Author Topic: Hamilton  (Read 421 times)

msquared

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Hamilton
« on: July 07, 2020, 01:54:53 PM »
Hamiton is now on Disney.  If you have not had a chance to see this movie recording of the play, watch it. It is one of the best musicals ever done. The acting is great as is the choreography  and the music is some of the best I have ever heard.  2 songs stand out for me.  Burn, where his wife Eliza reacts to the news of his affair (which he wrote and published a pamphlet about to head off his political opponents using it against him) and It's Quiet Uptown, about the aftermath of his son's death in a duel.  If you do not cry during this song you do not have a heart.  It is one of the most moving, heart wrenching songs of loss and forgiveness written.

msquared

NobleHunter

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 12:22:39 PM »
It's a nifty bit of American myth making. I would like to see it with someone else playing Hamilton because I don't think Lin-Manuel has enough presence on the stage. It's ironic to have a leading man who fades next to his co-stars in a musical explicitly intended to raise Hamilton's profile.

As a work of public history, it offers several excellent starting points (or names to look up on Wikipedia) for further research into the American Revolution. It seems to assume its audience is reasonably familiar with events, which I find a bit optimistic but then I barely recognized the significance of Yorktown. It elides a great deal. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, perhaps to the point of error. On the other hand, an obsession with historical accuracy makes for a poor musical.

What I find the most interesting bit is how it erases race from the story of the revolution. The casting makes the founding fathers feel as diverse as the modern US. This neatly divorces the origin of the US from white supremacist myths about the intent of the American experiment. Although, it does so at the cost of mostly erasing slavery from the narrative, aside from a few platitudes about eventual emancipation and potshots at Jefferson. It also minimizes the wealth of the many of the founding fathers, creating a narrative of rags to riches for Hamilton and implying the same is true for the rest. The narrative wants us to believe the leaders of the American Revolution are a diverse group of impoverished yet ambitious idealists. It's an excellent myth to have even if it's not entirely true.

It's a lot of fun and encourages a useful belief about the revolution. I'm not sure that it's the best time for this belief but I think it's a good counterpoint to other revisionist histories.

Fenring

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 12:34:46 PM »
NH, I haven't seen Hamilton but your description makes it sound like "Revolutionary War Rent"! Funny you should critique Lin-Manuel in particular as his performance in the show has to whit become legendary in the musical theatre community (to which I'm peripherally connected as I have one foot in the door of that milieu). One singer friend of mine in particular idolizes him, so I'll try to check it out since now I'm curious.

I didn't think the musical styling would be to my taste but is *is* a phenomenon, so there's that.

Interesting point you make also about black-washing the white history there, especially since the crowd loving this show in a big way is almost certainly the same crowd denouncing other media that glosses over black struggles in history. It shows to me that there is a split mind at work, one side of which is the child's mind (in a good way) that just loves good, fun stuff and doesn't have an agenda. The other mind is trained into people to concoct all manner of issues into otherwise pleasant media to 'make a point'. So you might well have at this point the same exact person loving The Little Mermaid on the one hand because they know it was beloved to them before, but also denouncing it because XYZ political reasons. I have actually seen this divide occur in the musical theatre and now Harry Potter fanbase community, as one family I know who are huge Disney and Harry Potter fans will not accept any argument that goes against these franchises, whereas many others are totally willing to throw their favorite works into the dustbin if their political views get crossed.

It's a funny thing to see, although I haven't seen it happen yet with Hamilton, as it's still very much on the "in" as far as I can tell.

NobleHunter

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2020, 12:49:12 PM »
He's not bad, I just don't think he's on the same level as the rest of the cast.

It's not a split mind thing to both enjoy a piece and to criticize it. Nor does being aware of the political and cultural implications of a piece mean one is concocting issues to make a point. To say so suggests that the casting was not a deliberate political statement, which seems absurd. The narrative is asking you to believe certain things about real people, why not ask questions? There so much more going on than schnazzy choreography and catchy tunes.

Fenring

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2020, 12:51:36 PM »
It's not a split mind thing to both enjoy a piece and to criticize it.

Sure, but I think increasingly people are finding that everything is all or nothing. Either a piece is celebrated, or it's cancelled if something bad happens. Granted this isn't how moderate people think, but I think the numbers are increasing in the extreme.

msquared

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2020, 01:01:48 PM »
LMM is probably the weakest performer of the main cast, and I think even he will admit it.  The fact he got to star in it is, I think, makes it a bit of a vanity piece.

As to the history that is not told, LMM has said yes, he left stuff out.  He only had 2-1/2 hours to work with the life time of the man.  I am sure others can make any other musical they want and include the things he didn't.

Do not let the thought that this is a hip hop or rap musical. There are influences, but many of the songs are straight up broadway, and there is almost no spoken parts. It is basically sung through.

Seriati

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2020, 04:00:39 PM »
It's funny the way you guys are talking about Hamilton, considering there's a cancel culture movement to have it removed from Disney.  All or nothing on everything.

DonaldD

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2020, 04:13:30 PM »
It's funny the way you guys are talking about Hamilton, considering there's a cancel culture movement to have it removed from Disney.  All or nothing on everything.
It's funny that you think that everybody who doesn't agree with you disagrees with you about everything.

The idea of cancelling people is very dangerous.  Sure, maybe it feels good when you see that deserving person punished publicly, and their life is ruined because maybe they had a bad day (or maybe they really are a racist/stupid/evil person).  But the net effect is a chill on the ability to disagree publicly.  Disagreement is the lubricant of democratic society.  Insomuch as this unfettered urge to cancel those who are not sufficiently in agreement with your group leads to a fear to debate publicly, it's a really bad thing.

As an aside, "criticism" is not "cancelling".  How those ideas became synonymous in some people's minds is weird - and backwards. 

msquared

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2020, 04:26:54 PM »
Serati

Have you seen the play or the movie?

Seriati

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2020, 03:56:58 PM »
It's funny the way you guys are talking about Hamilton, considering there's a cancel culture movement to have it removed from Disney.  All or nothing on everything.
It's funny that you think that everybody who doesn't agree with you disagrees with you about everything.

Interesting.  I didn't mean to imply that I was talking about you or any of the posters here in that way.  I was talking about those pushing the cancel Hamilton meme, they're all or nothing on everything.  Either it's perfect and agrees with them completely, or it's completely flawed and must be cancelled.  I just thought it was interesting that the way you were talking about it seemed unaware that there was in fact an active cancel culture (from the left) trying to force it back off Disney because it fails to criticize Hamilton's ownership of slaves.

There is no forgiveness in cancel culture (well unless say you're the governor of Virginia and a Democrat).

I certainly don't think that anybody disagrees with me about everything.  In fact, I suspect that most people agree with me about a great deal of things.  We have much more in common than the media wants you to believe.

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The idea of cancelling people is very dangerous.

I agree, thus my posts to that point, that destroying someone's ability to work and make a living over a political disagreement is vile.

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Sure, maybe it feels good when you see that deserving person punished publicly, and their life is ruined because maybe they had a bad day (or maybe they really are a racist/stupid/evil person).

If that makes you feel good, there's something wrong with you.  Bringing a person to justice, requires justice.  We have courts and due process for a reason.  This current trend of destroying people for lack of sufficient political orthodoxy really is anti-American.  It's against everything this country was founded on.

We just had a local crime that involved a hit and run death with a white driver and a minority victim.  The police found, arrested and charged the driver within 4 days and people are mad that they haven't charged the driver with murder, but rather with the legal charges that actually apply.  People are planning to protest to try and force a charge that doesn't apply, and would go bananas if the jury or the court didn't convict on a charge that doesn't apply. 

There's something very wrong with that.  I mean that's literally mob justice, it's literally the same level of "justice" that applied in lynchings, and because it's going the "correct" woke direction its somehow okay?

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But the net effect is a chill on the ability to disagree publicly.  Disagreement is the lubricant of democratic society.  Insomuch as this unfettered urge to cancel those who are not sufficiently in agreement with your group leads to a fear to debate publicly, it's a really bad thing.

Is it though, do you really believe it or are you just saying a platitude?  Your side is "winning" the repression war, are you not currently enjoying those benefits?   How committed are you - really - to overturning the apple cart of pressure and defending the right to have different ideas?

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As an aside, "criticism" is not "cancelling".  How those ideas became synonymous in some people's minds is weird - and backwards.

There is a cancel meme for Hamilton.  There is also legitimate criticism of Hamilton.

Serati

Have you seen the play or the movie?

Not yet, we could never get the tickets at a time and price point that we could make work.  We're definitely planning to watch it together as a family and everyone's really excited about it.

You'd think it would be easy to find time in a quarantine, but I've been working more hours (even after eliminating a 4 hour round trip daily commute) in the last 6 months than any other period in my career.

DonaldD

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2020, 04:31:10 PM »
But the net effect is a chill on the ability to disagree publicly.  Disagreement is the lubricant of democratic society.  Insomuch as this unfettered urge to cancel those who are not sufficiently in agreement with your group leads to a fear to debate publicly, it's a really bad thing.

Is it though, do you really believe it or are you just saying a platitude?  Your side is "winning" the repression war, are you not currently enjoying those benefits?   How committed are you - really - to overturning the apple cart of pressure and defending the right to have different ideas?
Of course it is, and of course I do - unlike you, who only hold the position because your "side" is losing  ::)

Yes, that was sarcasm.

rightleft22

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2020, 05:00:17 PM »
Was watching a debate about the Writers that signed open letter criticizing 'ideological conformity,' cancel culture which kind of proved the writers point.
The argument against the letter was that the letter was it self a attempt to stop dialog.  Its not. you can disagree with the statements in the letter without being 'cancelled'
I can't however agree with the letter without fear of being 'canceled' as many of the augments against the letter were personally directed at some of the writers who had in the past express views that not everyone felt should be expressed. At the end of the debate the letter was dismissed - 'canceled' manly because of those past remarks of the writers who some argued should also be 'canceled' and nothing to do with the actual ideas as it concerns cancel culture.

I noted latter in the day that some of the signatories of the letter asked to have their names removed from the letter. cancer culture sadly works.

Fenring

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2020, 05:54:28 PM »
I noted latter in the day that some of the signatories of the letter asked to have their names removed from the letter. cancer culture sadly works.

Yeah, it's been pretty well established that intimidating and scaring people tends to work.

msquared

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2020, 06:07:48 PM »
So has anyone here besides me seen the play/movie? Or even listened to the OBC album on Spotify?

TheDrake

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2020, 10:20:24 PM »
Randomly, I read the book about the production, but never saw the production.

Seriati

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2020, 12:36:44 PM »
Well now I have msquared.  General consensus was that it didn't live up to the hype (but honestly how could it).  The more musical half of the family couldn't get into it, they didn't like that the songs blended into each other without pause or spoken interludes  They really didn't like Lin-Manuel's performance (I tend to agree on that, he was one of the weakest performers, which is tough when you're the lead - I didn't like Leslie Odom as Aaron Burr either.  Daveed Diggs on the other hand was a blast, loved him when he was playing the Marquis de Lafayette, but when he came back out as Jefferson - wow!).  They would have preferred seeing Wicked yet again (my 10 year  could sing half the songs after seeing the performance once).  King George is obviously an unfairly fun role, prone to excessive camp, obviously enjoyable but can't comment on whether the actor actually added anything to that wasn't already there in the role. 

The more analytical side of the family enjoyed it more, but still diidn't think it matched the hype.  In part the younger ones said they'd never learned any US history in school (despite having had US history), so it was a new story for them.

I found some of the story a bit misleading, definitely an effort to recast history to support a certain political view.  Specifically trying to recast our history with the "good guys" as strictly seeking to expand federal, unilateral power.  It's oddly trying to blend an anti-statist (King George) and pro-statist (Jefferson) message, which is actually quite hard to explain sensibly.  So Lin-Manuel didn't even try to explain the inconsistency he just made King George and Jefferson into obvious camp and clowns.  That's a little unforgiveable to me.  If you're taking on challenging material skipping the main challenge is a weakness.     

He also rather oddly tries to blend protest "against the autocratic government" culture into the story on the same "team" as supporting a new powerful central government.  Is this message really that autocratic institutions are good, provided that they are controllled by Hamilton/Washington, but are bad if they are controlled by King George?  He mocks Jefferson's position that decentralized government would be better. 

It's also really bizarre to write your revolution like it's a chaotic anti-fa moment (this came out through the choice of lyrics not how the story developed)  when you're going to write the ending to be pro-statist.    It's beyond obvious, but recasting the revolution by using the actors to make it about race was actually quite inspired.  While this performance is probably more useful in inspiring elements of chaos that seek to knock down the country, it can also be used by those seeking to unify and bring us together by showing what we all have in common in the  fight against injustice.

End of day, whether is autocratic King George or fascist cancel culture, the message of Hamilton for freedom plays out the same way.  Good people need to speak up and remind others of why their rights are important and freedom should be fought for and once won shouldn't be let slip away.

msquared

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2020, 12:50:15 PM »
You see my wife and family loved that the music/songs blended into each other. Themes and lines from previous songs would show up again and again to bring back points made earlier. The simple music of Burn and It's Quiet Uptown make them effective. For example in Burn Eliza brings back the idea of the narrative (earlier she  had asked to be part of the narrative). Now she wants to be removed. In the last song she puts herself back in the narrative.

I agree LMM is the weakest of the main cast.  I even said that above. Like I said there as the creator of the piece he probably had a bit more lee way to get his way as the lead.  Diggs was great, as was Soo and Jackson.

This was a musical about a man's complicated life, not a history lesson, any more than Le Mis was a history lesson about France at that time.

Seriati

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2020, 01:04:10 PM »
I couldn't tell you the names of any of the songs after a single viewing, honestly, the musically fades away when I'm watching a story.

People online seem to rave about Soo's performance and I don't get that.  I didn't see anything that she added that I wouldn't expect from any one of hundreds of actresses on Broadway.  She was professional and overall fine but not a standout.  Similarly, I didn't see much about Jackson's performance as Washington that stood out.  Maybe they both look better on a rewatch.

This was a musical about a man's complicated life, not a history lesson, any more than Le Mis was a history lesson about France at that time.

No, this was advocacy as art (which is okay).  The voice was Lin's not Hamilton's.  Lin didn't write this to tell Hamilton's story, he wrote it to use Hamilton's story to tell Lin's story.    This wouldn't have been a hit if it was a musical about a man's complicated life.

msquared

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2020, 01:10:45 PM »
Well  Burn and It's Quiet Uptown are two that should stand out. Burn is where she burns his letters to her after he publishes about his affair.  It's Quite Uptown is one of the most heart wrenching songs I have ever heard about loss and forgiveness.

TheDrake

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2020, 03:52:50 PM »
If you want to learn about anyone, any place, or anything read an actual book. Maybe I'll start a new thread with book recommendations. Too many people think they learned about JFK, MLK, and many others from watching a movie. Let alone a musical. Wicked is also not about the Salem witch trials.

Seriati

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2020, 04:13:18 PM »
If you want to learn about anyone, any place, or anything read an actual book. Maybe I'll start a new thread with book recommendations. Too many people think they learned about JFK, MLK, and many others from watching a movie. Let alone a musical. Wicked is also not about the Salem witch trials.

Yeah, don't read Wicked, not if you like the musical.  And whatever you do, don't hand that book to a child just because the musical is fun for kids.

TheDeamon

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2020, 10:55:19 PM »
Was watching a debate about the Writers that signed open letter criticizing 'ideological conformity,' cancel culture which kind of proved the writers point.
The argument against the letter was that the letter was it self a attempt to stop dialog.  Its not. you can disagree with the statements in the letter without being 'cancelled'
I can't however agree with the letter without fear of being 'canceled' as many of the augments against the letter were personally directed at some of the writers who had in the past express views that not everyone felt should be expressed. At the end of the debate the letter was dismissed - 'canceled' manly because of those past remarks of the writers who some argued should also be 'canceled' and nothing to do with the actual ideas as it concerns cancel culture.

I noted latter in the day that some of the signatories of the letter asked to have their names removed from the letter. cancer culture sadly works.

I shared the letter on another forum I've frequented for decades which has developed a number of free speech issues over the past decade after I handed control over to the wrong person.

I got accused of being against Trans Rights (which is halfway correct) because JKR is one of the signatories, never mind that isn't even mentioned in the letter.

It also evidently has resulted in the forum itself being canceled by the person who controls it(because he knows banning me is going to set off a **** storm over there). We'll see what the follow through is on that front. Myself and some others were already working on an alternative when that proverbial fan was turned on, and as I still control one of the domains involved, its more of a situations where if I wasn't laughing, I'd probably cry. I'm just amazed that it that letter and resulting comments which set him off.

TheDrake

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2020, 03:47:21 PM »
It's super fun that yall want to jabber about a letter that I've never heard of and can't read about.

TheDeamon

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2020, 03:51:58 PM »
https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/

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Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

TheDeamon

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2020, 05:43:17 PM »
https://www.bariweiss.com/resignation-letter

Bari Weiss resigns from the New York Times, and details her reasons why.

TheDrake

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Re: Hamilton
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2020, 09:08:25 PM »
Both letters took a while to absorb. The real question is what is acceptable? Because nobody would argue that a newspaper doesn't have the right to determine what it's own employees write publicly about. If standards are starting to chafe, perhaps it is the person who has to change not the standards.