July 20, 2016
7. Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda is the embodiment of the perfect modern man. He is tough and fierce, but with finesse; scathing and intellectual, but without arrogance. He’s a MacArthur Fellow (i.e., designated “genius”) and will likely complete the EGOT cycle with this fall’s Moana. He’s made art cool again, and he accepts awards by reading a sonnet and crying on national television (“…and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love…”), because Miranda seemingly doesn’t know how to be anything else but raw nerve exposed. He doesn’t merely show us his joy and sorrow, he unflinchingly invites us into it.
Hamilton put him on the mainstream radar and, look, I get it. Sometimes it feels like it’s nothing but Hamilton this and Hamilton that, ad nauseam forever. But both Miranda and his show are those exceedingly rare things that not only deserve every bit of hype, but exceed the hype. There are celebrities we desire, and others we ravenously covet. But Miranda is something else altogether. He exhilarates and inspires. Every time I hear him or read something he writes, I want to do more, be more. I hope we can all, one day, be half the people Miranda would have us all be.
Seth Freilich (x)