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You Can't Shut Roger Ebert Up, So Don't Even Try

Roger-ebert It's been four years since Roger Ebert could eat, drink or speak. But that hasn't stopped him from not only giving his unflinching opinions on the movies, but becoming a voice on the internet so loud it could shatter glass.

I began following Ebert on Twitter a loooooong time ago, because I was writing a piece for MamaPop about how he was at a screening of a little film called Slumdog Millionaire when someone hit him for tapping the individual's shoulder to get his attention during the movie. Ebert couldn't TELL the jerk that his big stupid head was blocking the subtitles on the screen, because cancer had taken his voice. I dubbed the offender, New York Post reviewer Lou Lumenick, MamaPop's Douchebag of the Week, and marveled at how insensitive people can be. I felt sorry for Roger Ebert. And who wouldn't? The man cannot eat or drink (and yet I bitch about my MamaPopLoser diet all the time) and he cannot speak. It's unimaginable. 

Ah, but I was mistaken to feel sorry for him. Nay, do not pity Roger Ebert. The loss of his voice has created a kind of internet monster, a blogger, Twitterer, and of course movie reviewer who you couldn't shut up if you tried. 


I have always enjoyed Ebert's reviews, and agreed with him more often than not, but it was his passion for film, which he always spoke of eloquently and with great admiration, that kept me reading his reviews and watching him on the balcony with the late Gene Siskel, and later with Richard Roper. When a combination of thyroid and salivary gland cancer forced the removal of Ebert's lower jaw, most thought that he would retire, as he was now the critic without a voice.

This, of course, was ridiculous. Ebert was, is, and will continue to be a writer, and a writer writes. Through the magic of the internet, Ebert is "talking" more than ever, through his reviews, his blog, and his often HILARIOUS tweets. When he mentioned in the blog that he could no longer eat or drink, a reader was aghast, and asked him how he coped with it. What followed was an incredible blog post called "Nil By Mouth" which described what it was like for him to live with the results of his cancer and treatments. It's must-read stuff.


Esquire Magazine just released a big article on Ebert, which this humble writer thought was a little overwrought and flowery for someone as biting and sarcastic as Roger Ebert. He wants no pity, no further surgeries, nothing more than the opportunity to speak through words on a page and a computer screen till the day he dies. Hell, I have a feeling that if he lost his hands tomorrow, he'd do his reviews in Morse code. Roger Ebert has become the loudest quiet man on the internet, and nothing can stop him.

I recall a comment I received on my first Ebert post, which said he was kind of an asshole. I've never met the man, so I can only go of what I read, but to me, Roger Ebert IS kind of an asshole, and he has no problem being one. He's a critic, a pundit, an observer, and his opinions are not to be ignored. I respect that, and if that sometimes makes him a bit of an ass, so be it. I think he enjoys it, as well he should.

We all can learn something from ol' Rog. If you take the time to shut up and LISTEN, and put a pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and thoughtfully and snarkily report on what you have observed, incredible stuff happens. Writing is Ebert's voice, but it was before he lost the ability to speak, and it is now a voice that cannot be silenced by any means. 

Follow Roger Ebert on Twitter here

Read his blog here

. . . . .
Miss Banshee is terrified Ebert will read this and give her a Thumbs Down.

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I read that piece yesterday, and it was totally amazing.

Tanis Miller, RNM

My grandmother suffered the same loss of voice and swallow rendering her mute and fed via tube. I am a huge fan of Eberts if only for the fact he is shining light on his daily struggles, struggles so many others less famous than him have to silently suffer with.

The fact he is a writer, with an opinionated and often brash voice, only makes me love him more.

Of course the fact that my two youngest sons are also rendered mute and have to eat via tube feedings may or may not colour my opinion.



good moral to this story.

cancer is a cruel bitch.


I was totally unaware of any of this. But I have always loved his biting wit. And as for being an asshole: my mom once said that any woman who speaks her mind is gonna get called a bitch, live with it and own it. I imagine the same can be said of men and assholes.


Miss Banshee FTW!!!

The Zero Boss

Great post. I was going to write something about the Esquire article, but now I can just link to yours.

My ex knows Ebert well. He's just "Roger" in our family. He is one of her favorite people.

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