Today I read an article in The Chicago Sun Times about the passing of Roger Ebert, probably the most well known movie critic ever to grace the media. It was quite a long, well written article about the man and his life, well worth a read. Many of us will remember his long running weekly show along with Gene Siskel, Siskel and Ebert At The Movies, where the term “two thumbs up” was coined. I loved that show and often decided on what movies to watch depending on their reviews.
The article had much to say about his life, quite an amazing one, but what struck me the most what was Ebert himself wrote in his autobiography. The words brought tears to my eyes for their profound observation of life as a human. The sentiment is one I agree with deeply and so I wanted to share it with you here.
“‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
It is instinctual with me, to want to contribute joy in this world with my artistic pursuits, but sometimes other motivators get in the way which often lead to frustration. I was glad to be reminded of this essential directive today. Thank you and may you rest in peace, Roger Ebert.