Hey, Hamilton, the hip-hop musical about Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, is pretty great! Chances are you know this already, though, either because you’ve been listening to it on heavy rotation since you discovered it, or because you have that one weird friend – hi there! – who is constantly telling you how great it is.
Yes, I love Hamilton. And further, I love that I love Hamilton. As I crash headlong toward middle-age, my fear of my tastes ossifying intensifies; I have betrayed much of what I thought and wanted when I was a kid, but that one sticks. I have always hated, and I hope I always will hate, the attitude that says modern media and culture is de facto worse than those that pervaded when one was young. I reserve the right to call any part of it god-awful, because there is always god-awful stuff among the quality, but to call it all god-awful is lazy and stupid, and robs you of the joy of discovering fresh delights.
I buy and enjoy new music, films, magazines all the time, but it’s particularly exhilarating to discover something like Hamilton; something that tilts my orbit, something that I want to evangelise, something that I feel such a weird and instantaneous sense of ownership of and kinship with. It gives me the same tingle I got when I discovered Douglas Adams as a kid, the first time I watched Cabaret as a kid, the first time I played Chuckie Egg as a kid; in other words, I love it like I loved stuff as a kid – and I love that.