Curiosity didn’t kill this cat

Opinion journalists and broadcasters (a term which covers a multitude of sins) often delight in telling us what they think, and what they think we should think.

Studs Terkel, who died this week aged 96, was an altogether different kind of celebrity talking head. At various times an actor, writer and broadcaster, Terkel was a popular American social historian who in 1974 had published “Working – people talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do”. Also worth reading are two oral histories: “The Good War”, for which Terkel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1985, and “Hard Times”, which came out in 1970.

These were real personal stories and expressions of feeling. Today we are mostly fed bite-sized reaction to events in the form of spEak You’re bRanes-style moderated blog comments following online news reports and opinionated and often ignorant op-ed newspaper articles.

Terkel, whose self-penned epitaph was “Curiosity did not kill this cat”, will be missed.