“If a man does not keep pace with his own companions, perhaps he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. ~ Henry David Thoreau
I now comprehend why the art of politics has taken a nosedive in my hierarchy of fascinations…those seeking office only care about themselves and their own advancement. The challenge presented to the informed voter consists of ignoring what is worst about candidates while also searching feverishly for their best qualities, hopefully discovering their possible, though not probable, concern for others outside themselves. Perhaps such humans may exist. Or did they ever?
However, I am totally stunned to conclude that the great American musical comedy disenchants me these days…the much touted and overly praised “HAMILTON!” pushed me over the edge as I viewed a PBS documentary focusing on the “making of…”, and should I even ever win free tickets to attend this congregation/ aggregation (every lyric monotonously rhymes in this thing!) of rap-fest(er)ing, illogically mythologized, trendy, founding fathers, I shall decline because I would much rather spend time with my dogs instead. My mutts scoot and skid less around the house than those needy, over-eager actors did and furthermore do not vie so sappily for my attention as to who or which might be the most frenetic and precious and essential to my life. I could barely sit still through the entire 90 minutes’ worth of giddy attempts to resurrect the incredibly flawed secretary Hamilton. I would rather stare at his visage etched upon a ten dollar bill for a decidedly more pleasant hour and a half! So there, “Alexander Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton“–this song is redundant! The frenzied crescendoing momentum pointing toward the inevitable duel as well as the blessed finale could not arrive soon enough…no more rhymes from long-ago times. Nipsey Russell I once loved…several hours of revolutionary rap? Not so much!
Perhaps, my advanced age factors in, but humans involved in outdoing each other and stumbling over one another for recognition within any arena whatsoever turns me into a sullen, doubting Thomas not unlike Simon whatshisname on one of those insipid reality “Who is the best dancer or singer or whatever” manic telecast contests which I wisely never watched more than once. Spectator sports are not my style — Too reminiscent of either unfortunate cattle herds being loaded up for slaughter or flushed out, hunted, haunted deer caught in the headlights–painful to watch, and anything BUT entertaining!
I have appeared in several musicals, and for scores of years I have collected original cast albums and sheet music…I am an overflowing vessel of memorized show tune lyrics. Lately, I cannot abide the entire body of great American songbooks-ish endeavors. I liken my new-found disappointment to my dad lamenting once about an ungrateful, petulant child, “I’ll continue giving that kid a quarter now and then (or was it a pack of gum? I forget.), but I won’t enjoy it as much.” I recall that I once delighted in playing the lead in two of my most favorite shows of all time even though occasionally envious girls in the chorus line glared holes through my body because they wished themselves to be singing the songs that I had the arguably good fortune to deliver to mostly approving audiences. I figured, “Ah, well, the show must go on” and savored every moment flouncing around the “boards” from upstage to downstage and toward stage right and stage left.
My enthusiasm became dampened eventually by the cliquishness of that absolutely concocted charade branded community theater. Infighting, jealousies, competitiveness, the buddy system, and struggles over “who’s in charge here?” began to rain on the parade. Still, I never dreamed that I would tire of the general, all-around perkiness of instructive lyrics composed not only for record ticket sales but also coincidentally for posterity…re: humming and whistling happily inspiring tunes for years on end. Of course any starry-eyed stage-struck kid obligingly constructs scenery, hammers nails, paints backdrops, flatters directors to accumulate merit points leading toward more consequential roles, and that grandiose scheme momentarily seems like good clean fun. THEN, one fine day we wake up. Eyes wide open! Leading the life of a marionette becomes a distant memory…
Soldiers fight in suspect wars; costumed athletes scamper after bouncing, hurtling, pitched dreams; office-seekers post signs and shake hands and kiss babies and proclaim all manner of insincerities; and composers create melodies by stringing together a scale’s worth of harmonious notes. Lately, everybody authors whether Facebook posts, blogs, or self-published, vanity press books…and do we, any of us, realize that we are lining somebody else’s pockets and that we are victims? We mistakenly think that we engage in entertaining or productive pastimes, but wily, manipulative, exploitative hucksters take advantage of and capitalize upon our aspirations, our thoughts, our creativity, our blind fidelity, and finally the fun and the meaningfulness and our individuality become lost in an opportunistic jumbled muddle. We participate earnestly and naively but wear our demented, pliable, malleable selves out as we are chastised into becoming team members subscribing to a master plan, and we neglect to analyze those who craftily might be using us for their own gains until the game is over and every song’s devoid of its inherent wisdom and beauty. Sad but true. Tempus fugit! Way past time to snip those strings and wave good-bye! And begin to dance to the beat of one’s very own drum at long last!
“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” ~ Groucho Marx