1970 - THE GLASS TEAT (both volumes)

The SPIDER Symposion: in-depth discussion of specific Ellison stories and works.

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David Loftus
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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby David Loftus » Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:05 pm

David W. Pareis wrote: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.

Remember, once again please, the venue and its market. The LA Free Press was one of those legendary alternative -- almost "underground" -- newspapers, as I understand it . . . back in the days when sex ads didn't appear in more mainstream newspapers, and there were no such things as bra ads in metropolitan dailies.

I think if you compare the essays Ellison was writing for other venues -- film magazines, for example -- you'll probably find the tone and content was much different.

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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby BrianSiano » Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:21 pm

David Loftus wrote:Remember, once again please, the venue and its market. The LA Free Press was one of those legendary alternative -- almost "underground" -- newspapers, as I understand it . . . back in the days when sex ads didn't appear in more mainstream newspapers, and there were no such things as bra ads in metropolitan dailies.

I think if you compare the essays Ellison was writing for other venues -- film magazines, for example -- you'll probably find the tone and content was much different.

They're even more fun when you read them alongside of the other material in those papers. I, for one, would _love_ to get ahold of a complete run of the original _Freep_. This Pareis guy is only half-right; the pieces are very much of their time in terms of style and passion. But he's wrong to think that this makes them less that great. One might as well dismiss Vonnegut, Heller, or Mailer because their material reflects their times.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:44 am

Only one guess which feminine name Harlan applied to her when writing about her later.

Seeing that he got several Hornbook columns and a "Young Lawyers" script out of the incident, he's almost square with her for the ripoff.

Wonder if the real woman is still alive or long since gone. . . ?

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Postby Eric_Martin » Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:05 pm

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.

You are right. That Heston even gave him the time of day was grand enough, considering how weak the thesis is that private gun ownership leads to episodes like Columbine. But to bait the man about apologizing to the people of Flint was just crass.

I liked Bowling for Columbine, mostly for its exploration of the culture of fear, which I thought could have been better developed. I didn't buy the South Park interpretation of the history of gun ownership (it started out of fear of freed slaves), but the montage of US involvement in covert activities was well done.

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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby Carstonio » Sun Aug 13, 2006 7:14 pm

BrianSiano wrote:I, for one, would _love_ to get ahold of a complete run of the original _Freep_. This Pareis guy is only half-right; the pieces are very much of their time in terms of style and passion. But he's wrong to think that this makes them less that great. One might as well dismiss Vonnegut, Heller, or Mailer because their material reflects their times.


I live near a college that used to have the original Freep on microfilm. Once I went to the library to make a photocopy of "Captain Charisma Strikes Again," which was listed in the Swigart bibliography in the Harlan issue of F&SF. When I saw the finished photocopy, I realized that the piece appeared in the first Teat book. Apparently, the piece was listed separately in the bibliography because it originally appeared in the Freep as a separate article.

David Loftus is right - the pages I saw of the original Freep seemed skeevy to me. I imagined that some of the original readers were reading with one hand. But then, I grew up immersed in the Puritan Work Ethic and was taught that masturbation was only for pathetic losers who can't get laid.

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David Loftus
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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby David Loftus » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:28 pm

Carstonio wrote:David Loftus is right - the pages I saw of the original Freep seemed skeevy to me. I imagined that some of the original readers were reading with one hand. But then, I grew up immersed in the Puritan Work Ethic and was taught that masturbation was only for pathetic losers who can't get laid.

But then you learned it was for the most devoted practitioners of the Puritan Work Ethic, too.

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Re: we are talking about the glass teat?

Postby Carstonio » Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:52 am

David Loftus wrote:But then you learned it was for the most devoted practitioners of the Puritan Work Ethic, too.

Sounds like you believe that Falwell, Robertson, and their cohorts have secret stashes of adult reading material in their pulpits, enabling them to pull one off before the morning's sermon about the sin of self-pleasure.

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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:15 pm

I sure wish he would update it. Television is written so much better then it was back in the day. Sure, it still leads to dropsy, but it's a good dropsy, full of chemicals and fat.

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Postby Gwyneth M905 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:00 pm

And gout, Frank, gout as well. You can't forget about the rich fatted meat of young flesh served rare on reality shows, the port of portentious commentators, the hung game of the deer in the headlights "American Idol" or "America's Next Top Model".
Rich feasting indeed! Enough to make my big toe ache just to think of it.
Bring me my brocaded tussock and the remote control!!!

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Postby FrankChurch » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:49 pm

The only thing good about American Idol is that it shows that people are tired of the star system, that they would rather have their young sister or Uncle be a star instead of the bag of celebrity creeps we have to contend with. The only problem is, that's not how life works. The more talented are usually bitches and assholes; humility makes for bad art. Arrogance is how you get greatness; that is just how it is.

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Our Little Miss/JonBenet Ramsey

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:15 am

Our Little Miss/JonBenet Ramsey

(Ellison, H. The Other Glass Teat. pp.144-152. 1983 Ace Books. New York.)

I would like to propose a theory for discussion based on Harlan’s “Our Little Miss” column.
I propose for your discussion that there is a deep-rooted two-pronged desire some members of the American populace have to see more pictures of the dimutive beauty queen herself--hidden paedophilic desires--and a counterbalancing self-righteous desire for revenge to find the killer to quash those subconscious desires.

I am basing this on the extensive media coverage given to the case, especially on the major shows Entertainment Weekly and the Enquirer, which showed footage of JonBenet dancing and performing at beauty competitions, during the media feeding frenzy surrounding the arrest of John Mark Karr before his exoneration.

Harlan writes of the ‘Our Little Miss’ Variety Pageant:

“Then they brought out the half-dozen La Petite division children. Ages three to six. Tiny. My god, small. Innocent. And…oh, Jesus Jesus…they had blue eyeliner and lipstick and that awful model’s pose…three to six years old…Oh, Christ! They look twenty-five!
“How can they do it? How can they turn kids under six into jaded strumpets of twenty–five? Mother of God, they all look like hookers!
It’s been years since I’ve felt the need to cry.
My lady, Cindy, watching the pageant with me, said in a stunned voice, “the producers of this thing must be ex-convicts who’ve served time for child molestation!” (p. 147)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... nbenet.jpg

Harlan finishes his “Our Little Miss” essay by the phrase “Did someone mention pornography?” Discussion?

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Re: Our Little Miss/JonBenet Ramsey

Postby Carstonio » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:12 pm

Gwyneth M905 wrote:I propose for your discussion that there is a deep-rooted two-pronged desire some members of the American populace have to see more pictures of the dimutive beauty queen herself--hidden paedophilic desires--and a counterbalancing self-righteous desire for revenge to find the killer to quash those subconscious desires.

Slate recently made a similar argument:

http://www.slate.com/id/2148089/

This story allows us to fulminate against trivial problems while ignoring huge problems close to home, meanwhile wallowing in self-righteous porn babble: We are able to use the half-clothed bodies of children as centerfolds while professing shock that anyone would so display them. The story is always the same: Somebody else finds the bodies of children irresistible and we want the chance to rail against these monsters, meanwhile relishing the details of the very bodies we claim indifference to. It is a classic example of scapegoating.

I have two little girls, and twice I've had strangers in stores say they want to take them home. When I hear that, I think about applying for a CCW permit, and I don't even own guns.

But I believe that it's much more common for guys to openly lust after celebrity "jailbait" seemingly without shame. Rolling Stone once ran a cover photo of the Olson twins with the headline "America's Favorite Fantasy." And that was a huge part of Britney Spears' appeal during her early career - many of her "fans" was aging computer geeks who would only buy her albums if they came with nude centerfolds.

Now, I refused to follow the JonBenet story, but I refuse to follow most celebrity tabloid-type stories. They make me uncomfortable for some reason. (The day the O.J. Simpson verdict was announced, I told people I wanted a "No J" day.) So I never understood the appeal of the JonBenet story. But I do understand the attraction by some guys for teen girls, even though my fatherly instincts are repelled. I think the universe is playing a cruel joke on both sexes, making us physically capable of reproduction years before we're emotionally and mentally ready for the responsibility of parenthood.

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Re: Our Little Miss/JonBenet Ramsey/Consumption

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:14 pm

Carstonio wrote:
Carstonio wrote:I have two little girls, and twice I've had strangers in stores say they want to take them home. When I hear that, I think about applying for a CCW permit, and I don't even own guns.

Wow. That's an aspect of being a parent that I've never thought about. (Your comment bristled the hair on the nape of my neck.) My God. Now *that's scary. Probably not for this thread but --- how did you react?

Carstonio wrote:Now, I refused to follow the JonBenet story, but I refuse to follow most celebrity tabloid-type stories. They make me uncomfortable for some reason.

(Harlan has addressed the cult of celebrity many times: his essay "You Don't Know Me, And I Don't Know You" comes to mind. Give me another post and I'll get the citation for you... of course, you've probably read it and could give *me the citation :))

One of the points Harlan was making in the column; not so much that old guys go for young chicks, but that young girls are primed for the role of consumer and she who shall be consumed...the pageant was sponsored by "Our Little Miss", a doll created by the Royalty company.

Harlan wrote:Into another commercial, surfeited with sloppy sweet sentimentality about little girls, pushing that godamn OLM [Our Little Miss] doll that "comes complete with crown, robes, and beautiful clothes." It bulks obvious: beautiful clothes are one of the cornerstones of this entire vomitous operation. Not only is it bad enough to portray little girls as vapid creatures fit only to sit around and play momma to their dolls--an image our society reinforces from cradle to dishpan, hereby assuring itself of generation after generation of unpaid, highly skilled day-care and kitchen help--but in preparing these prepubescent Lolitas to be good consumers, devourers of the grossest National product, in preparing them to be mindless automatons who will buy every midi-length superfluosity economists and Women's Wear Daily feel are necessities to save a sagging economy, they are infected by cynical and demented hypes like the OLM pageant with the virus of believing if one does not have good grooming and thte latest clothes, one simply is out of it, unfit not merely to be Our Little Miss, but disallowed from having any feelings of ego strength, any intrinsic worth, any right to the bounties of life. It is, quite literally, the corruption of the young. (p. 148)

I think that JonBenet Ramsey was one of these young things. I didn't follow the story that much either, to be honest. I didn't know anything beyond the fact that she was a young girl who had been murdered--and that bizarre, haunting photo of her: obviously a terribly young child made up to look like a 30-year-old. I don't know the story, but I think that her parents--that the parents of all these "beauty queens" have a great deal of culpability on their hands. I mean -- to what end? Harlan has nailed it in his essay. All these things do is teach kids that if they wear expensive clothes and makeup and strut and pout they are worthy of applause and adoration.

Not to mention consumption. My friends with kids tell me that there is terrible pressure among the young to compete to wear designer clothes at increasingly young ages. It's expensive to buy clothes for kids.
There's a disturbing, ironic pun there -- in the 19th century consumption was one of the leading killers of children and adults -- tuberculosis.
Now, it's consumption -- obesity -- and consumption -- debt -- credit card debt brought on perhaps by spending and spending to try to catch those elusive feellings of "ego strength" and "intrinsic worth" that can't be worn on your back.

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Postby Carstonio » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:45 am

I didn't know anything beyond the fact that she was a young girl who had been murdered--and that bizarre, haunting photo of her: obviously a terribly young child made up to look like a 30-year-old. I don't know the story, but I think that her parents--that the parents of all these "beauty queens" have a great deal of culpability on their hands.

Apparently, many people believed that the parents murdered her. Did the local police or prosecutors investigate the parents?

I'm familiar with the OLM entry in "Teat", of course. But when I saw the photo you mentioned, my thoughts were not of OLM or pedophilia, but of "The Silence of the Lambs" and Jame Gumb's girl suit. I'm probably being unfair to the Ramseys, but in my mind, a parent who would dress up a 5-year-old to look 30 has a sick need to control. That need may have little to do with the OLM agenda of turning little girls into placid consumers. The need might have more to do with the parent's own desperate need for adulation. It's worth mentioning that youth sports attract parents who want to use their children to fulfill their own failed dreams of sports stardom.

All these things do is teach kids that if they wear expensive clothes and makeup and strut and pout they are worthy of applause and adoration.

*cough* Paris Hilton *cough*

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Article in the Other

Postby kevinkirby » Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:53 pm

I noticed yesterday that one issue for this column included a masthead from another newspaper, even though the article itself specifically mentions that the masthead would not be included. Was this an error or what?

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_S ... ghts_Party)


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