Yesterday I watched Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth, a film that covers much of Ellison’s life and work. The man is undeniably and extremely talented, and the film is entertaining, spanning a wide range of topics–much as Ellison’s writing and activism have spanned a range reminiscent of the Rockies.
Among the topics: fandom, childhood, civil rights, TV’s harmful effects, social conformity versus individuality, what it takes to be a writer, religion versus atheism, one’s right to an opinion, anti-intellectualism, life as conflict, the pro-corporate climate at colleges today compared to colleges in the sixties, Hollywood’s mistreatment of writers, getting paid for what you do, cranky old Judaism, love, and lots and lots of anger.
I’m toying with the idea of focusing a section of College Writing R1A on Ellison. Certainly his writing models persuasion as well as masterful prose, so there’s plenty to chew on both analytically and argumentatively.
We could follow Harlan’s advice: “You must never be afraid to go there.”
If you are interested in the film, you can find it on Amazon. The listing includes a video clip you can watch before buying the film.