we just heard the news… one of the greatest american storytellers died today at the age of 96.
i’m sure there are many ways to revisit his work; i enjoyed his appearances on democracy now!, far ranging conversations w/ a man of startling memory and humor.
one of my favorite bits was his account of mahalia jackson standing up for his radio career:
Terkel was blacklisted for his views, and lost his show, “Stud’s Place.” Then legendary African-American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson insisted that he be hired as the host of her show. CBS demanded Terkel sign a loyalty oath. When he refused, they threatened to fire him. She told them, “Look, if you fire Studs, find another Mahalia Jackson.” CBS backed off. Studs recalled: “Do you know what happened? Nothing. You have to face them down.”
terkel’s “i tape, therefore i am” mantra highlights the shallow vulgarity of “reality” tv culture & affirms the value of real life. it’s a great story, and i hope to hear many people retelling studs’ over the next weeks.
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