Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger

We all knew Roger was really having a hard time of it these last few years. The dead give-away was when he had the lower half of his face amputated as part of his fight with cancer.

Fight with cancer.

Yeah.

In the words of the late, great Warren Zevon, Roger' shit was fucked up.

Salivary glands.

Shit's fucked up.

Thyroid shit.

Shit's fucked up.

Shit shit shit.

Roger hung in there and enjoyed the last part of his life, against unbelievable hardship...how do enjoy swallowing?...Roger couldn't.... and contributed some great insights for people who were paying attention.

Like Hitchens before him, Roger Ebert's cancer was public. He wrote about it. He wondered aloud about it.  He made some of us think about it. He made me think about it.

He was a Chicago Titan. Like Algren, Brooks, Studs, Royko, Kup,.... Roger Ebert is to Chicago what so many, almost countless others, have tried, and failed, to be.

He was ours.

There has been so much written today about Roger that anything I'd say is just more of the same.

Roger was an original. Along with Gene, another original, they created something from nothing. And that something has grown into an industry. That something has fed and watered so many Siskel & Ebert knock-offs it would take a month to list them.

Two guys sitting in the front row of the balcony, on the aisle, watching movies. And then arguing about them.

The greatest thing about "At The Movies" was Roger & Gene's astonishing ability to shake off an insult from 5 seconds ago and move on to the next movie. Laughing.

Roger's classes at Chicago and Champaign are the stuff of legend. Like taking a class on astrophysics with Neil Armstrong as your prof.

His movie reviews in the paper, online, and on TV have been the deciding vote for tens of millions of moviegoers.

A thumbs-up from Roger....was like the OK sign from Johnny.

The dude will be missed in these parts especially, but everywhere really.

Rest in peace Roger.


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