Posted in Miscellaneous

Some Notable Historical Inaccuracies in “Hamilton”

Hamilton: An American Musical reignited interest in American founding father Alexander Hamilton, and has gotten a lot of attention from historians for somewhat inaccurate portrayals of historical events. Most interesting to some viewers, however, are the simplifications, and what has been left out of the personal narrative of the story of Alexander Hamilton. Here are a few notable changes the play made to history’s record.

Hamilton’s Early Life

While the play continually refers to Alexander as “an orphan, bastard, son of a whore and a Scotsman,” most of that isn’t strictly true. While Hamilton’s mother died when he was a teen, his father merely abandoned the family. Alexander and his father communicated at various times in his life, which does not support the play’s insinuation that Hamilton was entirely fatherless. Additionally, rather than being alone in the world after his mother and cousin’s deaths, Hamilton was taken in by a local merchant.

There are some additional details omitted from the musical- one of the larger ones being the existence of Hamilton’s older brother, James. Rachael Fawcett, the mother of both boys, was also not a sex worker. She was married off at sixteen, and left her husband and their son before beginning an extramarital relationship with James Hamilton, Sr. Rachael was a shopkeeper, and while her children were illegitimate, born of a man not her husband, she was a married woman and it is speculated that the reason for Hamilton Sr. deserting the family was to evade charges of bigamy.

The Schuyler Sisters

Three of the Schuylers take center stage in Hamilton, Angelica, Eliza and Peggy, but there are some notable omissions. At the time of Alexander and Eliza’s meeting, Angelica was already married, meaning she wouldn’t have been able to pursue Hamilton even if she had been interested. It’s also questionable as to whether Angelica actually had a romantic tendre for her brother-in-law. While it was rumored even at the time, Hamilton and Angelica spent the majority of their lives on different shores, so a physical affair is unlikely. There appears to have been a joke between Angelica and Eliza about sharing Hamilton as a husband, but it’s unlikely to have been more than that.

In the musical, Angelica says that she is the oldest Schuyler child, which is true, but the Schuylers were a lot more prolific than one might think given their portrayal in the show. The Schuylers were the parents of fifteen children, some multiple births. As was common to the time, only eight of those fifteen survived through childhood. There were five Schuyler sisters, with Angelica, Eliza and Peggy as the oldest. There were three sons who survived infancy, while in the musical Angelica claims to have no brothers. It is noteworthy that the Schuyler girls were devoted to each other, as depicted in Hamilton, and Eliza was incredibly dedicated to preserving her husband’s legacy and his works after his death, and to charitable works for widows, orphans and small children.

The Hamilton-Schuyler Children

Philip Hamilton, Eliza and Alexander’s firstborn, is the only child who we see in the musical, but the couple had many others. They had eight kids, the last being born after Philip’s death, and named for him. None of the couple’s children died before reaching adulthood, Philip was the only one to predecease his father. Additionally, after the revelation of Hamilton’s affair, Eliza left him and gave birth to their sixth child in Albany at her parents’ home. She only returned because Philip had become ill with typhus, and the two reconciled and had two more children. This reconciliation took place before Philip’s death, rather than in the aftermath and grief of his loss.

These alterations made to historical fact were likely implemented to smooth the story and remove extraneous details. As long as you don’t rely too much on the musical for historical fact, these changes don’t make too much of a difference, though they are interesting.

Posted in Miscellaneous

7 Smaller YouTubers You Need to be Subscribed to

Everyone knows the bigger fish in the YouTube game, but there are a ton of smaller creators, especially queer creators and creators of color, who deserve way more subscribers. Here are a couple you’ve been missing out on, all of whom have less than a million subscribers.

TheGeekyBlonde – 36k subscribers

Rhiannon is a spoken-word poet who makes videos about feminism, Shakespeare, and writing. Her condensed Shakespeare recaps are super funny, and make the text really fun and accessible. She also has done a lot of work with Brave New Voices, and her poem “Rape Joke” with Belissa Escobedo has received over five million views. She hasn’t made any videos in a while, but her channel is still worth checking out.

STRANGE ÆONS – 760k subscribers

Strange Æons is a creator who does deep-dives on tumblr and Reddit, and reacts to weird stuff like the Girl Defined channel. She also a lesbian, and talks about queer topics. One of her funniest videos is about r/SaphoAndHerFriend.

Sabrina – 313k subscribers

Sabrina does videos on science, history, and being a person on the internet. She got her first big subscriber bump when she guest-hosted on the Vlogbrothers channel, and has been producing videos for her personal channel for the last four years. She’s also a Canadian Filipino, which is an excellent reminder that the great north isn’t as white as some people think! Plus, she dispels the myth that you have to be a science or humanities person- she’s both!

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard – 753k subscribers

Jessica vlogs about disability rights, queer issues, and vintage clothing. She talks about her own physical and cognitive disabilities, chronic illness, and cultural depictions of disability. She does some videos with her wife, and history videos about queer and disabled folks through the ages. She has recently come out with an amazing video that explains the #FreeBritney movement and why it’s a civil rights issue.

SAVY Writes Books – 7.65k subscribers

Savy is a writer, small business owner, and booktuber who also talks about MLM scams. She got her first big bump with a critical review of Rachel Hollis’ self-help book, Girl, Wash Your Face. Savy does amazing deep dives on scamming self-help gurus, and talks about her journey as a small business owner and author. My favorite of her recent videos is this one about Classically Abby, Ben Shapiro’s little sister who’s been in all of your YouTube ads.

Carlos Maza – 68k subscribers

Maza recently went independent on YouTube, after leaving Wired, and has quickly found his feet. He’s a queer creator of color, and anti-capitalist, which is basically all I need to know to subscribe. His production value is INSANE, and while he only has a few videos up so far, there’s definitely more to come.

courtreezy – 573k subscribers

Courtreezy gained notoriety in the last month or so because of videos she’s made about TikTok users using racial slurs. She’s a Nigerian-American creator with a really unique voice who makes some cool content. Her latest video is about Tyra Banks and all of the crazy stuff we let her get away with in ANTM.

Posted in Miscellaneous

If you have to ask, it might be blackface

Blackface has its roots in blackface minstrelsy, white performers blackening their skin and adopting racist caricatures of black features. Some prominent actors who have performed in blackface include Orson Wells, Bing Crosby, Fred Astair, Doris Day, Billy Crystal, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Angelina Jolie, and Robert Downey Jr.

Yellow face has also been acceptable pretty recently, most notably in 1961 in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is widely regarded as a classic (by white people.) If you want to read something by a black person on this subject, I suggest you read this, an article by Mary Anderson about the evolution of blackface. It’s very informative and touches on a lot of serious problems with modern beauty trends and appropriation. 

While blackface has certainly become stigmatized, there’s still a conversation to be had about white performers darkening their skin artificially. One cannot have this conversation without talking about the Kardashian family, but they are by no means the only offenders. Ariana Grande is Italian, which is a white ethnic group. Italian people can vary in skin tone, but Grande appeared on television as a teenager with skin several shades lighter than her current bronzed look. The photos below are from 2009 and and now, 2019. They show that Grande has been darkening her skin, it’s impossible to deny.

Screen Shot 2019-12-31 at 2.23.11 PM.png 

Is this blackface? And who gets to decide what blackface is? A recent picture of Kim Kardashian has brought the ongoing controversy back up, with black twitter pretty much soundly repudiating Kardashian.

While I am not black, when black people say something is offensive, I’m inclined to believe them. The statement Kardashian released included a “sorry you were offended” apology, and referenced Kardashian’s Armenian ethnicity. Kardashian is Armenian on her father’s side, but Armenians are ethnically white. The Kardashian-Jenners have gotten into trouble at different times for appropriating black hairstyles, and have made excuses and otherwise failed to apologize. They have profited from “starting” trends that have been prominent in black communities for generations. The Kardashians are trading on blackness, and cashing in. The examples are innumerable, so I made this handy collage of Kardashian-Jenner blackface/appropriation pics!

Screen Shot 2019-12-31 at 2.42.51 PM.png

As you can clearly see, a number of the Kardashian-Jenners have appropriated traditional styles like cornrows, braids and box braids, as well as indulging in tanning. There are dozens of these photographs. To show further contrast, here is Kylie Jenner in her early teens, and now, in 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-12-31 at 2.47.38 PM.png

As twitter user @shazamohamedddd pointed out, people barely chastised Kim Kardashian for actually wearing blackface, while women of color are treated like garbage for the way they look. The main issue (aside from how regressive it is) is that blackface allows white people to profit off of ideas about blackness, while black people are oppressed. Black culture belongs to black people, and everyone else needs to stay in their lanes. Being an ethnic minority myself, I can understand feeling unsure about one’s place in the racial binary. Race is a spectrum, and being part of an ethnic minority does not make you black, or give you license to use blackness for personal gain. The Kardashians and Ariana Grande may not identify as white, but they benefit from white privilege and need to recognize that. Honorable mentions for cultural appropriation and general racial insensitivity go to Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry, both of whom still enjoy success and public goodwill.    

Posted in Miscellaneous

“Life of Boris” YouTuber on the rise

My SO introduced me to Life of Boris on YouTube earlier this month, and it has slowly become an intense addiction. While the channel appears weird and niche upon first glance, it only gets weirder and more incomprehensible as you fall down the rabbit hole. However Boris and his slavness only grows on you, and his true Slav charm is clearly enchanting thousands of viewers flocking to his channel to see his hilarious cooking videos and satirical travel logs.

Boris started on Youtube in 2015, and in two years has carved out a little place for himself online, making videos in multiple genres and bringing his own unique sense of humor along. My personal favorite videos are Boris cooking his Babushka’s recipes, I have watched his jam video more than a dozen times. Another personal favorite is Boris’ travel videos, documenting his visits to Slav countries where he reviews their beer, mayonnaise, and general Slav content. He recently uploaded the first half of a Prague video, and his fans eagerly anticipate the rest of his travels in the Czech Republic, including me. Boris’ channel received a lot of attention in the last month for his collaboration with DJ Blyatman, Slav King, a music video filled with hard bass, glorifying the hard and fast Slav lifestyle. My SO and I have been known to blast the song in the car, especially when driving to McDonald’s in the middle of the night, to remind the world what world class Slavs look like.

Boris’ subscriber base is only growing, and it seems likely he will reach the one million mark by the end of 2017. If you want to get in touch with your inner Slav, your Slavic heritage, or simply appreciate the slavness in another, I would suggest checking out Boris’ channel. Come squat with us, my friend, as long as you’re not a western spy.

Posted in Books, Miscellaneous

12 Essential John Green GIFs

While I have no official stance on the Gif vs. Jif battle, GIFs are one of my favorite new forms of punctuation. Most of the popular GIFs are cats or sports, but some of the most precious GIFs are of the fantastic John Green.

For the few who are unaware of John Green, a nerd icon for the digital age, he is primarily known for quotes from his books appearing on tumblr. These books include Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Paper Towns and, most recently, the New York Times best-selling The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault in Our Stars, commonly abbreviated to ‘tFiOS’ by fans, has recently been adapted for film starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, both also stars of Divergent, another YA blockbuster adaption.  John Green is a winner of the Printz Award, The Edgar Allan Poe Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and numerous others.

However, John Green is perhaps even better known on the Internet as one half of the “Vlogbrothers,” a YouTube channel  with more than 2.2 million subscribers. (As of July 2nd 2014.) He and his brother, the musician and entrepreneur William “Hank” Green, are the masterminds behind Vidcon, a yearly convention based on online video; the Project for Awesome (abbreviated to P4A) an annual charity project taking over YouTube for two days; and Crash Course, an educational YouTube channel that covers World History, US History, Literature, and more. The Vlogbrothers have tackled so many interesting and educational projects that just listing them would construct multiple blog posts.

Back to GIFs! John Green, aside from all of his other achievements, also is extremely GIFable. You’d be surprised. So collected here are the GIFs you need to express the full range of human emotions.

1. Hunger, or, alternatively, adorableness

John Green Vlogbrothers animated GIF

2. Winning!

John Green animated GIF

3. Giant Quid of Anger

Dftba Giant Squid Of Anger animated GIF

4. Frustration

John Green Life animated GIF 

5. Anxiety

Esther Day 2010 John Green animated GIF

6. Terror

Art & Design Dftba animated GIF 

7. Sexiness (or an attempt)

Blue Steel Crash Course animated GIF 

8. Public Drunkenness

Crash Course Drunk animated GIF
John Green Ok The Quality Was A Lot Better On Photoshop animated GIF

9.  Euphoria

Brotherhood 20 Dftba animated GIF 

10. Failure

Yesssss Dftba animated GIF

11. Happy Dancing

Dance Party Happy Dance animated GIFJohn Green Juries animated GIF 

Dftbyay John Green animated GIF

12. Pride

Exams Hank Green animated GIF

Best wishes! Also, John was on the Colbert Report recently, if that’s interesting to you.–2014—john-green