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In 1970, a fourteen year old boy named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Montreal room during their “peace in.” The following animated short, I Met the Walrus, is based on a recording of their conversations. It was nominated for an Oscar for “best animated short” at the 2008 Academy Awards, and won “Best Animated” at the Manhattan Short Film Festival.

It’s worth watching because first, a fourteen year old boy sneaking into a hotel room to ask his hero how young people can work for peace could serve as our model for artistic/political action. The kid was earnest, he had guts, and he got the most important issues out first. Second, anything John Lennon has to say about war, peace, or the structure of modern civilization is lucid and insightful. Finally, the animation portrays this merging of the actual and the possible. It helps the viewer understand the structures that control us and imagine alternatives. Lennon was a dreamer, and his clear understanding of how thoroughly corrupt the world is didn’t dissuade him from working towards irrationally idealistic goals. He mixed art and action and nonsense. This animation does that too.

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