On the record
When Studs picked up the mike, he let fly with some doozies.
Though Studs spent a lifetime holding the microphone for others, he’s still one of our most quotable writers and raconteurs. We’ve collected a variety of bon mots from our grand statesman of Chicago literature. You’ll find him commenting on his process, and on the state of our country. But somehow, it always feels like he’s cutting to the core of the human condition. And of course, we have to start out with our favorite, and possibly, his most famous.
“Chicago is not the most corrupt American city, it’s the most theatrically corrupt.”—Dick Cavett Show, June 9, 1978
“I was born in 1912, three weeks after the Titanic blithely sailed into the tip of that iceberg. Make of it what you will.”—Touch and Go
“The twenties were neither the best of times nor the worst, though innocence, like booze, brings forth its morning-after hangover.”—Hard Times
“Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.”—Working
“I guess I was seeking some balance in the wildlife of the city as Rachel Carson sought it in nature. In unbalanced times, balance is as difficult to come by as Parsifal’s Grail.”—Division Street: America
“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.”—Division Street: America
“Cannot Hannah Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’ be subject to transposition: the evil of banality?”—American Dreams
“Being neither a sociologist nor a research man, motivational or otherwise, I followed no blueprint or book of set statistics. I played hunches—in some instances, long shots. Irvin Cobb observed, ‘All horse players must die broke.’ Here is one who will die astonished.”—Division Street: America
“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.”—American Dreams
“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.”—Race
“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.”—Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
“To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.”—Working
“I don’t, for a moment, think that I’m autistic. I can’t speak for Richard Nixon.”—Talking to Myself