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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: memoir
The working class label was everywhere in the 2016 election. Its cachet is likely to fade over time along with Donald Trump’s populist credibility. Before that happens, I want to explore what it means to be working class. It’s not as simple as the pundits, pollsters and political operatives think. Continue reading
The Rescued Film Project struck a chord this week with its video documenting the painstaking process of developing long-forgotten rolls of WWII-vintage film. No one knows the name of the American GI who took the pictures. Others will have to imagine the stories for him.
When I heard that Hazel Dickens died today at age 75, I thought immediately of the poetic line in her song, “West Virginia, My Home.” In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet, I slip away like a bird in flight/Back to those hills, the place that I call home.
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.
A ship is washed aground in Kamaishi City, Iwate, by the tsunami which followed the Japanese earthquake Source: Reuters/AJE] AJE Live blog: Japan earthquake | #earthquake