This is PRECISELY what many on the right had been saying for years.
It can be quite the struggle at times to be covering entertainment as a conservative writer. Not to suggest it is an emotionally painful or triggering experience, just that occasionally a pragmatic mind has to contend with the imbalanced emotional concepts from the artistic set. Take the paradox of recent years where conservatives are frequently accused of wanting to stifle art in repressive fashion, when in truth we have become the voice rising in volume against censorship and the removal of entertainment icons.
Our current wave of cultural purges is one that many on the right have been foretelling for some time. It has been a common refrain made by many like myself that the practice of eliminating or even erasing aspects of our culture is not only unhealthy but one that would grow in stature to begin affecting the very people calling for the removals. The excuse-making and double standards are bound to arise, not unlike blackface being absolutely unacceptable, until a Democrat governor or liberal Canadian Prime Minister are found guilty.
We have been watching the asinine assault on our entertainment complex spiking in recent months. Anything that can be interpreted as racist is in the crosshairs, and many products with even a tangential connection to police are being carted away. But this activism might be approaching its event horizon, as there is a serious, layered conflict being met over the musical ‘Hamilton’.
It was only a matter of weeks ago when the idea of protesters focusing on bringing down the statues of the Founding Fathers was looked at as crackpot conservative hysterics. (Some writers are still in denial over it, as the evidence is stacking up on the issue.) While it was maybe inevitable in this climate that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would receive ire, as slave owners. But then there was a mob that had to be chased off by security forces to be prevented from hauling down a statue of Alexander Hamilton.
Just as a swell of revisionists are lashing out at this founder, the acclaimed musical from Broadway ‘Hamilton’ was making its debut on the Disney+, on July 3. As we brought up on our latest episode off The Culture Shift the fact that this man has now become a controversial figure, how will those calling out to remove controversial content react to the show becoming available on a large streaming platform? If he is deemed unsavory then his biographical musical must not be tolerated, if current standards are applied.
Political activist Rosa Clementine is striving to have it eliminated. She has dedicated her Twitter account to the effort, and has a number of messages to this effect.
"The show portrays Hamilton as a “young, scrappy, and hungry” immigrant He was born on the Caribbean Island of Nevis, but qualified as a U.S. citizen when the Constitution was adopted), an egalitarian, and a passionate abolitionist. All of this is wrong, Gordon-Reed said.
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) June 28, 2020
What this thrust for removal entails is looking to eliminate a production about an abolitionist figure, with a deeply mixed-race cast, entirely created by an American of Puerto Rican descent — all in the name of racial tolerance. If you can make sense of that then please, illuminate the logic therein for me.
In an interesting rebuttal, Tracy Clayton – from a Netfflix podcast — offered up a lengthy defense, even though she is effectively in the position of being a competitor. In her thread she acknowledged the issues which might be a bother to some people, but she delivers a dose of realization that many from the outrage set could stand to absorb.
“ ’Hamilton’ the play and the movie were given to us in two different worlds & our willingness to interrogate things in this way feels like a clear sign of change.” ’Hamilton’ is a flawed play about flawed people written by an imperfect person that gave my flawed and imperfect little life a big boost when i needed it most.’’
These are words most could stand to recognize. The people who are out casting criticism and invective at any and all figures are failing to recognize that life and its occupants are filled with imperfections — including themselves. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and composer of the play responded to Tracy Clayton.
Appreciate you so much, @brokeymcpoverty. All the criticisms are valid. The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut. I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour musical. Did my best. It’s all fair game. https://t.co/mjhU8sXS1U
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 6, 2020
This is the way that works should be discussed. Points, counterpoints, open discussion, and a free exchange of impressions. What the cultural fascists are instead seeking out to do is silence those works with which they have a problem. They want to squelch those views and create a homogenous ‘’approved’’ entertainment language. It is the oppression of political correctness and the death of art.
For the sake of clarity, I say this not out of affection for ‘’Hamilton’’. I found zero enjoyment from the play. I counted one song that might have been memorable, and the perpetually rapped dialogue became a slog. That said the last thing I would do is promote the idea of silencing the play in any fashion. I am allowed to not enjoy it, and move along. Here is what is a surprise to many of the activists — they have that exact same choice. But for many in this country personal avoidance is not enough.
We are at the stage where a number of people are not allowing for imperfect or even flawed people from our past. It is a poisonous binary way of thinking, that once something objectionable is found in a person’s past they are cast out. We cannot allow for the use of ‘’and’’ in these metrics. They cannot be slave-owners and have the power to institute a form of governance that allowed us to grow into an international powerhouse. We are not allowed to recognize they also had the foresight to allow for that government to have a dexterity that permitted it to shake off that very hateful practice for which they need permanent penance.
What the cancel critics of today fail to look at is if their standard is ever applied to them. If the future is allowed to judge imperfections this harshly, then how will the people who promoted censorship and exhibited harsh intolerance towards flaws be regarded? The ultimate irony will be if the cancel mavens end up ostracized because their desire to censor is looked at as completely unacceptable.