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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: free speech
One of my First Amendment heroes, Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset, received a lifetime achievement award today from the National Book Foundation. Rosset published the first American edition of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and he fought all the way … Continue reading
George Carlin died six weeks ago. It’s Bad For Ya, his final comedy album, was released last Tuesday. It includes a bit about mourning friends for six weeks, then removing them ceremoniously from his address book like crossing them off … Continue reading
“Does it sound like an old friend is gone?” That’s what George Carlin said about removing a compound matrilineal redundancy from his famously scandalous comedy routine, Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television. Thanks to Carlin and free speech champions … Continue reading
Police officers apprehend a pro-Tibet demonstrator waving a Tibetan flag (right) as he tries to interrupt the Olympic torch parade while Chinese athlete Jin Jing (left, in wheelchair) guards the torch April 7, 2008, near the Eiffel tower in Paris. … Continue reading
A German runner carries the Olympic flame into Berlin’s swastika-draped stadium in 1936. [Source: Wikipedia] The notion that the Olympic “movement” is about individual athleticism is a myth. The Olympics have long been devoted to nationalism and the manipulation of … Continue reading