Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel, dead at 96. On Oral History: "When the Chinese Wall was built, where did the masons go for lunch? When Caesar conquered Gall, was there not even a cook in the army? And here's the big one, when the Armada sank, you read that King Philip wept. Were there no other tears? And that's what I believe oral history is about. It's about those who shed those other tears, who on rare occasions of triumph laugh that other laugh."

I remember the epigraph that opened Coming of Age, taken from A. A. Milne, which stuck to me at the time and seems well-suited to Terkel (I'm going from memory, so don't quote me here):

Sometimes when the fight begins,
I think I'll let the dragons win.
But then again, perhaps I won't,
Because they're dragons, so I don't.

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