To those who are losing a lot of their will to create in the wake of President Tyrant:
Don’t let him and his orcs win. People NEED your books, stories, poems, paintings, jewelry, dolls, knitting, tapestries, vases, weaving, dishes, every creation that comes from your hands. Every creation is a punch back at the haters and the heartless. Every word puts hope or thought or dreams or solace or fire into those who read it.
You become a different voice from the bullyraggers and the foolish; your ideals, wishes and convictions reach your audience, whether they are reading Dr. Seuss or James Joyce. You convey food for hope and imagination whether you realize it or not, and the most innocuous-seeming work gives those who partake of it something to go on with.
Keep soldiering on. Comedian or philosopher, baker or glassblower, writer of tomes or fan fiction, you’re needed now more than ever.
I start to counter-monologue.
She wanted so to be tranquil, to be someone who took walks in the late-afternoon sun, listening to the birds and crickets and feeling the whole world breathe. Instead, she lived in her head like a madwoman locked in a tower, hearing the wind howling through her hair and waiting for someone to come and rescue her from feeling things so deeply that her bones burned. She had plenty of evidence that she had a good life. She just couldn’t feel the life she had. It was as though she had cancer of the perspective.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
Star Wars, to quote the guy who emailed me, does bring people from diverse cultures and backgrounds together. And everybody of those cultures and backgrounds deserve to be seen on the screen and on the page and in comic book panels. This isn’t a joke. This isn’t glib. This is their lives. Not everybody is you. And as I said before, if you can imagine a Star Wars where Luke Skywalker hates gay people, I got bad news for you, hoss: you watched a different Star Wars than I did. You fell to the Dark Side. You joined the Empire. And I hope one day that Big Gay Luke Skywalker shows up at your battlestation door and he shines his rainbow gaysaber at you and you can do nothing but melt beneath its warm rays of inclusiveness and kindness and you come to realize that love is good and gay people exist and dang, were you a huge asshole.
In America, we learn that Hitler and the Nazis committed the Holocaust; in Germany, German children learn that they all participated in it, because the Germans came to believe that acknowledging their collective culpability as individuals was the only way to prevent it from ever happening again.
Americans, meanwhile, continue to debate whether the Civil War was fought to preserve the institution of slavery, as stated by actual Confederates at the time, or to settle a far more abstract and nebulous quarrel over the less morally indefensible concept of “states rights.” History isn’t always written by the victors, especially if there’s a version that makes everyone feel a little less guilty.
It’s important to stay vigilant about the other transgressions going on with Trump, but examining this Hamilton thing isn’t frivolous. This is the country’s future leaders coming from a place of such DEEP insecurity that they can’t handle MILD criticism in a public forum. The press and the president-elect are attempting to shut down a reaction WELL within the rights of those expressing displeasure. If you think this is an isolated incident? That it won’t continue to happen every time free speech is exercised to dissent? I beg to differ. We’re getting our first looks at the character of this administration in power. Let’s not look away… Historically, leaders who abuse power have been extremely insecure, have overreacted to small slights. It’s already starting. And as artists, our work is often considered frivolous, unnecessary, as such it’s often the first to go when the hammer of oppression falls. Theaters closed, books burned, art irreverently depicting those in power prohibited. We’ve seen these warning signs with every rise. Don’t criticize people’s worry just because it’s related to art and not money or policy. It matters. Art matters. The cast of Hamilton made a heartfelt, onstage plea, using their visibility, to a leader that’s supposed to represent ALL of us. To have that rebranded by the president elect and the press as harassment (which is a CRIME by the way) is censorship, plain and simple… Art is our voice. Art is our joy. Art is our resistance. All the most successful oppressors have understood this. Don’t give it up willingly.