The Man In The Zip Cardigan

Did these people watch the same Mister Rogers Neighborhood that I did? Scratch that, did these people even watch Mister Rogers Neighborhood at all? Because no matter how special Mr. Rogers said we all were, I never felt he told us we deserved anything we didn't earn or ever suggesting that anyone deserved anything just for showing up (I mean, even King Friday didn't get a free pass, and he was the ruler of The Land of Make Believe). I don't recall Mr. Rogers ever implied that our specialness made us impervious to the rules or above the law. He didn't tolerate rude behavior from anyone and if you feel the culture of entitlement is caused by children calling adults by their first names, how can you say Mr. Rogers was to blame?

Yeah, Mr. Rogers came from another era. An era when parents were held responsible for how their children behaved and who they grew up to be. You would think The Wall Street Journal would be advocating parental responsibility in these matters, not blaming the media and letting parents off the hook for spoiling their kids.

Also, you would think the writer of the article (and random professors with axes to grind) would actually do some demographic research, because while Mister Rogers Neighborhood was still in production and broadcast when the current crop of college students were toddlers, I have difficulty believing it was the seminal television show that it was for people of my generation. I mean, back in the day, educational programming consisted of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and the Electric Company. We didn't have all the choices available to parents today (or even parents ten years ago) and we didn't have 24 hour channels. I dunno about you, but I wouldn't go pointing fingers at a Presbyterian minister who had a half hour show on public television as creating a culture of entitlement. Not when you have had the 24 hour extended commercial that is called the Disney Channel being broadcast to most homes with basic cable fro the past two decades. Oh, but it's The Wall Street Journal, so I guess turning children into greedy consumers isn't the same as turning them into people who feel they deserve everything they want when they want it.


I miss Mr. Rogers. I wish our local PBS station showed the reruns of his show at a time other than 6 a.m. Yes, Julian has all sorts of television options that I didn't have, but all of them (or at least all the good ones) have a little bit of the 'hood in them. And the world is a colder place without our besweatered friend to talk us through the scary parts.

The Poem I Wrote The Morning I Heard About Fred Rogers' Death

I dreamt of Mr. Rogers the month before he died
In retrospect it may have been his way of saying goodbye
I never had a chance to meet this man who was my friend
And, in truth, I never thought the make believe would end
He taught me about living and he told me about pain
He said that bad things did exist and then he would explain
That sometimes life could be so scary and sometimes I'd get mad
He told me it was quite alright if sometimes I got sad
He also showed that life was always filled with joy and love
With kindness and with gentleness he held himself above
The cruelty, meanness, and cynicism of the everyday
He was a bodhisattva who showed the one true way
He told us not to hurt ourselves and not to hurt each other
Because every animal and person is one's sister or one's brother
So goodbye Mr. Rogers though I miss you more than ever
I hope I keep all the things you taught me in my heart forever.


Judy said…
That was beautiful. I've only recently come to fully appreciate Mr. Rogers, and man, do I miss him too. Can you get Mr. Rogers on DVD, because I'd love for my boys to have that for some of their allowed video-watching.

But no thanks for making me cry at 6:30 a.m. One should never cry before having coffee.
Anonymous said…
Wow. That was beautiful.

Read the article, and I totally agree with you. Wrong demographic and ridiculous suggestion at any rate, but apparently if you have the right creds you can say whatever you want and no one questions.
Anonymous said…
I can't find the credit for this article, but your entry brought it to mind:

Captain Kangaroo passed away on January 23, 2004 as age 76, which is odd, because he always looked to be 76. (DOB: 6/27/27) His death reminded me of the following story.

Some people have been a bit offended that the actor, Lee Marvin, is buried in a grave alongside 3 and 4 star generals at Arlington National Cemetery. His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC).
Nothing else. Here’s a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time, why the heck does he rate burial with these guys? Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but didn't know the extent of his Corps experiences.

In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces often in rear echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions,

Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima.
There is only one higher naval award... the Medal of Honor

If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery.

Dialog from "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson": His guest was Lee Marvin Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ...and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."

"Yeah, yeah... I got shot square in the bottom and they gave me the
Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi. Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys getting' shot hauling you down. But, Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew...
We both got the cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. That dumb guy actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. Bullets flying by, with mortar rounds landing everywhere and he stood there as the main target of gunfire so that he could get his men to safety. He did this on more than one occasion because his men's safety was more important than his own life.

That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter and said, ‘where'd they get you Lee?'
Well Bob... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!"
Johnny, I'm not lying, Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew.
The Sergeant's name is Bob Keeshan. You and the world know him as
Captain Kangaroo."

On another note, there was this wimpy little man (who just passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he now portrays to our youth. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeved sweater on TV, to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. He was a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat

After the war Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister and therefore a pacifist. Vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life. He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm America's real heroes don't flaunt what they did; they quietly go about their day-to-day lives, doing what they do best They earned our respect and the freedoms that we all enjoy.

Look around and see if you can find one of those heroes in your midst.
Often, they are the ones you’d least suspect, but would most like to have on your side if anything ever happened Take the time to thank anyone that has fought for our freedom. With encouragement they could be the next Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers.
alimum said…
Oh Milan. I hate to do this to you. But...

Check before repeating such rumors. especially about Mr. Rogers!

"Not only did Fred Rogers never serve in the military, there are no gaps in his career when he could conceivably have served in the military — he went straight into college after high school, he moved directly into TV work after graduating college, and his breaks from television work were devoted to attending the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963) and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. Moreover, Fred Rogers was born in 1928 and was therefore too old to have enlisted in the armed services by the time of America's military involvement in Vietnam."

* Actor Lee Marvin fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, received a Purple Heart, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery: True.

* Lee Marvin and Bob Keeshan, television's "Captain Kangaroo," fought together in the battle for Iwo Jima: False.

Thanks for visiting my blog, though!

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