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Is Roger Ebert a Jackass? What Do You Think?


By now you probably have heard about Jackass star, Ryan Dunn’s tragic death at the wheel of his Porsche 911 in the early hours of Monday morning. My friend Mike Bryant posted an article this morning with updates on that sad event.

Now a new controversy has emerged regarding the Dunn crash. I follow Roger Ebert on Twitter and I knew a storm was brewing the moment I saw this:

Screen Cap of Ebert Tweet

Sure enough. TMZ was among the first to chime in, "[o]bviously, Ebert has a point — but we gotta ask …" That seems to be the most common response among those I spoke with. Others take more extreme positions, however, with folks throughout cyberdom lining up to villify or register approval with Ebert’s tweet.

At one point, Facebook went so far as to take down Ebert’s page.

Ebert Facebook Tweet

For their part, a Facebook spokesperson had this to say, “The page was removed in error. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

The Roger Ebert controversy raises a difficult question. The tragic death of a celebrity in an accident that may involve excessive speed and driving after drinking provides an opportunity to draw attention to those perils — perhaps saving lives. However, that very publicity can be painful to the loved ones of the deceased. I’m interested in what you think? Please leave a comment with your views on the subject.

UPDATE: We now know Dunn’s BAC (blood alcohol count) was well over twice the legal limit. Also, a police accident reconstruction team puts his speed prior to the crash at 132 to 140 mph. Do these facts change the way you view Roger Ebert’s post? Why or why not?


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  1. Tom Taylor says:
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    I’m a huge Ebert fan, but he was wrong on this one. Your comments on your blog and on Facebook took the appropriate approach. You draw attention to the issue, but do so tastefully, while taking care not to add to the pain of those left to mourn.

  2. Terry says:
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    Way too early to voice his oppinion. This is the day after the accident, they haven’t even had the funeral yet. Yes, Ebert was way out of line.
    Probably a way to scrounge for popularity. Had the opposite affect on me. Now I can’t stand this guy!
    Drinking and driving never mix well, but you certainly don’t make jokes about it the day after the accident! What a Jackass Ebert is! Maybe he’s going senile.

  3. Mike Bryant says:
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    It was a joke or in jest and not to educate. So he should except the heat. Death is very tough to write about and nothing that gives us joy. But, it is stories like this that hopefully will save lives in the long run.

  4. Mark Bello says:
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    He may, indeed be a jackass, but he has cyberspace talking about drinking and driving and the very serious consequences of it are evident in this case. That is a good thing, yes?

  5. Mark Bello says:
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    He may, indeed, be a jackass, but he has cyberspace talking about drinking and driving and the very serious consequences of it are evident in this case. That is a good thing, yes?

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    I think it has to be a good thing Mark.