I don’t think I’ve ever read a film review by Roger Ebert, nor have I ever seen his television show. However, when I stumbled upon his blog, and then his Twitter, I was immediately fascinated. Ebert started the blog after surgery for thyroid cancer caused him to lose the ability to speak. His illness hasn’t affected him mentally in the least; in fact, his blog posts are highly engaging; his writing is sharp and witty. For someone born before the advent of the home television, Ebert’s comfort with the Internet is remarkable.
Although his blog touches on many subjects, I am most struck by the honesty and matter-of-factness with which he discusses the challenges his illness has introduced. It is not that he misses eating, he writes; rather, he misses dining—the unique experience of partaking in others’ company with food and drink to facilitate conversation. Now, the quick comebacks he’s constantly coming up with become obsolete in a conversation before he can write them onto a pad of paper or type them into his voice software. And this is part of the reason why he has become such an avid Tweeter. All those one-liners that most of us take pleasure in uttering throughout the course of the day are no longer an option for Ebert. So he pulls up Twitter, and thousands of people share in his musings. As Ebert writes on his blog, “At this moment I have nearly one hundred and fifty-six thousand Followers. That’s not because I’m famous like Britney Spears or Ashton Kucher, but because I am a very good Tweeter.” And aren’t those a rare commodity.
Alicia Hyman is an intern at Guernica. Read her last recommendation of the band Best Coast “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1793/rec_room_alicia_jeanine_best_c/.