Sunday, May 20, 2007

Studs Terkel At 95,
Still Speaking Out

I've written before that Cleveland unfortunately lacks a real counterpart to the late newspaper columnist Mike Royko. But it's just as regrettable that we have no answer to Studs Terkel, the voice of working-class populism (we might have a reasonable facsimile, however, if Roldo Bartimole would just stop resisting writing a book).

Studs just turned 95, god bless him, and he's still speaking out about our national amnesia, still complaining that the word "liberal" has become like the word "Communist" in the Cold War. He still proudly proclaims his complete ignorance of the Internet (though in a pleasing irony, he has one of the best writerly websites to be found anywhere, something I wrote about here a couple years ago). And what is it he would like on his tombstone, he was asked. "Curiosity could not kill this cat."


At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's some great writing from james traub, in his recent ny times piece on gore. in this passage, traub is relating gore's "performance" in Inconvenient Truth (i particularly love the "spinal" characterization):

"Gore seemed to find the confines of a presidential campaign asphyxiating. And now, on screen, you could see that he was breathing free. He was dead earnest, but he was also wry; and though his torso still looked as blocky as a suitcase, he moved around the stage as if someone had loosened a vertebra or two. You could feel his enthusiasm, his alarm, his indignation."

p.s. what happened to Machen???

At 3:43 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I enjoyed that piece, too, but then James Traub is always a great read. It was about the only must-read piece in the entire NYT Magazine yesterday, since the issue was given over to the (what I consider tired) subject of eco-architecture. I don't know about you, but in the last six months or so, I've had all the coverage of sustainability I care to see for the next few years. You can't pick up anything without reading about it. Anyway, the link to the story in question is here:

As for our oft-brilliant commenter Machen, let's just hope he/she chooses to return before long, because a Machen comment always spices up the conversation.

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Used to love Royko. Studs doesn't ever resonate with me in quite the same way, though I certainly appreciate his thoughtfulness and candor.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No, you're right, Cool Peter (and thanks for commenting, by the way). Studs is an utterly different experience than Royko. I agree that his writing is more of an acquired taste, though I'm told that his radio interviews (which he's been doing on a local Chicago station for decades) are better than his writing.


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