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R.I.P Studs Terkel

Posted in RIP Studs Terkel by Dom Brady on November 3, 2008

From media bistro:
Studs Terkel, the ageless master of listening and speaking, a broadcaster, activist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose best-selling oral histories celebrated the common people he liked to call the “non-celebrated,” died Friday. He was 96. He was an old rebel who never mellowed, never retired, never forgot, and “never met a picket line or petition I didn’t like.” NYT: The voice is unforgettable, as if each phrase scraped the ear with a scoopful of gravel. What remains in the memory too is the earnestness that could turn both fervent and sentimental. USAT: Terkel had the listening skills of a psychologist, the timing of a comic, the curiosity of a scholar, and the gravelly voice of a boxing promoter. CSM: If you can imagine Walt Whitman hosting a Midwest radio talk show, wearing a checkered shirt and drawling like a movie gangster, you’ve conjured up America’s greatest oral historian. Times of London: Terkel’s political sympathies almost killed his career during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist crackdown of the 1950s. He was dumped from an early radio show when he refused to distance himself from liberal causes. Chicago Tribune: He took the obscure academic exercise known as oral history and turned it into literature. In transcribing the words and hopes of ordinary people, he gave voice to the voiceless. WaPo: Reporters and priests and psychologists know it takes a certain kind of personality to get a certain kind of person to speak honestly. Terkel’s gift — displayed on his syndicated radio program for decades, as well as in print — was just this.


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