I enjoyed reading everyone's perspectives on the piece of writing I posted earlier regarding the publicist and the blind beggar. As promised, here are my thoughts.
1. The beggar aspect doesn't bother me too much. It has been a part of history and still happens in some areas. Depending on the point of the writing, it may be fine to portray it. I'm not ashamed to talk about the existence of blind beggars depending on the context. As it happens, the point of this piece, I learned, was to illustrate the importance of telling narrative stories instead of just using prose. The new sign was being used as an example of narrative story as opposed to the old sign, which was supposed to be the example of prose. I will get back to this point.
2. The publicist had no right to change the guy's sign without permission. That's rude.
3. He should have told what he wrote.
4. He smiled and walked off. The blind man didn't know he smiled. If you smile at a blind person, share the smile in some way.
5. The blind man wasn't telling his own story. If this is supposed to be about telling one's stories, why did the publicist rewrite the sign? The wording of the new sign may not have been representative of the blind man's personal story. It was only the publicist's interpretation of the man's experience. Why was the man begging? We assume it was because he is blind. Maybe it's because he is homeless--and because he is blind he hasn't gotten his life together because he can't get around easily and can't access resources. Maybe it's simply because he's lazy. Maybe it's because he never learned a job skill and is too afraid to try at this stage of his life. Maybe he is a blind man working as a social researcher and his project is studying the public response to blind beggars! Hey, if a lady can disguise herself as an old woman for a year just to study the public's treatment of old middle-class women, who's to say a person wouldn't decide to be a beggar in order to study the response? What this writing tells us is that the publicist did what publicists do best. He wrote a slogan that gets people to contribute money!
If the man needed money, he should have been able to ask directly for money based on his need. Isn't it enough to have said, "I'm blind. Please help?" That seems pretty obvious. Is it really necessary to be dramatic in order to get people to cough up some green pieces of paper and a little silver and copper? It seems like exploitation, and it feels manipulative to me. I don't like it when people do that to me, and I wouldn't want to do it to others. From the other end of things (the passer-by's perspective), I probably would not be fazed by that new sign. I would think, "So what's your point? You can feel it." I respond much better to straightforward requests.
I think a lot about what I want to do with my personal story and why I say the things I say... I often have opportunities to tell pieces of my story. I hope it motivates people to reach for their own goals and overcome their own difficulties. Whether or not it does this is not up to me. If there is something I really want or need from someone, I'm going to come right out and say it. There's no sense in beating around the bush.
Hope this was enjoyable to read ... or something. Time for sleeping...