Hamilton the Musical: My thoughts

Warning: this article includes heavy use of Hamilton references. 

How does a bastard, orphan, son of whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by Providence impoverished in squalor turn out to be the best musical to have been ever brought to Broadway?

If you know me, you know that I am completely obsessed with Hamilton the Musical. It’s a Broadway musical that tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton and the American experiment. Hamilton is not a traditional musical, as it incorporates contemporary styles of music, such as rap, British punk, and hip hop. Basically, it fuses together the three things I love most: history, music, and beautiful writing, so it’s no surprise that I have been swept into the Hamilton craze. Oh and also, it’s race-blind. The cast consists of people of all ethnicities so yes, GW is African American. So is Angelica Schuyler. And Aaron Burr. Lin-Manuel Miranda (the composer and star) explains that Hamilton is a story about “America then told by America today”. Pretty freaking brilliant, if you ask me.

Favorite songs include:

You’ll be Back, Yorktown, Schuyler Sisters, Satisfied, Wait for It, Election of 1800, Cabinet Battle #1, and Cabinet Battle #2.

No particular order.

Perhaps one of the best characteristics of Hamilton, though, is that it is very inspiring. It shows the rise of a man who was born into poverty and low social standing, but managed to become a hero and a scholar. It shows the difficulties our country faced in its early stages and the people who fought to work through them. It is the story of someone obsessed with his legacy, who made mistakes, who suffered through his character flaws, and who helped set the groundwork for our nation.

Alexander Hamilton embodies courage, confidence, ambition, justice, intelligence, as well as arrogance and worry. Hamilton knew that above all, he wanted to be remembered. He wanted the world to know his name. He wanted to leave a legacy and he was willing to do anything to make that happen. And for that, I am inspired by him. I want the same things he does and I think that inherently, all people do. Perhaps that is why the musical is so well-received. Alexander Hamilton is the epitome of the American dream: an immigrant who made his way to the top and continued to fight for those at the bottom. And if the ten-dollar founding father without a father can achieve the American Dream by working a lot harder, being a lot smarter, by being a self-starter then so can you. At least that’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda is trying to convince you of.

I think that many of Hamilton’s ideals are still relevant today  (@DonaldTrump please listen to the soundtrack and rethink your campaign. Actually, you live in NY so you should really go see the musical. You, of all people, can afford it.) Immigrants are not lice upon society. Our nation was built by immigrants, quite literally. Hamilton, a founding father, was born out of wedlock in the Caribbean. Marquis de Lafayette was a French general who America could not have won the war without. In fact, every person in the musical is a immigrant because it doesn’t feature Native Americans. So all the despicability about immigrants as social and financial parasites needs to end. Also! Women’s rights! I’m perplexed as to why it is 2016 and women still make 77 cents to the dollar a man makes, even when they have the same positions and qualifications.It’s crazy that the ERA, started by Alice Paul DECADES AGO still hasn’t been passed. ??????????? no.

Alexander Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler, and George Washington would not be proud. So @AMERICA please… let’s do something about it. Do not throw away your shot because after all, History has its eyes on you.  I’m not sorry for the puns and references. Please go listen to the soundtrack. Also, the show is coming to Pantages this August-December so if you want to buy me a ticket, please do it. Please.

Soundtrack links:

Spotify:

Youtube:

 

 

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Summer Sixteen

 

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Alas, September is here. And that means summer is officially over. Over. Well at least in California it is. I hear on the East Coast, they don’t start until after Labor Day. Am I jealous? Maybe just a little.

This summer was beyond extraordinary. Yes, I’ve been saying that every summer since 2014, but in my defense, each one just keeps getting better. I had the amazing opportunity to attend Stanford University’s High School Summer college this summer and I could not have asked for a better 8 weeks. Before I left, many wrinkled their noses at me and asked why I chose to take more school during my no-school period. Well, yes I did go to school, but that’s really not at all just it.

First of all, I got to live on the most beautiful campus. From the moment I stepped onto the Farm, I was entranced, but as I was able to explore more and more parts of Stanford, I fell in love. It wasn’t just the weather, which by the way, is so beautifully unreal. It wasn’t just the gorgeous palm trees, cool breeze, or intricate buildings. I fell in love with the vibe, the culture, the people, and the way of life.

I was lucky enough to be stuck with a group of amazingly talented and interesting people, with diverse backgrounds and bright minds. We quickly became a family and formed friendships stronger than most I have held for years.

I was lucky enough to choose from a wide selection of courses and take classes that I would not otherwise have been able to. Who knew I was into etymology and classics? Not me, until I enrolled in Greek and Latin Roots of English. I thought I knew what fiction was. Apparently not because I was introduced to a whole new way of writing, reading, and thinking when I took a Fiction Writing workshop class. Both classes were taught and taken by charismatic, intelligent, and creative people. I learned much from my professors, but also from my classmates. Never had I been so excited to attend class or participate in discussions. Never had I been so intellectually stimulated. Never had I found a space where I was so interested and comfortable in academics. Were the classes difficult? At times, yes, but the challenges were all part of the thrill and I learned to appreciate them.

Most importantly, I was lucky enough to be a part of a community culture that respected diversity and tolerance. Where people from all around the globe could gather and learn from and with one another, some (like me) for the summer, and others, for years. Where learning didn’t just happen inside the classroom, but outside of it. Where I learned that many of my beliefs and views were not inclusive of the whole picture. Where listening to other people’s experiences and thoughts fed my own and helped me to understand things just a little bit more from their perspectives.

And in the end, I concede, it was very difficult to say goodbye to the new family we had just formed, but the sweetness counter-weighed the bitterness. August 13th and 14th marked the weekend I cried for almost 48 consecutive hours saying my goodbyes. As my car pulled away from the curb for the last time, I honestly thought I felt my heart break. As I boarded my flight, I felt a sinking in my stomach and had my eyes not already been swollen and puffy (seriously, my mom thought I had pinkeye when I got home) I would’ve let it all pour out again.

I’m a crier. It’s not something I’ve been able to control because when I get emotionally attached, I can rarely hold back the stream so it’s what I’ve just accepted. But I’m also a lover and I can say from the bottom of my heart that this summer has been finding new ways, things, ideas, and people to love. More than I expected and more than I signed up for.

So thanks, summer sixteen. For the ride, the lessons, and the memories. It was wonderful.

Brock, Kaepernick, and Joseph Presley – what I’ve got to say

Summer is officially over, but white privilege is not.

We all know that Brock Turner’s little slap-on-the-wrist punishment was less than fair, but what’s even more unsettling is that this sort of stuff happens all the time.

Joseph Presley, a 23 year-old babysitter charged for molesting a nine year-old boy on two accounts, was given a 30 day sentence and let off on 5 year probation. The reason being? He’s just a boy and a harsher sentence might be traumatizing to him. Hmmm, sounds familiar. It must be nice being male and white. The justice system is on your side!

My opinion is clear. Both men are just that. Men. Adults. Over 18 years of age. Legally responsible for their own actions. They should be held accountable for their crimes, not excused. And especially not because of their race and gender. Let’s draw a comparison here. Corey Bates, 19 year-old Vanderbilt football player, gets 15 years for raping an unconscious victim. Brock Turner, 19-year old Stanford swimmer, gets 6 months (let out in 3). Both are athletes. Both represent top-notch universities. Both are 19. Both have assaulted unconscious women while intoxicated. Both have been found guilty. So why the monstrous difference in sentence?

Bates is African American. Turner is white.

I’m not saying Bates should’ve gotten a lighter sentence. No. Rape should be taken seriously and it was in his case. Props to the judge. But that standard should not be lowered or flexed for other people. That’s not how equality works. Make Brock serve the time he deserves. It’s only fair.

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about gender inequality. Brock takes advantage of a girl, gets off easy, and when people complain, the girl he digitally penetrated gets the blame.

Don’t like getting raped? Don’t get drunk. Don’t party. Don’t pass out. Don’t be rape-able.

Should girls be careful not to drink too much? Yes. Should girls be cautious about their surroundings, especially in unfamiliar environments? Yes. Does that excuse rape? No.

Saying that rape is a victim’s fault excuses the predator. Blaming her by calling her a slut dismisses the problem at hand altogether. Yes, she should’ve been more careful, but in no way was being raped her fault. As the defendant reinstated many times, she was drunk and he was drunk and they were all drunk. Well, when someone is not sober, they cannot give consent. When someone is not conscious, they most definitely cannot give consent. Drunk sex is not consensual sex and drunk sex performed by one conscious person unto another unconscious person is even more so not consensual sex.

A woman’s body is not a toy readily available to satisfy your carnal desires. Can we start teaching that to young men, please? When a woman is so drunk that she passes out, you don’t have a quickie with her. You don’t touch her. You don’t take advantage of her. You don’t assume she’d be okay with it. You don’t rape her. You don’t turn around and blame alcohol and party culture for your actions. Until people start to learn to respect women, sexual assault will not end. I can’t stress it enough.

But we haven’t even gotten to the gist of it yet: instead of talking about Brock and Joseph and the broken justice system that sympathizes with white men, everyone is buzzing about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem.

Whether or not I agree with Kaepernick’s decision has nothing to do with the fact that he’s not what we should be concerned with, as a society. Personally, I think sitting during the national anthem was unnecessary, but definitely not worth the buzz and coverage it’s garnered. I’m glad he’s recently clarified he’s not un-American or anti-military and that he’s donating $1 million to underprivileged African Americans to try and get a grip on the whole fiasco, but can I just say that that is not the issue here? Even if a football player is mad about societal inequity, it’s not that big of a deal compared to other current events, especially ones involving elements of injustice that have been going on for years.

We can blame the media for covering the less significant, but talk is also generated by people. We’re the ones who are debating about whether or not he is patriotic. Policemen are threatening to boycott 49er games until some punishment is inflicted upon Kaepernick. Hello? You’re willing to let a stadium full of innocent people go unguarded because of one man’s (completely legal) action, or rather lack of action. You’re fueling more talk, more controversy, and more contention over Kaepernick’s sitting when it really just isn’t that important.

Let’s talk about the real issues. Let’s debate the real problems. Because I don’t want to identify with a justice system that sympathizes with sex offenders, but I also don’t want to be identify with a society that ignores it for lesser matters.

 

If you want to read more about some of the topics I mentioned in this short article, here are a few links. I suggest you also look at other sources, just to get a more rounded view.

Child-Molester Gets 30 Day Jail Sentence, His Attorney’s Rationale Will Leave you Dumbfounded

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/02/us/brock-turner-release-jail/

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Santa-Clara-Police-Officers-Association-May-Boycott-Working-49ers-Games-392214541.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/49ers/2016/09/01/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-protest-police-socks/89743344/