02 July, 2016

I Love You, Mr. Wonderful!

I Love You, Mr. Wonderful!: "What bugged Samuels the most was the collapse all over the place of external arbiters and hierarchies and codes, replaced by a giant finger on the scales, ostensibly to make up for something that someone else did, but he didn’t do. The effort to rebalance the scales was not a moral choice, but an aesthetic one. Nothing great in American culture ever came from that kind of bean-counting and score-settling stupidity, while everything great in American culture—including jazz, and Robert Lowell’s poetry, and Kanye West—came from the opposite approach, which celebrated the techniques of appropriation and imposture and outright theft. It’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda had done, being neither a black hip-hop star of the 1990s nor a white American, but a Puerto Rican kid whose father was a political consultant for Ed Koch. The playwright’s sly brilliance wasn’t inherent only in the idea for the musical or the score, Samuels saw, but in the way he wrapped the truly subversive idea of the old-fashioned American aesthetics of the self-made self in clothing fashionable enough to win the hearts and minds of the Twits. The genius of Hamilton wasn’t in the singing or dancing, or in the score, but in daring to make the argument for the true American culture, the culture of wild hybridity, and using PC tropes, including his own skin-tone, to pull it off.

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