In the late 1960s, Harlan Ellison launched a weekly column for the Los Angeles Free Press, where he uncompromisingly discussed the effects of television on modern society. He assaulted everything from television sitcoms to corrupt politicians, talk shows to military massacres. Today, more than four decades later, almost all of his criticism still holds true.
Open Road and Edgeworks Abbey, Ellison’s company, are proud to make this second volume of fifty-two outspoken columns widely available.
I tend to prefer Ellison's essays to his fiction, and some of his better ones are on display here; at this remove TOGT is chiefly of historical interest, but it's remarkable (and depressing...) how many of his complaints with the "vast wasteland" ring as true today as they did in the early '70s. (Truer, even: he didn't have to contend with the excrescence known as "reality television.") There are some moments of high comedy perpetrated by that merriest of pranksters, Father Time, as when Ellison lavishes praise upon a then up-and-coming actor named -- Zalman King, better known these days as a writer and producer of several feckless soft-core titillation extravaganzas (chiefly the Red Shoe Diaries and Chromium Blue.com series). One of Ellison's scripts -- this one for The Young Lawyers, an episode titled "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" -- is reproduced in its entirety; and, as anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with Ellison's oeuvre might expect, his script was not shot as he'd written it, and boy, was he ever pissed off about it. Pity that Ellison didn't reveal why his "Glass Teat" column only lasted two issues at Rolling Stone (whose motto is -- or was, at any rate -- "All the news that fits") in his introduction; maybe he had one of his famous blow-outs with Jann Wenner.read more
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