Sunday Morning Listening to America

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This is a short interview with Studs Terkel packed with classic storytelling and spirit.

00:08 Introduction to the segment by interviewer, who correlates Studs with the common person.

00:46 Introduction to Studs Terkel and his career.

01:11 Footage of Studs getting on the CTA bus, and then a clip of him in John Sayles’ film, Eight Men Out.

01:55 Footage of Studs in the archive room at WFMT looking over all the tapes of people he’s interviewed.

02:10 Footage of Terkel talking on a city bench and raving about the removal of benches to prevent homeless people from coming into the neighborhood.

02:30 Highlight of Terkel’s new book, Coming of Age.

02:40 Interview with Studs begins. Terkel asks, who else better to explain history to us but those who lived it? He tells the story of his interview with Genora Johnson Dollinger, who was a sick woman, yet when Terkel asked her to tell her story of being a union organizer in Flint, Michigan, she was transformed back to that time and livened up by telling her story.

04:44 When asked about his secret to good interviewing, he comments on the common experience of vulnerability between interviewer and interviewee.

06:00 Terkel says that interviewing older people shows their character and experience, and our denial of age and wrinkles misses the point. He tells a story to illustrate this.

07:40 Terkel says that fear in older people is not fear of death, but fear for the young.

08:12 Terkel tells the story of waiting at the bus stop with a yuppie couple which illustrates the lack of priority of labor in our world today, and our forgetting about our past.

10:11 When asked whether he is an optimist, Terkel says that he has hope, and quotes Jessie de la Cruz, who worked with Cesar Chavez and says, “Esperanza muera ultimo,” meaning “hope dies last.”

 

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