Famous Quotes & Sayings

Studs Terkel Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Studs Terkel.

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Famous Quotes By Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1940597

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 1646572

Dorothy Day said - and I'm sure that Kathy Kelly would say the same thing - 'I'm working toward a world in which it will be easier for people to behave decently.' Now, think about that: a world in which it will be easier for people to behave decently. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 776714

I'm celebrated for celebrating the uncelebrated. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 522598

Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 491432

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 393607

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 971470

I don't know what I'd like to do. That's what hurts the most. That's why I can't quit the job. I really don't know what talents I may have. And I don't know where to go to find out. I've been fostered so long by school and didn't have time to think about it. My father's in watch repair. That's always interested me, working with my hands, and independent. I don't think I'd mind going back and learning something, taking a piece of furniture and refinishing it. The type of thing where you know what you're doing and you can create and you can fix something to make it function. At the switchboard you don't do much of anything. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 205080

I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly-line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 528071

Think of what's stored in an 80- or a 90-year-old mind. Just marvel at it. You've got to get out this information, this knowledge, because you've got something to pass on. There'll be nobody like you ever again. Make the most of every molecule you've got as long as you've got a second to go. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1570886

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.' — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 387392

A man? If I need a man, wouldn't you think I'd have one of my own? Must I wait for you? — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 598941

I want to praise activists through the years. I praise those of the past as well, to have them honored. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2126012

It's a strange thing. This is only thirty-five years ago - Roosevelt, Wallace. We have a new generation in business today. Successful. It's surprising how quickly they forget the assistance their fathers got from the Government. The Farm Bureau, which I helped organize in this state, didn't help us in '35. They take the same position today: we don't need the Government. I'm just as sure as I'm sitting here, we can't do it ourselves. Individuals have too many different interests. Who baled out the land banks when they were busted in the Thirties? It was the Federal — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 277018

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 1123439

Marvin Miller, I suspect, is the most effective union organizer since John L. Lewis. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1844392

Most people were raised to think they are not worthy. School is a process of taking beautiful kids who are filled with life and beating them into happy slavery. That's as true of a twenty-five-thousand-dollar-a-year executive as it is for the poorest.
Bill Talcott - Organizer — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1191700

I am paraphrasing Einstein. I love to do that: nobody dares contradict me. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 603062

One of the definitive works on gay life. Through this collective testimony we may come to understand what it is to be 'the other'; in short, the other part of ourselves. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1645218

Chicago is not the most corrupt of cities. The state of New Jersey has a couple. Need we mention Nevada? Chicago, though, is the Big Daddy. Not more corrupt, just more theatrical, more colorful in its shadiness. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1297071

I'm not an optimist. I'm hopeful. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2002550

Something was still there, that something that distinguishes an artist from a performer: the revealing of self. Here I be. Not forlong, but here I be. In sensing her mortality, we sensed our own. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1830042

People who were personally concerned about a better world, came to Washington, were drawn to it. Even though where we were going was still to be worked out. There was an elan, an optimism . . . an evangelism . . . it was an adventure. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1807133

I want, of course, peace, grace, and beauty. How do you do that? You work for it. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 637790

One day I visited a guy who had made a fortune as a broker. He was sitting in his office with his computer. I hire people from here and make deals from this room, he told me. Then he took me to the trading room. Nobody was talking to anybody else, the place was silent as a tomb, they were all sitting there watching their terminals - a great word, terminal. I tell you, it scares the crap out of me. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1516834

Curiosity never killed this cat' - that's what I'd like as my epitaph — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 358664

My doctors were of one mind: unless something was immediately done, I had maybe six months to live. A quintuple bypass was suggested. Quintuple! I was impressed, though somewhat disturbed because I was in the middle of work on a new book. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 179878

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 972985

When I put the plate down, you don't hear a sound. When I pick up a glass, I want it to be just right. When someone says, "How come you're just a waitress?" I say, "Don't you think you deserve being served by me?" — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 597988

We hear the term independent contractors in Iraq. Independent contractors? Mercenaries! — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 551672

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1041819

Someone who does an act. In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 285011

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 101812

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 118170

Who knows Bob's name in this outfit - let alone his lame child's? ("The last place I worked for, I was let go," recalls the bank teller. "One of my friends stopped by and asked where I was at. They said, 'She's no longer with us.' That's all. I vanished.") It's nothing personal, really. Dickens's people have been replaced by Beckett's. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 132146

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 132724

The Grand Illusion, one of the great war films of all time. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 140465

We are living in the United States of Alzheimer's. A whole country has lost its memory. When it can't remember yesterday, a country forgets what it once wanted to be. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 143711

For the next century, we've got to put together what we so carelessly tore apart with so little concern for those who were gonna follow us ... You've got to sound off. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 158701

What's it like to be that goofy little soldier, scared stiff, with his bayonet aimed at Christ? What's it like to have been a woman in a defense-plant job during World War II? What's it like to be a kid at the front lines? It's all funny and tragic at the same time — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 172980

We thought of the poor, at that time, as quite divorced from us, who were not poor. By the exercise of one's charity, life could be made all right. You would always have the poor with you, they were the unfortunate, and you made donations. You could handle them. It was mildly unpleasant, but not fundamentally upsetting. Now, for the first time, we face the dreadful reality that we are not separated. They are us. They are something we have made. There is no conceivable way today to say: Fish, and you'll be all right. In hurt, in anguish, in shock, we are becoming aware that it is ourselves, who have to be found wanting, not the poor. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 173924

So, my credo consists of the pursuit and the act. One without the other is self-indulgence. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 202888

You should have seen the things they were giving babies instead of milk. I remember seeing them put salt-pork gravy in milk bottles and putting a nipple on, and the baby sucking this salt-pork gravy. A real blue baby, dying of starvation. In house after house, I saw that sort of thing. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 218870

Why are we born? We're born eventually to die, of course. But what happens between the time we're born and we die? We're born to live. One is a realist if one hopes. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 223276

I have a big mouth, and I never met a petition I didn't like, so of course in the McCarthy days I got in trouble. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 246661

I'm not a Luddite completely; I believe in refrigerators to cool my martinis, and washing machines because I hate to see women smacking their laundry against a rock. When I hear about hardware, I think of pots and pans, and when I hear about software, I think of sheets and towels. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 278001

I don't know if I'm partisan to the underdog or whether I'm the underdog. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 310265

I thought, if ever there were a time to write a book about hope, it's now. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 378530

When I get kind of low, I'd think about a verse I learned at one time, when everybody was fighting me. It went something like this: He has no enemies, you say, My friend, the boast is poor. He who hath mingled in the fray Of duty that the brave endure Must have foes. If he has none, Small is the work he has done. He has hit no traitor on the hip, Has cast no cup from perjured lip, Has never turned the wrong to right, He's been a coward in the fight. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 409417

I never drove a car. I'm hopeless that way. I press the wrong buttons on the tape recorder. But if the person I'm interviewing helps me out, that person feels needed. People need to feel needed. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 656552

Having been blacklisted from working in television during the McCarthy era, I know the harm of government using private corporations to intrude into the lives of innocent Americans. When government uses the telephone companies to create massive databases of all our phone calls it has gone too far. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 659217

It is about a search, too, 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. Perhaps immortality, too, is part of the quest. To be remembered was the wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 661109

Work is a search for daily meaning
as well as for daily bread. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 672946

I presumably lost $150,000 in the depression of 1937 - on my one stock investment - because I did everything Lehman Brothers told me. I said, well, this is a fool's procedure ... buying stock in other people's businesses. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 731558

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 737184

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 761958

I'll never forget that Depression Easter Sunday. Our son was four years old. I bought ten or fifteen cents' worth of eggs. You didn't get too many eggs for that. But we were down. Margaret said, 'Why he'll find those in five minutes.' I had a couple in the piano and all around. Tommy got his little Easter basket, and as he would find the eggs, I'd steal 'em out of the basket and re-hide them. The kid had more fun that Easter than he ever had. He hunted Easter eggs for three hours and he never knew the difference. (Laughs.) "My son is now thirty-nine years old. And I bore him to death every Easter with the story. He never even noticed his bag full of Easter eggs never got any fuller. . . . — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 839314

They say all people who lived under Hitler were bad because they fought the war with him. That is wrong. We can't say all people were bad. We must find out why they were with him. If you want to make something better, you must know the reasons why it was wrong and what has happened. My — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 896962

I'll never forget one of the first families I visited. The father was a railroad man who had lost his job. I was told by my supervisor that I really had to see the poverty. If the family needed clothing, I was to investigate how much clothing they had at hand. So I looked into this man's closet - (pauses, it becomes difficult) - he was a tall, gray-haired man, though not terribly old. He let me look in the closet - he was so insulted. (She weeps angrily.) He said, "Why are you doing this?" I remember his feeling of humiliation . . . this terrible humiliation. (She can't continue. After a pause, she resumes.) He said, "I really haven't anything to hide, but if you really must look into it. . .." I could see he was very proud. He was so deeply humiliated. And I was, too. . .. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 906815

Religion obviously played a role in this book and the previous book, too. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 963063

All the other books ask, 'What's it like?' What was World War II like for the young kid at Normandy, or what is work like for a woman having a job for the first time in her life? What's it like to be black or white? — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 969875

I'm sure that in Germany people also took an oath of secrecy. We know what that eventually led to. If it works that way with us, the sanctions for breaking the secrecy are nothing compared to the sanctions there could be if we're silent. All — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1053097

An agnostic is a cowardly atheist. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1085943

Last year I picked up the New York Times and there was a story about a kid from Dartmouth who was bragging that he never left his room, and made dates and ordered pizza with his computer. The piece de resistance of this story was that he had two roommates, and he was proud of the fact that he only talked to them by computer. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1143487

Smug respectability, like the poor, we've had with us always. Today, however, ... such obtuseness is an indulgence we can no longer afford. The computer, nuclear energy for better or worse, and sudden, simultaneous influences upon everyone's TV screen have raised the ante and the risk considerably. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1198850

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1235506

I began to see how everything was so wrong. When growers can have an intricate watering system to irrigate their crops but they can't have running water inside the houses of workers. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1242840

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1252630

Once you wake up the human animal, you can't put it back to sleep again. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1310899

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1411423

I feel guilty because I think people should do something they really like to do in life. I should do something else, but there is nothing I can do really well. I'm established and make a steady living, so it becomes pretty easy. It's not very fulfilling . . . but I'm lazy, I admit it. It's an easier thing to do. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1440380

I can't imagine a job where you go home and maybe go by a year later and you don't know what you've done. My work, I can see what I did the first day I started. All my work is set right out there in the open and I can look at it as I go by. It's something I can see the rest of my life. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1535491

Reading a book should not be a passive exercise, but rather a raucous conversation. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1540974

On the evening bus, the tense, pinched faces of young file clerks and elderly secretaries tell us more than we care to know. On the expressways, middle management men pose without grace behind their wheels as they flee city and job. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1581938

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1606709

That's why I wrote this book: to show how these people can imbue us with hope. I read somewhere that when a person takes part in community action, his health improves. Something happens to him or to her biologically. It's like a tonic. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1652279

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1706854

I always love to quote Albert Einstein because nobody dares contradict him. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1736235

I don't see where people get all this bull about the kid who's gonna be President and being a newsboy made a President out of him. It taught him how to handle his money and this bull. You know what it did? It taught him how to hate the people on his route. And the printers. And dogs. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1762154

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 1762405

I wanted to be at my parents' house when electricity came. It was in 1940. We'd all go around flipping the switch, to make sure it hadn't come on yet. We didn't want to miss it. When they finally came on, the lights just barely glowed. I remember my mother smiling. When they came on full, tears started to run down her cheeks. After a while, she said: "Oh, if we only had it when you children were growing up." We had lots of illness. Anyone who's never been in a family without electricity - with illness - can' t imagine the difference. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1777372

Tom Paine was a great American visionary. His book, Common Sense, sold a couple of hundred thousand copies in a population of four or five million. That means it was a best seller for years. People were thoughtful then. Hope is one thing. But you need to have hope with thought. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1794098

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

Studs Terkel Quotes 1853921

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1866574

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1882499

Everybody's entitled to that forty acres and a mule. You're going to do the work, but you have to have something to work with. If you don't have a job, where do you go from there? You hear people say Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and you don't even have shoes. You're barefooted. What are you going to pull yourself up by? Our country owes every citizen of the United States of America a means of livelihood. Not a handout, but a way to make it. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1902531

Hope never trickles down. It always springs up. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1929665

What I bring to the interview is respect. The person recognizes that you respect them because you're listening. Because you're listening, they feel good about talking to you. When someone tells me a thing that happened, what do I feel inside? I want to get the story out. It's for the person who reads it to have the feeling ... In most cases the person I encounter is not a celebrity; rather the ordinary person. "Ordinary" is a word I loathe. It has a patronizing air. I have come across ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. (p. 176) — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 1997432

Ruby Bates, one of the young white girls, was a remarkable person. She told me she had been driven into prostitution when she was thirteen. She had been working in a textile mill for a pittance. When she asked for a raise, the boss told her to make it up by going with the workers. She told me there was nothing else she could do ... Ruby Bates was a remarkable woman. Underneath it all - the poverty, the degradation - she was decent, pure. Here was an illiterate white girl, all of whose training had been clouded by the myths of white supremacy, who, in the struggle for the lives of these nine innocent boys, had come to see the role she was being forced to play. As a murderer. She turned against her oppressors ... I shall never forget her. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2034040

The worst day-to-day operators of businesses are bankers. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2067730

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. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2071199

How come you don't work fourteen hours a day? Your great-great-grandparents did. How come you only work the eight-hour day? Four guys got hanged fighting for the eight-hour day for you. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2100563

I call myself a radical conservative. What's that? Well, let's analyze it. Go to the dictionary. Radical: One who gets to the roots of things. And I'm a conservative because I want to conserve the green of the grass, the potability of drinking water, the first amendment of the Constitution and whatever sanity we have left. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2110471

It was in '35 - we had this campaign to raise a million tax dollars. In the town of Phillips, one evening, during a blizzard, I was met by a crowd of miners. They were given the day off and a stake to attend this meeting. They surrounded me and said this tax would cost six hundred of them their jobs. They were busted farmers and fortunately found a job in these Home Stake mines. I went back home feeling worried. But the tax was passed, and not a single miner lost his job. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2130070

So people are ready. I feel hopeful in that sense. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2151673

Taking life seriously requires taking death seriously. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2161401

I'd want the human voice expressing grievances, or delight, or whatever it might be. But something real — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2175288

Never go to bed with someone whose problems are greater than yours. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2184910

God, grant me serenity to accept those things I can't change, the courage to change those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-Division St. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2233445

Because a book is a life, like one man is a life. — Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel Quotes 2258787

That's what we're missing. We're missing argument. We're missing debate. We're missing colloquy. We're missing all sorts of things. Instead, we're accepting. — Studs Terkel