It Made Me Stop and Think

I will say right off the bat that, the article below was not one I wrote (as if you wouldn’t know that).  I have never been a big fan of movie critics (again, I can hear the collective shaking of heads).  What I mean is that, to be paid for writing what you think of movies, I would think would make you a bit lop-sided toward trying to impress people.  I am still not saying it correctly.  Let’s try it this way:

If I like a movie that is, perhaps, a bit silly (quit nodding your heads!) and I write a review of it, I will write kindly and lovingly because I enjoyed that movie.  If someone is paying me to write about the movie, I am going to be pickier and use bigger words, fancier phrases, and what-not.  I believe this skews things a bit.  Moreover, I have seen, enjoyed, even loved so many movies that critics hated and said weren’t worth watching, while disliking a lot of those they said were excellent – tastes are individual in the end.

All that being said, Roger Ebert, passed and left us this brief statement.  Let me say that he transcended any view or opinion I might have had of him as a film critic.  He showed himself here as a wonderful man with very insightful views and thoughts about life and death.

Perhaps, I was wrong or, perhaps, he said this because, now, he wasn’t getting paid to write.  I don’t mean that flippantly; for whatever reason, he said this and I adore it – at least, enough to share it with my friends.  And, yes, I know he put this in his book, but the way he wrote it says, he didn’t write this for the money.

Article:

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert (Credit: Twitter)

Roger Ebert was always a great friend of Salon’s. We’re deeply saddened by reports of his death, and are re-printing this essay, from his book “Life Itself: A Memoir,” which we think fans will take particular comfort in reading now.

I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.

I don’t expect to die anytime soon. But it could happen this moment, while I am writing. I was talking the other day with Jim Toback, a friend of 35 years, and the conversation turned to our deaths, as it always does. “Ask someone how they feel about death,” he said, “and they’ll tell you everyone’s gonna die. Ask them, In the next 30 seconds? No, no, no, that’s not gonna happen. How about this afternoon? No. What you’re really asking them to admit is, Oh my God, I don’t really exist. I might be gone at any given second.”

Me too, but I hope not. I have plans. Still, illness led me resolutely toward the contemplation of death. That led me to the subject of evolution, that most consoling of all the sciences, and I became engulfed on my blog in unforeseen discussions about God, the afterlife, religion, theory of evolution, intelligent design, reincarnation, the nature of reality, what came before the big bang, what waits after the end, the nature of intelligence, the reality of the self, death, death, death.

Many readers have informed me that it is a tragic and dreary business to go into death without faith. I don’t feel that way. “Faith” is neutral. All depends on what is believed in. I have no desire to live forever. The concept frightens me. I am 69, have had cancer, will die sooner than most of those reading this. That is in the nature of things. In my plans for life after death, I say, again with Whitman:

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,

If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

And with Will, the brother in Saul Bellow’s “Herzog,” I say, “Look for me in the weather reports.”

_____________________

Namaste,

Scott

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