Monday, November 03, 2008

FavoriteMan but NotSoFavoriteThing(s)ThisWeek with even some commentary

One of My Heroes!

I just read Edward Rothstein's 'Appraisal' of Studs Terkel, and was sort of left wondering if it had not rather been penned by Bill Kristol. There is especially considering the timing of the article, a barely veiled indictment of Terkel's political stance.

"The difficulty is for readers who presume they are being presented history without perspective, just a series of oral histories."

I find the above quote to be the quintessence of Rothstein's failed effort at the gently damning of Terkel's body of work. Something that I find questionable taste-wise just days after his passing. He takes umbrage with the comparison of Terkel to Sandburg or Whitman.

"Part of Mr. Terkel’s wide appeal was that he seemed to be a scrappy liberal in his choice of causes and concerns, but look more closely and it becomes less clear where his liberalism slips into radicalism. Though Mr. Terkel was not a theorist, nearly every one of the positions approvingly intimated by him seem to fit models shaped by Marxist theory; he even wore something red every day to affirm his attachment to the working class.

Mr. Terkel also provided a blurb for the memoirs of William Ayers, the Weatherman bomber whose connection with Barack Obama has been a point of controversy. “A deeply moving elegy to all those young dreamers who tried to live decently in an indecent world,” Mr. Terkel wrote. “Ayers provides a tribute to those better angels of ourselves.”

Mr. Terkel presented himself as an avuncular angel with close contact with the salt of the earth, a populist with a humane vision of the world. There are times such gifts are evident, but there are also times when such dreamers should make us wary."

Thumbs down to Rothstein. Not so much for having and sharing his opinion, but for doing so in such a tasteless way at a completely inappropriate time.

Mr. Rothstein... Bad Form! You have not, nor could not contribute half as much value wise to the character of American letters regardless of your political affiliation.

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