My shot

It’s strange that a stage show running in one city is affecting the whole continent, but New York isn’t a normal place and Lin-Manuel Miranda clearly isn’t a normal man.

The killing in Orlando originally prompted my personal doctrine in response to political violence: refuse to be terrorized. One or a few people armed and keen to kill do not affect my thinking about politics.

I cried quite unexpectedly when I saw Miranda’s sonnet.

Reading more about the musical, and revelling in my BitTorrent audio, I am increasingly impressed by the virtuoso genius of the thing. Violence has sometimes been a decisive factor historically, but there is scope to hope that ideas and arguments can be our battleground as humanity learns to live all together on this small planet.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

9 thoughts on “My shot”

  1. Charlotte Runcie discovers literary depth — for those of us who need scholar-interpreters — “Miranda’s poem reaches a climax with the penultimate couplet (which would have been the final couplet in a more conventional 14-line sonnet): And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; Cannot be killed or swept aside. These two lines show mastery of the form from Miranda. The other lines in the sonnet have five stressed syllables each and are written in iambic pentameter, the meter most famously used by Shakespeare. But in the line “And love is love…” there are three extra syllables…

  2. I don’t know why, but I feel like I have been especially traumatized by the Pulse nightclub killings. Perhaps the reason why this slaughter has been so jarring for me was my longstanding hope that tolerance was spreading in North America about sex, gender, and sexual orientation.

    I am in grief, but North American politics are also complicated, and I love some of the media and creativity which show how our collective life of ideas has moved so far and so fast.

    Watching some of the earlier Lin-Manuel Miranda material which I had not seen has been especially affirming. For instance:

  3. In another example of how the strength of our emotions has little relation to the facts of what takes place, I find that while the Pulse nightclub killing affected me deeply I have basically no emotional response to the mass murder in Las Vegas.

    The former had a comprehensible target and motive, while what happened recently seems more like someone trying to rack up a high score in a video game. It isn’t even terrorism if it isn’t trying to achieve a political objective; it’s just narcissism akin to Herostratus burning the temple of Artemis for the sake of fame.

    It’s certainly possible that a political motive or agenda will emerge, but for now this just seems like the product of the combination of relatively unlimited access to firearms and human malice.

  4. Spectacular mass killings happen in America far more often than anywhere else, and not just because we make massacre-perfect weapons so easy to buy. Such killers are also engaged in role play and are motivated by our besetting national dream of overnight fame. The experts say that most mass killers are not psychotics or paranoid schizophrenics entirely in the throes of clinical delusion; rather, they’re citizens of Fantasyland, unhappy people with flaws and failures they blame on others, the system, the elitists, the world. They worry those resentments into sensational fantasies of paramilitary vengeance, and they know that acting out those fantasies will make a big splash and force the rest of us to pay attention to them for the first time.

  5. Malcolm Gladwell used the Las Vegas mass murder to illustrate that unfortunately there may be a tend towards mass murders not having to have a clear purpose or to be committed only by those who are apparently very ill.

    One of the problems is the widespread exposure that these events create. An easy story to be covered by the media and one which gains importance by the level of such coverage.

    I agree that a healthy response is not to be terrorized. If media could pay less attention to these events would be helpful.

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