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November 19, 2016


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"at the same time burn down the lives of the millions of people who animate the values of Hamilton."

Really? What sort of understanding of the American form of Constitutional government are you evincing?

The overheated rhetoric ("Pence simultaneously embrac[es] Hamilton [by attending a play] and believ[es] that immigrants are dangerous, that African-Americans are dangerous and that gay people have an illness that should be treated by conversion" is just obnoxious and really inappropriate.



"Obnoxious" and "inappropriate" is an opinion to which you're certainly entitled, but is there some part of Dan's "rhetoric" that is factually incorrect? All of the available evidence indicates that it's accurate.


"burn down the lives of the millions of people who animate the values of Hamilton"

But no crocodile tears for the lives of those millions who animate the values of Hamilton who, absent winning the lottery, could never afford to catch the show on its cheapest night, in the cheapest seat?

It's impressive how we can get so dewy-eyed about what animates the "values" of Hamilton which (even from the cheap seats) appears to be strongly about milking a cash how, hard.

Dan Filler

I suppose we divide over whether repeating factually accurate statements about the Trump/Pence administration's views on the dangers of immigrants (i.e., they are rapists), African-Americans (and their frightening ghettos), and treatment of gay people ("resources should be diverted" to conversion programs) is obnoxious and appropriate. (I am not willing to allow Pence to dodge the umbrella of Trump's claims-making, as if he had ever made such an application.)

Burning down lives? When many millions of people have already felt their lives materially damaged by fear intentionally generated by the administration, and when it is likely - within the discretionary power, and an active desire, of the administration - that a healthy subset of those millions will have their day to day living conditions made radically and I are essentially debating whether this hurricane is a category 4 or 5.

I would rather be accused of hyperbole than understatement when it comes to protecting humans, and I am reasonably confident that I am not even in neighborhood of hyperbole. I pray that I am being hyperbolic - but that will only be true if the administration changes its current course. And that, in turn, will only happen if people are willing to speak candidly, and repeatedly.


Hey, Paul Horwitz commented on this over at Prawfs. Snippets:

"Every day, especially given both ticket prices and the nature of its audience and cultural appeal, Hamilton plays to an audience of neoliberals, militarists, wielders of economic power, beneficiaries of massive corporate corruption and economic and political inequality, people who exploit connections in a relatively closed circle of the rich and powerful, etc. ... Its audience base is people who can afford to complain about the help, or praise their nannies (who they may or may not pay well or legally), not the nannies themselves. No doubt the regular audience could do with a pointed extra-script lecture or two as well! But that would be bad for business, and disturb the audience-validating, as opposed to audience-challenging, function that is the essence of musical theater. "

"...but I don't recall the actors at the White House performance of Hamilton breaking script to say, "Mr. President, we, sir--we--can't help but notice that you have raided and deported the hell out of undocumented immigrants in record numbers. Also, what the [deleted] is up with the drones, or Syria, or...." I suppose that actually would have been seen as rude in people's eyes. But once you start picking and choosing your exceptions and special occasions, of course you are making a political statement, conscious or not, about all the morally complicit and dubious audiences you are happy to flatter, the number of questionable actions--deportations, assassinations, killings, etc.--you are willing to "normalize," and so on. "

Paul Horwitz

In fairness to Dan, and depending on what you mean by "commented on this," I commented on the incident, in the morning and without seeing this; I decided to put my comment on the blog after reading Dan's post, given the differences in the things we found interesting and salient about it and particularly our differing visions of musical theater.


Dan, it is clear from your tirade that you cannot discuss these issues, so I won't bother. Suffice it to say you are, in the manner of MSNBC, simply repeating the talking points that helped defeat Democratic candidates, in the majority of every level of state and federal government (the state legislatures, the governors, the House, the Senate, the Presidency). Your version of this hysteria (which you apparently believe you should whip up and try to instill in others as much as possible) is obnoxious. Sorry.

If this is the quality of your analysis of American politics and your ability to get past the most blatantly superficial talking points that you have listed together in the manner of the script of the SNL parody of Tim Kaine, then what's the point of any discussion of the propriety of using the stage of a musical to start lecturing a guest? You obviously are too partisan to even think about this topic. Perhaps, in your topsy turvy world, Pence should have been barred.

Your repeated references to "Hamilton values" and "You don't get to like Hamilton" are perhaps a topic you might be able to consider less hysterically. Perhaps I could persuade you to actually examine your stance about who "gets to like" something, and the "values of Hamilton" - not the greedy enterprise (as others have pointed out above), but the actual person.

You should read the actual history of who this man really was before you start idolizing him and dictating who can enjoy a fictional account of his life and career.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

The jury has spoken and it is never wrong. Pence went out to have a nice evening and nothing more. I don't agree with Pence's views, but he does deserve dignity and respect. These cast members had a duty to perform, not editorialize. Breach of contract? Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress? Harassment in my view. Wrong time, wrong forum.


Dan and Paul both - apologies for confusion in my 2nd comment. I should have written, "Hey, Paul Horwitz commented on this MATTER over at Prawfs". I didn't mean it in the sense of a post in rebuttal on the post here, but see now after Paul's comment that mine was not clearly written.

Speaking of which, I also see a dumb typo in my first comment. Last sentence should have ended, "...appears to be strongly about milking a cash COW, hard." Arrggh, says the pirate.

Charles Joseph

These people are dangerous. This has to be stopped now. Zero tolerance for nascent fascism. This how it happens, and this is how it's stopped. Make America great again, bring back the declaration of independence.

Derek Tokaz

"We demand that you listen to us, and will boo you when you attempt to do so!"

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

These cast members seem immature. They fail to understand that one "catches more flies with honey than with vinegar." What if they said, "We are honored to have a special guest in the audience tonight, Vice President Elect Mike Pence...thank you sir, for attending..."


Pence was sitting in house seats. It would be interesting to know if he was invited to see the play or asked for tickets. If invited, and the actors did what they did, it was a clear set up. In any event, it is interesting that someone was well positioned to film the entire thing. I am not sure how embarrassing someone helps your cause.

Good point made above that Hamilton has been performed numerous times for Obama and the cast never called him out for record deportations.


Good points above. But, do you think any of these points will even register a blip on the radar screens of ideologues, who base their opinions on the Democratic talking points of the day, seem to know very little about the separation of powers and macro political trends, and who have no interest in introspection in the face of failure and no shame about hypocrisy?

Nah. They have only one setting. Attack.


"I pray that I am being hyperbolic"

Ahem, you are.



I find it particularly interesting that you simultaneously bemoan the hijacking of MLK by those you perceive has having very different politics than MLK, and at the same time write, "The response to Pence's visit to Hamilton was an utterly appropriate way to flag the deep inconsistency of Pence simultaneously embracing Hamilton and believing that immigrants are dangerous..."

Yet, for my part my first response was to think that Hamilton and been hijacked by persons with politics wholly inconsistent with those of Hamilton. Why? Because I immediately recalled Hamilton's words in The Federalist Papers #68 where he wrote:

"The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common National sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias, and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family...that foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments to the persons they have left behind; to the country of their nativity, and to its particular customs and manners. They will also entertain opinions on government congenial with those under which they have lived, or if they should be led hither from a preference to ours, how extremely unlikely is it that they will bring with them that temperate love of liberty, so essential to real republicanism? There may as to particular individuals, and at particular times, be occasional exceptions to these remarks, yet such is the general rule. The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.

The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils, by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another."

And there is much more of the same sort. So, IMO, Pence missed a great opportunity here to hit back and note that Hamilton wrote not in favor of diversity, but in opposition to it, and that while Hamilton backed immigration, he cautioned against any unrestrained immigration which might introduce foreign elements not loyal to America and unwilling to assimilate into what he say as the central and necessary values of American culture without which the Republic as it was constituted could not function. Or in other words, it's not at all clear that Hamilton's actual position on immigration isn't closer to that of the incoming administration than to its opponents.

The JK

When you have in your prepared statement the following "We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,”, that sets a very adversarial tone.

If the Hamilton cast left that line out, I would have much less of a problem. However, lecturing to someone that they are racist, xenophobic and cruel when they come to your work is wrong. Especially when they cannot defend themselves in a very hostile environment.


Yeah, sure. Sorry, but it's just a play. A hit play with great songs making some rich people even richer, which I'm in favor of, but let's not inflate it beyond that. Just a good night out. Very entertaining, or so I'm told.

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