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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: film
Every day brings more talk about movies I want to see. Add “Timbuktu” to the list. The French-Mauritanian film dramatizes the brutalities and absurdities of fanatical jihadists who seize control in the West African nation of Mali. It premiered at Cannes last May, and now it’s nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film. Continue reading
Brendan and I saw the Cohen Brothers’ remake of True Grit at the Little Art Theater. Hailee Steinfeld was brilliant as 14-year-old Mattie Ross. Every father should hope his daughter will face the world with such brio. When she rode her pony across the river, I felt like I was running away with her, with Huck, lighting out for the territory. Jeff Bridges as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn sounded like a force of nature. Eat your heart out, John Wayne! The ornate, 19th-century diction, carried over with some fidelity from Charles Portis’s novel, was astounding and hilarious. The Cohen Brothers do Violent American Weird better than anyone. After two hours of gunfights and mayhem, the Yellow Springs Sunday matinee crowd cheered as the credits rolled.
No one ever compared me to Paul Newman. No one except a dozen Inupiat kids who heralded our arrival in Anaktuvuk Pass by shouting “Cool Hand Luke! Cool Hand Luke!” The village school teacher explained later that it was their … Continue reading
The lines between documentary and drama are often blurred, as in “The Class,” which has young Parisians playing fictional versions of themselves. [Source: NYT/Sony Pictures Classics] Manohla Dargis reviews The Class in NYT: The young bodies crowding “The Class,” an … Continue reading