The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Imagine for just a moment that a newly elected Democrat vice president, let's say someone like Elizabeth Warren, attended a concert and was lectured (albeit respectfully) by an entertainer on her need to embrace people of religion who feel threatened by the new democrat administration, and otherwise listen to those who think that income redistribution and socialist cultural change is a very bad idea.

The proverbial $#!t would hit the fan. The left-leaning media would be of one voice—condemning the entertainer for his/her lack of respect and possible misogyny and for his/her inappropriate political speech and grandstanding manner. Likely, boycotts of the production would be suggested. The entertainer would become persona non gratia among the New York and LA glitterati. And as for the target of the lecture—I wonder how Warren would have reacted. Thankfully, we'll never know.

I know how Mike Pence reacted after the Hamilton incident—with absolute class. Pence suggested that the incident was democracy at work and lauded the play and the actors as “an incredible production and incredibly talented people.” Right-leaning commentators weren't so kind, but most writers simply noted that the Hamilton cast was rude to one of its guests.

Donald Trump has a lot to learn, and he can begin by studying his Vice President-elect. Instead of tweeting a demand for an apology (exactly what the left wanted Trump to do), he should have remained silent letting others respond as appropriate. Hopefully, he'll learn. I also hope his advisors will keep him away from Twitter as January 20th approaches.


Here's an example of some of the more thoughtful criticism of the Hamilton episode from Paul Horowitz:
What I find slightly more interesting and, given what I know about the political self-satisfaction of the class of people that can afford tickets to Hamilton, less likely to be noted outside of actual left or right circles, is what the decision to speak once necessarily implies about all the decisions not to speak. 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. And those are just the nights when Hillary Clinton catches the show! A substantial part of its consumer base and business model is brokers, corporate lawyers, legacy admits to the Ivy League, executives, managers, investors, media elites, and so on. 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.

None of this yet reaches Hamilton Inc.’s cozy relationship to President Obama, and the mutual benefits and ego-stroking that were involved in it. Maybe the PBS documentary cut this part out, 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.

UPDATE (11/22/16):

And this from Richard Fernandez who reacts to the Hamilton lecture directed at Mike Pence::
One might add the cast of Hamilton was not just "alarmed and anxious" but thoroughly bewildered. That such an uprising [the election of Donald Trump] could happen without any warning sent shock waves through the Left. Worse there may be more to come. Nigel Farage warned that elections in Austria and Italy may confirm the trend.

If Liberals don't understand what happened they will be at a loss to fight it. Saying no no no no no no! is not enough. Unless they know the cause of the disease they can't seek the cure. Lecturing people from the stage may make them feel good, but it is what got them into trouble in the first place. The instinct to repeat the same failed tactics more frequently and insistently is unlikely to lead to a different result.

Perhaps the liberal project does not want to know what ails them because they fear what they will find, and many already probably suspect what it is. The Leftist impulse is founded on the conviction they have a special position in the "arc of justice", a privileged vantage in the moral universe, a place in the vanguard of history. To suddenly admit they don't, to admit that they are no better than anyone else and possibly a good deal worse is not an easily correctable fault.