Translate The Page
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]
Tag Archives: 1960s
From a distance of 50 years, I like to remember my childhood as a carefree time filled with daydreams of Brigitte Bardot and Leave It To Beaver. Truthfully, though, it was suffused with paranoia and existential despair. Only later did I learn to relax with help of Dr. Charles Mingus and the power of prayer. Oh Lord Don’t Let them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me. Continue reading
I hadn’t thought much about Elizabeth Taylor until a few weeks ago, when I happened to listen to Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Free. what do we need to make the country grow? Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren, and in the end, Elizabeth Taylor – all the impossible fantasies of my 1960s childhood! It’s a helluva song, but just try and find a video clip of the original. Give it up Bob! It’s a national treasure!
Today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, an august occasion to be sure. So leave it to Beaver to upset the apple cart. Ron Reagan, irreverent son of the 40th President, says Republicans venerate his old man like a fetish. Ron still thinks of him fondly as “Dad” – the sunny 50s-60s type who could groan like Ward Cleaver when he caught the Beav smoking dope in the bedroom. Now Ron’s making the grand book tour to promote his piece of the legend, My Father at 100.
What did we do for yucks before Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert? U.S. Presidents said the darnedest things and preserved it for posterity with secret tape recorders in the Oval Office. So now we can listen to Lyndon Johnson belch and kvetch about his crotch, from nuts to bung hole, thanks to Put This On. And the true beauty of it is this: it’s all in the public domain, available for Rabelaisian mashups, because we the people paid for the office and the tape recorders.
Certification, repetition, rotation, the genie-soul of a place – I found the footsteps of Walter Benjamin and “Return of the Flaneur” throughout The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. No sooner had we finished reading it than I wanted to start all over again at the beginning, ready to annotate the text to make my case.