1970 - THE GLASS TEAT (both volumes)

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1970 - THE GLASS TEAT (both volumes)

Postby Jan » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:03 pm

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THE GLASS TEAT & THE OTHER GLASS TEAT

ImageImage

Dear God, we must face the truth: for the mass in America today, the most powerful media of education and information has become a surrogate of Linus's blue blanket.
A ghastly glass teat!

--- 8 Nov 68

But make no mistake. I am not really talking about TV here. I am talking about dissidence, repression, censorship, the threat of the Comman Man, the dangers of being passive in a time when the individual is merely cannon-fodder, the lying and cheating and killing our "Patriots" do in the sweet name of the American Way.
--- Glass Teat introduction

THE GLASS TEAT unites Harlan's television criticism for the Los Angeles Free Press from October of 1968 to January of 1970.
It is out of print. Langerhans info page: http://www.islets.net/essays/glassteat.html.
THE OTHER GLASS TEAT has the columns from Febuary of 1970 to May of 1972.
Also out of print. Langerhans info page: http://www.islets.net/essays/otherteat.html

Mike Zuzel's Glass Teat info page | The luxurious Charnel House omnibus edition was released summer of 2011. An E-Reads edition will come out around the summer of 2012.
_______________________

All comments appreciated. Optional questions:

1. How did you learn about the book and when did you buy and read it? 2. What do you think of the book? 3. Has it influenced you? 4. Have you read other books on the subject? 5. Which essay stands out for you? 6. Where was Harlan wrong? 7. Which of Harlan's findings are still valid today or even more valid? 8. Were you ever a "victim" of television? 9. What are the worst aspects of television today? 10. What is your favorite show (up to three)?

A one-volume edition of both GLASS TEATS was planned as volume 5 of the EDGEWORKS series before it was cancelled. Perhaps someone knows more about the current status of the books and could post the info.

Harlan has written and spoken about television outside of these books, for example in Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs... (from STRANGE WINE) which we discussed here: http://harlanellison.com/heboard/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1090

Please observe the S.P.I.D.E.R. rules - stay on topic.
_________________

A rough guide to the books

Work-in-progress. Suggestions welcome.

* Entries of particular importance.
+ Entries that made me laugh


The Glass Teat

New introduction (1983) -- On politically motivated attempts to silence Harlan after publication *
Original introduction -- What the column is and how it came about

1968
10/4 -- TV’s war on dissent *
10/10 -- Black heroes and Mod Squad *
10/18 -- Slanted newscasts / tv violence debate *
10/25 -- Music on television speaks of generation gap
11/1 -- Threats to Harlan / Recommended tv shows
11/8 -- Nielsen Top 10 - Escapism / also: TIME magazine *
11/15 -- Elections - The Show Biz Politician / Viet Nam dissenters punished heroes *
11/22 -- Harlan failed to make an impact on The Joe Pyne Show / also: more examples of opinion manipulation
11/29 -- Deification of banality, illiteracy - new role models *+
12/5 -- How shows get on the air / The FCC / Renumeration for writers *
12/13 -- Blacks - segment of The Name of the Game
12/28 -- Saturday morning cartoon favorites

1969
1/3 -- Yippies tv statement irresponsible in war against Establishment / also: Stevie Wonder & a man on the moon
1/10 -- L.A. reputation confirmed by Bowl, Roses Parade
1/17 -- Experiencing all-night movies +
1/24 -- Bad manners on talk shows *+
1/31 -- Harlan to write segment of The Name of the Game (TV script part 1)
2/14 -- Chemical-biological warfare experiments in U.S. *
2/21 -- The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour too risky for network / also: Laugh-In, "The Oscar"
2/28 -- Establishment strikes back: What's It All About, World?
3/9 -- ABC cowards drop Those Were The Days
3/14 -- Religion evil and debilitating force *
3/21 -- Harlan in Rio, manifesto, Smothers Brothers, Harlan's TV script part 2, Glen Campbell, Leigh Chapman
3/28 -- Use of tax money, Viet Nam, economical inequality *
4/8 -- Harlan's TV script part 3 / Violent, smutty scripts killed / also: Harlan's series part 1
4/25 -- Doctors: bland tv heroes
5/2 -- Case for stronger second leads
5/9 -- L.A. Police Chief's news show: yet another voice from the right
5/9 -- Lecture experiences in Texas *
5/23 -- Texas: underprivileged, emerging nation *
5/16 -- Writers share responsibility for quality of television *
5/30 -- News reporters focusing on celebrities at Grape Pickers' Strike
6/6 -- Mod Squad better, NET (precursor of PBS), Harlan's TV script part 4 (last), also: L.A. mayoral elections
6/13 -- Harlan's policy regarding good TV / Widows, widowers as series leads / also: Reagan
8/1 -- Harlan's busy summer, persona non grata with Guild, airplane encounter, Moon landing, Mick Jagger & Tom Jones, Harlan's fandom days, The King Family, filthy language bleeped
8/15 -- How TV portrays women *
8/22 -- "Blue eyed" soul music & Elyse Weinberg / also: Drugs
8/29 -- Chicago race riots 1961 / Elyse Weinberg treated badly by The Johnny Carson Show / Black comedians who desert their people / also: The Godfather (novel)
9/19 -- TV in Brazil controlled by dictatorial establishment / also: Moon landing, Rio *+
9/26 -- Smothers Brothers, CBS / Cosby Show / capsule reviews: The Bold Ones, My World - And Welcome to It, The Debbie Reynolds Show, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Bracken's World / also: Harlan's uncle in WWII
10/3 -- Marijuana / Anniversary - a look back / capsule reviews: To Rome with Love, The Bold Ones, Music Scene, The New People
10/10 -- Harold Robbins and The Survivors *+
10/17 -- White middle-class pro-war and paranoid *
10/25 -- White middle-class racist, conclusions
10/31 -- Spelling's The Monk clichéd, My World and Welcome to It is good sitcom +
11/14 -- The New People now spoiled by writing / Music Scene still on +
11/28 -- Art Linkletter part of hypocritical TV establishment, tragic figure
12/5 -- My Lai massacre, denied by government/TV *

1970
1/2 -- Poisoned By The Fangs of Spiro: Part I (report on personal experiences in Dayton, Ohio; limits of free speech)
1/9 -- Poisoned By The Fangs of Spiro: Part II (lecture cancelled - pretexts and repercussions)
1/23 -- Poisoned By The Fangs of Spiro: Part III (Spiro Agnew; Writers Guild complains about censorship) *
1/30 -- "Addendum to Dayton": Student approvement of Ellison

The Other Glass Teat

Introduction (1975) -- "Days of Blood and Sorrow" (Nixon gone, television unchanged)

1970 (continued)
2/13 -- Nanny and the Professor nitwitty / also: George Hamilton in Paris 7000, "Patton", basketball mania
2/20 -- F-310 gas additive good news for environment, doing what one can, Ed Bryant
2/27 -- TV not reaching young people so positive changes to be expected
3/6 -- F-310 under attack / Ed Sullivan Show Beatles tribute / Hell's Angels at Rolling Stones concert in Altamont
3/13 -- Video Voyeurism (1) - beautiful women everywhere on TV
3/20 -- Pseudo-SF ABC movie The Love War (Aaron Spelling) praised by The Hollywood Reporter +
3/27 -- Video Voyeurism (2) - male watchers teased
4/3 -- F-310: scam / no time to answer mail / axed or new: Land of the Giants, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Paris 7000, The Young Lawyers (Zalman King), The Young Rebels, Dial Hot Line +
4/24 -- Ellison at universities Kansas, Buffalo: people using the Movement for their own ends and getting away with it; black people
5/1 -- Verisimilitude in TV scripts / touching on: research, audience sophistication, hack writing, Writer's Guild, Harlan's Ripcord incident, Cimarron Strip, Land of the Giants, Elia Kazan, The Lovin' Spoonful

May 12th, 2010: Check back as the list grows - I'm reading the books now. I have also cleaned up the thread (removed off-topic comments) - that helped.
_________________

Below, I'm leaving my old opening remarks since some people made reference to them. I didn't manage to read much of the book that year but did later and posted new comments then.

I'm reading the first one now - I find that I tend to skip stuff that seems to be outdated or deal with shows I'm not familiar with, except when Harlan uses something as an example to launch into more general comments about society and morality (his university lectures in Texas, the rudeness on the Merv Griffin show). That stuff doesn't go away, it's still current. I also always enjoy it when Harlan talks about his own professional life - I sort of hope his NAME OF THE GAME script will get produced, as well as MAN OUT OF TIME, except I know that they haven't been. The book is sort of a time capsule, but really, perhaps things haven't changed all that much.

Looking back, I think the period he wrote the columns in wasn't an important time for television, such as the early sixties or the past decade. Most of the shows have been forgotten, and not only the things that deserve to be.

I wish Harlan would do a new introduction for the upcoming editions that focus on what's different (better/worse) now than it was in 1969.

I may come back and comment on particular entries or whatever is said here. I hope we can also have some opinions about the books in general.
Last edited by Jan on Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:07 am, edited 22 times in total.

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Postby Carstonio » Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:17 pm

It's fascinating to read the Teat books and then read "An Edge in My Voice." I'm convinced that the rise of the religious right, which Harlan chronicled in the Edge columns, was a direct reaction to the social reforms and social turmoil of the 1960s.

As Harlan noted in "From Alabamy With Hate," even the poorest white man in the Jim Crow era drew some false comfort in knowing that there were people below him in the social hierarchy. The civil rights and women's rights movements destroyed that illusion. So many whites, particularly white men, desperately sought another false source of comfort. Many found it in Christian fundamentalism, with its illusory promises of order and stability. In my view, the ultimate expression of that longing for stability is the Promise Keepers group, which claims that everything would be fine if wives would be subordinate to husbands. One theory popular among the religious right is that Engel v. Vitale was America's Great Wrong Turn. I believe that is the subtext behind the false romanticism of the 1950s as some lost golden age of "family values."

I wish I could remember who said this - fundamentalist religions find their greatest popularity in times of social upheaval. We can see it in the Arab world, which is confronting the reality that its political and social thought hasn't evolved since the 1400s.

There is a natural human desire for simple answers in a complex world, a desire to have control over the uncontrollable. That is what drives some people's obsession with conspiracy theories - they prefer the idea of a sinister cabal controlling everything to the more terrifying idea that bad things happen for no reason. I love Elaine Pagels' explanation for why Augustine's doctrine of Original Sin remains popular. Pagels said people would rather bear Adam and Eve's guilt than face the possibility of the world's pain and suffering being random and meaningless. That's the ultimate conspiracy theory, in my view.

Sorry for being long-winded here. My point is that the Teat columns, like the rest of Harlan's nonfiction, repeatedly mention the need for people to deal with reality in constructive ways. The columns railed against the obscurantism and illogic and fear-based ideologies that amounted to deliberate retreats from reality.

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Postby David Loftus » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:14 pm

Back on the Art Deco Pavilion, Jan wrote:

> David: If you find errors that carry over from edition to edition it
> makes me wonder, would that be the case with other books as well?

But of course. The several I caught in The Harlan Ellison Hornbook before they survived into White Wolf's Edgeworks edition being a case in point.

> I find that odd and somewhat annoying. One would think that Harlan
> gave them the original manuscripts every time.

Maybe so. But that's no guarantee of accuracy. I'll let you in on a little secret: Harlan tells a great story, but he can be a little sloppy on the details while he's doing it. Some of those errors may have come straight from the manuscripts -- although that doesn't excuse the editors and publishers from the sin of overlooking them.

The 17th century freethinker who was burned at the stake in the Vatican in 1600 was an example from the Hornbook: He was identified as "Giovanni" Bruno through several editions before I caught him wandering into _Edgeworks III_.

It may also have been Ellison who misquoted Martin Luther King, Jr. (actually, the old "Negro" spiritual that King himself was quoting) and Michigan J. Frog in the hornbook columns, too.

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Postby Jan » Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:36 am

I hate to be complimentary but I'm thoroughly impressed you would catch such errors. I would just read right over them. I suppose Harlan has the excuse of having been unable to look things up in a nanosecond on Wik-- uh Google. I also found out out it's difficult to spot one's own errors because it's hard to pay attention when reading one's own stuff.

I only spotted one glitch. According to Harlan Europeans have/had the habit of booing and applauding in movie theaters. I don't know where he's been to or what he's heard, but that seems to be the exception.

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Postby David Loftus » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:07 am

Jan wrote:I hate to be complimentary but I'm thoroughly impressed you would catch such errors. I would just read right over them. I suppose Harlan has the excuse of having been unable to look things up in a nanosecond on Wik-- uh Google. I also found out out it's difficult to spot one's own errors because it's hard to pay attention when reading one's own stuff.

How well I know that, too.

Some errors leap right out at me. Others yield themselves up only if I'm in a certain kind of close-reading mode. I had to go through the first book twice, I found, partly because I discovered a need in the middle of the first pass to index a few things I hadn't thought necessary to note (e.g., the ubiquitous "scuttlefish" and "Great American Heartland"), but also because I figured out that when watching for things to index (word and phrase-sized targets) I was less likely to catch typoes (targets internal to individual words.

And as a mere reader for pleasure, though I catch a lot that other people miss, my eyes have slid over many things, too. For example, I could not BELIEVE that not only had I never noticed that Spider-Man's alter ego was identified in earlier editions of _The Glass Teat_ as "Peter Palmer" (!!!), but that I missed it during my two close-reads of the galleys and only happened to catch it during a last-minute check of various details. ( * SHUDDER * )

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Re: #28 - The Glass Teat (both volumes)

Postby David Loftus » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:30 pm

Jan wrote:I also always enjoy it when Harlan talks about his own professional life - I sort of hope his NAME OF THE GAME script will get produced, as well as MAN OUT OF TIME, except I know that they haven't been.

I'm hoping my indexes will help people out with this, too. Under Ellison, Harlan, I've listed the pages for junkets and memorable anecdotes (trips to Dayton, reminiscences of having been jailed for vagrancy in Fort Worth, appearance in The Dating Game, on tour with the Rolling Stones or Three Dog Night, and involvement in the riots at Rainbow Beach, Chicago), as well as significant expressions of opinion or philosophy (on "the Common Man," on the craft of writing, on being a leg man as opposed to a breast man, etc.)

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Re: #28 - The Glass Teat (both volumes)

Postby AceArn » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:19 am

Jan wrote:I'm reading the first one now - I find that I tend to skip stuff that seems to be outdated or deal with shows I'm not familiar with, except when Harlan uses something as an example to launch into more general comments about society and morality (his university lectures in Texas, the rudeness on the Merv Griffin show). That stuff doesn't go away, it's still current.

With the internet and library I looked up tons of stuff that I wasn't fimiliar with. I'm just that kind of guy. Besides being fantastic writing, the Teats really helped me understand a time I wasn't yet alive to know. And with every installment, I just needed to know more and more. So the Teats really were a a primer for further historical research (sorry for making some people here feel old).

It is still current, and sadly the most relevent books about the current state of America society is still The Teats. It's a sad state of affairs when the bravest book around was written 30 years ago. And a sad state of affairs when the tv programs that speak the harshest about the current state of American society are reruns of All In the Family and Good Times.

Instead of Norman Lear being the standard for tv, we get Friends, Will and Grace, The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency, Paris Hilton's Simple Life. Lear pointed the way, but nobody wanted to follow. Thankully atleast TV-Land keeps his programming on air so they can still do some good.

As for tv criticism, Harlan pointed the way and nobody wanted to follow.

Brian Eno said that tv should just be seen as a lost cause; those that keep hoping for something new and bold from tv that will radically change society for the better are just always going to be dissappointed. There was a brief moment when something incredible was going to happen, but it fizzled.

I'm certainly happy that the Teats are going back into reprint. I already have them both, but more young people need to have access to them. Although it is dissapointing that the new printing is just going to be expensive special additions. The publisher handling the reprint doesn't do anything under $150.00 a pop.

I keep thinking of doing an internet 'blog in the style of Glass Teat, to revive this style of tv criticism. Maybe maybe.

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Postby AceArn » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:28 am

Jan,

My cable company gives us Deutsche Welle programming. Its pretty interesting to get news from a European prospective. And unlike CNN, DW doesn't have crazy people and idiots giving the headlines. Only other European coverage I have access to BBC radio.

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Postby Jan » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:05 am

You're right, in a perfect world any new edition of TEAT should be affordable and not tailored to the fans only. Since Harlan is still there and very aware of what's on television these days, an opening essay that connects the late 60s/early 70s to 2006 would be very helpful. Perhaps the tenor of such an essay would be that things have gotten even worse in some respects.

Between then and now there was often reason for hoping television would get better, for example when STAR TREK was rediscovered in the 70s, or when ambitious mini-series such as ROOTS appeared. I also think COLUMBO would not have been possible in the 60s. In the 80s tv dipped deeper than ever before.

As a valid analysis of our times, I think the book is somewhat dated if one considers the plethora of new programming since around 1990, the onslaught of "reality" shows, the many new channels as well as events such as 9/11 and the media coverage of the war. I'm not sure if Michael Moore's recent movies have been matched in book form as a critical look at current American society and the media. (You tell me.) Meanwhile, it's only natural for Harlan to concentrate on his fiction in this phase of his life instead of professionally concerning himself with things beyond his control. I'm sure he's constantly tempted to write another TEAT volume.

There are, of course, blogs about television all over the place, but probably no one who aspires to do what Harlan has done even on a smaller scale - people on the web don't get paid for their writing. If anyone were to try such a thing it would either have to be a book or a community project by people who have the credentials to prove they're worth listening to.

By the way, should anyone know a good place on the internet that deals with today's television in a critical manner, put a link here.

As for different ways of looking at television and movies, I think comedians or comic writers are sometimes doing a good job, like MST3K's Mike Nelson (Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese) or the writers of The Simpsons. (In Germany we have people like Mr Kalkofe, check him out on youtube. He had an interesting way of commenting on crappy television. They ran a short clip of a show and then inserted Kalkofe who did a parody of the scene.)

I've seen some interesting books on television written by sociologists, cultural studies (strong in the US) or media studies experts, but in the sciences people are often afraid of coming to conclusions. Most books on television are terribly unprovoking and dry, or far too general.

Here in Germany the mass media has been analyzed by professors such as Theodor Adorno and his collegues and disciples (all of them avid readers of Marx and Freud). Among other things, Adorno himself basically explained in the 30s that people don't necessarily enjoy the artistic products they see/hear, nor can they understand them. It's really only certain aspects they seek out that may have nothing to do with actual content (music/story). I think he talked about people going to a concert to see a famous conductor, although they may think and swear they enjoy the music. Same thing about listening to the radio or watching television. That's how certain tv programs become popular - it's a certain aspect of it that people respond to/fantasize about (such as the luxurious lifestyle in DALLAS or DYNASTY), and then the popularity of the show itself becomes something that attracts even more people. Other people may be attracted to something based on it fitting their self-image (e.g. I'm cool or intelligent or beautiful, therefore I watch such-and-such).

Since all of this has little to do with "quality" - it leads to bad quality products having a chance of becoming successful which can usually be produced with minimum effort. Adorno indicated that pop culture is almost completely devoid of art and content. Pop music would be shocking and laughable to someone from earlier centuries who actually understands music etc.

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Postby AceArn » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:31 pm

The Simpsons is too comedic. Good show, but good comedic. And as such, people that it pans don't realize they are seriously being critized. Like Simpsons constantly critiques Literalist Christians, but I know plenty of those types of people who adore the show. They think any negativity aimed at them is just a joke. Simpsons is better than nothing, and I am glad its still running strong.

People point to South Park as being a highly intellegent show, but they just poke fun at everything for the sake of a cheap laugh. And while they often have progessive veiws, this past season they did an episode where the moral was global warming is a lie and scare tactic constructed by liberals. For years they did terribly homophobic episodes. It wasn't until after they were harshly critized that the makers back-peddled and claimed they were making fun of people who hate gays, not gays themselves. However, being gay in highschool at the time, the most hurtful people I knew were HUGE South Park fans who were copying the behaviours they saw on the show.

Michael Moore is too passionate to the point of being seen as slightly emotionally unbalanced. I agree with a lot of what he says, but there's something "off" about him that I don't like. Plus he has a cut-and-paste style of film making that is slightly dishonest.

Harlan looked beyond obvious societal problems and took a deeper look at things. Like he made the connection between illegal drug use and the sharp increase in the usage of pharmacetical and over-the-counter-drugs. He asked how can adults ask their kids not to do drugs if in the adult world drugs is always the answer to everything. Harlan asked why society doesn't care when racial-minorites do drugs, but get in a clamour when white people do drugs. Harlan pointed out that it reflected badly on society that we are so concerned about crotch odor - our we that obsessed with sex? Harlan looked out how cops/women/politicians/whatever are portrayed on television and wrote about how it affects how we interact with people in real life. Its those little things he tackles; the type of stuff nobody thinks about.

It's real easy to be against violence and poverty. But the big issues are made up of smaller issues. The big issues are too overwhelming, but when we whittle away at the small things, we can make progress. And I think that's what Harlan's essays were about - finding the small everyday things and getting us to think about them. Nobody today really does that, or atleast does that well.

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Postby David Loftus » Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:19 pm

Jan wrote:You're right, in a perfect world any new edition of TEAT should be affordable and not tailored to the fans only.

Maybe this edition is a "feeling the waters" exercise. If it does well, Charnel House or somebody else may be inspired to bring out a trade paperback version.

We can only hope.

I've been hearted by the fact that the 20-something punkette who tried to bleach the black dye out of my hair two weeks ago, and the not much older waiter who served us last night at the new swanky lounge-cafe that opened in our neighborhood both knew Ellison's work when I mentioned his name.

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Postby Carstonio » Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:22 am

AceArn wrote:People point to South Park as being a highly intellegent show, but they just poke fun at everything for the sake of a cheap laugh. And while they often have progessive veiws, this past season they did an episode where the moral was global warming is a lie and scare tactic constructed by liberals. For years they did terribly homophobic episodes. It wasn't until after they were harshly critized that the makers back-peddled and claimed they were making fun of people who hate gays, not gays themselves. However, being gay in highschool at the time, the most hurtful people I knew were HUGE South Park fans who were copying the behaviours they saw on the show.

Michael Moore is too passionate to the point of being seen as slightly emotionally unbalanced. I agree with a lot of what he says, but there's something "off" about him that I don't like. Plus he has a cut-and-paste style of film making that is slightly dishonest.

I've seen about a dozen episodes of "South Park." From my perspective, the show claims to oppose orthdoxy of any kind, whether it's from the left or the right. That would be fine if the show had a sound rational basis for challenging any piece of accepted wisdom. But it's really the mindless rebellion of children who refuse to eat their vegetables simply because they're told to. Sometimes that can be entertaining, while other times it can be annoying. A newspaper in my community has a conservative columnist who takes the same attitude about recycling - he hates it simply because it's the government urging him to do it. Parker and Stone probably have never heard that, for instance, PC language like "differently abled" was originally a satirical inside joke among liberals that was quoted out of context by conservatives who didn't get the point of the satire. They probably did homophobic humor only because gay activists irritate them.

I haven't see Moore's movies, but I did see an episode or two of "TV Nation." Pauline Kael's review of "Roger and Me" soured me on seeing any of Moore's movies. Kael wrote Moore is intellectually dishones (distorting facts and timelines to further his argument) and that he uses his "liberalism as a superior attitude" (humiliating ordinary people on camera).

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Postby Jim Davis » Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:55 pm

I enjoyed Roger and Me and Moore's early TV work, but everything he's done since then has been muddled, haphazardly structured, and fundamentally dishonest. When Bowling for Columbine won the Oscar, I was shocked--not because of Moore's politics, but because BFC was easily the worst of his films up to then. ("Hey, wasn't that school shooting really terrible? Look, there's a missile plant nearby! Guess what, Marilyn Manson is kinda smart! And Canadians don't lock their front doors! What does it all mean? Fuck if I know!") The end, with its shot of a whimpering Moore propping that photo of a murdered girl against Charleton Heston's front gate, was almost unwatchable, and not for the reasons Moore intended. Truly, he was a better artist before he got this notion that he was some kind of a kingmaker.

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we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby David W. Pareis » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:41 pm

I found the Glass Teat books to be very dissapointing and, to be honest somewhat overrated.
I feel that in general the essays are very dated and, considering that Harlan Ellison was in his mid 30's when he wrote them, his writing in the "hip" language of the times comes across as awkward and a bit disigenuous.

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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby Carstonio » Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:43 am

David W. Pareis wrote: I feel that in general the essays are very dated and, considering that Harlan Ellison was in his mid 30's when he wrote them, his writing in the "hip" language of the times comes across as awkward and a bit disigenuous.

That is true of some of the early columns. I think all columnists go through phases where they are finding their voices, and Harlan seemed to have found his columnist voice after about 30 or 40 columns. The best ones include Our Little Miss and the open letter to his mother.

As Jan noted, the Teat columns show Harlan's technique of arguing from the smaller to the greater. Even though some references are dated, Harlan made many points that will be valid for decades to come. When he described Nixon and Agnew's war on dissent and their attempts to muzzle the media, I thought about Bush and Chaney and Rowe following that example. When he mentioned Bob Jones University, I remembered the controversy over that institution during the 2000 Republican presidential primary. I wondered if Christian fundamentalism is inherently racist and anti-Semitic, or if those hateful beliefs are espoused only by extremist groups such as the Dominionists.


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