Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist and novelist. Best known for his humorous writing about food and eating, he is also the author of several books of fiction, nonfiction essays, comic verse and plenty of more serious journalism.
Trillin was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1935. He received his BA from Yale University, where he was chair of the Yale Daily News, in 1957. In 1963, after a serving in the U.S. Army and then working at Time magazine for a short time, Trillin joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, where his reporting on racial integration at the University of Georgia eventually developed into his first book, An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes and the Integration of the University of Georgia. Trillin's 1967-1982 column "U.S. Journal" for The New Yorker documented events throughout the nation, both funny and serious; since 1984, he has written a series of longer, narrative pieces under the title "American Chronicles."
Trillin is also a longtime contributor to The Nation magazine - is, in fact, the single most prolific contributor to that magazine to date. From 1978-1980 he penned a column called "Variation"; from 1984-1990 another called "Uncivil Liberties"; and from 1990 to the present a weekly one called "Deadline Poem" consisting of humorous poems about current events.
Calvin Trillin's most recent novel is Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme (Nov. 2008)
Calvin Trillin: I think there’s been so much demagoguery on healthcare. And that’s another way we’re falling behind, in fact. I mean if you look at the, say, American automobile manufacturers, their cost . . . I mean why is somebody’s healthcare tied to his job on the assembly line? I mean it’s absurd. But if you do something else, the talk is socialized medicine. But there is, you know, 46 million people I think I read last week, who have no insurance – no coverage at all – and actually don’t go to a hospital. Or as the President said, they can go to an emergency room. It would be interesting for him to try that one of these days – go into one of these emergency rooms late at night when your kid’s sick. So I think that in those sort of things I think that should be a big issue, but I’m not sure that it will be. Everybody’s been burnt on it I think.
Recorded on: 9/5/07