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"I ain't a pretty boy no more"
April 24, 2007 11:30 AM   Subscribe

"I ain’t a pretty boy no more" Roger Ebert is determined to attend his Overlooked Film Festival tomorrow.
We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I'm not going to miss my festival.
[via]
posted by kirkaracha (124 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent! Great to see him back up and about regardless of how he looks.
posted by JHarris at 11:35 AM on April 24, 2007


I am very happy to read that he is doing better. Although I have often disagreed with his film reviews, I always find them quite insightful and intelligent. I applaud his positive attitude and hope he makes it back to the balcony soon.
posted by Shfishp at 11:44 AM on April 24, 2007


The trend continues: every time I read something from him, I like and respect him more.

Good for him. I hope for his full recovery and a long career ahead of him that I will enjoy.
posted by dios at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2007


I LOVE HIM. SO MUCH. *spirit fingers toward Illinois*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2007


Fucking good for him! I appreciate his attitude, both in convalescence, and the "fuck you" to the papparazzi.
posted by notsnot at 11:47 AM on April 24, 2007


Good for him. The guy's got sand.
posted by COBRA! at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2007


More power to him, and anyone who gives him a hard time for his appearance should have to go through something similar.
posted by davejay at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2007


There is a man who has some balls. Societies phobia about sickness and death is, well, sick. Sick happens.

One of the things that I have always loved about Ebert is that I remain convinced he truly loves movies. You want to see him really pissed? Read a review where great talent is squandered. It seems to me that so many critics don't seem to really like what they review (not in the specific instance, in the general sense). I think he does, and that is why sometimes he goes so against the grain of others when it comes to 'entertainment'.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not really a fan, but how can someone not appreciate that articulate expression of optimism? Good for him!
posted by robink at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2007


Good for him! Hope I am so cheerful when bad things happen to me!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:50 AM on April 24, 2007


So dignified. Way to go, dude.
posted by kosem at 11:51 AM on April 24, 2007


It's awfully nice to hear that he expects to recover, and nicer still to hear that he's dipping his toes back into work already. And perhaps nicest of all was the refreshing attitude towards how the media and public will react to his appearance. I particularly liked the lines kirkaracha posted. Looking forward to having you back, Roger!
posted by Nathaniel W at 11:51 AM on April 24, 2007


Good for him. Illness is not something we should be ashamed of.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:55 AM on April 24, 2007


The trend continues: every time I read something from him, I like and respect him more.

Good for him. I hope for his full recovery and a long career ahead of him that I will enjoy.


Seconded.
posted by briank at 11:55 AM on April 24, 2007


Big thumbs up.
posted by lazymonster at 11:56 AM on April 24, 2007


I agree with all the positive comments; I have always been a fan and have been worried about him during his illness. People who have an attitude like his tend to do better with serious disease, and even when they don't, they enjoy life more even while sick. I hope others follow his example.
posted by TedW at 11:56 AM on April 24, 2007


Once again, among film critics, Roger Ebert remains DA MAN.

I'd trade places with him in less than a heartbeat; he rocks harder that a room full of '79 punks listening to "God Save the Queen" at 120 db.! Man, does he bring the fire!!

Proof again that passion keeps you alive, literally.
posted by djrock3k at 12:00 PM on April 24, 2007


!
posted by ageispolis at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2007


I wish him the very best.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on April 24, 2007


I don't even think he looks that bad. The twinkle in his eyes makes up for quite a bit.

Good for him!
posted by konolia at 12:03 PM on April 24, 2007


Roger, you are the best!!! And you can say more with "a wave of the hands or a roll of the eyes" than a lot of critics say with their whole vocabulary. It's awesome to see you again, no matter how you look.
posted by birdhaus at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish I could be there to join in the standing ovation.
posted by unsupervised at 12:08 PM on April 24, 2007


Y'know, I wish more people would have that attitude. So many people will hide themselves away so people don't see them decline (or to avoid putting themselves in situations where they'll feel jealous of the people around them who aren't declining). And this is really just SUCH a healthier way to live life. He's concentrating on spending what energy he has doing what he loves... & that kicks ass. Everyone should be so smart.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2007


Total hero. Best news I've read in...man, kind of a while.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:11 PM on April 24, 2007


Jesus! Good on him!
posted by everichon at 12:12 PM on April 24, 2007


Ebert's a baller. He looks like shit, and I love it.
posted by taliaferro at 12:13 PM on April 24, 2007


Man, I've missed this guy.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:13 PM on April 24, 2007


Ebert's a fuckin' trooper. If he's feeling ready to come back to the festival, and his doctors agree, then it's time for him to come back. Gods bless him.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2007


Dave Faris: what does Ebert's two-star review of Elephant Man have to do with his present situation?
posted by jtron at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2007


This demonstrates true depth of character. Bravo, Roger.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:19 PM on April 24, 2007


Roger Ebert is awesome.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:20 PM on April 24, 2007


From TFA: The doctors now plan an approach that does not involve the risk of unplanned bleeding.

Whoa, that's Plan B? I don't think I want to be in his HMO.
posted by lekvar at 12:21 PM on April 24, 2007


I miss him too!
Glad he's on the mend.
posted by Dizzy at 12:23 PM on April 24, 2007



fuckin' right on.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:24 PM on April 24, 2007


Good for him. He has no fear or shame of showing the face of illness. Right up there with Kirk Douglas and Dick Clark appearing in public after their respective strokes.
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on April 24, 2007


I advise Mr Ebert's doctors to check for further symptoms. He appears to have an enlarged heart, an accumulation of iron in his gut and his balls are sticking out.
posted by Abiezer at 12:32 PM on April 24, 2007 [25 favorites]


Fantastic ! I might have to skip class thursday night to see Perfume. Along with Ebert, Alan Rickman is supposed to be there.
posted by Mr Mister at 12:36 PM on April 24, 2007


Good for him. What the hell are the paparazzi going to print, anyway? "Ebert, who recently had major surgery, looks like he's recovering from major surgery! Scandal!" They'll probably just photoshop Bat Boy or the World's Fattest Cat in there and call it a day.
posted by vorfeed at 12:37 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been a huge fan since his early days on PBS, and I'm an even bigger fan now. Way to go Roger!
posted by spilon at 12:37 PM on April 24, 2007


Good for you, Roger. Respect!
posted by found missing at 12:40 PM on April 24, 2007


I like him more than ever, even if I don't always agree with him.
posted by wsg at 12:40 PM on April 24, 2007


there aren't enough thumbs in America to give Ebert the thumbs-up he deserves -- for his career, his humanity, and his grace.

so I'm adding my two foreign thumbs, too: get better soon sir.
posted by matteo at 12:43 PM on April 24, 2007


God, I love Ebert's ability to take absolutely no shit from anyone. This deserves another link to the most badass Roger Ebert moment ever: the glorious, glorious tearing of Rob Schneider's second asshole.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:44 PM on April 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


I live about an 8 minute walk from the Virginia Theatre. I'm going to try to get tickets to the first show tomorrow (hey, it's GATTACA!) but even if I don't I'll be there chearing for him.
posted by sbutler at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2007


Good for him.

And excellent that he has The Weather Man in his "Overlooked" Film Fest. Indeed, that terrific film was barely seen by anyone.
posted by dobbs at 12:47 PM on April 24, 2007


Maybe he's not a pretty boy, but Roger Ebert's a beautiful man.
posted by padraigin at 12:53 PM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


The last paragraph of the article is just hilarious. Good on him!
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2007


Save him the aisle seat, errr, recliner!
posted by tizzie at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2007


I just sent this link off to some friends. I thought about posting it and then I come back here and there it is. Weird.

I hope he gets better.
posted by Cyrano at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2007


I don't like Ebert, never have. I think he's a pompous ass, and the airwaves of this great nation are better without him.

Note: None of the above is true, I just couldn't bear a Mefi thread with so much nice in it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:00 PM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


*joins lovefest*
posted by Mister_A at 1:08 PM on April 24, 2007


Another reason Roger deserves credit.

When I was at the Sun-Times and union negotiations were down to the wire, he sent the letter in the link above to the publisher, saying he would strike if necessary.

He got a snarky response from Conrad Black (now on trial in Chicago). In response, Ebert sent a letter back to Black, in which he referred to Black's wife Barbara and said:

"Since you have made my salary public, let me say that when I learned that Barbara received $300,000 a year from the paper for duties described as reading the paper and discussing it with you, I did not feel overpaid."
posted by veggieboy at 1:09 PM on April 24, 2007 [8 favorites]


hooray!!!
posted by Koko at 1:10 PM on April 24, 2007


Werd, crash. There is a dearth of snark and vinegar in this thread!

(Go Ebert!)
posted by darkstar at 1:10 PM on April 24, 2007


His character and courage is showing. Hell of a guy.
posted by Sassenach at 1:13 PM on April 24, 2007


‘B-but...Roger, you’re sick, and it doesn’t look pretty.’
‘Yeah, so?’
‘...uh, but, uh....’

The man makes a good point. And he’s the genuine article. Nice to see it so well illustrated here.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 PM on April 24, 2007


Huh. I didn't even know he was sick. More power to him, though.
posted by tadellin at 1:17 PM on April 24, 2007


mr_crash_davis -- and that's relevant to an article about a man showing up the ridiculousness of hiding illness from public view how?
posted by tzikeh at 1:17 PM on April 24, 2007


"Photos of me in the chair should be captioned “La-Z-Critic.”"

Got to love that.
posted by dabitch at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2007


*headdesk*

Sorry, Mr Crash. Obviously I can't read today.
posted by tzikeh at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2007


Good thing. I was about to award the Pulitzer in missing the point.
posted by found missing at 1:21 PM on April 24, 2007


As nice as this is, I'm not as impressed as some people. Ebert is not an actor or a model who gets by on his looks. He's a film critic and hardly an attractive one at that. I think it takes balls for someone who is known for their looks only to do this, but for a critic? Not so much. I really cant imagine going through the checkout at the supermarket and seeing any front page spreads about ebert either healthy or sick.

/devils advocate
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:32 PM on April 24, 2007


XQUZYPHYR: I've read that several times before and I still damn near blew soda on my computer. Thanks for the link!
posted by jeversol at 1:32 PM on April 24, 2007


He has questionable taste in movies, but so do I.

He proved he's a better man than most with his approach to this situation.

Screwed up face, with giant brass balls.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2007


A+
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 1:38 PM on April 24, 2007


Fingers crossed for him.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2007


The trend continues: every time I read something from him, I like and respect him more.

Good for him. I hope for his full recovery and a long career ahead of him that I will enjoy.


Nthing this. My affection and respect for Ebert grows by leaps and bounds. His spirit and character are genuinely awe-inspiring. We should all face adversity with such honesty, grace, and humor. I just love him.
posted by scody at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2007


.
posted by flarbuse at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2007


Good for him.

(LOVED the Deuce Bigelow takedown.)
posted by OmieWise at 1:43 PM on April 24, 2007


damn dirty ape: Seriously?? That's the comment you wanted to post?
posted by basicchannel at 1:55 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is going on my list of "What's Right with the World."
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:08 PM on April 24, 2007


basicchannel, why yes. I'm more impressed with a model defending her 30lbs weight gain.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:08 PM on April 24, 2007


Fa - bu - lous!

Four snaps in Z formation, the Zorro snap!
posted by gummi at 2:12 PM on April 24, 2007


Here's the thing I just realized. Twenty years ago? Never thought I'd ever be sitting here talking about how amazing Roger Ebert is. 'Cuz when I first used to watch S&E, I always thought he was just kinda assy sometimes. In the beginning I always agreed with Siskel & thought Ebert was an obnoxious blowhard. But then little by little, after Ebert got married, I found my opinion of him changing & I started to agree with Roger more. Felt like he softened or something, I don't know. All I can say is that I started to kind of like & respect him more over time. And now I'm totally loving the guy's spirit & rooting him on. I feel genuinely appreciative for his efforts over the years, whether I agree with his reviews or not.

It all goes to show ya how transitional life is & how people can change. It's possible for anyone to end up an inspirational person... even those of us who come across as kinda assy sometimes. Makes me feel like there's hope for every one of us I guess.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:20 PM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have to say, although I do admire his character most, he’s not that bad off looking. I mean, he certainly looks better now than if he’d actually been worked over by Jake LaMotta.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:22 PM on April 24, 2007


I loved this column. Loved loved loved loved loved this column. Loved it.
posted by pfafflin at 2:32 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's worth remebering that he lost a lot of weight, perhaps partly due to the fact that anyone who got a bad review from him liked to remind people that he was fat (most notably director fraud Vincent Gallo).

Roger, you're not my favorite reviewer, but I do enjoy watching your show when it's on. The new guy isn't half bad, either. Get well soon.
posted by bardic at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2007


(L'affaire Gallo-Ebert.)
posted by bardic at 3:04 PM on April 24, 2007


Aside from the obvious effects of the surgery, I couldn't figure out what was bothering me about the photographs, until I realized he wasn't wearing his glasses. That, to me, is makes him look really different. I'm so glad he's doing better - I've missed him more than I realized.
posted by truenorth at 3:18 PM on April 24, 2007


Testicular Fortitude, thy name is Roger Ebert!
posted by rdone at 3:19 PM on April 24, 2007


Wow. My respect for him grows almost daily.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:24 PM on April 24, 2007


Yay for you, Roger.
posted by cookie-k at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2007



As nice as this is, I'm not as impressed as some people. Ebert is not an actor or a model who gets by on his looks.


Sure he is. He gets by on his public image. We've had decades of having an idea in our head of who Roger Ebert "is" in a very visual sense. Hell, it took me some time to get used to him having white hair (just to indicate how long I've been watching the show). Then it took time for me to get used to him having a bit of a slur in his speech after his first bout with this cancer. And now, I'll have to get used to another "new" visual representation of Ebert.

He also gets by on his ability to speak and pontificate in a very specific way, which he is now completely unable (at least temporarily) to do. His mind and his hands that have given us such great written reviews are there, but his voice is not. His voice that a great many of us know and appreciate and love and sometimes get a little or a lot pissed at is now, effectively, in the past for him and for us. I was sad when Siskel died simply because that back and forth between he and Ebert was gone, but Roger gave us some great verbal argumentation moments with people like Harry Knowles while he searched for a new co-host for his show. So, now I will have to get used to a new verbal representation of Ebert.

I'm sure Ebert knows these things all too well. Sure, Roger was never your standard attractive guy in the film industry, but we all knew what he looked like and sounded like, and he relied heavily on that image. His Ebert guides have his picture on all of them and his voice was a major part of the show.

I am impressed. I am impressed that he is willing to go out in public despite the fact that he is now physically disfigured. We (meaning we Americans and we human beings) find physical aberration unsettling and somewhat disturbing. It's very likely that it's an evolved response mechanism that is there for some reason. And because of that, it's rare that we get to know people with physical malformations caused through birth abnormalities, disease, surgery or accidents unless we grew up with them like that or we knew them before hand.

We knew Ebert before hand. It is grand that he is choosing to take the step to make himself a public figure once again despite the fact the he knows good and well that we will absolutely have a visceral reaction to his appearance. I know I damn well had one when I saw the picture. He looks rough, yeah. But holy cow, in the few words of that article he showed us in no uncertain terms who Roger Ebert really is. Turns out that it has very little to do with him being someone that looks like what we think Roger Ebert should look like or sound like.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


He's got a lot of class. And a very healthy sense of humor, too:

"the festival has installed my very own La-Z-Boy chair.
Photos of me in the chair should be captioned “La-Z-Critic.


Go, Roger!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2007


He's a great guy. In the 70's before the "Siskel and Ebert TV show, he taught a film class at the University of Chicago Extension. Although most of my memories of the 70's are foggy at best, every night in that class remains sealed in the synapses. He was fun and totally in love with the movies. One of the films he took apart was Altman's "3 Women" - he really gave me an appreciation for choices a director makes. Roger has a great eye for detail and great sense of humanity.
The picture of him is comforting, he's been out of the public eye for so long. I wish I could drive down to Champaign this weekend.
Go, Roger!
posted by readery at 3:40 PM on April 24, 2007


Three and a half cheers for Mr. Ebert. I've had my my ticket for Gattaca for a couple of weeks.

I'll make a point of constantly whispering "Metafilter" under my breath during the film tomorrow night, so that so that y'all will be able to figure out who I am.
posted by washburn at 4:02 PM on April 24, 2007


I am impressed that he is willing to go out in public despite the fact that he is now physically disfigured. We (meaning we Americans and we human beings) find physical aberration unsettling and somewhat disturbing.

Seconding everything smallerdemon said. My mother actually stopped watching Ebert after his last bout of cancer because (as she explained with distaste) his slurring was "upsetting." (I suspect his politics played a role in her irritation, as well).

Given the way in which this culture is so discomfitted (to say the least) by sickness and disfigurement, I think what Ebert's doing is infinitely more courageous, inspiring, and indicative of character than Tyra Banks' enjoyment of barbecued ribs after her runway days are over. But, obviously, YMMV.
posted by scody at 4:05 PM on April 24, 2007


Poignant and moving. Thanks, kirkaracha.

Ambrosia Voyeur, what are "spirit fingers?" I may want to use them, too.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:28 PM on April 24, 2007


I applaud him most heartily. I am going to print out this article for our patients with head and neck cancers. We deal with patients who are facing potentially fatal diagnoses and frankly, horrific treatment regimens. So many of them are nearly more concerned about the facial deformities they will be left with.
Because, honestly, you can have a conversation with someone who has undergone any other cancer/injury treatment and not act twiggy, but it is much, much harder to do so with someone with facial deformities.
posted by Jazz Hands at 4:39 PM on April 24, 2007


I'm just glad to finally see him! He has long been my favourite film critic and film writer and I miss him. He's the man. Thanks for this.
posted by biscotti at 4:56 PM on April 24, 2007


Joining this lovefest relatively late, may I offer the Wikiquotable Roger Ebert.

(Godspeed your recovery, Roger, and keep on criticizin'.)
posted by pax digita at 5:02 PM on April 24, 2007


Anybody else catch the Vonnegut/Slaughterhouse-Five reference in there? It's tribute majora.
posted by dogwalker at 5:14 PM on April 24, 2007


Yeah, the "so it goes". That was cool.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:28 PM on April 24, 2007


Good on 'im.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:42 PM on April 24, 2007


Re: spirit fingers. urban Dictionary failed this one. I'll school ya.

Spirit fingers must be administered standing.

Flex hands into tight fists while thrust downward at sides to charge them with spirit.

In one swift movement, trurst arms forward and into the air, flexing fingers widely and wiggling.

For variation and additional distance in shooting spirirt, before extending arms in full, contract elbows so fists are next to face before slingshotting spirit forward.

Once in full spirit dispersal mode, further spirit charge can be generated and gathered overhead, shooting from airborne fists at apx. 4 and 8 o'clock high (stuck landing pose) to fully flexed spirit fingers at 12 o'clock.

Experimentation will lead you to your own power moves and vocalizations, but try hopping quickly up and down, pointing toes forward and channelling the energy of the popcorn kernel.

My personal signature move involves styling my finger bullets as wizard magic, angling my body to one side and retracting one hand and reducing it to half-tickle form while spirit fingers are at 100% on forehand. For rock spirit, I add signs of the beast in the initial targeting throw.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:54 PM on April 24, 2007


Someone upthread pointed out that Ebert once "lost a lot of weight."

Does anyone know if there statistics on weight loss and cancer?

It seems to me that above-average percent of the people I've known personally who purposely lost quite a bit of weight (say more than 30 pounds) have gotten cancer a year or so later. Maybe that's just anecdotal but it worries me since I could do with losing myself
posted by Sixtieslibber at 6:31 PM on April 24, 2007


Ebert would do film screenings at the Conference For World Affairs each April at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He would do a 4-5 day presentation on one film. The first day the entire film would be shown without stopping, and the remaining days the film would be shown, stopping every time someone had a comment. I went to see the last day of commentary on "Fight Club" and had a great time. Roger ended up standing right next to my seat after the film was over, as we all discussed the movie in general. He was much taller than I expected. As he turned to head back to the front of the auditorium, he inadvertently elbowed me in the head. My closest brush with fame! He respected everyone's opinion, even the guy who thought that every color in the frame had special significance, a theory that no one else bought. I hope he comes back to Boulder for a future conference.
posted by dr. fresh at 6:52 PM on April 24, 2007


As a nearly lifelong Chicagoan, I've read or seen Ebert for much of his career. In fact, just this weekend I came across a yellowing newspaper clipping of an Ebert review from 1979.

Not only is he a Chicago institution, he's also a national treasure. Sure, he comes across as an ass sometimes, but that's what makes him so endearing. He's a film critic who you wouldn't mind sharing a beer with. I haven't always agreed with his politics or his reviews, but I think he's a classy guy who continues to define class and grace.

This piece by Ebert about Mike Royko is one of my favorites.
posted by marcusb at 7:20 PM on April 24, 2007


For the person who said they "aren't impressed" or that his attitude is no big deal because he isn't an actor judged on looks, I think you're really missing an entire point here.

My mom has had 2 strokes & is pretty much blind (I'm basically her caretaker) & my godmother passed away last year at 94, so I've really become very aware of just how much aging can suck & what a struggle it is for previously strong, vibrant people to deal with a failing body. That's why (as we discussed in a post a few days ago) so many elderly people kill themselves. It is difficult to lose control, to lose independence, to lose energy, strength, vibrancy, and in essence feel yourself lose importance & relevancy as you age. My mother actually said to me a few months ago "How can I feel like I still make a difference?" It broke my heart, but I was glad she was asking because it means she hadn't given up that it was possible.

Roger Ebert could VERY EASILY do what many people do and just accept that his time for being relevant is over. His time for "meaning something" is done, and now it's time for him to sit back and accept that he's got one foot in the grave. The fact that he isn't doing that is not only setting a good example for the other people who are in similar situations? It's setting a good example for those of us who have yet to face those challenges.

It has nothing to do with whether or not he was an actor or a good reviewer or anything like that, really. What he is doing is showing that he's still a relevant, intelligent human being who is determined to still be a part of the world as long as he still has a heartbeat. And the biggest win is that NOBODY IS ARGUING WITH HIM. Instead of telling him he should stay home and rest, they're setting him up with a LaZboy and supporting his choice to continue doing what he loves. That's a big deal, really.

He's showing that someone can still matter just as much as they set their minds to it, that giving up and waiting to die and disappear isn't necessary. That when you're sick you don't have to hide yourself away in shame. And that? You should be impressed by. If you aren't now, maybe you should just hold onto his example & think about it more down the road when you are in his shoes & can relate to what he's going through.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:29 PM on April 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ebert's cancer has nothing to do with his weight loss -- at least, the latter didn't cause the former. I may not have every detail of this correct, but I recall reading once that Ebert was one of those unfortunate victims, in the 1950s, of some bizarre medical practices, i.e., "therapeutic" x-rays.

For a time, it was common to treat conditions ranging from acne to birthmarks with x-rays, and decades later, these folks are paying the price. I don't remember what Ebert's youthful problem was that called for such a treatment, but he draws the line between that and his head/neck cancers, which he's had for years.

A journalist friend of mine wrote some stories about nuclear medicine a few years back, and found a guy who was literally losing his face, a piece at a time, to cancer surgeries. He'd had pimples as a teenager. Some cure.
posted by nance at 7:47 PM on April 24, 2007


usatoday article mentioning his radiation therapy for ear infection.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2007


Siskel and Ebert was my trip to the movies during the college days.
posted by buzzman at 8:12 PM on April 24, 2007


I applaud his optimism and his "this is how I look, deal with it" attitude. But it's easier for him and Dick Clark and other celebrities whose illnesses have been documented in the press. Then when they reappear showing the ravages of their afflictions, the public embraces them and remarks on their bravery. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen when the Average Joe decides to just carry on during chemotherapy or radical surgery that drastically changes ones appearance. Average Joe will be stared at, or people will noticeably avert their gaze and he will always be seated in a dark, far away corner booth in restaurants.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:46 PM on April 24, 2007


I love Roger. I'm so pleased to hear from him. Go, Roger!
posted by maxwelton at 9:54 PM on April 24, 2007


All the best to Roger, what an engrossing article and what a dignified and inspiring attitude !!
posted by seawallrunner at 10:28 PM on April 24, 2007


"P.S. to gossip rags: I have some back pain, and to make it easier for me to sit through screenings, the festival has installed my very own La-Z-Boy chair."

Not only is he gonna be there, but he'll be there in style. You so rock, Roger Ebert.

Oriole Adams: "when they [celebrities] reappear showing the ravages of their afflictions, the public embraces them and remarks on their bravery. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen when the Average Joe decides to just carry on..."

True. But I like to think when celebrities show how it's done, it sometimes starts a chain reaction, that leads to real societal change. Not always. Sometimes, and I hope, when it's most beneficial.

Roger Ebert making a point to do something that means this much to him, despite what he might look like, or even how he feels, medically speaking, will do much to improve public opinion of him, but more importantly it will make people think twice about assumptions we all make when we see an 'average joe' who doesn't look average.

I can't see anything but positives here, and considering all the negatives we've been seeing in humanity recently, something like this is a refreshing change. Very cool.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:11 PM on April 24, 2007


That was a very short and simple, yet amazingly inspiring article. Roger, I hope you read this thread. There's a lot of love for you here on MeFi (and it's a tough crowd, believe me). Get well soon. Good luck with your next operation.
posted by zardoz at 11:14 PM on April 24, 2007


Champaign-Urbana will just take him as he is. The town just works that way.

George Will could come back, and if he was willing to admit the error of his ways, then we'd take him back, too.

And David Foster Wallace, too.

Damn, there are some typing fools from this town.
posted by dglynn at 1:06 AM on April 25, 2007


True. But I like to think when celebrities show how it's done, it sometimes starts a chain reaction, that leads to real societal change. Not always. Sometimes, and I hope, when it's most beneficial.

Agree. And when the average Joes get stares or flack for how they look, they don't have to succinctly explain basic human dignity -- they can say that they're not hiding just like Ebert & Clark aren't hiding.
posted by desuetude at 7:02 AM on April 25, 2007


Illness is not something we should be ashamed of.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, on the other hand...
posted by RakDaddy at 8:41 AM on April 25, 2007


I sent email to Roger Ebert via his website. It may or may not reach him, but I linked to this thread. I always enjoyed his reviews, and I am so impressed by his attitude. Good luck to him!
posted by theora55 at 9:17 AM on April 25, 2007


Thanks for the schoolin', Ambrosia Voyeur. These spirit fingers, they sound like they vibrate.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:13 AM on April 25, 2007


I've always been a bigger Siskel fan. For those of you don't know, he has a film center in Chicago named in his honor. Good movies, too.

But good for Ebert. My aunt recently passed away after suffering for years from a very similar form of cancer. Miss her. And I loved the Royko piece. Chicago has a spirit of journalistic integrity, that continues to this day, that is hard to find in other cities.
posted by phaedon at 11:40 AM on April 25, 2007


MeTa!
posted by ericb at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2007


Thanks for the inspiration Roger! Wishing you well.
posted by nickyskye at 8:01 PM on April 25, 2007


I just got back from the showing of Gattaca. Ebert got several standing ovations when he appeared on stage before the movie. His wife Chaz read an introduction he had written that started out with "This is my happening, and it freaks me out!" She talked about how the festival was almost canceled this year because Roger was so sick at the time when they had to make a decision on whether to go ahead with it or not.

Personally, I'm really happy that they decided to do it, and that he recovered and made the decision to attend. I've been to the last two Ebertfests, and it's one of my favorite things about living in CU. It really feels like it's as much about the audience and the community as it is about the movies.

I've got a festival pass, so if any other local MeFites want to meet up at the festival, let me know. Or if you see a girl with her hair in braids and wearing orange shoes, say hi!
posted by MsMolly at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2007


I can't meet you MsMolly, but thanks for you post about the festival. I WANT to meet up, mind you, since I have a bit of a love for crazy movie festivals. ;)

I hope you have a grand time. If you get to shake Ebert's hand, send him love from San Francisco film buffs.
posted by smallerdemon at 9:06 PM on April 25, 2007


Mr. Ebert's attitude is something we should all emulate.

*thumbs up*
posted by deborah at 7:45 AM on April 26, 2007


It really feels like it's as much about the audience and the community as it is about the movies.

I agree. And this year, that sense of community seems particularly remarkable. (Though I must note that one festival-goer informed me that I was in violation of this community, when I tried saving a couple seats for my latecomer friends...).

I just noticed that the festival has both official and unofficial blogs, that might be of interest to some.

Also, I think I'd be up for getting a quick drink with other CU MeFites after Man of Flowers on Saturday. Any takers?
posted by washburn at 3:44 PM on April 26, 2007


I only have one tangential anecdote for Mr. Ebert.
And it's kind of weird. But I think he'd appreciate it.

My first Martial Arts Tournament. I had this guys I trained with back then that was always finding funky ways to motivate people. He never went with the cliché. He came at everything sideways. Why he was such a bad ass.

Anyway. I'm so nervous I can't really relax. So right before I step on the mat/ring he says to me:

"See that guy (points to my opponent)? He's Pepsi. Your Whiskey. He's abstinence. Your Shaft. He's Micheal Medved. You're Roger F*CKING Ebert! Now go out there and tear that pantywaist a new waste removal shoot!"

It worked.
posted by tkchrist at 9:18 PM on April 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


dude... tkchrist... that... is great. I am in near tears from laughing and appreciating that. I wish I would have had tkd teachers like that (I'd probably still be in there).
posted by smallerdemon at 9:37 PM on April 26, 2007


There was a notebook going around today for people to write messages to Roger and Chaz, and at the end of my message I put "Best wishes for a speedy recovery from everyone at www.metafilter.com." Which, you know, was sort of a lie, since, Metafilter being Metafilter, I'm sure there's someone here who would rather punch Roger in the eye than wish him well, but I figured it was close enough given the sentiments expressed in the thread.

Yesterday, day two culminated with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and an interview with Alan Rickman, in which the interesting questions from the audience fortunately won out over the portion that could be described as "My question is: you're delicious!" (Not, you know, that it's wrong to think that. But saying it out loud betrays a certain lack of dignity.)
posted by MsMolly at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2007


Roger Ebert speaks.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:50 PM on May 1, 2007


Also, Mr. Ebert recounts the festival on his Sun-Times website.

I must say that the festival's final screening, of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (in a theater full of very vocal enthusiasts) was a revelation. Bravo, Ebert!
posted by washburn at 9:12 PM on May 3, 2007


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