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November 03, 2008

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Listner Jim

You can hear Turkel interviews of Dylan and Seeger (and Louis Armstrong) at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4947854.

Steve Krinsky

I went to a Halloween party on Saturday night as Studs Terkel. He had just died and I thought it would be cool to salute him this way. I copied his face off the internet, blew it up a bit and taped it to my glasses. Then I put on a beat up porkpie hat and talked Chicago out of the side of my mouth. It was a big hit. One problem: I couldn't drink beer with the mask on.

Studs Terkel is a hero, a radio legend, a charming character. The obit in the NYTimes left out his acting career. In John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out” (about the Chicago Black Sox scandal), Studs plays a newspaperman—a character based, I’m sure, on his own experiences and personality. The Times obit did mention how, in 1952 he got blacklisted and lost his TV show on NBC, because the network got “nervous because Mr. Terkel had a habit of signing petitions…” He was not accused of anything other than that! When told he could keep his show if he said he was duped, he refused: “Duped” made him sound stupid, he said.

I use one of his interviews in an 8th grade American History class I teach. It’s the story of a North Carolina Klansman who, after attending meetings with black leaders, realizes that he actually likes these folks and renounces his racist ties. Studs always tried to elevate people, to make us all feel better about ourselves and see the positive. And to fight for it when necessary. Too bad he didn’t make it so see this election finale.

Paul McEvoy

If you have premium studs, could you post some more?

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