“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
2 thoughts on “Seen & Not Seen: Confessions of a Movie Autist”
My name is Thomas and we both met in June in your wife’s (great) second hand store in Hope. She was calling at you with her walkie-talkie and ask you to come to meet one guy interested by your books. It was a cold and rainy day and I could feel (and hear) that you would have prefered everything except to move and come to meet that guy! But thanks you did it, and I have now a great memory of that. Actually I wasn’t specially interested in your work at this moment, but just attracted by those three books behind the checkout, looking beautiful and different than those ugly romance novels you can usually find in this kind of shop.
Three months after I bought “Seen and not seen”, I finally finished it. It usually doesn’t take me so long to read a book, but english is not my first language, and in between I did my first cherry picking season, working every night from 12 with not so much time to read ! (But still amazing though, with lot of time to think. Anyway)
First it was not so easy to know where you were going to, and I think it took me a while to get use to your style, to finally realise that you were not going anywhere.
“What I want, both as a writer and a reader, is non-fiction with all the poignancy, mystery, and suspense of fiction.”
I definitely enjoyed your book because of that, because it is also what I want as a reader. A non-fiction book is just like the life in itself, not going anywhere, waiting for something, try to understand, to figure out where you are from, where you go and who you are. This is where I like to jump into and where I feel I learn the most, and usually I don’t really know how to explain why. (And this is when I feel I want to write as well).
I use to read the Beat writers, I still have a lot to discover of course, but I had the same pleasure when I was reading your book. I would say you are a modern Beat writer. You have all the qualities for that, tell me if I’m wrong.
I’m not reading since long time, I mean consciously. I’m 34 years old, and I started to understand that books are way more powerful than we think in my late twenties. The first reason I read is not to understand who I am, but to understand how some people could turn the way they suffered (or still suffer) into art. I slowly start to realise that art in the world (books and everything) is good when people suffers (suffered). I am fascinating by that, maybe because my education was based on love with parents still together today.
Today writing a book is on my (huge) list of things to do, and this is usually how I recognize a good book I read, when it’s giving me the envy to write, when it makes me thinking a lot and let me stuck in between the reality and the fantasy of the story (which is the reality) like a sober-hypnotic state of mind. I love this feeling so much it’s incredible.
I just want to say thanks for that, I’m happy I met you and I have the opportunity to tell you what I feel.
Seen & Not Seen highly recommended for Movies & Books lovers
thanks Thomas; probably my favorite review of SANS because it includes a down-home testimony about a rainy day real world encounter and divulges how its author overcame his lethargy & misanthropy to brave the bad weather & meet a potential reader (I recall our conversation well) who went on, not only to buy but review my book! there’s a lesson in here – Burroughs (original beat) once said, “write what’s on the end of your fork”; seen & not seen the nonfiction novel spilled out into the everyday & became but the means for soul to soul encounter in a second-hand shop and the resulting ripples of ongoing communion-contact.