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The Glass Teat (1983)

The Glass Teat (1983)

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4.15 of 5 Votes: 3
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0441289886 (ISBN13: 9780441289882)

About book The Glass Teat (1983)

Enough to give serious flashbacks to anyone who lived through the tail end of the Sixties in a pissed-off mood, which, as Ellison makes clear, was the only sane response. The first of two volumes collecting the TV column, sci fi/tv writer Ellison wrote for the LA Free Press from late 1968 through 1970, The Glass Teat is fueled by equal parts cynical/realistic humor and righteous anger as the world turned over thoughts/hopes/dreams of real social transformation to...pause for sad music--Spiro Agnew and Tricky Dick. There are times Ellison loses all sense of "balance," though what that meant in context would be difficult to say. He's nauseated by the rise of the ideology apotheosizing the "silent majority," the middle american," the "common Man" (named Time's Man of the Year for 1969). And he's more than nauseated by television's complicity in the dulling down (at best) or flat out lying (cf. the coverage of My Lai) that dominated the age. He chronicles some of the attempts to do better, which led to the symbolic cancellation of the Smothers Brothers show; vituperates (why not?) against the way the tube transmits ideologies of race and gender to the viewers he dismisses as "scuttlefish." He has zero tolerance for anything resembling political correctness, quite a bit less for those who attack "liberals" while putting up with all sorts of right wing bullshit. He's seriously worried about the US embracing fascism. That's the way it felt.In some ways, the most sobering part of the immensely entertaining collection is the 2011 preface, which begins: "This is my final communique to you prisoners of war. No more warnings. I'm done with all that. We've lost. I began actively warning you how it was closing in, what the prison would look like, how they would try to fool you with new meanings to old words, how they would convince you that everyone was your enemy, and you were too stupid to know who the Bad Guys were. Told you they'd lie to you, but mostly they'd frighten you...."Feels like documentary realism to me.....

I'd been wanting to read The Glass Teat for some time now & finally got around to making an ILL request for it. The book is a collection of columns written for The Los Angeles Free Press from October 1968 - January 1970. I'm mildly disappointed. I was hoping Ellison would discuss television programming from the time more specifically; instead he focused more on politics & how The Establishment uses the boob tube to disinform the public. As opinionated as ever, Ellison rails against the Administration, with Agnew in particular receiving the brunt of his venom, as Spiro evidently took it upon himself to deal with/quash the media. As expected, Vietnam and race relations loom large; it would be interesting to compare some of these columns to more "traditional" news coverage of the times.Ellison does discuss a couple of TV shows - The Smothers Brothers and its pale imitation, Laugh In. He also speaks well of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; unfortunately, I've never seen it. He also rips into such bland fare as The Mod Squad and various variety shows, most of which I'd never heard of. His columns are far ranging, discussing the state of television in the then-dictatorship of Brazil and his experiences with guest appearances in Dayton Ohio, among other topics.While I generally enjoy Ellison's work; I still don't like him very much. His protestations to the contrary, he *does* come off as a misogynist; as well as always on the verge of an apoplectic fit. I admire the strength of his convictions, even if I think he's occasionally an ass in the way he expresses them. Recommended to anyone looking for a counter-culture look at the Sixties, with a focus on teevee.

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“There are warnings herein. I hope some of you get their message before it's too late. 'Cause, baby, time is running out.” This collection spans the late sixties, contains 104 of Harlan Ellison's columns written for the Los Angeles Free Press, on the subject of television. The book is described as powerful and uncompromising, and his critiques of certain shows such as What's It all About, World? and The Groovy Show are as withering as they are hilarious. Ellison was a part of History. There are

Lost my copy years ago and would love to find another. The Glass Teat was a column by Ellison in The L.A. Free Press in the 70s (I think). The collection is an exceptional example of Ellison's essay writing talents; abrasive, insightful and usually controversial. There is a lot of emphasis on screenwriting for TV and the TV business, both about Ellison experiences and his opinion of other writers, producers and shows. I do get the feeling that Ellison must have been hell to work with on a set. Yet, these columns are always entertaining and informative. It helps if you seen or are at least familiar with the TV series he discusses as most are now relics of the times. However the collection remains a good example of one of the best essayists in the later 20th century.

“The Glass Teat” started life as a column by Harlan Ellison in the L.A. Free Press, about television and the media. It’s a peek behind the screen that shows not a haggard showman pulling levers, but the slick manipulations of corporations pushing buttons, our buttons.“The Glass Teat” looks behind the banality of the stories the shows presented and reveals the subliminal messages embedded in the television shows we watch daily and take for granted. Television is far from being the “vast wasteland” of Newton Minow and Ellison reveals the programs for what they are, a palimpsest of hidden ideas and messages meant to influence our views and outlook on life. Written between 1968 and 1970, the “hip” vernacular the articles are written in seem dated, and the TV shows discussed in the book are all long gone except for reruns or nostalgia stations. But Ellison opens our eyes to how the messages are laced into the shows story line. Was a show like “The Mod Squad” just an appeal to the booming youth market of the late 60’s? Under Ellison’s microscope we’re shown the subliminal message that being a “hippie” some how puts you on the wrong side of the law and the only way to reform yourself is to be an undercover police informant. But Ellison’s approach isn’t that of the dry academic, the articles are very entertaining and a few laugh out funny!Reading “The Glass Teat” will give you a critical eye towards decoding the subliminal messages in your favorite TV shows and once we discover how to discern those messages we can apply them to the shows and even media we watch today. Anyone who watches TV should read “The Glass Teat,” you’ll never watch TV the same way again, and you’ll be a little suspicious of your TV afterwards.
—Jim Cherry

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