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The most trusted man in America
May 6, 2011 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Why I Love Mr Rogers. Scott Jordan Harris discusses discovering Fred Rogers's show as an adult.
posted by shakespeherian (93 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was my favorite show. I think it's the trolly and soft voice.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2011


Mr Rogers isn't trolling. He really DOES love sweaters.
posted by DU at 9:02 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I was into Mister Rogers before he was cool. We all were, of course, because Mr. Rogers was never cool. He had no time for "cool" when he could be genuine, patient, kind, and compassionate. What a wonderful man he was. I'm glad to see that people are still discovering him today.
posted by explosion at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


Pastabagel's The sincerity of Mr. Rogers
posted by Blasdelb at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Loving Mr. Rogers needs no explanation.
posted by contessa at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This was, without a doubt, my favorite TV show as a kid.
posted by nickthetourist at 9:08 AM on May 6, 2011


There's a story that I'm sure most of you have heard--the gist is that Mr. Rogers' car was stolen one day, and it turned up unharmed a day or two later with a note on the dashboard saying "Sorry, we didn't know it was yours."

It's most likely apocryphal, but damn it, it should be true.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Aw man, the annual Mr Rogers thread is coming around.

lemme get my tissues
posted by grubi at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


I found the pastabagel thing overthought. cool, hip, uncool, ironic etc ?
Nah. Mr R liked kids and kids liked him. Whereas Seseme St taught "lessons" Mr R showed kids they could be themselves, like themselves, and belong. I just wish he learned to tie his shoes faster.
posted by Postroad at 9:18 AM on May 6, 2011


From that previous thread:

Despite being an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, “God loves you just the way you are.” Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists.

He was a man who promoted tolerance before it was as widely popular a cause. And he did so in the face of his would be religious peers without flinching. He spoke quietly and with sincerity, and he treated people with kindness.

I'm not prone to the whole Catholic thing, but if there ever was someone I'd nominate for sainthood, it would be Fred Rogers.
posted by quin at 9:18 AM on May 6, 2011 [27 favorites]


Loved that show. While being raised by total unhealthy psychos I found it incredibly comforting and just...gentle.

I wish I could get a bunch of the back episodes for my kid when he gets to TV-watching age.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:19 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know I watched some Mr. Rogers as a child. I don't recall it leaving much of an impression.

Reading as an adult I'm Proud of You and The World According to Mr. Rogers and articles MeFi has linked to, that made an impression.

What a wonderful, loving man.
posted by Zed at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2011


This brought tears to my eyes, and I'm at work, so thanks for that. I can't imagine growing up without Mr. Rogers either - I had some friends in college who didn't get why that show had such a profound impact on me and thousands of others, and I still feel bad for them for that. If we all tried to be a little more like Fred Rogers, the world would be a much better place.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:22 AM on May 6, 2011


It's most likely apocryphal, but damn it, it should be true.

My grad school professor wrote a book about him and she did nothing to dispell this myth. Nor did one of my classmates who had been on the show as a child.
posted by librarianamy at 9:23 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm probably the only American who, having been the right age at that time, still has NEVER SEEN ONE EPISODE of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Boy, did I ever miss out.
posted by PepperMax at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2011


This has been linked to before in previous Mr. Rogers threads, but it's one of my all-time favorite things. Mr. Rogers defends PBS
posted by cottoncandybeard at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


While being raised by total unhealthy psychos I found it incredibly comforting and just...gentle.

Yeah, this.

Lots of people talk about how they loved him as a child or love him now, but as an adult that grew up in a ... less than functional household, my attachment to Mr. Rogers was a firm oasis of sanity in the midst of lots of other stuff I had no way to understand. His message was the only message I got as a child that said "I like you just the way you are." The only one. And so I watched Mr. Rogers daily until I was much older than my classmates. I believe I was still watching him every day after school until I was 12 or 13, at least.

My son, he doesn't have much patience for the show. I always thought it was too slowly paced for him, but a few months ago my husband hit on what I think is the real reason. "He doesn't need to hear the message," my husband says, "he hears it every day from you. That you love him just the way he is, and that he's strong and good, inside and out."

Now I'll have to explain why I'm crying at work.
posted by anastasiav at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2011 [115 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "Loved that show. While being raised by total unhealthy psychos I found it incredibly comforting and just...gentle."

Exactly. Me too.

A small number of Mr. Rogers DVD's are available through Netflix. Not many. There's also a 2-DVD set of The Magic Garden episodes available.
posted by zarq at 9:43 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


anastasiav: " My son, he doesn't have much patience for the show. I always thought it was too slowly paced for him, but a few months ago my husband hit on what I think is the real reason. "He doesn't need to hear the message," my husband says, "he hears it every day from you. That you love him just the way he is, and that he's strong and good, inside and out.""

Your husband is awesome. :)
posted by zarq at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


anastasiav, I just got a lump in my throat reading that.
posted by chococat at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2011


> His message was the only message I got as a child that said "I like you just the way you are." The only one.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my childhood. It wasn't a happy one. I'm sure there'd be much to be gain unpacking it all in therapy, but I've never found the time, so I just close the door and get on with my life.

Which is only to say that I've just now realized this is true for me, too.

And now so's the crying at work part. Dammit.
posted by Zozo at 9:50 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


... every article about Mr Rogers seems, to those who know little of him, to stray into hagiography. This impression is unavoidable, but it also incorrect. The simple truth is that no worthwhile criticism can be made of his work and no believable criticism can be made of his character.
Yep. That seems about right.

Time to bring out the Tom Junod article on Mister Rogers again.
posted by maudlin at 9:54 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


As evidenced by the preceding paragraph, every article about Mr Rogers seems, to those who know little of him, to stray into hagiography. This impression is unavoidable, but it also incorrect. The simple truth is that no worthwhile criticism can be made of his work and no believable criticism can be made of his character.

There aren't many you could say this about but Fred Rogers seems to be one of the few: of course he is better than a saint because he is a real human being.

And I think you can get away with saying it about him because of his genuine humility. He didn't think of himself as a saint. He was simply a good person who chose to be enormously thoughtful in how he acted. I think often about how things might be if more people of good will decided to act this way, to not just react but to pick your battle and thoughtfully, deliberately, calmly and gently spend your life fighting it.

I always sneer at people who comment to remark, backhandedly or openly, on how sensitive they are.

Hey chanology, do we look like tiny little bugs, from way up there on your amazing horse?

PBS has 26 episodes online, incidentally.
posted by nanojath at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wish Mr. Rogers was still around but the fact that he isn't inspires me to try to be more like him, because we need people like him.
posted by jefeweiss at 10:04 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The internet has encouraged me to expect you all to think it is cool that I have positive emotions about something that is inherently a positive thing. Damn you internet for debasing us all.
posted by found missing at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's worth mentioning, now that we're in the middle of this shiny digital future of ours, that back in the day Mr. Rogers played a pivotal role in a Supreme Court decision to permit time and media shifting, the Betamax Case.
"Second is the testimony of Fred Rogers, president of the corporation that produces and owns the copyright on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The program is carried by more public television stations than any other program. Its audience numbers over 3,000,000 families a day. He testified that he had absolutely no objection to home taping for noncommercial use, and expressed the opinion that it is a real service to families to be able to record children's programs and to show them at appropriate times."
[..]
"Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the 'Neighborhood' at hours when some children cannot use it. I think that it's a real service to families to be able to record such programs and show them at appropriate times. I have always felt that, with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the 'Neighborhood' off the air, and I'm speaking for the 'Neighborhood' because that's what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family's television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.' Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."

Id. at 2920-2921. See also Defendants' Exh. PI, p. 85.
So a large part of our ability to have and use the Internet at all in its current (miraculous, incredible) form is directly thanks to Mr. Rogers' help. If the digital media world ever had a Patron Saint, Mr. Rogers is it.
posted by mhoye at 10:07 AM on May 6, 2011 [33 favorites]


[Some comments removed. Take it to your blog or to Metatalk if it needs public discussion, but please don't derail threads with complaints about what Metafilter is or should be.]
posted by cortex at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just reading the description of the show gave me chills, because while I don't remember that episode, I remember the elements of the show as an "almost sacred" thing from my childhood. Mr. Rogers is enshrined as one of the people who loved me, even though I never met him.
posted by freshwater at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2011


I am ridiculously proud* of the fact that one of the last speeches Fred Rogers gave before he passed away was the 2002 commencement address of my alma mater, Chatham College for Women. When I heard that he sang "It's You I Like" to the graduates (with the line "not your caps and gowns/they're just beside you"), I could not stop grinning, because that was such a Mr. Rogers thing to do.

*I say "ridiculously proud" because I can't take any credit for bringing Mr. Rogers to Chatham myself. I can only give props to the people who did. Class of 2002, yinz guys are smart.
posted by bakerina at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2011


I love each and every one of these Mister Rogers MeFi threads.

Just the way they are.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't know. I always had reservations about him. I think his voice mannerisms freaked me out/creeped me out. I couldn't wait until the puppet show started.

LOVED the tiger puppet though.
posted by stormpooper at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2011


Like any other kid, our three and a half year old son sometimes has a hard time managing his emotions and has gone through a phase of pushing and hitting other kids. He is just now really starting to learn about and manage his own emotions and check himself when he feels like expressing himself in that way. It can be so frustrating as a parent, and of course I've felt all the same feelings well up inside myself as I deal with peeling him off some kid he has just tackled.

The importance of Mr. Rogers, the secret to the longevity of the show, is the calm oasis that he created for us on the airwaves amidst the hyperkinetic cartoon chaos and violence that so effectively pulls us out of our feelings and spirit. He speaks to me as a middle aged parent as clearly as he spoke to me as a young child. My mom tells me that I was a fairly calm and centered child, and I'm sure I can attribute some of that to having Fred Rogers as a role model. Nobody got hurt or smacked around anybody else on his show, yet Important Things still happened. It sure was easier to be content with the simple things knowing that at least a few other adults had managed to do the same.

I'm delighted that our three and a half year old son loves Mr. Rogers. He gets to watch the show occasionally and talks about it often. He even incorporates Mr. Rogers into his pretend play, which means that the man is making an indelible impression on his psyche. Which is fine by me. Our son will encounter plenty of false heroes in his lifetime, as we all have -- I love that he embraces a true hero.
posted by vverse23 at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong...
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It's great to be able to stop
When you've planned a thing that's wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there's something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.



Don't feed trolls
posted by shakespeherian at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


What an amazing human being. I absolutely loved his show, and the more I've learned about him over the years, the more I've loved the man.

I'm glad he's a MeFi hero. I think that says something positive about this place. He's an antidote to cynicism.
posted by defenestration at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thirty three years? 900 episodes?!

How is it possible that PBS doesn't offer up torrents of this stuff?
posted by mhoye at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Went from the article to reading the first chapter of "Dear Mr. Rogers, Amazon Kindle: Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?: Letters to Mr. Rogers"
One of our favorite letters came from a very sensitive and loving father describing a conversation he had with his three-and-a-half-year-old son, Isaac, who had been struggling with the question about how real I was.
Dear Mister Rogers,
While putting [my son] to bed last night, he said, "Mr. Rogers doesn't poop [i.e. defecate]." I said that of course you did. He denied it vehemently. I asked where his certainty came from and he said, "Well, I've never seen him poop." I pointed out that there were lots of people he hadn't seen poop, and that they all still did. He accepted that about others [adults and kids], but denied it about you. I kissed him goodnight and left the room. Five minutes later I was summoned to his bedside. "Daddy, I know Mr. Rogers doesn't poop." "How?" I asked. "Because I've seen his house, and he just has a closet, a living room, a kitchen and a yard."

Sincerely,
Isaac's father.
Dear Isaac,

...Your father told me you had an interesting talk with him about whether I "poop." It's good that you and he were talking about that. I know it can be hard to understand that I do. I am a real person. And, one thing for certain is that all real people "poop." That is an important part of how our bodies work. Little by little, as you grow, you will learn more about how our bodies work. And it is good that you are thinking about that now.

On some of our programs I show the bathroom in my television house. It is off to the side of the kitchen. ... We don't often show the bathroom of our television set because that is not my real house. I think of it as my "television house." That is a place where I stop by during my work day to have a television visit with my friends. When I am at work, I use the bathrooms in the building where we make our programs.
I have two three-year olds, and love seeing the ways people interact with them and vice-versa. Some folks talk down to them or even try to order them around, most are simply a little amused, but some speak with them as if they were adults.

Reading this letter and others in the book, it struck me how great Mr. Rogers was at communicating with kids. He wasn't condescending. He didn't dumb things down too much. He simply spoke respectfully, from the heart. The way a parent should speak to their child(ren.)

I loved Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. He was, as the young rope rider said, a calm haven during what was a difficult childhood. I'm so happy to know those episodes are available at PBS.com. (Thank you, nanojath!)
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


Mr. Rogers' shoes.
posted by tizzie at 10:36 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the middle of all this Mr. Rogers love, I thought it ought to be mentioned that the article linked to was very well written. Thanks for the link.
posted by tomswift at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister Rogers was not a perfect being; he was human. He sometimes got upset or frustrated when things didn't go his way, just like we all do. And yet, when he did lose his temper, it looked like this.

What a wonderful man.

(I'm sure I've told this story on MeFi before, but when I worked a summer internship at Maryland Public Television, I made sure to always take my lunch at 11:30 so I could watch Mister Rogers in the break room.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:47 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Grr, this guy totally stepped on my "The Banana Splits: Lessons For All Ages" story.
posted by rhizome at 10:47 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm sitting here at my desk with great big drops of tears falling on my keyboard. That Tom Junod article is so wonderful.

I don't remember much Mr. Rogers from my childhood. I remember I liked it, but then I also remember making fun of it as a vulgar 12-year-old boy. When I became an adult I revisited it in various ways (youtube, articles, etc) and now I know why I loved it, for all the reasons mentioned above.

I would gladly pay $2000 to have all 900 Mr. Rogers episodes in a boxset.
posted by jnrussell at 10:48 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Growing up in Pittsburgh, Mr. Rogers was seen as "our" guy. Even so, I leaned more towards the mildly naughtier antics of Captain Kangaroo.

That said, I think this clip says a lot about this singular man. His warmth, dignity, interest in and respect for others is enormously uplifting.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2011


I don't know. I always had reservations about him. I think his voice mannerisms freaked me out/creeped me out.

UNBELIEVER! BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNN THE WIIIIIIIIIIIITTCHHHHH!
posted by FatherDagon at 11:02 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


UNBELIEVER! BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNN THE WIIIIIIIIIIIITTCHHHHH!

It hurts when someone talks about a person that way. It's hard when someone doesn't agree with you about something you care strongly about, and it can sometimes feel like you're being insulted. But we can still be friends and take care of each other, even if we disagree.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:07 AM on May 6, 2011 [43 favorites]


That said, I think this clip says a lot about this singular man. His warmth, dignity, interest in and respect for others is enormously uplifting.

The kid in that clip, Jeff Erlanger, died in 2007 at the age of 36.
posted by anastasiav at 11:08 AM on May 6, 2011


I just thought of the Crayon Factory video for the first time in a while. I grew up in the early 90s and spent my mornings before school watching Sesame Street, Shining Time Station, Lambchop, and Mister Rogers. My grandparents were pretty far away, and it was really wonderful to feel like I had a grandpa come and talk to me every morning.

Plus, Daniel Striped Tiger was pretty great.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


UNBELIEVER! BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNN THE WIIIIIIIIIIIITTCHHHHH!

Heh. Well, when I was a kid I didn't like his show either; Trolley was okay, the filmreel bits were cool, every once in a while he would show off an invention or something that was pretty okay, but that was about all I liked; the interactions with neighbors, the singing, the soft talking all sort of left me feeling a little weird about the show. And the puppet stuff was just, no. I couldn't stand it at the time.

I have in retrospect developed a great deal of respect for what Rogers was doing and for why his show was the way it was, but at the time it did not reach me. And the weird thing about it is that I think I was put off by it because I was uncomfortable with the flat-out earnestness of the whole affair.

I saw Fred Rogers being warm and friendly and joyful and my childhood reaction was something like "this shit is cornball, what's his angle?" While I was in the process of learning that life was confusing and kids could be total dicks and adults weren't always great either, learning to be sarcastic or wry or misdirecting to keep myself from being made vulnerable, here is this old dude acting guileless, acting like some suspiciously friendly uncle, and who does that? Who is like that and isn't up to something?

Fred Rogers, it turns out. I kind of wish I'd gotten that at the time.
posted by cortex at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [26 favorites]


I've never been a girl who cared much about shoes, jewelry, purses, or lots of makeup. I couldn't care less about those things. But I remember admiring his cardigan closet as a little kid - and have definitely developed a cardigan addiction because of Mr. Rogers (no closet devoted to them though).

Cardigans aside, he was absolutely my favorite growing up. His endless compassion, kindness and willingness to listen to anyone who stopped by, I like to think (hope) rubbed off on me. I was absolutely heartbroken when I was out to dinner on my birthday in 2003, and someone mentioned that Mr. Rogers had just died. It was difficult to keep a smile for the rest of the night... Except when I looked down at my cardigan, and remembered how my love of them began.
posted by raztaj at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember a moment, when as an adult working with antiques, where I was struck with the realization that I probably loved vintage Steiff animals so much because they reminded me of Daniel Stripèd Tiger.

And in poking around now just because I was thinking of him, I feel a pang that the Wikipedia description of Daniel is ever so much more charming, appealing and well-written than the drivel on the PBS kids' site - especially if you were using that information to describe Daniel to even the littlest kid. WWMr.RD? Not that.
posted by peagood at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked the chewing gum factory movie the most.

I also had a lot of dreams featuring the Purple Panda when I was a child.
posted by contessa at 11:34 AM on May 6, 2011


That was a well written article, thanks for posting it.

It's weird to say this, but years ago, the word pleased wasn't really a word I used. I think I must have used happy instead. Then in the local free weekly I read this article about Mr Rogers receiving an award from the Children's Discovery Museum. There was one sentence that stuck with me for some reason. Until I pulled it up today, I had always remembered the sentence at the beginning of the article, but that's not actually the case.

Mr. Rogers stands there, looking pleased. The CDM people have given him a brilliant purple sweater with a zipper, to add to his collection.

I was never a big fan of Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. I watched it because it was on after Sesame Street and before Electric Company and Zoom, but I was always faintly bored by it, thinking it was for little kids- which I wasn't, anymore, once I had a little sister. I clearly absorbed it though, because reading the Metro article I had a visceral understanding of what Mr. Rogers looking pleased meant, and somehow it made that bit of vocabulary valuable to me.

Almost every time I use or read or hear pleased, I think of Mr. Rogers receiving a brilliant purple sweater, something I read about long ago and still somehow have a deeply satisfied response to. So, thanks, journalist Corinne Asturias, for broadening my vocabulary and imagination with a sentence you probably never thought twice about. And thanks Mr. Rogers, for physically personifying simple, graceful pleasure.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I remember a moment, when as an adult working with antiques, where I was struck with the realization that I probably loved vintage Steiff animals so much because they reminded me of Daniel Stripèd Tiger.

Oh my goodness...peagood when I clicked that link, those green eyes of the first puppet brought Daniel back to me so strongly I have tears in my eyes. I hadn't thought of him in years.
posted by strixus at 11:46 AM on May 6, 2011


Since Mr. Rogers death, the former Family Communications Inc., the non-profit he founded to produce his show has been renamed The Fred Rogers Company, but is still working to promote his values through new media material for children, professional development materials for people working in child care and education, and resources for parents.

There are worse things to support.
posted by Naberius at 11:55 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watching Mr. Rogers Emmy acceptance speech for the umpteenth time just now, I just consciously saw for the first time the kiss he shared with his wife right before he went up to accept his award. What a wonderful moment of unguarded emotion to see from him! After spending so many years sharing our days with us, we got a little peek at what his personal life was like, where the only person he had to be present for was his wife. Then he goes up on stage and true to form, uses his moment in the spotlight as a teaching moment.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2011


But I remember admiring his cardigan closet as a little kid - and have definitely developed a cardigan addiction because of Mr. Rogers (no closet devoted to them though).

The cardigans he wore on the show? They were knitted by his mother.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:11 PM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Just a note to everybody who wishes they could see the show: Amazon has them for sale via their Instant Video section.

Here's a link to one set (these are indexed by years) and another with mixes of older and newer episodes.

Not shilling for Amazon, but glad to see they are there.
posted by dforemsky at 12:14 PM on May 6, 2011


1. Aaaah, there is no video on YouTube of the Washer Dryer Sorter Dumper! Apparently it was featured in Season 7, in episode 1324.

2. I've always like the names of the puppets on the show. Daniel Stripéd Tiger! Harriet Elizabeth Cow! Donkey Hodie! Henrietta Pussycat! X the Owl! Cornflake S. Pecially!
posted by JHarris at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It hurts when someone talks about a person that way. It's hard when someone doesn't agree with you about something you care strongly about, and it can sometimes feel like you're being insulted. But we can still be friends and take care of each other, even if we disagree.

I know that part of this comment was meant to be funny as a juxtaposition to the "burn the witch" joke, but...

Still. It was so Mr Rogers, it... um... er... made my non-existent allergies act up.
posted by grubi at 12:35 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not shilling for Amazon, but glad to see they are there.

Free to Prime members...
posted by nzero at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2011


This 1969 senate hearing, which I stumbled on after FaintOfButt's wonderful "frustrated Mr. Rogers" link, was a wonderful discovery. Mr. Rogers' interaction with the head of the Senate committee was impassioned and wonderful, the interaction between them was open and sincere, and when the Senator says "looks like you just earned the 20 million dollars", the floor erupts into applause and I got goosebumps.
posted by dylanjames at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Still. It was so Mr Rogers, it... um... er... made my non-existent allergies act up.

There's humor in there, but it was also sincere. Mister Rogers threads are among the rare snark-free zones on MetaFilter.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


1.) I just realized Seth MacFarlane's 'Gay' voice he does (or maybe some other va does it, but I am pretty sure it's him) for most of his cartoons is an exact copy of Mr. Rogers natural voice.

2.) I have an older friend who lived next door to him growing up. She always told me stories about how he was a grumpy drunk. Ruined my image of him just a little, because I grew up with his show.
posted by Malice at 2:49 PM on May 6, 2011


I just realized Seth MacFarlane's 'Gay' voice he does (or maybe some other va does it, but I am pretty sure it's him) for most of his cartoons is an exact copy of Mr. Rogers natural voice.

One of those things about Seth's cartoons which finally pissed me off enough that I never watch them anymore, actually. (There were other straws on that camel's back before it broke, but that was definitely one of them.)
posted by hippybear at 2:50 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The 1969 Senate hearing for non-Americans. What's fascinating is how the Senate committee hasn't ever heard of the show (it debuted the previous year). Also great is how the Senator sounds jaded, and how earnest Mr. Rogers is with him.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:51 PM on May 6, 2011


I have an older friend who lived next door to him growing up. She always told me stories about how he was a grumpy drunk.

Most of what I've read about him say he didn't really drink. I don't know if he was a teetotaler or anything, but most reports are "he didn't drink". If your friend has real stories about this, it would be Big Big News.
posted by hippybear at 2:54 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I've always read that he didn't smoke, didn't drink, and didn't eat meat of any kind.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:56 PM on May 6, 2011


When I was very young we didn't get PBS in Canada where I lived, so I never saw him on TV. Later when I was a student we got it on cable. I turned on the TV one morning and I saw him pick up a guitar:

Propel Propel Propel your craft
Gently down the effusion
Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion.

posted by ovvl at 3:06 PM on May 6, 2011


Propel Propel Propel your craft
Gently down the effusion
Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion.


You all realize that at every meet up from now on this song MUST be sung as a round.
posted by KingEdRa at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few students complained when he was invited to do a commencement address, but they probably felt different after hearing the speech:

Fred McFeely Rogers 2002 Commencement Address at Dartmouth College.
posted by ovvl at 3:22 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just popped in to say The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World's Most Beloved Neighbor is kind of an interestingly look at his spirituality. It's not a great book, but it's got some nice insights.
posted by puckupdate at 3:24 PM on May 6, 2011


Now I just have to find that sweet anecdote about those debauched guys stumbling home after an all-nighter only to meet Mr Rogers outside his church.
posted by ovvl at 3:35 PM on May 6, 2011



I just thought of the Crayon Factory video for the first time in a while......
posted by ChuraChura


OH MY GOD THE CRAYON FACTORY!!!!!!!!

Damn it, the Crayon Factory is still awesome and I still wish I worked there.
posted by Windigo at 3:49 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can anyone tell me why I can't get any video on the PBS site? I'm running Windows 7 64, and I've tried it on Chrome (with flashblock disabled), Firefox 4, and IE (32 bit) and all I get is a black box.
posted by HSWilson at 4:05 PM on May 6, 2011


I just realized Seth MacFarlane's 'Gay' voice he does (or maybe some other va does it, but I am pretty sure it's him) for most of his cartoons is an exact copy of Mr. Rogers natural voice.
Almost exact...
posted by rhizome at 4:06 PM on May 6, 2011


I have an older friend who lived next door to him growing up. She always told me stories about how he was a grumpy drunk.

Your friend misled you, I'm afriad.

The NY Times article published after his death confirms: "Mr. Rogers was a vegetarian and a dedicated lap-swimmer. He did not smoke or drink. He never carried more than about 150 pounds on his six-foot frame."
posted by misha at 4:15 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have an older friend who lived next door to him growing up. She always told me stories about how he was a grumpy drunk.

From personal anecdotes I've heard (a friend whose mom acted on the show, a friend who grew up on his block), this is in no way true.

On preview--yeah, that NYT article has it right.
posted by leesh at 4:17 PM on May 6, 2011


Your friend is lying. That's really sad. You just don't talk shit about Mr. Rogers. That's just not done.
posted by Windigo at 4:33 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


One of my early childhood education professors used to teach at a preschool in Pittsburgh. One day there was a terrible accident: a man was working on the street in a cherry-picker when he fell out of it, into the preschool's playground, and died, all in front of the children. When Mr. Rogers heard about the accident, he visited the school in person to help the children deal with their shock and grief.

So, yeah, the Mr. Rogers you saw on TV was the real Mr. Rogers.
posted by that's how you get ants at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


That "gay" voice is NOT a Mr Rogers voice. It's a spin on a gentle Southern accented "gay" voice. Not sure? Find me time that Mr Rogers would say "Oh Noooooo..." in that particular way. (Never happened.)

The problem with imitations of Mr Rogers' voice is they make it sound vaguely "gay" or Norwegian. And so people equate the poor imitations with other similar voices, and we get mix-ups like this one.

Mr Rogers' voice was soft, deliberate, and was a touch sing-songy. Let's not conflate anything else into it.
posted by grubi at 4:44 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just spent the afternoon reading, rereading really, Mr. Rogers stuff, including all the mefi threads I could find. But I was obviously missing much of Mr. Rogers' message as I was consumed with hard feelings towards two users who each made unpleasant remarks about Mr. Rogers. They shat in not one Mr. Rogers thread apiece, but two each! I was getting unreasonably worked up about it, then I saw shakespeherian's post and felt better. Such a great man, there are no words. A little sad I still need the lessons at 30 though.

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong...
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It's great to be able to stop
When you've planned a thing that's wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there's something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

posted by pseudonick at 5:10 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have a membership to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh for toddler theBRKP. A replica of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood is one of the permanent exhibits. Every time I take my little guy to the museum, I am reminded anew of how much I miss Mr. Rogers and spend most of our time in the exhibit blinking the tears from my eyes while thinking of the void that was left with his passing.

Then I stop and remember that I can try a little bit harder to fill that void. I've had a tough couple of days with my little guy. Thanks for the reminder to slow down, breathe deeply and meet my kid where he is, not where I think he should be.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:48 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mr. Rogers claims to be producing a children's show, but that's not entirely accurate: he produces a human show. What message he has is for everyone. At some point in his life, he was able to discern the bare essence of what it means to be human. He speaks to it.

Mr. Rogers tells us, no matter our age, that it's okay to be us. It's okay to be sad sometimes, or angry. It's okay to admit that, deep down inside the Big Old Grown Up facade, there's that scared or frightened little being. It's okay to acknowledge that, secretly, centrally, what we need, what we thrive on, is love from others.

Mr. Rogers knew: everyone needs a hug.
posted by meese at 7:14 PM on May 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm so glad this showed up on the blue today.

For the past two days I've been sitting through an Egonomics class with the other 13 members of my team at work. There are some big personality clashes within the group, and things really came to an ugly head during the "humility" portion of our session yesterday morning. (If you've done the class or read the book, it was the XY game that did it.) Things were bad enough that when we broke for lunch, I had to bail on the lovely catered lunch available in the meeting room so that I could walk around outside and cry and try to calm myself down enough to finish the day.

When we came back from lunch, the facilitator told us she wanted to show us a fantastic example of humility in action. She told us right up front it was Mr. Rogers talking to the Senate, the same video linked upthread. Around me there was scoffing and snorting (especially from the bitch who made me cry), but the facilitator very cheerily told everyone to stow it and watch the video. When the video ended and the lights came back up, more than a few people were wiping their eyes, and everyone was so much more calm and gentle with each other for the rest of the day. It even spilled over into today's session.

I've always loved Mr. Rogers, ever since I was a little kid with an unstable home life. He made me feel safe and cared for in a way the grownups in my life couldn't quite manage. But yesterday he made all the adults around me stop being mean and fighty with each other, and for that I love him even more.
posted by palomar at 8:00 PM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


PBS has 26 episodes online, incidentally.

"This video is only available in the United States."

Somebody better tell me what to do with the mad that I feel right now. This is preposterous.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:32 PM on May 6, 2011


I love Mr. Rogers because...
1. He taught me how to wash my feet in a birdbath.
2. He talked to me (on his show) as if I were a friend and an equal.
3. He taught me how to be a good, civil person who cares about other human beings and creatures.

While I certainly appreciated and enjoyed watching Mr. Rogers when I was a kid, I didn't realize what a truly beautiful and remarkable man he was until after he passed away (and after I became an adult). After many PBS affiliates completely pulled old episodes of Mr. Rogers from their programming, I starting noticing how much we NEED him (and people like him) in this world. Kids APPARENTLY aren't getting this sort of contact and messages from their parents, teachers, and/or whatever crap it is they are watching on tv. There are kids growing up in a world where they are not only not exposed to him on a daily basis, but they don't even know who he was. No wonder we're living in a world that is colder and full of people who embrace being nasty to others and have no compassion for other people and living creatures. We need Fred Rogers.

I NEVER should respond to these things because I always start tearing up about the state of the world (and our society which is just.. in a downward spiral) half-way through writing my comment. I know I'm super-emotional when it comes to talking about loving the past (my childhood and before -- there was a sort of.. innocence, even in the 1980s, that is seen as naive and laughable now to all the jaded numb(skulls) out there today) and bemoaning the state of the world. It's because now.. is so depressing, and ONLY depressing, and I don't see it getting better. Then I start thinking about how good we had it when I was a kid. Not just Mr. Rogers. We were blessed with the mind of a living Jim Henson (which cannot be duplicated by his company now).. there was always something to learn and there were always GOOD creative shows. I look at PBS now.. and the Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network fare and.. it's soulless and insubstantial. I'm happy I don't have kids because I wouldn't show them any of the shit out there today.

[Case in point: today, people expect everybody and everything to be as perverse as the constraints of their tiny minds. We can't even comprehend goodness. We have to dissect it until it becomes a sick and twisted, lurid video game or news article/movie/tv show. What's the point anymore? Why bother?]
posted by Mael Oui at 8:35 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obligatory xkcd comic.
posted by theantikitty at 9:20 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


My mother has a story about my brother crying because he loved Mr. Rogers so much. I don't have a lot of memories of the show myself, but I know I did enjoy it.

Also:
I love Mr. Rogers because...
1. He taught me how to wash my feet in a birdbath.


What more could anyone need to know?
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 4:45 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a teenager I spent time on Nantucket where Mr. Rogers owned a house. There were many fewer cars on the island then and it was common for people to hitchhike. One evening my friend and I were picked up by Mr. Rogers; you can't imagine our shock when we recognized him. We felt a little ashamed but he was very kind and drove us all the way home, although it was out of his way. It's a memory I cherish.
posted by carmicha at 5:41 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


jefeweiss: "I wish Mr. Rogers was still around but the fact that he isn't inspires me to try to be more like him, because we need people like him."

Now I want a "What Would Mr. Rogers Do?" poster.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:26 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somebody better tell me what to do with the mad that I feel right now. This is preposterous.

Use it constructively. Remember how you're feeling right now. Find ways to help keep yourself and others from having to feel this way in the future.
posted by JHarris at 7:47 PM on May 7, 2011


I don't know who Mr Rogers is but this thread is totally making me feel like I missed out. Can someone explain him to me? I have a feeling the Wikipedia page won't capture the warm feelings some of you are showing.
posted by mippy at 4:10 AM on May 11, 2011


mippy: Start here. Then hit YouTube. Then read the Tom Junod article linked above.
posted by anastasiav at 10:51 AM on May 11, 2011


The perfect wedding song.


It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair--
But it's you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you--
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys--
They're just beside you.

But it's you I like--
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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