More Televised Nostalgia

August 6, 2008 at 12:27 am 3 comments

This isn’t directly from a tv show, but those of you who remember growing up with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will feel more than just a pang of rememberence. Here, Fred Rogers speaks passionately and honestly to the Senate, in support of a proposed grant of $20 million to the Corporation to Public Broadcasting.

His earnestness almost seems naïve, but that’s why Mr. Rogers is great. Probably even by age seven, the average kid is too cynical for Mr. Rogers, but any four or five year old could immediately relate to him. Every episode fed the intellectual and imaginative needs of kids, whether it was going inside a crayon factory with Picture Picture, or taking the trolley to the Land of Make-Believe. I remember parts of the Land of Make-Believe in particular as being kind of dark or creepy, which is kind of a nice counterpoint to most kid’s programming. Besides, every episode was bursting with positivity and validation of the child’s own feelings and quirks. That’s the most important aspect, and that’s what Rogers emphasizes in the video above. In between the drama of King Friday and Prince Tuesday and learning how yo-yos are manufactured, Mr. Rogers teaches kids the basics of emotional stability, and how to communicate with one another. As current communication forms are increasingly isolating and conducive to hostility, these are skills its vital we not forget.

The main reason I bring this all up, however, is that PBS no longer plans to keep Mr. Rogers in Monday-Friday syndication, replacing it instead with noisy, poorly animated crap like Cyberchase. Television is often pure entertainment of widely varying quality. Honest, straight-forward documentaries are becoming more rare (don’t even get me started on that pseudoarchaeology crap that airs on the History channel sometimes), being given up in favor of flash over substance. Kids aren’t born wanting sugary cereal and flashy editing. Kids want what we give them, and they’ll learn what we teach them.

Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes we need reminders to be responsible for our world’s future, rather than to just go for the quick buck. That’s why Fred Rogers was so great when he was around- he was a great reminder of the power that a few words and a song can have. Let’s keep him around a while longer, shall we?


Entry filed under: Betty, I Saw It On TV. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Miranda  |  August 6, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Bless that man and bless you Betty for sharing. Bless bless.

  • 2. Tim Cameron  |  August 6, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I don’t think we ever had Mr Rogers in England, which is sad; from what you’ve said about him and from that video, he seems like the kind of impassioned children’s presenter that the world needs more of. That poem at the end actually put a lump in my throat.

  • 3. Mom  |  August 8, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Yes. We need to clone Mr. Rogers. Thank you Betty. I am so proud of you! Mr. Rogers speaks slowly and gently which for an instant seems like he is talking down to us. But on the contrary, he is speaking respectfully and intelligently. Yes, people need to hear his message because so many parents today don’t understand children. Save a child, keep Mr. Rogers on PBS!


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