I hear it’s better late than never.
Thanks to WFMT Chicago & The Studs Terkel Radio Archive, you can now hear two absolute all-star American heroes—oral historian with the heart of gold, Studs Terkel, and the one and only fighter-poet Muhammad Ali—hashing it out on the radio in 1975. As per usual Studs, the interview sounds more like a conversation between friends, zigging and zagging with a fair share of giggles. And as per usual Ali, a sharp social commentary is woven from beautiful wordplay, an informed hope, and a wicked sense of humor.
Billie Holiday sets the mood:
Them that’s got shall have
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible says
And it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own
Right now the full Studs archive is available here and it’s an absolute gold mine. We’re talking Rosa Parks, Hunter S. Thompson, James Earl Jones, the SNCC, Florence Scala, Oliver Sacks, Anais Nin, Sydney Poitier, Buckminster Fuller, Ralph Ellison, Jacques Cousteau, and many more legends, as well as unknown, everyday people speaking frankly about the times.
If you’re half as inspired by these two men as I am, this interview will wake you up. Ali’s words about the underdogs’ ability to unite could not be more relevant in 2016. Listen to Studs & The Greatest being humans; talking, laughing and listening to each other as the train goes by and the wind picks up, then quiets down.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” —Muhammad Ali
“I want, of course, peace, grace, and beauty. How do you do that? You work for it.” —Studs Terkel
“Use it or lose it.” —Unknown