Title #2: maybe the founding fathers weren’t so special after all
As the initial reports of the Broadway Musical Hamilton began to appear on my computer screen a few years back, I found my worst-self getting confused about whether to like it or hate it. Was it the shows immediate success that drove me to such inner spite-drama? The play was an immediate smash hit as it was catapulted from a mediocre off-broadway production to a major broadway production within an unusually short period of time, according to its wiki page. Or was it the casting, the dramaturgy, the writing, the stage production, the drag-queen blowjobs between acts, etc., that confused me? And then that whole rap-musical thing? A rap-musical about the founding fathers–all of whom are played by non-white actors? So does that mean George Washington is in black face now? Go figure.
Actually, in all worst-seriousness, that’s kind of a great idear. At least, Chernow seems to be quite thorough in reminding the reader (or in my case worst-reader) about a few of the sins of the founding fathers, namely the human servitude $hit$how that built the great greed $hit$how. But that was then and this is already yesterday. For, as you may (or may not) know, dear worst-reader, Hamilton the musical, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a bit of stretch from the book it’s based on. Am I wrong?
While I’m on the subject of the play, I tried to get tickets last year to see it on a trip to my beloved & missed united mistakes, thereby re-routing my flight through NYC. Lo and behold, I got a taste of what broadway success in this new era of greed-galore is all about. The cheapest tickets I could find were priced waaaaaay out of my league, which subsequently put the show on my shit-list. I mean, why oh why, dear worst-reader, when a broadway show is so popular and so successful, they haven’t made a movie out of it so the rest of us can get a peek? Elitism galore anyone? I’m so turned off by this level of pricing for a friggin play that I could dance around Marie Antoinette’s detached head or even wear the blood stained basket that head fell in while singing in the rain. Indeed. Let them (or the rest of us) eat brioche, ain’t that right dear worst-reader! But enough silliness aside. This play is just another reason to hate the hob-snob of broadway theatre–which at one point in this worst-life I loved so much.
Oh wait. I’m off subject. Enough about being worst-writer.
Although it took a decade or three for me to come around to this unique if not (what I consider) odd form of theatre, that I always thought was a bit cheesy, I’m now kind of a musical fan. At least I really dug Mama Mia. Still, there have been a few shows I’ve put on a pseudo to-do list. It is a list that varies based on mood, amount of drink (the night before) and, of course, cost. With that in mind, will I ever go out of my financial way to see any of the shows on that list? Probably not. Reason? Hamilton is based on a book. If it’s based on a book, why do I have to bother with the hob-snob of elitist über expensive theatre? And get this: A few weeks ago, out of the blue, the Apple bookstore offered Hamilton by Chernow for something like seven and half bucks. So I snatched it up and immediately moved it up my to-read list. Oh wait. Hold a sec. It’s not just any book, though. No. It’s a really, really thick book. Like. Seriously thick. Even in digital form. Wow. Almost a thousand friggin pages? Oh my.
It took me about four weeks to get through it. I scheduled regular reading sessions either in the morning or during my afternoon nap where I would turn digital page after page, sometimes pushing myself through a whole chapter in one session. Then were/are (my) morning constitutional reads, too. But don’t be afeared dear worst-reader. It shouldn’t disparage you that I have books above and around my Euro toilet. Reading is good. Right? Nomatter where you read. Or? I mean, I haven’t watched TV in over a decade. And I regularly dust off the books in my fancy book shelf, too. Sometimes I even contemplate sorting all my books. But that’s a whole ‘nother worst-post. Anywho.
The plan to get through this thick (digital) book was to hammer away at least four or five pages two or three times a day–depending on the previous evening of drink, ambient temperature, the mood of Beckett our killer-pug and, of course, my better half’s desires for a fulfilled life. That may not sound like much dedication (or is it commitment?) to getting through a book, and there were a few moments here or there where I wasn’t able to pick up the book for a few days at all. Nomatter. The important thing is, I was determined to get through it because, well, fcuk theatre elitism that is über dramatisation, drag-queen antics and the stench of broadway that can only give rise to the likes of President pee-pee-hair. Am I off subject yet again? Oh yea. But before I forget. From what I can tell from wiki, liberties have been taken by the play creator. So let’s get back to the book.
The only other question I had about committing myself to such a large book about a history that I am well versed in wasn’t if/when I’d finish it. No. The important question was, how long would it take? Would this be yet another history book that is too winded? Would I give up on it because of its length? And most important: how much of it would I retain? Then again–and get this dear worst-reader: the month of May (2019) turned out to be one of them rare months were I was reading three major books at a time. And let’s also not forget all the worst-writing that need be done. Then there’s the daily deluge of reading Das Capital–in fcuking German! Oh, and what about the dog sitting, the dishwashing, the cooking and the frequent tickler sessions with my better-half. May (the month) also included various visitors, two trips (one to Paris!) and a long two day house cleaning session that I promised my better half in exchange for sexy-time. Indeed. A thousand pages of meticulously researched and well versed history ain’t nothing for a redneck battling inner ugly prejudices–to shake a stick at. And so. This past weekend (while on that trip to Paris) I finished it–pictures n’all! And so…
Worst-writer’s pseudo-review of…
Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
Keep in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m a Gore Vidal fan. Here’s a tag link to my GV posts. As I’ve said here or there, I believe that all schools in my beloved & missed #Americant should learn history from GV. In other worst-words, all schools should just stop the BS they’re teaching kids right now–which has, over the span of at least two generations, systematically deprived the intellectually capacity of a nation, which can only lead to the right-wing, conservative, greed-mongering batshittery that is #Americant. Am I wrong? And so. Stop it now, LAND OF FREE TO BE STUPID! Read Gore Vidal and learn something. But I die-gress.
I thoroughly enjoyed Vidal’s Novel Burr, which may or may not be the anthesis of Hamilton. Of course, Burr is not quite a real history or biography. Or is it? For you see, dear worst-reader, Gore Vidal writes histories in novel form. Is that why they’re called fictional histories? Or is it novel histories? How bout a fictional novel? No. They’re called historical novels. What a great idear, don’t you know. There’s a genre for everything. Is that why such a book can entertain intellectual deviants that live and prosper in the LAND OF FREE TO BE STUPID? Yes, it can. And what about the edumacated who think they know everything? You know, the college grads that have been running, managing, facilitating the greed $hit$how? Compared to GV, though, Chernow has written a plain old history book–or is it a biography? Or has he? At the least he writes for those who:
- have the time to read/focus on almost a thousand friggin pages,
- don’t mind a bit of history regurgitation that most should already know (but of course so many of them do not on account of #Americant intellectual deviancy)
Before I continue, allow me to state briefly how/why this book was catapulted up my to-read list. It was the WHCD 2019 that did it. As you may or may not know, President Stupid (pee-pee-hair) and his ill-humour, saw to it that no one make fun of him anymore after Michelle Wolf drilled him a new a$$hole in 2018. (What a performance that was, eh!) For 2019 Ron Chernow was invited to fill the comedian spot–but President piss-hair still didn’t attend. Obviously not a comedian, Chernow did a great job out-smarting President Stupid’s minions–who thought they had a win-win by getting rid of a comedian. You can watch Chernow’s “speech” at the link provided below. As soon as I finished watching it, I did a hop, skip and jump over to the Apple book store which was selling the same book for half the price of that other online book retailer–that sucks piss rain as much as #Trump has pee-pee-hair.
Back to the book (again).
Why Chernow chose to spend so many words on public school level history-telling is a bit of a mystery to me. The good news is, he’s a brilliant history teller/writer–which also comes out in his WHCD speech. The bad news is, Gore Vidal is just a better writer/thinker when it comes to this sort of thing. And get this, Chernow even takes a swipe at GV towards the end of his book. He says that Vidal was wrong in his narrative assumption that Burr wanted to duel Hamilton because the latter accused him of an incestuous affair with his daughter. Chernow insinuates that Vidal’s take on history is unprovable. The problem is, Chernow doesn’t convince me that he knows everything better than GV. Also, I thought it kind of a krappy thing to do since GV ain’t around to defend himself. And so. Yeah. I prefer–and believe–Vidal’s take on the reason for the great duel. At the least, GV’s version fits better to the mindset that is #Americant.
Chernow’s work is, from what little I can tell, more academic than, say, Gore Vidal’s. That said, Chernow constantly plays on the third-grade, knuckle dragging banalities of realpolitik wrapped in sexually repressed patriarchy run amok–and all because somewhere, somehow, someone thinks there’s almost something holy about Alexander Hamilton. Hence the title of this worst-post. Through out the book Chernow lingers between academia and, maybe, a museum–and, of course, lots of bitching and moaning between founding fathers who were, at best, lead poisoned to the hilt? (Just throwing that out there.) Then again, the more and more I read–and there is plenty of excess to read in this book–his text became more and more of pseudo soap opera than a book about history. Perhaps that’s the reason it is easily transferrable to the drama-queen stage of elitist Broadway. I worst-write pseudo soap opera, btw, because within the first two chapters it became clear that Chernow was playing The Drama card in telling his history of AH. Indeed. The conniving, the snickering, the love-fest of whose money is better or whose wig is fancier has certainly permeated #Americant ever since. Is that the history that need be learned?
Don’t get me wrong, dear worst-reader. I’m not referring here to daytime TV soap opera krapp. You know, the emotion BS that has raised at least two generations of submissive wives? I mean. Come on. Times have changed, eh. For me, the modern old-rot .e.g. Days of Our Lives, Young and the Restless, etc., has been superseded by new-rot e.g. The Sopranos, Mad Men, GoT, and… Wait for it. Hamilton the fcuking musical. The banality of corporatism, war mongering and greed, greed, greed, is a perfect incubator, don’t you know, for where #Americant has taken itself. Or am I the only worst-writer that’s questioned how/why so many disgusting white men can become President Stupid. On the other hand, could Chernow have known that his bloated and somewhat superficial style of history telling, originally published in 2007, would turn into a pop culture broadway phenomenon playing on all the anti-intellectualism that is so well-fed in the year of your Lord, 2015? Again: we live in a world of reality-TV. Where does that come from?
This book is meticulously well researched and written. It has been worth the struggle to read. Would I read it again? Will I refer to it in the future? I don’t think so. I’m gonna stick with Gore Vidal. Also, I’m no longer hell-bent to see Hamilton on stage. The book was more than enough and from what I can tell via Wiki, I’m not sure the narrative of the play interests me either. I might watch the movie if/when it ever comes out (the sooner the better before I lose all interest) or watch it in pieces while focusing more on Mama Mia.
For those worst-readers interested, here a short-list of the things I will take with me from Chernow’s work.
- Hamilton’s Caribbean upbringing and subsequent rise to fame is a fascinating rags to riches, almost Cinderella story, albeit a bit über-dramatised by the author
- Federalist (Washington, Hamilton) vs. Republican (Adams, Jefferson) is two sides of the same coin fighting the fight that would eventually result in #Americant and greed, greed, greed that till this day is same as it ever was
- how Hamilton was able to acquire so much knowledge before leaving the Caribbean for NY is interesting but surely not worth a pop-musical
- perhaps AH’s personal situation is similar to Spock’s (that’s right, that Spock) and how he had to fight for having mixed parents (ok this one is full silly?)
- very impressed with the relationship AH had with George Washington and I now have a better opinion of GW
- although this book is supposed to be about AH, I found the Thomas Jefferson v. George Washington ideological fight to be as interesting
- buy-the-by, Thomas Jefferson is now on my shit-list
- AH’s work ethic, how much he wrote, it’s now motivated me to re-read The Federalist Papers
- AH is portrayed as a humble man, also an abolitionist, but I don’t believe that he was in anyway… a good guy (for good guys don’t die the way he died!)
- all the text about whether or not #Americant would be a monarchy or republic wasn’t very interesting because the author fails to focus on how it managed to turn money into its monarchy, and, for sure, its god/religion
- I want to read more now about the French Revolution versus the #Americant revolution and also juxtapose both with the Russian revolution
- duelling should be called out for what it is and not be legitimised as a means of conflict resolution let alone require almost a thousand fcuking pages to get to, for it is just another example of how stupid white men (if AH was even white) behave, even to this day
- a great example of how to turn history into a soap-opera, perfect for a/the reality-TV mind
Nuff for now.
Rant and read on, baby.
Links that motivated this post:
– WHCD 2019
– WHCD 2018