Kulturzeit extra: Studs Terkel

German video of an interview done with Studs Terkel in Chicago. Terkel talks about various issues, wars, and his books.

00:00Copy video clip URL Video begins showing demonstrators and protesters.

01:07Copy video clip URL The video shows people around the world protesting, some forming the word “peace.” Also shown are interviews with German demonstrators.

02:33Copy video clip URL In the studio, the anchors begin talking about soccer matches. There is video footage shown of two German teams playing each other.

04:15Copy video clip URL Weather report.

05:25Copy video clip URL Footage of a road and rainy weather. Credits of a film by Nico Weber. Voice-over in German. Aerial shot of water. Image of a man lighting a cigar. Skyline shot of Chicago, and a picture of Studs Terkel. More footage on the Lake Shore Drive and city scenes.

08:03Copy video clip URL Footage of Studs’ house in Uptown. Studs says he wants to “find out what’s going on.” He talks about oral history as the first kind of history. Footage on a CTA train shows Studs socializing with a black man in a wheel chair, lighting his cigarette. Studs talks about how his books are about “personal experience of, not of the celebrated, but of the ordinary people. The working men and women who never make the headlines. I’m interested in what it’s like to be a certain type of person in a certain time in history, specifically United States history.”

11:12Copy video clip URL Studs says his life is all accidents. By accident he became involved in radio and became an actor. Footage of “Studs’ Place” airs. “There was no script; the lines were so real, people thought there was such a place.” Studs talks about having a big mouth during McCarthy era, before the Civil Rights Movement and during the Cold War. He says he was fired for not recanting because he was seen as “un-American.” He then went to WFMT radio where he worked for 45 years. Studs says he was born in New York City in 1912, the same year the Titanic went down. Studs describes Chicago as fascinating–the city of skyscrapers, the city of hands–because it was created by working people.

15:30Copy video clip URL Studs talks to construction workers, working people, in front of Water Tower Place, on Michigan Avenue. Studs talks about living during the Great Depression, and his book Hard Times. Studs says the lesson in all of his books is “what it’s like being a certain person in a certain circumstance.” He talks about being an Afghani or Iraqi under U.S. Sanctions, or being Palestinians cheering during 9/11. “Why are they cheering? They’ve gone crazy. Hopelessness sometimes drives you crazy.” He talks about power being corrupt, “but powerlessness also corrupts and makes you crazy.”

18:50Copy video clip URL Footage of the collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001. Studs talks about America being involved in more military expansions than any empire in history. “Rome is peanuts compared to us.” He cites Granada and Nicaragua as examples. Footage of Vietnam air raids is shown.

20:55Copy video clip URL Studs talks about the infamous photo of Vietnam of a young naked girl, terrified. “Who is the terrorist to her? He’s a sweet-faced kid in an airplane who followed the order of his president … That kid lived next door to me.” Then Studs talks about the new technology of the atom bomb. He quotes Einstein saying the world has changed, but the way we think has not changed, since the atom bomb.

24:30Copy video clip URL Footage of Studs talking to various working people, small business owners, and drinking a beer. A man at the bar buys Studs a drink. “Oh, I can’t anymore, but thank you.” The man says, “Drink water, but I’m buying you a drink.” Studs thanks him. Everywhere Studs goes, people know him.  There is now footage of homeless people on the streets in Chicago.

26:36Copy video clip URL Studs talks about hope and life being related. “No matter what the circumstances are, you must always battle it all the way through.” Footage of Civil Rights protests broken up by police. Audio of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. Studs talks about the word “activist” meaning “someone who does, who acts, who counts.” Footage of Studs awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his oral history on WWII, “The Good War.”

30:26Copy video clip URL Studs says that George W. Bush polarized the world into “us versus them.” He says that the United Nations needed to investigate Iraq more, and decries the strong “anti-French” sentiment. “Now French fries are called Freedom Fries! Would you believe it?” Studs says “Something happened on February 15th, the people of this country, and many countries, spoke up to say ‘Stop this nonsense!'” He goes on to say “As a result of which, London had the biggest demonstration in the history of the city, 750,000 saying ‘No’ to Tony Blair, the butler of the wanton boy [President Bush]. In Madrid, where the wanton boy has a colleague, a million people march. In Rome with Berlusconi the corrupt multi-millionaire, in New York in the blizzardly cold, in San Francisco, in Brazil … all this tells me hope does not trickle down, hope springs up.”

33:45Copy video clip URL Footage of Studs traveling around the city. Studs talks about his latest book, Will The Circle Be Unbroken?, and that the passing of his wife puts a new personal touch to it. He tells the story of a friend of his who married a girl about two generations younger. Later, the man said he and she broke up because she “didn’t know the songs.” Footage of Studs singing with his wife, Ida, Win Stracke, and another man. Photos of Studs, and footage of him in a museum and looking at pictures of architecture. He shows the interviews he’s done, including recordings of Marlon Brando and Allen Ginsberg. “There’s no sense of past, no sense of history … No yesterday.” “To speak out when something is wrong. The President is OUR servant. He’s called a public servant.”

41:33Copy video clip URL Voiceover in German as images of city go by. Tape ends.

 

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