Pete Seeger: Sports pages turned us into a nation of watchers and couch potatoes!

Michael Norman, who was the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s pop music critic from 1992 to 1999, shared this Pete Seeger anecdote on Facebook:

I interviewed Pete Seeger in 1996, right before he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

When I called, he was late coming to the phone because he was out chopping wood. He was in his late 70s then, but an exercise fanatic. We had a great interview about music, politics, history, life. And when it was over, he asked me whether I enjoyed working in journalism. I said I did. And then he scolded me.

“Worst damn thing that ever happened to America was the invention of the Sports pages!,” he said. “Turned us all into a nation of watchers and couch potatoes!”

I protested a bit, blaming it on TV. And he wouldn’t have it. “It all started with you guys in the newspapers!” That was Peter Seeger. He was such an uncompromising, but lovable character. One of the great artists, activists and souls of the 20th Century.

More Seeger memories from Norman.

* Folk singer and activist Pete Seeger is dead at 94 (
* Seeger sang for Newspaper Guild members in Buffalo last November (

Update — Debra O’Connor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets: “Back when I wrote a children’s music column for Pulse! magazine, Pete Seeger, fond of little protesters, sang to me.”