Studs Terkel, fully Louis "Studs" Terkel

Terkel, fully Louis "Studs" Terkel

American Author, Historian, Actor and Broadcaster, awarded Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for "The Good War"

Author Quotes

But once you become active in something, something happens to you. You get excited and suddenly you realize you count.

I never met a picket line I didn't like.

I'm not up on the Internet, but I hear that is a democratic possibility. People can connect with each other. I think people are ready for something, but there is no leadership to offer it to them. People are ready to say, 'Yes, we are part of a world.'

Out of the darkness they'll come. And somewhere out of the tribal memory will come a name. Sh... sh... sh... sh... Shakespeare.

There are nascent stirrings in the neighborhood and in the field, articulated by non-celebrated people who bespeak the dreams of their fellows. It may be catching. Unfortunately, it is not covered on the six o'clock news.

You ask what the score of the game was and they wouldn't know who's playing.

Cannot Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' be subject to transposition: the evil of banality?

I originally said, `No,' ... I was feeling not so much scared as lost. There was a one in four chance that I wouldn't make it.

I'm seeing something and I'm not standing silent about it. Humans are pushed out to make room for cars.

People are hungry for stories. It's part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.

Think of that, everything destroyed and all the culture with it, and our children's children's children living in caves.

You happen to be talking to an agnostic. You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist.

Chicago is not the most corrupt American city, it's the most theatrically corrupt.

I said, "Suppose communists come out against cancer, do we have to automatically come out for cancer?" I can't take back that I'm against the poll tax, that I'm against lynching, that I'm for peace.

In order for us, black and white, to disenthrall ourselves from the harshest slavemaster, racism, we must disinter our buried history.... We are all the Pilgrim, setting out on this journey.

People are ready to say, 'Yes, we are ready for single-payer health insurance.' We are the only industrialized country in the world that does not have national health insurance. We are the richest in wealth and the poorest in health of all the industrial nations.

To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.

You know what Einstein said: If there's a World War Three, I don't know what weapons we'll use, but I know the weapons of World War Four: Sticks and stones. Now, think about that. He is saying that our ancestors way, way, way back, who we think of with bull hides on back and sticks in hands, will now be our children's children's children.

Curiosity never killed this cat: That's what I'd like as my epitaph.

I think it's realistic to have hope. One can be a perverse idealist and say the easiest thing: 'I despair. The world's no good.' That's a perverse idealist. It's practical to hope, because the hope is for us to survive as a human species. That's very realistic.

It is still the arena of those who dream of the City of Man and those who envision a City of Things. The battle appears to be forever joined. The armies, ignorant and enlightened, clash by day as well as night. Chicago is America's dream, writ large. And flamboyantly.

Perhaps it is this specter that most haunts working men and women: the planned obsolescence of people that is of a piece with the planned obsolescence of the things they make. Or sell.

Today, more and more, because of the nature of the press and TV and radio, celebrityhood has taken over, and trivia takes over.

You know, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.

For the first book, I interviewed one mother of four little kids, skinny, pretty, bad teeth — meaning no dental care — and the kids are jumping around, 'cause they want to hear their mamma's voice played back... and so I play it back, and she listens to what she said on the tape and she says, 'Oh my God,' she says. ' I never knew I felt that way before' ... That's pretty hot stuff, isn't it? That's hot stuff. That's the stuff.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Terkel, fully Louis "Studs" Terkel
Birth Date
Death Date

American Author, Historian, Actor and Broadcaster, awarded Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for "The Good War"