24. September 2008 05:06
Art imitates life, and life in turn imitates art (which is a part of life)
I have often remarked to friends that the enduring success of Roger Ebert is hard to understand, though I am happy to see it. After all, this is the 2000's we are living in. He is, forgive me, not a particularly attractive man, nor does he speak and write at a level accessible to to the average high school graduate. This is after all the age in which we vote for politicians based not on their qualifications to make decisions that are "far above our pay grade" but rather on whether or not we would feel comfortable having them over for BBQ chicken without having a chance to clean the house first or if they would fit in at our local church. What I mean to say is that Roger Ebert does not have qualities which would immediately invoke the words "mass appeal". He is, rather, an elitist - a word which should be badge of honor and not the insult is has become in our praise of mediocrity in this nation.
Roger Ebert writes thoughtful insights about Film, which I consider to be our highest art form to date. Why? Because it combines music, philosophy, dancing, drama, words, and technology into a single medium. Each of these expressions can be profound in themselves, but combined into a single human experience moving through time can approach something truly sublime. Surely all these things are excellent achievements of Humans and the combinatorial effects of overlapping them are worthwile of educated commentary. The success of Roger Ebert, then, I attribute to there being just enough intelligent people in America who care just enough about things that matter to humans to give this man an enduring audience.
Ebert tells us that these days there are few rewards for critical thinking, and I must sadly agree to a point. It would seem to me that his true talents lie not in interpreting Art, but in observing and reporting on human behavior. Keep up the good work, sir.