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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: disability
No coffee this morning before I went to the lab for blood work. So I used my anger at Michele Bachman’s quackery to get my blood pumping. Not a healthy substitute for caffeine. Bachman’s insinuation that the HPV vaccine caused mental retardation is frightening from the perspective of a public health, and offensive from a disability perspective. Here’s the story I heard last night on NPR. Continue reading
While listening, simultaneously, to the dawn chorus of birds In my garden and the 5:30 a.m. NPR news headlines, I almost switched off the radio to devote my ears completely to the birds. Then I heard a brief news item about the World Report on Disability, scheduled for official “launch” later today. The report makes the point that disability is a natural part of the human condition. Yes, I thought, pumping my fist in the air. Someone gets it. Disability isn’t abnormal or “special” – it’s just another part of what it means to be alive.
Could the pending federal law prohibit an involuntary genetic test for the likes of Saddam Hussein? What about you or me? [Source: NYT 120303] If there is an emerging genetic underclass, as bioethicist Dorothy Nelkin predicted in 1992, I could … Continue reading
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto is presenting an exhibit April 17- July 13 exploring Canadian disability history. “A display of 13 diverse objects reveals a rich and nuanced history that pays tribute to the resilience, creativity, and the … Continue reading