Dinner with Roger Ebert

The heart and mind are fine, thank you.

I’m no Esquire reader. 

I abhor the very concept of a “men’s magazine” almost as much as their subliminal reel-you-in tactic of branding articles with the plural possessive (“Women We Love“, boasts one sidebar ad at their site). Nor do I give a rat’s ass who the “Seventy-Five Best Dressed Men of All Time” are, whether I’m on there or not. I gave up on Playboy when I was old enough to try real women. I don’t want to frequent any magazine presumptuous to claim that they speak for me, as if I’m some vanilla bean in…well, a bag full of vanilla beans, I guess. 

Just write well and publish the damned thing, and either I’ll find it myself or someone will tip me off that I should check something out. It’s faster these days, a link in an email rather than a photocopy in a number ten envelope. 

So today I did read Esquire, and I want you to read this too, because the feature interview with Roger Ebert will both inspire you and break your heart. Part of that is due to the subject himself, who has lost the ability to speak, eat and drink because cancer has claimed his lower jaw. It’s also because of the skill of Chris Jones, the writer, to whom I tip my hat and raise my pint glass…and since I had to put a hat on just to do that, know that it’s high praise. 

Click here to read the interview. 

I’ve written before about the incredible blog that Roger Ebert writes and hosts, and for God’s sake, if you haven’t made it a regular stop on the Ether Highway, please do so now. Somehow he has managed to attract and corral an incredible global community that avoids name-calling, basement bravado and…well, general stupidity among its members and their posts. It’s been said that the comments section of his blog is better material than most websites’ primary content, and although that’s immeasurable, I’d bet on it if forced. 

A recent post of his centered upon the his loss – and the Esquire article – and Ebert discussed his feelings about the matter, including a poignant and humorous recall of old meals and flavors that he would no longer be able to enjoy except by sense memory. But more so than the food itself, his biggest loss was the conversation that accompanies a good dinner. 

And then he wrote this

“So that’s what’s sad about not eating. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. It may be personal, but for, unless I’m alone, it doesn’t involve dinner if it doesn’t involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss. Sentences beginning with the words, “Remember that time?” I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to break out in a poetry recitation at any time. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it’s sad. Maybe that’s why I enjoy this blog. You don’t realize it, but we’re at dinner right now.” 

Wow. 

Please join me for dinner with Roger whenever you can. 

And there's always a seat for Gene, too.

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Reviews

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