Monday, November 21, 2016

The Hamilton Fracas

Since Sempringham readers are, to a person, well-read, informed people, there's no need here to do more than summarize the incident this post will refer to. Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton in New York City. When he entered the theater he was met by boos from the audience. At the conclusion of the play the actor playing Aaron Burr (hmmm) – with the support of the cast and the play's author – read a seemingly respectful statement to him, singling him out in the audience, affirming their hope that he will value diversity.

Whereupon Donald Trump tweeted that the cast should apologize. Whereupon Mike Pence stated he was not offended.

Here at Sempringham we were at first supportive of the Hamilton casts' action. Let's face it: no Trump/Pence fans here. But we were persuaded otherwise by the Chicago Sun-Times' drama critic, Hedy Weiss. In her column this morning, Ms. Weiss writes:
[W]hile I oppose almost everything this new administration stands for (aside from infrastructure repair) and admittedly cast my vote for the electoral loser in the race, I think both the New York audience protests and the emotional, carefully worded speech from the stage aimed at Vice President-elect Mike Pence were mistakes. How or why he went to see “Hamilton” in the first place remains a mystery. But perhaps, had he been allowed to just absorb the message of the musical, he might have been changed, if only in the most minute and imperceptible ways. Now, like a bull reacting to a red cape, any possibility of the show itself for serving as an agent of positive change or a subtle awakening in Pence has been lost forever. A missed opportunity, and a pity.


I think it is for Hamlet, not Hamilton, to have the last words on the whole matter: “The play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”
Find Hedy Weiss's whole column here.

Addendum, November 23: Be sure to read Uncle Ted's comment, below.


Uncle Ted said...

There's another thing, I think. It's the top .001 percenters who have seen or will get to see Hamilton. To most of America, this is another example of the Eastern Elitists lecturing their champion of change. And Trump managed to drive that lesson home with his widely-reported demand for an apology. Nothing offensive was said, but a lot of people think otherwise. The cast of Hamilton played right into their hands.

Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut.

Bob Miller said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree.