Today's "Talk of the Nation"

I was fortunate to be asked by National Public Radio to appear as a guest today on their nationwide program "Talk of the Nation". I stress "fortunate" because it’s a privilege to be asked to share with the public ideas about disability in general and blindness in particular.

But I felt a sense of disappointment with the interview today.  Today’s host, Lynn Neary asked me questions like explain "how" I (a blind person) could know what a painting by Jackson Pollock might look like. I gave the obvious answer–namely that I have descriptive friends who tell me these things.

Unfortunately, I think we ran out of time before the really important questions could be asked. What I had hoped for was an interview in which I might talk about "why" 70 per cent of the nation’s blind and visually impaired people who are of working age remain unemployed. I wanted to talk about our contemporary inheritance from the Victorians who saw a disabled body as an economic liability in the machine driven world of the Industrial Revolution. I wanted to talk about "why" these outworn ideas persist in the United States–so much so that we continue to stand in amazement when a superbly intellectual and gifted man like Governor David Paterson emerges from the pack.

Instead the interview sputtered badly I’m afraid, though I tried to explain that blind people bring critical thinking and emotional intelligence to their public and professional lives.

The good news is that tomorrow I am scheduled to appear on NPR’s "On Point" program.  With any luck, I’ll have an opportunity to discuss some of this then.



NPR’s Blog of the Nation "Colors and Fog": What It Means to be Blind

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Today's "Talk of the Nation"”

  1. Lynn Neary clearly knows nothing about disability. She was also woefully unprepared for the interview. The issues that need to talked about such as rampant unemployment among all disabled people is ignored by the media. In its place we get Neary who asks silly questions based on well worn stereotypes. I hope Steve has better luck and a prepared interviewer when he talks to NPR again.


  2. You did a good job, Steve, making the most of a limited window of opportunity. Tom Ashbrook should give you more space tomorrow on On Point. Good luck!


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