Sunday, November 02, 2008

Studs Terkel 1912-2008

Studs Terkel has died, a chronicler of ordinary people and real emotions who will be remembered in generations for his insight into the real twentieth century America. By coincidence, I was reading yesterday the new collection by David Robinson of The Scotsman, which includes a good interview with Terkel from a few years ago, after the death of his wife of sixty years, when his work was turning to questions of death.

The article concludes with a quote from the oral histories he was collecting for that work (Will the circle be unbroken?). Although I am (like Terkel himself) an atheist and don't believe in an afterlife, this is quietly moving. Talking of death, the interviewee says:

And in your mind, Studs, you would be at a radio station, doing a radio show of fifty years ago today. And you would see someone that you haven't seen in a long time. And they'd say: 'Studs, where have you been? I've been looking for you. We've got another show to do on the other side of the river.'


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