As you probably already know, film critic Roger Ebert passed away today, and I know him as a deep and wide-ranging thinker, a humanitarian, and of course as a great film critic. Had he not started blogging, I would probably know him only as the latter. In fact, I’d likely only know him as that guy who had a TV show where he rated movies using his thumbs.
Through the Web, Ebert reintroduced himself to all of us. He wrote about his family. He wrote about how to cook meals in a rice cooker. He struggled with how to appropriately take advantage of Amazon’s affiliate program. He took us on many impossibly romantic tours of London.
Here’s what he wrote about his commenters a few months after he initially started blogging:
Your comments have provided me with the best idea of my readers that I have ever had, and you are the readers I have dreamed of. I was writing to you before I was sure you were there. You are thoughtful, engaged, fair, and often the authors of eloquent prose. You take the time to craft comments of hundreds of words. Frequently you are experts, and generous enough to share your knowledge.
Ebert’s work as a critic was a love letter to film. His blog was a love letter to his fellow man. He’ll be sorely missed, but I’m so glad that the Web that so many people I know and respect fought to build and preserve provided the medium for him to share his thoughts with all of us.