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.