For some completely inexplicable reason, Pee Wee Herman decided to post a link to a digital Theremin to his facebook page in honor of presidents day on Monday. I will not lie this move surprises me, but I guess it shouldn’t coming from this guy…
But what the Hell is a theramin anyways and why do they exist? Well here is the, somewhat eerie, answer to the first question,
So you can play some hauntingly interesting songs on this, but why did they come about in the first place, and more importantly why did Pee Wee post it for Presidents day!?
It actually has a pretty cool beginning to it. Originally invented by Russian physicist Lev Sergeyevich Termen, or Léon Theremin as he became known in America, it was intially intended to be a proximity alarm. The instrument gained some popularity as a main stream instrument, with a few professional touring thereminists in America. But after the end of world war II the instrument few out of the public consciousness.
It remained only an interest to a passionate few, one of whom was Robert Moog, who went on to create this little gem,
The moog board that Robert Moog created became the corner stone of the what would become the electronica movement. In a somewhat ironic gesture the theramin has come full circle, an analog instrument that helped create the electronica movement, has gone on to become a completely digital instrument.
Having associated the history of this instrument with President’s Day it is possible that Pee Wee intended this as a metaphor for our current political system. We started with a set of ideals to guide us, but they quickly transformed into doctrine and firm unbending laws. The ideals of the founders went on to inform the ideals of the digital age we now live in, much in the same way the analog instrument when on to inform our modern digital music. Maybe Pee Wee is saying that we now need to return to our the original ideals of our foundation, or better yet, that we need to bring these ideals in the modern era. Perhaps he is saying we need the equivalent of a completely digital theramin for our political structure, an updated version of the intentions of the founders. Preserving their intentions but updating them, bringing their vision to fulfillment.
I suppose we may never know for sure, but I choose to believe in Pee Wee Herman.