3/6: ROGER EBERT & SPEAKING YOUR MIND.
Watched a great documentary last night on late film critic Roger Ebert of Siskel & Ebert fame called Life Itself. I was a big fan of that TV show for many years because I loved seeing them debate and discuss films with such unfiltered passion. If I agreed or not I loved watching and appreciated how honest they were. Now that I think about it there is certainly some similar things in the spirit of that show and at times what we do on TMS. But what really struck me about the film was how these guys were so loved by the film industry, the actors, directors, etc, even if they slammed one of their films! Ebert was close with Martin Scorsese and loved most of his films. But he didn’t like Color Of Money and had to give his honest feelings to his TV audience and to his friend. Scorsese didn’t like it but respected it. There was a clip of Ebert on the Tonight Show sitting right next to Chevy Chase and when Carson asked him what he thought of Chevy’s latest film he said “I can’t recommend it”. Chase laughed and made some light jokes back at Roger. But he didn’t storm off the set, didn’t say he would never let him see one of his films in advance, didn’t say he would never interview with him. It was amazing to see Siskel & Ebert grow to be so powerful in their business that they had to be respected and couldn’t be ignored for their honest critiques. And it got me thinking, why can’t most people do that in the music industry? Why do we live in a world today that people constantly ask for your opinion, then go crazy and accuse you of “shit talking” a band or album when you give it? As many of you know I don’t care and never did care about the blow back. I feel it is important to give an honest appraisal in a respectful way always. But it amazes me every day that you say one thing negative (even if it’s true) and people just run to the web, blow it out of proportion, and mount attacks. Why on earth does everything need to be so sanitized and so PC that just giving an OPINION in the music world sends a portion of that artists fan base going crazy after you to the point of totally taking things out of context. Or worse yet that the artists believe what these people embellish and throwing hissy fits about it without even really learning the facts. It’s something I struggle with everyday, and yes there are a couple artists that actually do this sadly, with skin that thin. Imagine if Ebert and his partner ever caved to that? Something tells me we wouldn’t be seeing documentaries about their career if they did. I also love sports talk radio. Every day I hear hosts slam players, GMs, etc. But these people step up, come on, and give their side of things. You have to respect both sides. I’ve been lucky that most artists get and respect and want an honest opinion and don’t hold it against me if it isn’t positive. We all know the very few that do. But I couldn’t help to see the amazing impact Siskel & Ebert had and how they were able to still serve their audience while still having the support of the artists and industry. There is no logical reason why this can’t also be the case in the music industry, but sadly what I call the “pounce” world of social media we live in today seems to do everything to prevent such free thinking. Hard to imagine what a young journalist coming up today with no following is up against in this super safe PC world.