March 2017 me: You are gonna become so disgustingly obsessed with this show Yuri on Ice that it’s absolutely disgusting. Like you thought you had superficial interests in sports anime. But just you wait and see.
In articles, blog posts and Facebook threads, scholars have debated whether “Hamilton” over-glorifies the man, inflating his opposition to slavery while glossing over less attractive aspects of his politics, which were not necessarily as in tune with contemporary progressive values as audiences leaving the theater might assume.
The conversation has yet to erupt into a full-fledged historians’ rap battle. But some scholars are wondering if one is due to start.
“The show, for all its redemptive and smart aspects, is part of this ‘Founders Chic’ phenomenon,” said David Waldstreicher, a historian at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York who last September sounded an early note of skepticism on The Junto, a group blog about early American history.
Amid all the enthusiasm for “Hamilton” the musical, he added, Hamilton the man “has gotten a free pass.”
Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of history and law at Harvard and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello,” put it more bluntly.
“One of the most interesting things about the ‘Hamilton’ phenomenon,” she wrote last week on the blog of the National Council on Public History, “is just how little serious criticism the play has received.”
Ms. Gordon-Reed was responding to a critical essay by Lyra D. Monteiro, in the journal The Public Historian, arguing that the show’s multiethnic casting obscures the almost complete lack of identifiable African-American characters, making the country’s founding seem like an all-white affair.
“It’s an amazing piece of theater, but it concerns me that people are seeing it as a piece of history,” Ms. Monteiro, an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, Newark, said in an interview.
The founders, she added, “really didn’t want to create the country we actually live in today.”
Ms. Gordon-Reed — who is credited with breaking down the resistance among historians to the claim that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings — wrote in her response that she shared some of Ms. Monteiro’s qualms, even as she loved the musical and listened to the cast album every day.
“Imagine ‘Hamilton’ with white actors,” she wrote. “Would the rosy view of the founding era grate?”
Historians are generally not reluctant to call out the supposed sins of popularizers. When Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” arrived in 2012, a number of prominent scholars blasted it for promoting a “great man” view of history and neglecting the role African-Americans played in their own emancipation.
While the most recent critiques of “Hamilton” have focused on race, some scholars have also noted that it’s an odd moment for the public to embrace an unabashed elitist who liked big banks, mistrusted the masses and at one point called for a monarchal presidency and a Senate that served for life.
Alexander Hamilton “was more a man for the 1 percent than the 99 percent,” said Sean Wilentz, a professor at Princeton and the author of “The Politicians and the Egalitarians,” to be published in May.
R.B. Bernstein, a historian at City College of New York who has written extensively about Jefferson, credited “Hamilton” with keeping the subject of slavery simmering underneath its jam-packed story. But race and slavery, he added, were not the only important, or timely, aspects of the show.
“It’s about how hard it is to do politics, about how people of fundamentally clashing political views tried to work together to create a shared constitutional enterprise,” he said. “And right now, that’s a message we really need.”
Researchers found cocaine, Advil, Prozac, Lipitor, Benadryl
and dozens of other drugs in the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon
caught in the Puget Sound in September 2014, the Seattle Times reported
in February. The salmon likely picked up the drugs from wastewater in
the area that’s a “[cocktail] of 81 drugs." How this affects humans.