Studs Terkel, 1912 - 2008

Sad news: Studs Terkel died today. A broadcaster, writer, and oral historian, Terkel is best know by many people for his book "Working:
People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
", which consists of a series of interviews with people about the frank realities of their working lives. Interviewees include a receptionist, a farmer, a miner, a garbage truck driver, and a prostitute. That last one would have got this book banned from my high-school had not a group of parents insisted that the reality of the interviews, including that of the prostitute, provided a startling reality not seen in most more heavily-edited publications. The prostitute's interview does not glamorize the profession; it simply provides a honest look at the working life of one woman. I think that's the ultimate value of
. Lots of people are doing a lot of things all day without having their stories told, and therefore do not get recognition that their lives are valuable and part of what makes our society what it is. Terkel understood that giving these people voices to tell their stories, and giving others their stories to read, increases our understanding of our fellow citizens, and thereby adds to harmony in our society. Thank you Mr. Terkel, you'll be missed.