On November 18, at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City, “Hamilton” actor, Brandon Victor Dixon, decided to lecture Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was attending the play, on hate, racism, love, and diversity.
President-elect Donald Trump got involved and asked Dixon to apologize to Pence. Dixon claims it was a “conversation” and thus no apology was necessary. But it wasn’t a conversation, it was a sermon written on the premise that Trump, and thus his supporters, are racists.
The show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, thanked Dixon for “leading with love.” Except, it wasn’t a statement of love, it was a statement of prejudice, aimed toward people neither Dixon or Miranda knew anything about, but were more than happy to pigeon hole in some preconceived “hate” category.
Unfortunately, Trump made two mistakes. First, he got involved. Second, he asked Dixon to apologize to Pence. The request only emboldened Dixon, who understood nothing will happen to him except getting a lot of free PR.
Insulting politicians, within limits, is not only the American way, but also healthy for a free nation. Once Trump decided to get involved, what he should have demanded was Dixon apologize to the audience, of which a good portion probably were Trump supporters, and came to the theater to watch a play not hear a lecture questioning the content of their character.
The Hamilton controversy was barely two days old when at the American Music Awards, the hosts and several performers took the opportunity to bash Trump. There were chants, “No Trump / No KKK,” and even skits making fun of Trump’s wife, Melania.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I’ve never heard of the AMA hosts or many of the performers on the show. This reminds me of the scene in the movie “Back to the Future,” where Marty McFly finishes his wild music set and notices everyone staring blankly at him. Marty says, “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet… But your kids are gonna love it.” In regards to the AMA performers, for the sake of my grandchildren, I hope not.
The two incidents mentioned above were just the latest of many. A few weeks earlier, it was comedienne Amy Schumer bashing Trump and his supporters at one of her shows. The list goes on and on.
The left’s control of the news, education, and entertainment industries is so pervasive, liberals have no fear of exploiting their positions to the point of berating, intimidating, and even abusing those that see things differently than they do. What connects someone’s actions from a stage, in a film, in music, at a sporting event, in a classroom, or even in blocking traffic is someone is acting as a captor and someone else is seemingly willing to act as a captive. Thus, professors who inhibit free thought and harass students for their political or social positions by making it “their way or the highway,” differ in degree but not in kind to the protesters who block the highways; or the actor using his or her position to lecture an audience.
Which leads to the question; why do conservatives pay to be berated, intimidated, and sometimes abused? Wouldn’t most people stop shopping at a store if the employees would endlessly mock and lecture them on their food choices?
In some cases, nothing can be done in any reasonable fashion. For example, a conservative student may just have to grin and bear it if he or she needs a class to graduate, and only one is offered. But in many other ways, potential captives have an option besides just booing; boycott! This is clearly a viable option when applied to the arts, entertainment, and sports industries.
One area where there is some indication that a conservative boycott is working is in football. For the past few years, NFL ratings have fallen. Since the decline started before the Colin Kaepernick controversy, we have to look at other behaviors that may have turned off football fans to the NFL.
There has been a simmering animosity against the NFL for some time. The 1980 player strikes didn’t sit well with some fans who determined the strikes were about people making lots of money fighting over making lots more money, forgetting it all comes from people making very little money.
Then in the 1990s, many players seemed to begin relishing a “bad boy” image. It’s gotten so bad that unofficial team statistics include the number of players arrested.
Finally, it’s become apparent that reaching for cultural edginess has to be part of a well thought NFL marketing plan. A famous incident was the “wardrobe malfunction” of Super Bowl XXXVIII, as was Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50’s halftime show. But it’s a simple matter to search for player antics, other questionable halftime shows, and commercials that should have received better oversight prior to broadcast. (Related to this are the sports commentators who have gone hardcore PC.)
Many fans have had enough. When they watch football, they don’t want to be insulted by commentators, players, or team owners; worry about inappropriate material for their children; or be subject to “Deflategate” soap operas. And then, yes, there’s Colin Kaepernick.
Conservatives can fight back more directly than just boycotting a person, business, or event. But here, discretion is the better part of valor. If you decide to wrestle with a pig, the pig likes it and you end up dirty.
In the Dixon case, whether the arts community likes it or not, the theater is an eight-letter word – a business. If they don’t believe it, they should ask the theater managers if they charge admission. Most businesses actually exist on tight profit margins. A small drop in customers can be devastating.
It’s bad enough that many groups and causes conservatives find hostile or offensive are subsidized by public money. It’s worse when conservatives have a choice and contribute further to those groups and causes. The audience members at the Richard Rodgers Theater on November 18 didn’t expect the surprise that was in store for them. Some of them booed, but they can send a stronger message by making it clear that the next time it happens, it will play out in front of a lot of empty seats.