by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
I wonder if Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will ever understand the real truth about why his play is so popular…?
Miranda probably believes that if he had written a play about Eugene V. Debs (America’s greatest socialist) his talents, approach and techniques would have produced a spectacle of similarly spectacular success, LOL….
The believers of Broadway are nothing if not wilfully naive (i.e. stupid), unsinkably optimistic and totally oblivious to the jingoistic propaganda which is self-centeredly, brayingly warbled at the top of everyone-on-the-stage’s lungs in the vast majority of Broadway musicals, Hamilton included. Non-Americans often roll their eyes at the inevitably absurd “Hollywood ending” of many US movies, but what can a viewer do when confronted by the endless fake cheer and perpetual smiling of Broadway besides beg for temporary blindness?
Indeed, one of the great results of the coronavirus is the shuttering of Broadway’s lights – may it always be dark inside that incredibly empty-headed art. I find very few things as physically disagreeable as all musical theatre (Bertolt Brecht and Monty Python are exceptions which proves the rule). Opera is just as atrocious, and may I give you a news flash: nobody cares about opera. It is a totally outdated art, and yet the vast majority of public arts funding in much of the West is directed towards opera. Why? The answer is also linked to the success of Hamilton – elitism and 1%-er domination of Western governance.
Musicals are not so very elitist as opera, but the average American man only sees a Broadway play after constant arm-twisting from the missus. And yet… we have had this broad success of Hamilton. How can we explain it? Why must we endure it? When will the American musical finally die, ending their assault on our ears and especially the ears of those poor, suffering parents of high school drama club members?
The answer is clear: the US is a bankocracy, and Hamilton is its unparalleled propaganda
I have not seen Hamilton and I never will – if I hate musicals already, why would I like one which is built around mythologising, propagandising and lying about the greatest central banker in American history?
The popularity of Hamilton is completely attributable to the total domination of corporate media in the 21st century. My last article, US national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources?, thus had to be published before this one: it discusses how ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed the rise of monopolistic media conglomerates, to watch one national US media is to watch them all – there is total uniformity. I also discussed how in music there used to be such a thing as a “local hit” within different US regions, but since 1996 a banal song can be a #1 for as long as 5 months because the conglomerates decide to support it and replay it, replay it, replay it, replay it.
The same goes for Hamilton: advertising works, and the conglomerate media saw a “pro-central banker” play, squealed with delight, and decided it should be bigger than The Bible.
So five years of corporate-ordered omnipresence of Hamilton coverage was not just in the pro-Broadway New York Times (Five Years and 100-Plus Stories: What It’s Like Covering ‘Hamilton’ – that’s 100-plus stories from just one Times journalist, mind you!), but across the nation: “It goes unspoken that ‘Hamilton’ is now available everywhere, for a $6.99 monthly Disney Plus subscription”. It “goes unspoken” precisely because in the US the corporate media has obviously ordered Hamilton to be atop the cultural agenda for years. It is now available as a movie for this Fourth of July weekend, thus the “news peg” for this article.
This omnipresence explains why I truly do not need to see Hamilton to write about it intelligently (though I did interview people who have seen it – hey, I’m not a bad journalist who doesn’t do homework) – the US has been OBSESSED with it for years.
But nobody seems to realise why because in all of the drooling, gushing reviews nobody gets at the economic aspects inherent in a play about a central banker. Nobody seems to make the link between the economic program of Western central banker collusion (Quantitative Easing), the reality of a US & Western “bankocracy” (a 10-part series I wrote on this issue can be found here) which has been crystal-clear since 2008 to anyone with half a brain, the elevation of central bank policy over democratic votes in the Eurozone, and then this absurd adoration of Hamilton?
How can it be a mere coincidence that at a time when central bankers have become more powerful than ever we also cannot – still – turn anywhere without being exhorted to love Hamilton? Just as rap music is the musical propaganda of modern Western capitalism, Hamilton is clearly its musical propaganda.
The pro-central bank propaganda is apparently overt during this 3+ hour show: a large part of the show is dedicated to showing how the US central bank was created, and of Alexander Hamilton persuading them of the worth and necessity of a central bank. Hamilton may not use the phrase “QE”, but how can anyone fail to see the link between inequality-creating, 1%er enriching, 99%er impoverishing QE and this stupid play? Like all great art Hamilton apparently does indeed capture the moment – too bad it is the “moment” of ravenous, society-destroying elite bankers.
Since 2015 I have said that the proof that there is no true left in the US is that I have not read of even one stink-bombing of a Hamilton performance. That the US left has not been able to mount any counter-attack on this neoliberal propaganda shows how appallingly clueless they are. Ishmael Reed Tries to Undo the Damage ‘Hamilton’ Has Wrought from The Nation was so notable because it stuck out so very much – it’s the exception which proves the rule.
The US left has been steamrolled by Hamilton and provided (as usual) so very, very little resistance, but Hamilton is a perfect example of just how easy it is to propagandise the US public – such is the extent of the dominance of their corporate media. Media concentration in the US is so absolute that if they decide something or someone or some concept should be promoted – one simply cannot escape it. And, I am sure, talking about Hamilton in this way at a US dinner party is to ensure that you are not invited back, LOL.
How was this central banker propaganda so effectively repackaged into suitable American jingoism?
In July 2020 even the World Socialist Web Site is decrying the attacks on statues of Lincoln and Jefferson; after decades of trying, corporate sponsors are going to force the rabidly anti-American Indian Washington D.C. to finally give up their “Redskins” football mascot/slur – so why on earth aren’t they coming for Hamilton?!
Alexander Hamilton bought and sold slaves, he married into a wealthy slave-owning family – it’s a no-brainer. If you support Hamilton and have some stupid liberal sign up in your front yard YOU are part of the problem (as much for liking awful Broadway as for being an obvious fake-leftist).
However, when we actually consider the economic ideology all over Hamilton we should easily grasp that the corporate-dominated US media is not about to permit sustained attacks on this spectacularly successful pro-central banker propaganda piece. What they are going to do is what places like The Washington Post just did, print lies about how Hamilton “despised slavery”.
Why would Miranda care – he did the same whitewashing. Of course he wasn’t going to talk about how the central banker Hamilton was all about debt slavery (no corporate media gushing in that case), but it’s pretty artistically opportunistic and cynical to make Hamilton some sort of abolitionist just to sell out his stupid musical. Tellingly, Miranda was forced to publicly admit he was wrong to be silent for so long regarding the George Floyd protests, but the guy adores Alexander Hamilton in the QE era – did you really think he was anti-establishment, LOL?
Reading drama reviews always produces plenty of eye-rolls – they are full of hyperbole and purple prose worthy of the biggest off-off-off-Broadway ham; everybody is just so very, very, VERY SPECTACULAR and AMAZING and TALENTED – but The New York Times lead movie critic writing that he “can’t escape tears” when watching Hamilton… how can we explain that?
Like I said, I’m not going to watch Hamilton to find out. I’m not even going to read its plot summary on Wikipedia. I have been unwillingly forced to acquire adequate Hamilton knowledge via cultural osmosis, but I also did ask around.
Part of its appeal, per reports, is undoubtedly based on jingoism and revisionist history – we’re all just so proud to be American (and to be led by heroic bankers in our wonderful bankocracy).
However, what is more shocking is how the play apparently significantly plays up the anti-monarchical, republican roots of the American Revolution for Independence by… upholding the pro-monarchy Alexander Hamilton? Jefferson said of Hamilton: “Hamilton was not only a monarchist, but for a monarchy bottomed on corruption.” I hear Miranda’s next play is about the great abolitionist Robert E. Lee.
So the apparently underlying theme of Hamilton is how revolutionary and cool the anti-monarchy stance was (way back in the late 18th century), and it is these ancestor worship-heartstrings which produce tears in fake-leftist pseudo-intelligensia like A.O. Scott. How could they possibly pick Alexander Hamilton as a leader of the fight against aristocratic privilege? Answer: in a bankocracy bankers are the vanguard party, so they simply must be whitewashed as spotless leaders.
Thus we can refer to Scott’s headline – ‘Hamilton’ Review: You Say You Want a Revolution – to get at the heart of what helped draw in so many American males to willingly watch Hamilton: make being conservative “revolutionary”. The play does what Westerners always do – try to end history long before 1917 by perpetuating the false belief that Western liberal democracy is somehow still “progressive” and not fundamentally aristocratic (bourgeois); the play obviously perpetuates the false Western belief that the summit of democracy’s reach is Western liberal democracy and not 20th century socialist democracy. However, with every passing corona hysteria day it’s more and more obvious that in the 21st century the latter is vastly outperforming the former, which did nothing but replace monarchy with bankocracy (thus it was merely a bourgeois/aristocratic revolution).
There are secondary propaganda bases for the success of Hamilton, mainly how it successfully espouses 21st century US liberal (fake-leftist) identity politics. But a huge part of this is merely technical and based entirely on what I can easily prove is the fundamentally reactionary nature of Broadway itself, because absolutely nothing is “Whiter” than Broadway in US culture.
Musicals like Our Town, Oklahoma, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Sound of Music, Music Man, Carousel – these are all whiter than Wonder Bread on a styrofoam plate in a snowstorm in themes, composition and musical styles. How can The Unsinkable Molly Brown be played by a Latina, after all? There are no Hindus in Our Town. Finding a young Black girl who can sing, act, AND has red hair is going to make staging a production of Annie difficult, but making Depression-era Daddy Warbucks Black is historically impossible. This is why playgoers have remarked how they have been thrilled by the mere presence of non-White actors in this type of a musical, but also in any musical. All of this supports my assertion of what a fundamentally reactionary institution Broadway is.
The use of rap was also another mere technical – and not intellectual or artistic – pseudo-achievement of Hamilton; that fundamentally reactionary Broadway required 40 years to finally use rap music and Hamilton was the first – big deal? The good news is: nobody over 50 can keep up with such rapid-fire spoken word poetry, and thus many of the elder showgoers surely missed out on the undoubtedly fascinating rap lyrics about the meetings to build the US Treasury.
(Of course, does every rapper think his or her every word is totally fascinating and worthy of your complete concentration and attention? Rappers dominate whatever music they sit in on – in jazz this is the sin of “overplaying” and overplayers are not invited to the next jam session. Sadly, US corporate media rams rap down our throats and refuses to broadcast jazz music literally anywhere, probably because jazz cannot proselytise for individualism and capitalism like rap does with seemingly every breath.)
Western democracy does indeed have two classes: Bankers and everyone else
Making central bankers “cool” – which seems impossible – is the greatest achievement of Hamilton in its effort to propagandise the American public into accepting QE, ZIRP and the post-2008 policies which have gutted the US and left it poised to plummet into prolonged socio-economic chaos following the hysterical corona overreaction.
By portraying Alexander Hamilton as an outsider who worked his way to the top the play undoubtedly allows viewers to maintain a certainly outdated belief in the fiction that the US is a “classless” society; this is just as the election of Barack Obama allowed the creation of the myth that the US had progressed to a “post-racial society”. If that was true – why the George Floyd protests? Miranda thinks Hamilton is a hero mainly because he knows nothing about QE, economics, the class struggle, and because he obviously admires the gangster/bankster values of rap.
If Miranda knew any of those crucial leftist analyses he would have known that in order to maintain this fiction of a “classless” American society absolutely everything must be burned before it: What is identity politics but an endless assertion that absolutely anything – from race to religion to gender to sexual to preference to party affiliation to ___ – is more important than class? Anything to not focus on class!
This explains the reactionary, divisive words of Hamilton as found in the play’s popular song, “Immigrants— we get the job done”. I’m not going to listen to it because when is Broadway very truly funky or cool? However, it surely seems to be an insult to the hard-working capabilities of White Americans – are how is that leftist or progressive? Due to Miranda’s political ignorance and obviously reactionary beliefs he was only too happy to write a song which seeks to divide the worker class based on their country of birth. What’s his next divisive attack, one wonders? May I suggest: “Left-handers do the job a bit differently but still get’er dun”. A pro-immigrant song can be a fine thing, but not coming in the context of banker worship, LOL – it’s an obvious contradiction, and obviously an attempt to distract from Hamilton’s overall capitalist-imperialist ideology with divisive identity politics.
So… not a single stink bomb at a Hamilton performance? Not a single call to take slave-dealer Hamilton off the $10 bill amid these rebellious times? Idiots will deface a statue of Cervantes (the Arab-loving “Multicultural Dreamer”), and steal a Frederick Douglass statue, but the Alexander Hamilton statues outside the US Treasury, in NYC, in Chicago and elsewhere remain standing because he’s apparently “that cool leftist guy from the cool leftist play”?
Alexander Hamilton – cool? Broadway – cool?!?! Hamilton – a leftist play?!
Clearly, the US left has no idea what they are doing, and that’s why we still don’t hear any leftist demands for media discussion about the links between QE, central banker dominance over Western liberal democracies, and the endless corporate promotion of Hamilton.
For all the wrong reasons Hamilton is popular – but they’re dead wrong, I know they are, as the song goes.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
– March 25, 2020
March 26, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.