Roger Ebert was an honest critic. He was there for the movies. How many others can say the same? At the end, he became as big as the actors and directors he profiled. He was the Trailer before all the trailers. He was the Internet before the web. He was TV when it was still television. Something about him was more familiar and more popular than his co-hosts. Something about his opinion mattered to you. So, I'll say it again, because I really mean it...RIP Roger Ebert. Nobody was better.
This week I had the imperfect pleasure of reading the final work of an author who admired Orwell and who died at age 62 under comparable circumstance. The imperfection of the pleasure with which I greeted the arrival to my mailbox of a new Christopher Hitchens book was a matter of subtraction, a momentary joy diminished by the awareness I'd never experience it again.
A former CBC colleague-turned-journalism professor very politely questions the ethics of my writing this column for HuffPost. Surely, he suggests delicately, the internet in general -- and aggregators like HuffPost in particular -- are killing traditional mainstream, general-interest journalism. And, in the process, seriously damaging democracy. My reply...?