Let’s face it, 2016 was tough, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much easier. So let’s delve into some of our favorite geeky romantic pairings to help us cope! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is now my duty to present to you the super cute and sexy ships of 2017!
A few weeks ago, vice president-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton and the internet got into big fights over it. No surprise there. While there is no need to retread the controversy itself, or get into political debate, Pence and his party’s politics are well known. This event got me thinking, though, why would he want to see that musical? Was Pence unaware of the racial and social issues inherent in the musical? Maybe. Surprisingly enough, this made me think of many online multiplayer games in which we can see the same phenomenon happening. In games like Overwatch, people sometimes behave in a racist or sexist manner even while playing with a very diverse cast of characters. But I started to notice that this behavior is more prevalent when characters’ identities aren’t reflected in stories.
The Hamilton Mixtape has finally come out after much anticipation! I thoroughly enjoyed the musical’s soundtrack and what performances I could see via broadcasts and award shows. So a collection of musicians covering songs from the original and creating new songs that used the originals as starting blocks really intrigued me. The Mixtape is fascinating as an adaptation, as a musical album, and in its culturally progressive themes, and I thought it was a fun overlap of the camp of Broadway and the vulnerability of hip-hop and sincere pop music.
Another month, another post from me complaining about the state of queer representation in something or other. Up on the chopping block today is that apple of everyone’s eye, Hamilton. (It’s my fave too, y’all, it’s just a problematic fave in this particular aspect. Bear with me.)
So, here’s the thing: a lot of historical evidence points to Alexander Hamilton being bisexual, and he likely had some sort of romantic or sexual relationship with John Laurens. Their letters to each other were downright flirtatious, including one notorious one where Hamilton told Laurens that he wished Laurens had been there when he and Eliza consummated their marriage. (That’s one hell of a belated threesome invite.) You didn’t learn about this in school because the world at large wants you to believe that being queer was invented in the last fifty years.
Lin-Manuel Miranda himself is aware of this; he has confirmed that the Hamilton in his show, at least, is bisexual. If you follow his Tumblr, he’s very supportive of the ship the fandom calls “Lams”, and reblogs shippy fanart with the best of them. So it’s clear that unlike some other writers, we’re working with a creator here who is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and who wanted to represent us in his fantastic and transformative show. Unfortunately, I don’t think it worked.
Black History Month of 2016 was a hell of a ride. I can’t think of a good way to possibly wrap it up, because honestly, I don’t want to. So, I figure a transition of sorts is in order. In that respect, I’d like to talk about PoC solidarity and the general benefit of diverse casts.
This concept is very important to me as we all have to struggle with privilege, and lack thereof, in various avenues. Unfortunately, people are inclined to look out for themselves and people who look like them. I cannot be upset by that, or even discourage it. However, it is ultimately destructive when groups choose to tear each other down in the interest of self-propulsion. It’s quite painful that when discussing #BlackLivesMatter, some of the opposition will come from other people of color who face similar levels of discrimination. Speaking from experience, I know that there is anti-Black racism coming from more than just white people. But it doesn’t have to be this way! As always, I feel that our favorite forms of media are a good case study on this and the actual act of solidarity.
“Eliza is engaged and Angelica has written me extensively about a gentleman who is trying to court her, but I have never heard you speak about any man before. Surely there must be someone.”
Her smiles falls instantaneously and she snatches her hand away much more harshly than she had meant to. Of course, it was only a matter of time before she would have to go through this charade again.
“There is no one yet.” And in an ideal world there never will be, she wants to say, but she silences those words with a forced smile.
When Alexander is about to speak again, Peggy is saved by the opening of the door. Catherine steps inside, balancing a large tray in her hands that she politely sets on the table in front of them. As she methodically empties the tray, setting one floral teacup in front of each of them, her eyes meets Peggy’s and the two smile in tandem.
In that moment, Alexander sits forgotten, Catherine’s attention focused solely on Peggy even as she pours tea into Alexander’s cup. Catherine drops two sugar cubes into Peggy’s tea before setting the porcelain container in front of Alexander, allowing him to sweeten his own tea.
Alexander stays quiet during the silent exchange but he’s watching, witnessing everything, especially the way Catherine reaches out for Peggy’s hand for no apparent reason and holds it for just a moment too long before finally picking up the now empty tray and carrying out. She glances at Peggy over her shoulder once more before the door shuts behind her, leaving Alexander and Peggy alone once again.
“I imagine your father doesn’t know.” His voice seems more somber now, far more serious than before, but there’s a mischievous half smile on his lips that contradicts his tone.
Her heart skips a beat but she forces herself to remain impassive. “I don’t know what you mean.”
While I’ve namedropped and alluded to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton in a variety of other posts, I haven’t actually written anything about it yet. I blame it on the fact that I got sucked into its fandom right as we went on winter break, and it seems a little weird to me to write at length about something that I haven’t actually seen yet. That said, none of that has stopped me from flying headfirst into the realm of fanfiction.