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About the Flaneur
I walk through my blindness the way I wander down streets in Paris: unfettered and alive, alert to the raw material of the senses. I am a flaneur. Come along with me. Just don’t try to take my arm, unless I ask. What’s a flaneur? Read the first post, Return of the Flaneur to Galerie Vivienne. After that, try Foot Rage and the Blind Flaneur. Then stay tuned.
Letting Go of Sight
I’ve canoed on Lake Superior for almost as many years as I’ve been losing eyesight. I return year after year like a migrating loon to learn the other side of a slow, uncertain process that we could call “going blind.” After 35 years with the lake as my teacher, I know what lies on the other side. I call it letting go of sight. Read Big Water. See more about the Great Lakes.
Not This PigIf there is an emerging genetic underclass, I could run for class president or class clown. Read more in Not This Pig (2003).
Media in Transition @ MiT
Disabled Americans today have to negotiate for the kinds of accommodations made for FDR, and the caveat “reasonable accommodation” is built into the law. President Franklin Roosevelt did not have to negotiate. He could summon vast resources of the federal government – money as well as brains – to accomplish the work of disability. And it was accomplished with such thoroughness and efficiency that its scale could be called the Accessibility-Industrial Complex had it been directed toward public accommodations and not solely the needs of a single man. Read FDR and the Hidden Work of Disability [MiT8 2013]
Shepard Fairey claimed that his posterization of a copyrighted AP news photo of Barack Obama was a transformative work protected by the fair use doctrine. In other words, it was a shape-shifter. I claim fair use, too, when I reproduce and transform copyrighted works into media formats that are accessible to me as a blind reader. Read Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab [MiT6 2009]
The social engineers who created a system for licensing beggars in New York never imagined that a blind woman had culture or could make culture. She herself may not have imagined it, either. In the moment when Paul Strand photographed her surreptitiously on the street in 1916, he could not have expected that one day blind photographers would reverse the camera’s gaze. Read Curiosity & The Blind Photographer. [MiT5 2007]
Category Archives: books
Michael Hart, inventor of the ebook and founder of Project Gutenberg, has died at age 64. His vision of freely accessible digital texts curated on the Internet, in the public domain, has had a defining influence on my life as a blind reader. Continue reading
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/swede-talk-swede-talk/ Continue reading
Poet Billy Collins has written an introduction for a new edition of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, a 1960s bestseller that ranked with Steppenwolf and The Hobbit in every hippie’s paperback library. The book cover photo of a mustachioed … Continue reading
I started reading Fear of the Dark by Walter Mosley, and all hope of productive labor today is hereby canceled. It’s the third novel in Mosley’s Fearless Jones series. The erstwhile private eye is a randy but impecunious used book dealer named Paris Minton. My kind of sleuth! Continue reading
Critic John Powers on Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Inherent Vice: I know people who swear that Pynchon has saved their lives. But I know others who say he is literally unreadable. Nobody will say that about “Inherent Vice,” his loosey-goosey … Continue reading
We finished Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita today — reading it aloud, mind you — and almost immediately asked ourselves the question posed by the trailer for Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 movie adaptation. “How could they make a movie out of Lolita?” My … Continue reading
I like to think I am well-read, even as a blind flaneur who works constantly to negotiate access to books. When conversation turns to some obscure old warhorse from the canon, I like to joke that I didn’t finish the … Continue reading
Book reviewer David Gates crafts this marvelous phrase in summarizing a scene from Samuel Beckett’s Molloy: Early in Samuel Beckett’s trilogy of novels, the inwardly articulate but outwardly brutish derelict Molloy, used to being immured in his own lurching, stinking … Continue reading