Gone Blind

What do we have to look foward to this coming May? Publication of a book with the wonderful title A Nation Gone Blind.

Subtitled "America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit," author Eric Larsen's publisher, Shoemaker & Hoard, says this about the book:

novelist, critic, and teacher Eric Larsen describes an increasingly desperate situation. America’s citizens are plagued by despair and frustration....A blindness has set in, he argues, producing writers no longer able to write, professors more harmful than helpful...

And, although neither he nor his publisher seems to realize it, America's citizens are plagued with something else as well: an unthinking use of metaphor -- using "blindness" to mean "bad."

There's no other reason the word "blind" is in the title, or in the book: It's there simply and solely to signify "bad."

Why oh why doesn't this bother us? Why don't we speak out about it? I really don't understand it. And yes, I am on my soapbox again.

By the way, the words "Gone Blind" are in much larger type than anything else on the book's cover. Take a look for yourself here.

March 24, 2006 | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

"...unthinking use of metaphor..."

I think the author and publisher exemplify that they were thinking in their choice of metaphor because the whole society is (statistically, at least) deeply in an "if I went blind I'd kill myself" attitude.

They won't actually defend saying "better off dead than disabled" but what they say/think indeed says just that.

The TAB "mainstream" prevails for the moment but as we keep plugging away at them, things do change and women can now vote and hold office.


Posted by: William Loughborough on March 25, 2006 12:49 AM

Another such metaphor that we encounter way too often is "turning a deaf ear."

Posted by: L on March 27, 2006 09:16 PM

have you read the book? he's using the word 'blind' metaphorically. i don't know if you've heard of 'metaphor,' but that's where a word is used figuratively, rather than literally, to describe a situation that parallels the literal or common meaning.

what Larsen argues in the book is that the American people, in large part, are literally unable to recognize what is going on in their society, especially in their government--he claims that we are, in fact, currently living under a dictatorship, but it's impossible even to suggest such a thing to these Americans--that the leader of the free world is in actuality a fascist state--no matter what solid evidence or logical reasoning is brought to bear in that statement's defense.

Larsen's 'blindness' is being unable to recognize that said evidence exists (i.e. people who refuse even to entertain the possibility that the 2000 or 2004 elections were stolen, despite copious evidence).

in a metaphorical sense, people refuse to believe their own eyes--and therefore have become 'blind' to what's going on around them.

i suppose he could have used a more pc metaphor to describe the situation, but why does he need to? blind is a powerful and direct word with a large number of uses aside from its common use as a label for people with impaired eyesight.

are you equally rankled when someone refers to a 'blind driveway' or a 'blind date'?

maybe it isn't quite the same, but i have the anemia--should i be offended when someone calls a piece of writing 'anemic' in place of 'weak?'

Posted by: marc on June 26, 2006 03:20 PM

also, shouldn't a bunch of people sick of being prejudged look (pardon the verb) a little further than a cover and synopsis when condemning a book?

Posted by: marc on June 26, 2006 03:22 PM

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