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Harry Benson: Shoot First

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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This just in: I am a twit

by Roger Ebert

Faithful readers may be startled to learn that I have opened a Twitter account. I've been raucous in my disapproval of this web device, which allows its users to read messages from each other totaling no more than 144 characters, including spaces. To briefly summarize my complaints: Twitter will hasten the end of humanity.

I was informed I was mistaken. Andy Ihnatko told me of his tens of thousands of Followers. Tony Marengo, my Mac guru, said it was an invaluable way to promote my website. My wife Chaz promised it would drive hordes of eager readers to my work.

I found none of these arguments persuasive. What pushed me over the edge was my realization that I have a very special gift for writing messages of 144 characters, including spaces. Why should I selfishly hide this from the world?

One day I was composing replies to some of the comments on my blog, and I produced a nice little one-liner. Like all writers, I felt it deserved immortality. If I were to post something like that on Twitter, I thought…

I am approaching this as an experiment, and will eventually write a blog entry about it. I begin with one firm rule:

2 B tru 2 moi, /webspeak. I h8 it.

I will permit myself the occasional "&" if it will save me two spaces. Otherwise, I will attempt to limit myself to good sound English. After discovering that no limerick will fit in 144 spaces and refusing to abbreviate them, I've even discovered a way to publish a complete and unabridged limerick on Twitter. This will go a long way toward keeping me on board.

Here is my Twitter address: http://twitter.com/ebertchicago

The other "Roger Eberts" on Twitter are not me, not even "realrogerebert." My immediate goal is to enlist more Followers than that impostor.

BFN. P911.

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