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The Glass Teat: Essays of Opinion on the Subject of Television Mass Market Paperback – May 1983


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Mass Market Paperback, May 1983
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reissue edition (May 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441289886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441289882
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,312,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The best book about tee vee that I have ever read 19 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read a good many books about television and its history, but this is, far and away, the best of the lot. I do not always agree with Mr. Ellison's opinions, but this man can write with the best of them and everything in here is worth reading and mulling over. I am a little young to have been a part of the civil rights/anti-Viet Nam era, but everything here coincides with my recollections of this time as a youthful bystander. You might not remember many of the shows about which he wrote. Most of them are forgotten, and with good reason. Here, it doesn't matter at all. Ellison writes about so much more just tee vee that, ultimately, America's portrait is reduced to a 21" tee vee screen. Scary, enlightening, entertaining and often roll around on the floor rolling your head off funny. He wrote a companion volume called "The Other Glass Teat," which consisted of later columns from the Los Angeles Freep and a few from the paper that picked up the column after the Freep dropped him. Not as good as this, but still excellent writing. Perhaps the best stories are those of when he went to speak at a high school in the ghetto and had a kid tell him off and the other of when he was a tryout contestant on the pilot of "The Dating Game." The first tells us more about America at that time than all the self-righteous academic nonsense ever published; the second is uproariously funny and also tells us a great deal about how vacuous we can be. What can I say? Get it. Read it. Think about it. I have recommended this book to friends many times with the guarantee that if they did not like it, I would buy it from them at cover price. I still have only my original copy of this gem.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
classic anti-nostolgia 19 Dec. 1997
By David Arms - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hate nostalgia? Harlan brings you a live, from the trenches, collection of his late 60's - early 70's Los Angeles Free Press televison-criticism columns. Unearth the horror of Tammy Grimes! See why Laugh-In was, in truth, an example of proto-Republican mind-molding and why all the true freaks watched the Smothers Brothers instead!. (My copy came from Half-Price books, Austin, TX, and supposedly there is a companion volume called The Other Glass Teat, one that is REALLY hard to find and one that I would be very grateful to read.)
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ellison at teh top of his game 2 Jun. 2007
By James Levy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book in, of all places, Cambridge England, and stayed up past 3 AM reading it. It was hysterically laugh-out-loud funny as it pushed my memory back to early childhood (I was born in January 1965 so 69-70 are at the edge of recollection); yet, shows like "My Wolrd, and Welcome To It" which Ellison rightly loved still fired a few joyous neurons buried in the back of my skull. I've given it four stars because much of the commentary simply cannot mean anything to those born after, say, 1980. They didn't see the shows, know the mood, grow up with the actors, or watch the re-runs. But for those over forty (or who can remember who The Banana Splits were), I would recommend it unhesitatingly.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A nostalgic peek at Harlan's days as a TV critic & socio-political activist 24 April 2008
By Darby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a fabulous read ... a great opportunity for new fans to see Harlan back in his rabid TV critic, socio-political activist, and college campus rabble-rousing prime.

It's all in there, complete with a generous serving of his laser sharp insights, verbal kung-fu, and utterly fearless take-no-prisoners attitude. See him go toe to toe with censorship-minded political archconservatives, and their lists of the disloyal. He him rail against cowardly, and hopelessly out-of-touch TV network and studio executives. See him drag under-educated middle-American moral-majority `scuttle bugs' by their repressionist scruff of the neck out into the open, and thump them resoundingly with their own ignorance, and watch as their own kids cheer Harlan on. See him take the fight to all those who've been successfully brainwashed by "The Establishment" into unwittingly championing the causes of style-over-substance, and blind obedience to authority, while sucking placidly at that establishment's proverbial "Glass Teat" of unreality (re: an anatomical metaphor for the television medium as a whole).

As a reader, I couldn't have asked for a better as-it-happened spectator's view of the crazy days of 1968-1970 (during which I was in elementary school) than re-reading reprints of Harlan's weekly column for the LA Free Press (aka "The Freep").

I didn't always agree with Harlan's viewpoints on various topics, or with his tactics, and I found myself repeatedly wondering if (or how) his opinions would change given how both our society and the TV medium as a whole have changed in the 35+ years since then ... but none the less, I found myself feeling wide-eyed admiration at times for his utter fearlessness, his creativity, and his determination to fight for what he believed in (regardless of whether I agreed or not), and to challenge those who either misused, or were overly bemused by, the unreal phosphorescent mirage that is TV.

Would that more of us were as keen, and as bold, as he.

Highly recommended.

p.s. Before now, I've only seen Harlan work the Scifi convention scene, but now, at last, I can see where that tireless multi-generational journey truly began in ernest. Having sat/stood across the table from Harlan on several occasions myself, I could instantly empathize with those were in a similar position 35+ years ago, as he hammered at THEIR grasp on (un)reality, like a jeweler looking for "AH HA !" chinks of weakness in our mental carapaces of surety and/or ignorance.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Television =""Chewing Gum For The Brain" 13 Nov. 2005
By John Baranyai - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an excellent book describing how American Culture was influenced and depicted by televison in the 1960's and 70's. Mr. Ellison goes to a great lengths in this very well written book to describe the History Of Televsion and why we are so captivated by it. TV shows may come and go but Mr. Ellison's book is here to stay. You will never see televison again in the same light (no pun intended) after reading this very good book.
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