Roger Ebert on Kindness: The Cartoon
June 4, 2013 5:48 AM   Subscribe

'Kindness' covers all of my political beliefs. A new cartoon from Gavin Aung Than's Zen Pencils inspired by the late, great Roger Ebert. (Zen Pencils previously)
posted by NoMich (21 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
That gave me happy tears this morning. Thank you.
posted by notsnot at 6:18 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm about to go to bed, and it's given me happy tears too. A lovely piece.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:29 AM on June 4, 2013

I really like this, and it did bring me some happy tears, too, but also it made me sad because it still hurts to be reminded that Ebert is gone.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wonderful. Thanks OP for the post.
posted by Faintdreams at 6:48 AM on June 4, 2013

Sort of relevant (in that it's a moment of kindness Ebert displayed) - at his memorial, John Cusack told a story about when he was just starting the publicity tour for The Sure Thing. He and Rob Reiner were in New York, and had just done the TODAY show or something, and Reiner took him to the Carnegie Deli, where the only seats they could have were at the lunch counter. They took two of the only four seats left.

And a few moments later, Siskel and Ebert both came in, and took the remaining two seats - which happened to put Roger Ebert directly next to John Cusack. Who inwardly started freaking out - he'd grown up reading Roger Ebert, and now here he was with his own first movie, and here was Roger Ebert sitting right next to him and he was dying to know what he thought but that would suck if he just asked him, and...

And John said that after about five minutes or so of this inner turmoil, and desperately trying not to show it and act all nonchalant, and not bother them, he said Ebert leaned over to him and quietly said, "You can relax. I liked your movie."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on June 4, 2013 [32 favorites]

Gah, I thought I was done getting emotional about Ebert. Guess again.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:27 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Watching all those kindness-promoting movies, why did the man never figure out that you can perform the kindness while you're still alive? Why did he let the theater completely deteriorate and save the expression of thanks via money for an after-death gift?

Is that "zen" somehow... or mawkish melodrama?
posted by Alizaria at 7:29 AM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Is that "zen" somehow... or mawkish melodrama?

Or maybe just a cool story to go with a cool concept, voiced by one of the cooler folks of this generation?
posted by Mooski at 7:36 AM on June 4, 2013

zenpencils is one of the very few things I've "liked" on facebook that hasn't been expunged. The kid doing the work seems to be legitimately trying to do good work. I even bought this poster from him and hung it on my wall at work. Right next to the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.

This is another great one.
posted by DigDoug at 7:46 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is that "zen" somehow... or mawkish melodrama?

Or both? I think there is a point here about how you don't know immediately (or maybe even in this life) the effects of what you do every day.

Plus the denouement is movie-ish. The strip is like a not very extraordinary movie that nevertheless delivers some emotional satisfaction.
posted by BibiRose at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

If the money to repair the theater was the man's entire life savings, he couldn't perform that particular kindness until he was gone.
posted by drdanger at 7:53 AM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

... or maybe the money came from his palatial estate, which was sold after he died....
anyway, that's besides the point.

but i have to say that this somewhat reminded me of Cinema Paradiso when the...

*spoiler alert*
... man who won the lottery ended up funding the rebuilding of the new cinema after it burned down
posted by bitteroldman at 8:40 AM on June 4, 2013

Did Roger Ebert bequeath funds to a run-down theater?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2013

Did Roger Ebert bequeath funds to a run-down theater?

I don't think that's supposed to be Roger Ebert. Just a mawkish (effectively so) little inspired-by story.
posted by eugenen at 9:54 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

But kindness isn't well-defined enough to generate a political position. Pick any major political debate, and you'll find that "kindness" could put you on either side: kindness towards the "unborn child" makes you pro-life, but kindness towards the unwed mother who can't afford to raise a child makes you pro-choice. Should you be kinds towards the Iraqi people by not invading their country, or by liberating them from an oppressive dictator? And so on.

Everyone thinks that their idea of kindness is the right one. Being deeply sincere and sentimental doesn't really make your view more or less right.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:39 AM on June 4, 2013

It is a bit mawkish, and I thought a bit manipulative. Not grossly so, but still.

(Hey, I'm a grump. You gotta expect these kinds of things from me.)
posted by JHarris at 1:48 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ebert was not stating a political position. He was talking about people, and how they ought to treat each other.

The person who created this comic was just trying to express what they thought Ebert meant in his words about kindness. The artist was being genuine and sincere, or so it appears to me.

I think that sincerity and sentiment still have value, and that they are sorely needed these days. I don't know why it is that people feel the need to denigrate or dismiss such basic things as kindness and sincerity, but I wish, with all my mawkish heart, that they would just go away and stop trying to make us all as cold-hearted and unsentimentally miserable as they are.
posted by KHAAAN! at 2:04 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

These lines have been the footer of my email since the day he passed. Well done, Thank You
posted by nostrada at 4:44 PM on June 4, 2013

Oh, fuck, I miss Roger Ebert.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:17 PM on June 4, 2013

Me too.

That was lovely. Thanks, NoMich.
posted by homunculus at 12:07 AM on June 5, 2013

The box of ticket stubs is a little too… I dunno the word. A lot of them are movies that people cosplay as characters from is what I’m trying to say.
posted by El Mariachi at 6:25 AM on June 5, 2013

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