Monday, June 05, 2006

Veni vidi blogi

If you've had a peek at my profile, you'll have seen as my only entry for favourite book, The Glass Teat. You may not have heard of it. If you have, then all respect is due. It's by Harlan Ellison - name ring a bell? Of course it does - famous SF writer who wrote for the original Star Trek, and was a production consultant on Babylon 5.
The Glass Teat is a collection of his TV reviews which he did for the Los Angeles Free Press. It covers the period 1969-70, and mentions some shows you may have heard of: Gilligans Island, The Mod Squad, and Rowan & Martins Laugh In, among others.
I consider it one of the most important influences on my writing.
Now here's the thing, the column was written on a regular basis and was about a page or two in length, and although it dealt mostly with TV shows, it was liberal in tone, managed to regularly knock a certain Republican president, and was finally banned for mentioning the Vice-President and self-abuse in the same sentence. Does that sound like anything familiar to you?


I put it to you, members of the jury, that one score years and ten (plus six) years ago, Harlan Ellison did write an early version (sans web) of what we call a blog. If you want to find out for yourself, get the book out of the library. You'll find much of what he wrote still relevant today. The shows may be different, but the themes are the same. Hint: for Gilligan's Island substitute Lost. For The Mod Squad, The Mod Squad?
Harlan also identified the genre cycle where cop shows were replaced by hospital shows which were replaced by Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows which were replaced by the gritty reality of...cop shows.
So there you have it, literary paleantology, the ancestor of the blog: Videns Ellisonii.

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