Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Conversations With A Geezer

More TV I shouldn't have bothered with...

Thursday on Nightline: Studs Terkel.

Sorry - I don't get Terkel. I never have. Maybe it's the fact that I've never, thank god, lived in Chicago, or the fact that I always thought all that old Debsian, champion-of-the-working-man stuff was so much buncombe, or the fact that I've never believed that people should get free brownie points just because they make it to ninety

Terkel to me is mostly a self-satisfied old coot. Like most mediocre writers, he has one genuine talent: the ability to tirelessly fill space with words (it reminds me of what Truman Capote - a real writer - said about Kerouac: "That's not writing; it's typing."). Koppel, amidst last night's on-air fawnfest, said something interesting to Terkel: "You never knew when to quit." The sad thing is, Ted meant it as a compliment.

I'll just say it: Studs Terkel is an overrated bore.

OK, maybe that's harsh. Obviously he has his market. The midwest is full of people who believe that 1) Chicago is a great town, 2) Old New-Dealism is the wave of the future, and 3) Ol' Studs is one Dickens of a writer.

Oh well - I guess people are entitled to their delusions.

So keep on writing, Studs.

Or should I say typing...