Hamilton cast theatrics

So the latest buzz, is, of course, the cast of the broadway show Hamilton addressing Vice-President elect Pence after a recent performance, Governor’s Pence tolerating the nonsense with dignity — and President elect Trump calling the cast out for being rude.

First of all — it was rude; meaning depends on context. Had the cast wished to respectfully address Governor Pence, they could have invited him backstage. If you watch the video, the actor takes the time to encourage the New York audience to record and tweet the message; this was a self-indulgent, self-righteous publicity stunt. But the progressive left has succumbed to the fantasy that any behavior is righteous when the cause is just. It doesn’t actually work that way.

Secondly, The Donald did exactly the right thing by firing back. In the Prisoner’s Dilemma game theory scenario, players can either cooperate or be nasty. A famous simulation showed the best performing strategy is neither attack always, or be a patsy, but “Tit for Tat with forgiveness.” Which means if the other player attacks, you attack back, most of the time. “With forgiveness” means you let it go every once in awhile.

So some progressive actors takes a rude potshot at the new VP, and The Donald’s going to fight back. And the social media left is saying, “That’s perfectly fine, and Trump is wrong for retaliating,” and the social media right is saying “That was rude, good job pushing back!” and the country gets or stays acrimoniously divided.


2 thoughts on “Hamilton cast theatrics”

  1. I think it was very rude for the audience to boo and cheer at Vice President Elect Pence.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the public statement by the cast. I agree with the message, and it seems pretty respectful to me. However, I agree that if their goal was to get Vice President Elect Pence’s ear, then a private meeting would probably have been more powerful. So, yes, their intended audience was broader than Vice President Elect Pence. Maybe that could have been handled better.

    I disagree with President Elect Trump making a statement on the matter. For a few reasons:

    1) Elected officials hold a lot of power and their speech is seen as coming from that post, not them personally. They must be very careful not to imply in any way (no matter how small) that they would use their elected office to inhibit free speech.

    Former President Bush was subject to a lot of ridicule. President Obama has been subject to a lot of angry, hateful speech as well. And I admire both former President Bush and President Obama for the classy way they handled the rhetoric — often by not responding or responding in a humorous way.

    President Elect Trump and Vice President Elect Pence will have to face a lot of things being said about them while in office. I think they need to recognize the power imbalance between their offices and most citizens and how even small statements can been as excessive usage of their office.

    2) Similarly, the President Elect and the Vice President Elect must tend to many issues. Since there is a limited amount of time in the day, their statements are seen as indicators of their priorities. From outward appearances, it seems that Mr Trump is prioritizing some speech directed at Mr Pence over other matter such as the uptick in hate crimes or the transition.

    3) I believe an effective leader practices “extreme empathy.” They should look past behavior and speech to the underlying concerns and fears that drove the actions and speech. They should then work to address those concerns, demonstrating that they care and are listening. By only labeling the behavior as rude and not addressing anything else, he’s not contributing to resolving issues and reassuring citizens with concerns.

    (Yes, I expect my president to be more mature and forgiving than the average citizen.)

    PS — Hi! I hope you’re doing well. 🙂

  2. Felt compelled to reply to another part. I think that the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) problem is probably not an accurate model here. In particular, the PD problem assumes symmetry between the prisoners: same possible decisions, same costs, and same benefits. In this case, the possible decisions made by each party, their possible outcomes, and the cost / benefit of each are not equal.

    The PD problem also assumes that each prisoner makes a decision without knowing what the other will do. The Hamilton cast made their decision without knowledge of what President Elect Trump or Vice President Elect Pence would do. But, President Elect Trump had perfect knowledge of the Hamilton cast’s decision before making their own.

    And lastly, I would argue that the model would need to be more complex. In particular, I think the model would need to additionally include probabilities of expected outcomes, the concept of subjectivity (the Hamilton cast would value the cost/benefit ratio for President Elect Trump’s possible choices differently than President Elect Trump would), and long-term vs short-term aspects of cost / benefit ratios and desired outcomes.

    Thus, if we want to consider this from a purely utilitarian perspective, we probably need a different model.

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