Sunday, November 2, 2008

Conversations With History: Studs Terkel

Here's a video of an intereview with Studs Terkel from about five years ago:

It'll give you a good idea of his life and work, perhaps it'll help communicate my appreciation of his work in a way that my words fail me. By the way, the video comes by way of Richard at American Leftist under the title, He Gave Voice to the Voiceless, who adds the following commentary:
Studs Terkel created a body of work that constitutes a bridge to an earlier time, a time when the US valued production instead of finance, manufacture and service instead of speculation. He related the experiences of those who labored to create the world we see around us. Even though he retained his hope that this country could be rendered more fair, more just, indeed, more socialist, he must have been saddened by the introversion that has so personified the working class of this country in recent decades. His insistence upon recording the lived experience of working Americans was in marked contrast to the elitism that has historically colored our media and educational system. He never lost contact with the humanism of his childhood and the Great Depression.
See also this editorial in the Chicago Tribune on why Studs Terkel mattered. Given that our words and deeds can outlive us, something tells me that thanks to the body of work left behind, he will continue to matter for some time to come.

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