A.O. Scott’s tribute to film populist Roger Ebert in The New York Times was more than just a sop to cinephiles; it was a rare peek into the (apparently tight-knit) critics’ circle and a nice treatise on the philosophy of appreciation. It also got us thinking about other pieces featuring writers on writers, the king of which is Wyatt Mason’s hyperliterate criticism of John Updike’s review copies of books — all done in Updike’s own hyperliterate style. Whew.
For the tabloid crowd, you’ll remember when New York magazine’s Vanessa Grigoriadis took things personally after Gakwer mocked her on her wedding day. Commentary revives classical music critic Neville Cardus, and Salon‘s tribute to Norman Mailer was the best of the bunch that followed his death, as contemporaries like William F. Buckley and Marlon Brando (and the aforementioned Ebert and Updike) weighed in with fond, uproarious memories of the late rabble-rouser.