I’ve got my DVR set to record Oprah today, when Roger Ebert will debut his “new voice” in a segment that was recorded on Friday. I’m not yet sure whether I want to watch it, and even now I don’t feel confident in writing about it.
Much has been written by and about Ebert lately, all of it excellent: the ubiquitous Esquire profile with the haunting portrait of a man without a jaw, Ebert’s eloquent response to that, and yesterday’s Deadspin feature in which Will Leitch admitted to attacking his hero. But I don’t know about seeing Ebert in the medium where I first saw him. He now belongs in the world of letters — belongs to the world of letters — and I’m uncomfortable with seeing this lion of language in the physical state that betrays his greatness — not when I can read about it in his own words (or read about how Ebert gave Oprah her start, for that matter). What he’s doing right now is establishing himself as America’s best belletrist since E.B. White, and I’d like to think that’s something that transcends television.
Anyway, there’s an AP story about the episode here, if that interests you. It feels pretty disposable after two minutes on Ebert’s blog.