RIP Roger Ebert

If you pay attention to the movies they will tell you what people desire and fear.
-Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Legendary journalist, screen writer, and film critic Roger Ebert has died. My most memorable impression of him was from his March 2011 Ted Talk in Long Beach, California. In his talk, aptly titled “Remaking My Voice,” he shared how he lost the ability to communicate through speech when he lost his lower jaw to thyroid and salivary gland cancers. Even so, he did not lose his voice; rather, he “let the Internet be his voice.” Last year, he wrote the most movie reviews in his prolific career – “306 movie reviews, a blog post or two a week, and assorted other articles.”

I stumbled across his Ted Talk a year or two ago and was immediately fascinated. At the time, I was taking a class on Augmentative and Alternative Communication for my Communicative Disorders Certificate at Cal State Long Beach.  We learned about types of communication other than oral speech, that allows individuals who cannot speak express their thoughts, needs, wants, ideas, and opinions. What moved me most about Roger Ebert is that he did not allow his battle with cancer or loss of speech to hold him back and prevent him from succeeding personally and professionally. In a profession that relied solely on his voice, he became even more passionate and found other mediums to voice his two thumbs up. His life is a reflection of the Japanese proverb, “falls seven times, get up eight.” In just seven short decades, he has displayed the tenacity of the human spirit – a force that, with a little help from assistance technology, is truly unstoppable and inspirational.


Related Links
Roger Ebert Obituary l CNN
A Leave of Presence l Chicago Sun Times
What Roger Ebert Knew About Writing l The Atlantic
Interesting Text-to-Speech Options l Special Education Today
Text-to-speech program to give Roger Ebert his voice back l Dvice


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