Top 5 Wednesday

top5wednesday

Welcome to my first, and possibly only, Top 5 Wednesday!  I saw this over at My Tiny Obsessions, and since I couldn’t think of anything else to write about today, I ran with it.  This week’s theme is Favorite Videos/Posts, so let’s get real meta and have ME talking about ME and MY work.  I love narcissistic blogging!

img_81781|  I Can Die In Peace, Because I Saw Hamilton on Broadway

I will always enjoy remembering the INTENSE joy of seeing Hamilton on Broadway last December, and of getting autographs from the main casts, including Lin-Manuel Miranda himself.  This post captures my raging emotions very well, I think, which is necessary because I must always remember that I was in the room where it happens.   Continue reading

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Cross-Stitchable Hamilton Quotes

 

Hamilton is infinitely quotable, and this lends itself very nicely to cross-stitched messages on pillows and wall decorations, of which there are MANY.

However, the ones that are available are too obvious!  Although my suggestions start with some obviously inspiring quotes, I’m proud to say that my ideas get increasingly ridiculous.  Someone get to work on these, stat!

And if anyone designs the Domestic Burr or Mulligan’s Butt patterns, please alert me.  I need them decorating my apartment YESTERDAY.


For the earnest fan:

“What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
Pictured:  Seedlings beginning to sprout from the ground.

“Just let me stay here by your side,
That would be enough.”
Pictured:  Eliza and Hamilton walking away from the viewer, hands reaching for each other.

“Dying is easy, living is harder.”
Pictured:  Hamilton climbing a mountain, carrying a burden made of books.

For the adults struggling with grown-up life fan:

“Domestic life was never quite my style.”
Pictured:  Burr in an apron, looking harried.   Continue reading

No Slut Shaming in Hamilton

I was listening to Hamilton for the 500th time, and I noticed something strange when I got to “Say No to This,” the song during which Hamilton has an affair with Maria Reynolds.  I thought, ugh, she ruined his life.  When the affair goes public, his political career crashes and burns and his wife understandably distances herself from him.  All because of Maria.

Then I realized….the song was decidedly not placing the blame on her.  So why was I?  My “internalized misogyny” bell started ringing in my brain, and I was horrified to realize I was doing what culture does best:  blame the woman.  After all, Alexander Hamilton is the hero of the musical.  We’ve seen him through years of his life, we’re rooting for him, and we want the best for him.  When something goes wrong, surely it’s someone else’s fault.  Surely it’s hers (because she seduced him, she corrupted him, she tempted him).  Surely she’s the slut, and Eliza is the saint.  Surely women exist as a dichotomy, served to bolster or destroy the male hero.

A lesser musical would have followed these old familiar tropes, but Hamilton is not a lesser musical!  Throughout the song, Maria is portrayed as a fully developed person and the onus of decision is placed firmly, and repeatedly, on Hamilton’s shoulders.

Maria:
My husband’s doin’ me wrong
Beatin’ me, cheatin’ me, mistreatin’ me…
Suddenly he’s up and gone
I don’t have the means to go on

Maria must bear the fault of intentionally seducing a married man, that’s true.  But she isn’t only a seductress.  She’s the wife of an abusive, horrible man.  (Tellingly, the only time slut shaming happens in the song is when James Reynolds calls her his “whore wife.”  We’re obviously not meant to trust his judgement, since he says this in the middle of blackmailing Hamilton.)  She seems desperate for a better life with a better man, and let’s face it, during that time in history the only way for her to move upwards was by attaching herself to a man.  She’s in a horrible situation, and she makes the wrong choice, but the song never minimizes her or demonizes her.

Hamilton:
I am helpless—how could I do this?

Instead, the blame is placed firmly on Hamilton.  No matter how fiercely Maria might have flung herself at him, the musical is adamant:  he could have said no.  That is, in fact, the name of the song: “Say No to This.”  Throughout the piece, Hamilton goes from praying “Lord, show me how to say no to this” to admitting “I don’t say no to this.”  To make it even more obvious, the end of the song concludes with a chorus of voices:  the ensemble shouts “NO” while Hamilton and Maria sing “Yes!” to each other.  If that’s not consent, I don’t know what is.

The fact that Hamilton cheated on Eliza with Maria is a tragedy.  But in the face of cultural schemas that portray women as sluts begging for it or temptresses ruining men’s lives, Hamilton says “no.”  Maria Reynolds is responsible for her actions only.  Alexander Hamilton is responsible for how he responded.  It is so refreshing to listen to a musical that does what it can to diminish our dangerous stereotypes.

My Hamilton Obsession Grows

I have spent…a truly enormous amount of time thinking about Hamilton: An American Musical.  I’ve listened to the soundtrack on repeat throughout every day, I’ve started following Lin-Manuel Miranda on Tumblr, and I’ve looked up what Hamilton’s enneagram type probably was (an 8, though I was hoping he was emotional enough to be a 4 like me).  Awkward conversations like this happen:

Me:  Put Rory [my cat] on Riley’s [my parent’s dog] back.
Mom:  I don’t think they’ll like that.
Me:  They might.
Mom:  I think the cat–I’m sorry, I should call him Rory.  Saying “the cat” feels mean.
Me:  You can call him whatever you want.  It’s like George Washington says:  “My name’s been through a lot; I can take it.”
Mom:  …
Me:  In Hamilton.  He said that in Hamilton.
Mom:  *sighs*
Me:  …I really want to see Hamilton.
Mom:  I KNOW.

But that’s the thing with obsessions.  Literally everything makes me think of it.  And I am determined to convert everyone around me to loving it too.  When Kelly asked what I’d been doing lately, I said, “Well, I’ve been listening to this musical.  Hamilton?  It’s awesome.  You should listen to it.  Here, let write it down for you.”  When I run into anyone who likes history, I practically shove the existence of Hamilton down their throats.  When I spent three hours in the car with Sarah, we talked about painful pasts and grace and then I segued into: “Hey, do you like musicals?  You do?  Have you heard of Hamilton?  You haven’t!?  Well, is there any way I can plug in my phone and we could listen to….Oh, there isn’t?  Yeah, fine, we can talk about Sondheim and Into the Woods, I guess…”

I almost had a convert when I was talking to my brother.  With him, I didn’t even have to pretend to segue.

Me:  Hey, I’ve been trying to think of a way to work this into our conversation, but nothing is coming up.
Roy:  Hah, okay, what is it?
Me:  HAVE YOU HEARD OF HAMILTON THE MUSICAL??
Roy:  Um.  No.
Me:  It’s a musical about Alexander Hamilton, but his story is told through rap and hip hop, like the cabinet meetings are rap battles.
Roy:  ….That sounds awesome.
Me:  I KNOW.
Roy:  Send me a link to somewhere I can listen to it!  I can’t wait to try it out!
Me:  Tell me when you listen to it!  And I expect no less than eleven exclamation points.  Whether you love it or hate it, I want an emotional response.
Roy:  Sure.

It’s been a few days, and nothing!  I was so close.  However, in a week I will be taking the train out to Seattle to see him, and I am nothing if I am not good at monopolizing conversations and forcing my big brother into “participating” in my obsessions, so this isn’t over.

I mean, honestly, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if at my fundraiser tonight, I didn’t interrupt myself: “I’m so grateful that all of you turned up to support me, and I’m so excited about working with House of Damaris–you know what else I’m excited about, though?  Hamilton the Musical.  Lindsay, is there a way I could plug in my phone….?”