The purpose of this page is to give a bit of a primer on the kinds of media that will enlighten readers as to the reality of the autistic experience. This is only meant to be an introductory list in itself, so the lists will be kept short, the descriptions brief, and the types very general. This is a subject I will pick over in far greater detail in longer articles on this journal. For the time being, if you want to properly understand a Powell type born circa 1980, and especially this one, the works in these lists are the place to start.
Blade Runner – Blade Runner sits in pride of place on any list of films that best represent what it is really like to be autistic during the Reagan-conservative era. Available in no less than four different edits, the best of which are actually slightly shorter than others, Powell types in particular will recognise bits of themselves in multiple characters. If you are a Powell type, chances are you might have even said things characters in this film say at angry moments, without even having seen the film before.
Starman – Starman is both John Carpenter‘s most underappreciated and most dramatic film. As Roger Ebert devotes some words to, the highlight of the film is a marvellous performance in which Jeff Bridges fools audiences into believing that both he and his character are not entirely inhabited by themselves. His performance as the titular character is more reminiscent of the Einstein type, but it also gives a powerful metaphor for how many on the spectrum feel they were just born on the wrong planet.
RoboCop – Paul Verhoeven‘s most notorious and enduring film introduces its hero proper with a sequence in which he recites several rules that he is programmed to follow to the letter, even when he can reasonably forsee that doing so will result in his death. With numerous types of autistic adult represented in multiple characters (primarily Powell, however, as you would expect of a film about a policeman hunting down multiple violent criminals), RoboCop is not quite up to the standards of the previous two in terms of representing the autistic, but it is a damned good film even without that element.
TRON: Legacy – Another Jeff Bridges starrer, TRON: Legacy is one of the rarest things out of the Disney stable. A film designed for adults right from the get-go. This is a great film to show people in your closer circle who still do not get it. If you are a Powell type, you can point to the explanation of what CLU has done and say “this is a constant fear for me”, or point to Olivia Wilde‘s performance as Quorra and say “you have been living around this for years and did not notice?”. It is literally the final word where films that reflect what it is like to grow up during the 1980s and be autistic are concerned.
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell wrote several great pieces, but the one people reference the most frequently is Nineteen Eighty-Four. Essentially an exploration of how language modification and torture with specific techniques are used in order to modify a person’s thoughts, it ends in an essay that proves changing the meanings of words is by far a more effective method of thought-control than banning them. And this is to say nothing of the fact that the order and conjunction of words has an impact. Another matter touched upon by Orwell.
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee only published one novel, but what a novel it is. Essentially a reflection upon the ignorance of small-town minds, the prejudices of the ignorant, and racism can end the innocence of a child, To Kill A Mockingbird was adapted into a film a couple of years after publication. Said film contains one of the best performances of the late Gregory Peck, which is saying a lot. The Atticus Finch of the novel comes across as just as big a man as Peck, if such a thing is even possible.
Adam Ant – The first three albums by Adam Ant (Dirk Wears White Sox, Kings Of The Wild Frontier, and Prince Charming) all contain songs and words that resonate as much now as they did in the 1980s when I first heard them. Adam Ant is a great place to start when one wants to learn about how much better music was when the entertainment industry recognised that adults need to be entertained, too.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath‘s first eight (six if you are really picky) albums all have things to say that an autistic Child Of The 1980s will look back on nowadays and think “they hit the nail right on the head”. Wheels Of Confusion, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Iron Man, and Megalomania are songs that might as well be used as anthems by the Powell type.
Julie Christmas – Whether it is Julie‘s recent solo album, The Bad Wife, or one of her more collabarative projects such as Battle Of Mice or Made Out Of Babies, she has taken simulating a nervous breakdown and made it into an artform. Psychological distress of the kind that Powell types experience very frequently has a voice, and that voice belongs to the woman named Julie Christmas.