Always the type of man to make the best of a bad situation, Roger Ebert has now spun his recent Reviewgate scandal into a deeply constructive thesis on movie critic ethics. And by "deeply constructive," we mean "a point-by-point indictment of Ben Lyons" — that proven archenemy of taste, restraint and decorum in an ever-thinning field of trained professionals.Nearly all of Ebert's rules seem like common sense to our minds — "Provide a sense of the experience," "No freebies," "A trailer is not a movie" (though the "Avoid trailers" rule seems a little dire for even our purist sensibilities) — but one in particular stands out toward the end:
No posing for photos! Never ask a movie star to pose with you for a picture. No movie star ever wants to do this. They may smile, but they're gritting their teeth. [...] Remember, you are a professional. You are not a friend. You diminish yourself by asking for a snapshot. [...] On the other hand, treasure real photos of you really with a movie star. Photos taken at a real event by a real other person unknown to you who didn't ask anyone if he could take it. My favorite such photo shows Jason Patric and me assisting Peter O'Toole as he makes his way from a reception at the Savannah Film Festival. I have appended this to the left as a sample of a permissible star photo. Such a photo can be distinguished from the other kind because they represent star-f***ing practiced with abstinence.And we've appended Ebert's photo above. We were worried this counsel might fall under the "No Freebies" rubric, but really, advice of such value can only be given away. Keep it close, young Lyons.