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Hamilton: the Revolution: brilliance or down and dirty disrespect and offense?

Lin-Manuel Miranda should be read his Miranda rights, then arrested for disrespecting Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton and lying about history.

That’s because Hamilton: the Revolution is more about the song writer/playwright, Miranda, than Hamilton. Hamilton is the young upstart revolutionary, George Washington’s write hand man, who wrote his way out of Bermuda.

He was the illegitimate son of a woman who lived in the West Indies, before immigrating to the U.S. But does Miranda think of this musical as his shot more than whether the musical resembles history at all? The Puerto Rican resident of New York City gets his shot at fame, while the real Hamilton fades into obscurity, or so it seems in his rap musical.

Miranda is more concerned with his own music and storytelling than Hamilton’s life and history.

It is Miranda’s shot, of “My Shot,” more than it is Hamilton’s shot, so to speak.

Members of the audience, many of whom are young people, are mesmerized by the music, more so than the history. It’s not likely that these young people are going to read the book by Ron Chernow. If they do, they will find plenty of inaccuracies - so many in fact, that it’s hard to list all of them. 

One is covered in a Genius youtube video, which points out an obvious inaccuracy: the Schuyler sisters had a brother:

"My father has no sons so I'm the one."

Miranda makes up a lot of the history of Hamilton to suit his musical tastes and rap music flavor. Is it brilliant storytelling? Or offensive remaking of an elegant part of the struggle of America at a time when there was much for America to prove to the world?

Much if not all of the music is in rap form, and resembles the building climax of Eminem, a profane music rap musician.

And the fact that in the musical, nearly all of the actors are black, is a bit racist. I guess the idea is that history will be more appreciated if the actors are black, not white. If we remake history, or retell it, from a black perspective, giving slaves, blacks speaking parts in the revolution, then somehow it becomes more valid, more appreciated, less racist.

All of the characters of the revolution are there: Washington, Jefferson, Burr, Hamilton. They are all white, but all of these characters are played by black or mixed race actors, singers.

Another character, Mulligan, is added, who is profane to the point of acting like a thug.

Mulligan acts like a member of a gang, ready to rape white women, as though this is poetic justice. This is the black part of the revolution, in the mind of blacks, or at least this black playwright. The following contains the more inaccurate or offensive elements of the musical.

It must be noted that Miranda is asked about the fact that Pippa has a large family, but in the musical, she does not have any brothers.

“I forgot,” he says, as though this forgives the inaccuracies.

Of course, he did not forget. He says he was inspired by Chernow’s book. How would he forget. He didn’t forget; he just lied. It’s kind of like the Stockholm Syndrome gone haywire.

Miranda seems to identify with Hamilton to the point that he must think he is Hamilton. So since he is Hamilton, he feels justified in ignoring part of history, making it inaccurate, ignoring or changing part of history. The problem is that history does not work that way.

History is what it is. It does not change if one is black, white, Asian, Indian.

But here is a survey of profane/ inaccurate content up to Meet Me Inside (17):

In a bar scene, this Mulligan buy, wearing a cap, like a gang members, says:

Mulligan:

Brrraah Brraaah!

I am Hurcules Mulligan.

Up in it, lovin’ it, yes I heard ya mother said “come again?”

Lock up ya daughters and horses, of course

It’s hard to have intercourse over four sets of corsets

Laurens:

No more sex, pour me another brew, son!

Let’s raise a couple more . . . 

Here is Miranda's note:

"Listen, Mulligan didn’t grow up to be a statesman like Lafayette or Hamilton. But his name is just the best rapper moniker I ever heard in my life. So he gets the most fun punchlines. I don’t know what his thing is with horses, but I thought it was funny."

No, he didn't grow up to be a statesman, because he is black. Lafayette and Hamilton are white. He probably grew up as a slave. But I guess it would be offensive to have a slave in the musical.

One of the ideas here is to elevate the mixed race and black people, people of color so that they feel better about themselves.

This way, they don’t feel so bad about the fact that the founding fathers were white and not black. Blacks may love this black man hobnobbing with whites, telling them what to do. But no black man at the time would do this.

The Schuyler Sisters (5):

Aaron Burr: About the Schuyler Sisters:

Burr: There’s nothing rich folks love more than going downtown and slumin’ it with the poor,

They pull up in their carriages and gawk at the students in The Common just to watch them talk.

Take Philip Schuyler: The man is loaded.

Uh-oh, but little does he know that

His daughters: Peggy, Angelica, Eliza

Sneak into the city just to watch the guys at - Work, work!

There is probably no evidence that these sisters did this, or went to the city. No sisters in the day would not simply watch men work, at least outside. Where else would they watch men work? What work is he talking about?

Burr: "Excuse me, miss, I know it’s not funny. But your perfume smells like your daddy’s got money. Why you slummin’ in the city in your fancy heels?You searchin’ for an urchin who can give you ideals?"

Women in that day did not wear perfume, nor did they wear heels as we know them, or as women wear them now.

Angelica has been reading “Common Sense,” by Thomas Paine . . . "So listen to my declaration: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

Of course Paine didn’t write this.

"This is from the Declaration of Independence. And when I meet Thomas Jefferson. I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel."

 

Company: History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be

Women: In the greatest city in the world.

The population of Manhattan at the time was insignificant. It was hilly and mostly farmland, the reason why the name Wall Street was to keep out farm animals.

Mulligan when Samuel Seabury starts speaking:

Oh my god. Tear this dud apart.

Hamilton insults Seabury:

My dog speaks more eloquent than thee!

Hamilton: Why should a tiny island across the sea regulate the price of tea?

This is probably one of the more logical and rational things said so far in this drama. But the fact that Hamilton is mixed-race and Seabury is white means that we are supposed to diss him or put him down. Hamilton is smarter because he is mixed race in this play.

Washington: "I was just like you when I was younger. Head full of fantasies of dyin’ like a martyr? "

I don’t think  Washington or Hamilton had fantasies of dyin’ like a martyr.

A Winter’s Ball (9):

"Be seated at the right hand of the father."

Religion is like chess for me - I grew up learning it, and it came in awfully handy as a shared reference for our characters. It’s a reference to Revelation, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the father. So it’s really mocking God, in a sense, or the Bible.

Burr: There are so many to deflower.

A reference to having sex with virgins. There is really no reference to Burr saying this in Chernow’s book.

Helpless (10):

Eliza: Laughin’ at my sister, cuz she wants to form a harem.

Angelica: I’m just sayin’,if you really loved me, you would share him.

There is no evidence that the sisters shared their male friends, or formed a harem. If that were the case, who would be part of the harem? Angelica wants his sister's man, or to have sex with him. That's the implication here.

Stay Alive (14):

Laurens: "I stay at work with Hamilton. We write essays against slavery."

Hamilton is upset that he is passed over for Charles Lee. Lee does not do well at the Battle of Monmouth, but slandered Hamilton all the same. Laurens is one of Hamilton’s closest friend.

Meet Me Inside (17):

Hamilton was far more thin skinned than Washington. Evidently he dueled Charles Lee, and shot him. Washington did not like that the duel took place. Thomas Conway also dragged Washington’s name through the mud.

© 2016 Larry Ingram

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