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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).
Disability at 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: fashionista
No one ever said of Mrs. Nixon what wags are asking about Mrs. Sarkozy after a revealing display of fashionista power (left) at the Elysee Palace. The occasion was a state dinner for Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. The vehicle was a form-fitting Roland Mouret dress that begged the question, “Should Carla Bruni have worn a bra?” Continue reading
Comparing the extravagance of Carla Bruni and Marie-Antoinette reminded me of another sordid tale of conspicuous consumption from The Daily Mail, which got its facts from that august nexus of science and celebrity gossip, the British Medical Journal. A study published last December in the BMJ found toxic concentrations of gold and mercury in the remains of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of the 16th-century French king, Henry II . Diane likely succumbed to the French nobility’s predilection for drinking elixir of gold (think of it as a bling smoothie) in hopes of preserving eternal youth. Continue reading
According to Bill Cunnningham’s latest On the Street photo essay, “A signature look has emerged during the last days of New York Fashion Week: draped dresses worn with shoes that make a statement.”
Naked cyclists make their way past Toronto’s Eaton Centre, June 13, 2009, for the World Naked Bike Ride. Participants in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax rode naked to celebrate cycling and the human body and to demonstrate the … Continue reading
This week’s On the Street photo essay nakes the transit from Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s haute couture to Renaissance “headache” bands. According to Bill Cunningham, “Outside the look that marks an era, there are always other currents. And in Paris … Continue reading