Seen & Not Seen: Confessions of a Movie Autist

“Like a mag­net, or black hole, your book has demon­strat­ed the capac­i­ty to draw oth­er texts help­less­ly into its space. As Borges said of Kaf­ka, the best books cre­ate their own lin­eages and pre­de­ces­sors, out of for­mer­ly unre­lat­ed texts.”
~Jonathan Lethem (After­word)

a must read for any­one inter­est­ed in how we have all been pro­grammed by pop­u­lar cul­ture, par­tic­u­lar­ly by the film indus­try. ~ Nalyd Khezr Bey

What’s the dif­fer­ence between enter­tain­ment, instruc­tion, and ideology? 

Pop­u­lar cul­ture mir­rors the human psy­che and it can’t lie about the state it is in: which is what makes it an essen­tial guide on the quest for self-knowl­edge. Seen and Not Seen: Con­fes­sions of a Movie Autist is a series of explo­rations which slow­ly uncov­er the author’s secret life to him­self. In the process, the book reveals an unex­pect­ed­ly dark under­bel­ly to pop­u­lar cul­ture and shows how it shapes our iden­ti­ties from an ear­ly age, in ways both inten­tion­al and not.

Mov­ing into and through the social and polit­i­cal dimen­sions of movies, the book exam­ines the Hol­ly­wood revenge fan­ta­sy, the mil­i­tary-enter­tain­ment com­plex, and how Amer­i­can movies have become weaponized. In the final chap­ters, with ref­er­ence to the infa­mous UK disc jock­ey Jim­my Sav­ile and cru­ci­fied artist Sebas­t­ian Hors­ley, it exam­ines the rela­tion­ship between escapism and dis­so­ci­a­tion, trau­ma and celebri­ty, to reveal unsus­pect­ed polit­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and spir­i­tu­al realms to the enter­tain­ment indus­try, and, by exten­sion, to the movie-going experience. 

“Hors­ley’s book is indeed a con­fes­sion, full of the kind of frank talk one would expect in a tale tout­ed as con­fes­sion­al. In fact, in places the book is jaw-drop­ping in its raw hon­esty and relent­less self-crit­i­cal insight. Here is a writer not the least inter­est­ed in mar­ry­ing his auteur self to a poseur self.… I would go so far as to say to every­one, but espe­cial­ly ado­les­cents and young adults, that Hors­ley’s book can serve well as “the bible” for how to nav­i­gate through the treach­er­ous shoals of pop­u­lar cul­ture, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the form of vio­lent screen enter­tain­ment.” ~Gre­go­ry Desilet, author of Our Faith in Evil and Screens of Blood