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Quotes of the day: Studs Terkel

Published Friday, May 15, 2015 @ 4:36 PM EDT
May 15 2015

Louis "Studs" Terkel (May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008) was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for "The Good War", and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Chicago is not the most corrupt American city, it's the most theatrically corrupt, more colorful in its shadiness.

Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.

I hope for peace and sanity- it's the same thing.

I hope that memory is valued- that we do not lose memory.

I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.

I want a language that speaks the truth.

I want people to talk to one another no matter what their difference of opinion might be.

I was born in the year the Titanic sank. The Titanic went down, and I came up. That tells you a little about the fairness of life.

I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don't try that after ninety.

I'm celebrated for celebrating the uncelebrated.

I'm not an optimist. I'm hopeful.

I've always felt, in all my books, that there's a deep decency in the American people and a native intelligence- providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.

If solace is any sort of succor to someone, that is sufficient. I believe in the faith of people, whatever faith they may have.

In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor.

More and more we are into communications; and less and less into communication.

Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirits.

Nonetheless, do I have respect for people who believe in the hereafter? Of course I do. I might add, perhaps even a touch of envy too, because of the solace.

Take it easy, but take it.

The key issue is jobs. You can't get away from it: jobs. Having a buck or two in your pocket and feeling like somebody.

The people who delight in the failure of the sixties are the people who delight in the failure of dreams.

The poor are so busy trying to survive from one day to the next, they haven't the time or energy to keep score.

The whole program of unemployment insurance, Social Security, was a confession of the failure of our whole social order. And confession of failure of Christian principles: that man, in fact, did not look after his brother.

The worst day-to-day operators of businesses are bankers.

We have two Governments in Washington: one run by the elected people- which is a minor part- and one run by the moneyed interests, which control everything.

What I remember most of those times is that poverty creates desperation, and desperation creates violence.

When you become part of something, in some way you count. It could be a march; it could be a rally, even a brief one. You're part of something, and you suddenly realize you count. To count is very important.

Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.

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

You know, 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?' It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.

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