Hamilton

Hamilton is exquisite theater. Set, costumes, choreography, songwriting, cast, pace, character development, dazzle, excellence. The excellence of art made me cry most of the show. The songs are thrumming through my mind even as I write this. It is an act of undeniable theatrical genius.

It presents the founding fathers as distinct relatable human beings, and for me that makes it highly uncomfortable art. I don’t want anyone to watch it as a surface level experience, nor do I want anyone to miss it.

Any time I have to remember that there were/are no monsters, just flawed selfish limited human beings, it messes me up. It’s easier in binary, if I can erect an impenetrable boundary between my experience and that of those who would own/kill/dehumanize me…but that isn’t the world we live in. Heartache and grief are nearly universal, ego and foolishness too, and love.

The dream of America is/was so good. Everyone equal in a functional democracy? Yes! I just don’t know anyone who ever lived there. It was doomed by white supremacy, which made it impossible for these men in fancy shirts to see indigenous and Black and woman humanity. Today, watching this story that started 244 years ago, we are watching a lineage of our own doom. Watching while living and dying in a nation that could have been great, but the foundation is rotten with hate and it’s crumbling, toppling, turning.

With my analysis, there’s no way to see this musical as anything other than heartbreaking. My mind overlays it with the image @arlenparsa updated to show how many of the founding fathers were slaveowners, and then I sit with the contradictions. I don’t feel patriotic watching it, I think it’s more like seeing the childhood photos of someone who later abused me. Where did that wholeness go? Can that humanity be saved?

Hamilton is provocative theater because it is so excellent while dancing the same lines of centering white narratives and erasing others, even as the overt excellence of everyone from all their multitudinous backgrounds is why it’s so good.

I do want to see what Ishmael Reed did in Toni Morrisons living room though. And I want to watch Hamilton some more. I want it all.

10 times Hamilton lyrics perfectly described my mood

my book is due, so of course i feel prolific on all things pop culture (not exactly the subject of said book).

i finally heard hamilton and i think it is a work of Genius. so i went to genius and read all the lyrics because you can take the girl out of the theater but you can never take the theatah out of the gal!

tonight as i was listening to it and checking lyrics, i realized – this is my mood. but then another song came on which was also my mood. and it just kept happening. so here are the 10 moods of my life right now, as eloquently sung in Hamilton lyrics (nuance in parenthesis):

1.
There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your (or someone else’s) child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable

2.
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When’s it gonna get me(/us)?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin’, do I run or do I let it be?

3.
The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down

4.
I(/we) will never be satisfied

5.
Death(/life/love) doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners
And the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall
And we break
And we make our mistakes

And if there’s a reason I’m still alive
When everyone (lots of people) who loves me (and who i love) has died
I’m willing to wait for it
I’m willing to wait for it

6.
Look around, look around the revolution’s happening
in the greatest cit(ies/places) in the world (STL/nyc/detroit/oakland/la/standing rock/puerto rico/palestine/and more)

Rise up!
When you’re living on your knees, you rise up
Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up
Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up

This is not a moment, it’s the movement

7.
I am the one thing in life I can control
I am inimitable
I am an original
I’m not falling behind or running late
I’m not standing still
I am lying in wait

8.
I’m looking for (more) mind(s) at work

9.
Work!

I put myself back in the narrative.

10.
Look around, look around at how
Lucky we are to be alive right now
*

* thoughts now sourced by lin-manuel miranda

+ title of next post is basically #11