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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]
Tag Archives: disability
I will not snap a selfie with my ballot on Nov. 8. I voted two weeks ago. I’ve paid close attention to this election all year. Uncharacteristically, I have avoided speaking about it in public. Then I read this stark challenge in a Washington Post editorial: “When the republic was in danger, where did you stand? History will ask that question.” I doubt my words will change anyone’s vote now, but for the sake of history, I need to explain my decision. Continue reading
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.
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.
As I head to Columbus today for a celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act 20th anniversary on the Ohio Statehouse lawn, I have bittersweet memories of the morning two decades ago when I walked to the White House to … Continue reading
As I walked through the wrought-iron gate, I looked around and marveled, “Wow, they let me in here!” They let me in, and a thousand other people. We had every kind of disability in the human condition, and we used every kind of assistive device available at the time. I like to think we were the most diverse group of citizens ever gathered together at the White House.