Friday, February 6, 2004

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Gorbachev, Bush, Kohl... Hasselhoff?

The BBC reports about a man who feels slighted by history:

Baywatch star David Hasselhoff is griping that his role in reuniting East and West Germany has been overlooked....

Barely a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the city that had been divided by politics for more than 40 years was united in song.

And leading the chorus of several hundred thousand voices was a man hitherto known to the rest of the world for driving a talking car....

Speaking to Germany's TV Spielfilm magazine, the 51-year-old carped about how his pivotal role in harmonising relations between the two sides of the divide had been overlooked.

"I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Checkpoint Charlie," he told the magazine.

Read the whole story to get Hasselhoff's side of the story.

Indeed, let us all hope that sometime soon, all of the former stars of Baywatch receive their proper due in museums.

Yasmine Bleeth, Nicole Eggert, and Brande Roderick -- your days will come!!!

[Thanks to alert reader S.P. for the tip.]

posted by Dan on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM


Some young grad student 100 years from now will garner a PH.D on a dissertation explaining how Hasselhoff and Baywatch REALLY brought down the Iron Curtain. He'll be the talk of the academic world.

And we'll all be dead.



posted by: SteveMG on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

So there is a bright side to mortality after all.

posted by: Bill Peschel on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

Yet another BBC oversight.

posted by: -Ed. on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

To be fair, in the same era, we had Michael Bolton.

posted by: Jeremy on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

My guess is that David Hasselhoff deserves a little bit of credit for bringing down the Berlin Wall. We should never underestimate the role culture plays in advancing freedom. I seriously doubt, though, that Hasselhoff played a major role. Singing about the virtues of freedom during that era certainly didn’t hurt anything. Still, it was Ronald Reagan who implored:

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

posted by: David Thomson on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

“Some young grad student 100 years from now will garner a Ph.D. on a dissertation explaining how Hasselhoff and Baywatch REALLY brought down the Iron Curtain. He'll be the talk of the academic world.”

I actually think that a number of serious studies could be written concerning the role played by the entertainment industry in overthrowing Communism. Has anybody attempted such a necessary task? It would really be a good idea. David Hasselhoff is indulging in a major ego trip. But there’s likely a modest bit of truth in his claims. Western rock artists almost certainly did encourage the youths residing in the Soviet controlled countries to desire more freedom.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

A celebrity who uses the power of music to bring two warring factions together ... that sound like THE VIDEOGAME I'M PLAYING.

posted by: Hei Lun Chan on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

It reminds me of the guys on "Friends" watching "Baywatch."

Maybe the thought of seeing Yasmine Bleeth on first run TV instead of all those lousy 3rd and 4th generation bootlegged tape is what caused the wall to come down.

Was it just conincidence that most of those we saw tearing down the wall were in that coveted 16 - 30 year old age group?

I dither, you deny.

posted by: Jim H on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

This just goes to prove my theory - Germans love David Hasselhoff!

posted by: Norm McDonald on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

Hasselhoff may have a point about the power of music. I knew the Soviet Union was doomed when I heard in the early 80s that Gromyko's grandson was in a Rolling Stones cover band.

posted by: Bud Norton on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

It seems to me that the real point here is the power of celebrity . . . in the minds of celebrities. Pathetic, yet illustrative.

posted by: Ben on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

One of the ironies first noted (I think) by William F. Buckley was that one of the darkest periods for the West during the Cold War was the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. It did indeed appear at that time that the "future" was in their hands; that the West was falling behind the progressive forces advancing quickly ahead of the disorganized Occident.

But history is a brutal teacher and the very same launch systems that could boost nuclear tipped missiles into space half a world away could also launch satellites which would beam television and radio signals through and beyond the walls. And so while we were watching them, they could start to watch us without state control. They would learn about our, yes, vices but our virtues as well. And we offered an alternative to their system.

In the "Power of the Powerless", Havel pointed out that it took the individual to say no to the lies of the Communist system. That he or she would not blindly accept the propaganda in the store windows. But in order to find that strength, another vision would have to be offered.

Interesting as well that Havel places great credit to Western rock music in his own journey towards freedom and anticomunism.


posted by: SteveMG on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

You appear to have "Dreznalanched" the FHM server into submission.

posted by: Mac on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

Instead of filling in for Andrew Sullivan I suspect you are dreaming of "guest-blogging" for Scott Baio.

P.S. - Donna D'Errico is a sharper interview than GWB was last Sunday on MTP.

posted by: joejoejoe on 02.06.04 at 09:43 PM [permalink]

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