Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel and the fabric of social life

Today marks the passing of one of the truly great chroniclers of human life, and champion of those who make history but who never figure in the history books. Studs Terkel was the son of a tailor and a seamstress who went on to weave masterpieces from the thread of social life. A sensitive interviewer with an unmistakable point of view, Terkel brought the lives, struggles, aspirations and values of ordinary people to life in a rare way.

"... when the Armada sank, you read that King Philip wept. Were there no other tears? ...[T]hat's what I believe oral history is about. It's about those who shed those other tears, who on rare occasions of triumph laugh that other laugh."

While he was so much more than an inspirational author of works based on exemplary conduct of oral history interviewing and a truly enviable capacity to craft narratives from the sense he made of interview data, he was certainly that.

Associated Press writer, Caryn Rousseau, provides a nice obituary here. For more at a click, there is the official Studs Terkel website And for some of the good oil, Working is where I first met him.

He lived 96 of the most active years aperson could reasonably wish to live.

Vale Studs Terkel.

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