best film critic in the country — he’s also running the best blog on the internet. If you read blogs (and something tells me you do) and Roger Ebert’s Journal isn’t a regular stop for you, it should be.
He posts a new article once, occasionally twice a week, and actively participates in his lively comments section. The result is that readers get to respond to the work of a great writer, augment it with their own thoughts and experiences, and carry on a dialogue with him. It’s the best example I’ve found of what makes the internet, especially the blog, such a powerful tool for promoting understanding and creative expression.
The most recent article, posted Friday, is “How I believe in God,” a remarkable essay in what has become a series of them, wherein Roger discusses his spiritual beliefs (and unbeliefs), touching on his childhood Catholic school experience, his growth into a religious skeptic, his reluctance to declare himself an atheist or an agnostic, and some of the unanswerable questions with which he grappled to reach the point he’s at today. It’s fascinating, beautiful, thoughtful writing, which is typical for Ebert’s Journal.
Reading him, it’s easy to understand why Ebert was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s not just that he’s seen a shitload of movies. It’s not just that he’s able to articulate his own taste. It’s that he’s a genuinely great writer, a writer with courage and perspective, a critic who champions deserving small films that garner little public attention, but who also isn’t ashamed to admit he enjoyed a mega-budget Hollywood monstrosity. I’ve found a few of his positive reviews kind of insane (four stars for Love Story?), but whether or not I agree with his opinion is ultimately irrelevant. It doesn’t temper my admiration for him the least little bit.
So go give Ebert’s blog a read, if you haven’t been already. His days as a TV personality might be over since oral cancer robbed him of his speech (though he still hints now and then at an impending revival of the late Ebert & Roeper show), but even without the ability to talk, he still has a commanding voice.
(I’m sorry — I had to. The speech/voice juxtaposition. It was right there! You understand.)