If you'd have told me 20 years ago that in my (way) early 40s I would not only love Roger Ebert, but I would LOVE Roger Ebert, I'd have said "Is he the bald one or the other?" But I love him now. So so so much.
Here, go read this. Read it all. I'll wait.
You didn't read it did you? Fine. Read this - it made me swoon a little.
What the internet is creating is a class of literate, gifted amateur writers, in an old tradition. Like Trollope, who was a British Post official all his working life, they write for love and because they must. Like Rohinton Mistry, a banking executive, or Wallace Stevens, an insurance executive, or Edmund Wilson, who spent his most productive years sitting in his big stone house in upstate New York and writing about what he damned well pleased. Samuel Pepys, who wrote the greatest diary in the language, was a high officials in the British Admiralty. Many people can write well and yearn to, but they are not content, like Pepys, for their work to go unread. A blog on the internet gives them a place to publish. Maybe they don't get a lot of visits, but it's out there.
I tell young students: Take film courses, certainly. But cover the liberal arts. Take English literature, drama, art, music, and the areas Bordwell lists. Learn something about science and math. A physical anthropology course was my introduction to the theory of evolution, which is an opening to all of modern science. Don't train for a career--train for a life. The career will take care of itself, and give you more satisfaction than a surrender to corporate or professional bureaucracy. If you make careers in that world, you will be more successful because your education was not narrow.
I'd say the same to every young person I know (and I got two nieces on their way to college in the fall). Learn, learn, learn. Don't wonder why you're learning, what material affect it will have on your life. Learn to learn. Learn because it makes your world richer and bigger. Learn because it makes you kinder and easier to be around. Learn because that's how you stay in the world.
And, while you're learning, think. Think hard and deep. Have late nights and tussle with truths, and if you're of a mind to, write it all down and write it down without caring who or how many people will read it
Roger Ebert cannot even eat food anymore. He can't talk. But he is still living the SHIT out of his life. He's officially on the hero list (note to self: start a heroes list).