[Howard Zinn raw #85: Studs Terkel is interviewed about Zinn]

Interview with Studs Terkel on Howard Zinn.

00:43Copy video clip URL Studs Terkel and Dennis Mueller begin talking, as Mueller asks Terkel how long he has known Zinn. Terkel cites the beginning of their relationship as being in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement, when Zinn was working at a “Southern university,” presumable Spelman.

01:10Copy video clip URL Terkel gives an anecdote about “how Howard works,” telling the story of when Zinn bought tickets for six African-American students to sit down in the fifth row at the opening night of My Fair Lady in Atlanta. Terkel tells how the students were stopped at the door, as the manager had to be called to ensure that they had the correct seats. When the manager called the mayor of Atlanta, he was instructed to “turn down the lights and bring up the curtain” — certainly accomplishing Zinn’s original goal.

02:30Copy video clip URL Terkel calls Zinn a historian who works “from the bottom up,” working with “anonymous many who make history.” As an example of these “anonymous many,” Terkel tells a great few anecdotes.

04:25Copy video clip URL Terkel responds to a question about whether everyday American people care about history. He points to what he calls the “national Alzheimer’s disease,” wherein people can barely remember what happened yesterday. He points to a conditioning that’s gone for some time, turning the U.S. population into people who just don’t care about the past.

05:50Copy video clip URL Terkel points to the Cold War as a major reason for the current state of the U.S. conscious, noting how it conditioned the population to be wary of speaking about serious matters — instilling an overwhelming condition of triviality in the way Americans think and speak about things around them.

06:50Copy video clip URL Mueller probes Terkel on whether he agrees with Zinn’s assessment that the two-faced nature of the 1920s — on the one hand a time of extraordinary economic growth, while on the other a time of extreme poverty — can be seen reflected in the events of today.

7:45Copy video clip URL Terkel responds with a series of anecdotes, each pointing to how every major movement is one that starts at the grassroots — starts from below. He ridicules the idea that Harry Truman integrated the armed forces, saying that “there was no other time,” thanks to the actions of the Tuskegee Airmen. He ties this to Zinn, saying that this is just the sort of thing that Zinn would uncover.

10:30Copy video clip URL Terkel turns to speak about hope, noting how students and teamsters got together in Seattle to protest the WTO. He notes how this represents something of a change from the previous decades, when most protests came from one or the other group.

11:30Copy video clip URL Terkel then quotes Hugo Chavez, saying “hope dies last,” and then notes that Zinn is a man who combines hope and intelligence.

12:00Copy video clip URL Terkel and Mueller conclude the interview and chat for a minute or so as the audio cuts out.

12:38Copy video clip URL Film goes dark.

13:17Copy video clip URL Film ends.

 

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