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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: New Orleans
New Orleans composer, producer and piano doctor Allen Toussaint died last night following a concert in Madrid. He was 77 years old. I learned his name first as the songwriter of “What is Success?” recorded in the 1970s by Bonnie Raitt. It wasn’t the first time I heard is music, I just didn’t know who wrote the hits for Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, and many other R&B singers. Wish I could be in New Orleans to dance in his Second Line! Continue reading
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.
This happens whenever I doze while listening to Morning Edition. I had this crazy dream. All those patriotic delegates at the Republican National Convention – the smiling mob who roared at Sarah Palin’s self-congratulation about pit bulls and lipstick – every one of them flew to Louisiana on their own dime. BP and the Chamber of Commerce didn’t pay a penny. And they were mucking around in the swamps with baggies and soda straws, prepared to siphon oil off sick birds. And Rudy Giuliani was cheering them on: “Spill, baby, spill.”
While environmentalists in the Great Lakes region worry about the spread of Asian carp, Louisiana chef Philippe Parola says we should relax and think of new ways to eat the invasive species. The first step is the golden rule of seafood marketing: change the noxious name. Silver fin gumbo goes great with kudzu salad.