I was able to find the above clip because apparently, I’m not the only blogger who associates the Berlin Wall Coming Down with Alvin and the Chipmunks. (You can add this list to reasons why I am really insecure about my intellectual capability.) But the truth is, I, like many other children, saw an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks in which Alvin has a dream that his singing songs of peace is what brings down the wall.
At the time of this episode, the Wall was still up, although I had never heard of it. I was completely blown away by this piece of television. Probably so moved that I haven’t been able to really enjoy TV since..but…I remember that even then, the notions of divisiveness, freedom, peace and isolation resonated strongly. I really think that Alvin and the Chipmunks taught what it meant to be invested in a cause greater than myself. I guess it seems silly, but I wouldn’t be studying aesthetics if I didn’t believe in the power of art (Yes. I called Alvin “art.” Bear with me.) to move and motivate people politically.
Even Aristotle and Plato both argue (albeit towards different conclusions) that that art can literally teach us how to feel, and what it feels like to react. It’s one reason why I’m hopeful about the next four years, even if Obama is coming on TV to remind us every day that he’s going to have a really hard time fixing things. I’m hopeful because we all learned how to feel hope. We broke the confines of ideological inertia. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion…
On a side note, I guess once my little-kid motion headed towards Germany, it stayed there. Around age 6 or 7, soon after seeing the video, I developed a full-blown obsession with Holocaust, which incidentally, also began today, with Kristallnacht.