Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Studs Terkel Interview

I've read everything I can get my hands on by radio broadcaster and orator Studs Terkel. He, in my opinion, is one of the greatest living historians; a chronicler of our times, as we (and he) experience them first hand. His books and recordings tell stories through the words and essays of real Americans speaking from real experience, and nothing out there gets more real.

So of course I was excited when I heard Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was going to interview him. During the interview, Terkel cut to the heart of the FISA debate and our floundering political discourse:

Thomas Paine, the most eloquent visionary of the American Revolution, speaks of this country in which a commoner can look at a king and say “Bugger off!” And I was telling them [in a recent op-ed] to bugger off. I’ve known this before, because my phone was tapped in the days when the keyword was “Commie.”

“Commie” today, the word is “liberal.” Our language is being perverted, as well as our thoughts. “Say, I’m not a liberal,” says John Kerry, who was on -- he was a guest on our program with [inaudible] officers against the Vietnam War. He was wonderful! He has denied he’s a liberal. A liberal means what? The right to speak your opinion and to defend even those who disagree with you. We’ve made that -- what’s the next word? -- “terrorist.” We misuse the word, going to the center. What does moving to the center mean? It means moving to the right. You never hear anybody moving to the left called going to the center. You see, that’s how we’ve gone...
Get the transcript (or podcast) of the entire interview here. Terkel's published works are available here. Read his NYT op-ed here.

Highly recommended for a true snapshot of modern America.

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