mrrogers

You probably want to give this card to everyone you know today. Just sayin'.

If you were a kid watching TV at any time from 1968 to 2001, you almost certainly experienced the forthright, quiet cultural phenomenon that was Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  (If you're one of the unhappy few that somehow missed that, I'm deeply sorry for you.)

The fact that I didn't have cable as a kid was, I guess, a big part of why I love shows like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Arthur (Mr. Rogers totally cameo-ed as himself on Arthur that one time and it was awesome.)  I was not really exposed to things like Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy and stuff.  In fact, I only kind of know what those things are.  When I was a kid, I was watching Marty Stouffer's Wild America and Zoom and, of course, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  Don't get me wrong, cartoons are great and I now have a strong appreciation for them, but there's just something so amazing about PBS that I don't quite know how to describe.

I think Mr. Rogers actually verbalizes it best in what became kind of a motto for his and other public television programs.  He said many times that children are to be respected.  His program never condescended or talked down to its viewers.  Where other shows were just so much fluff and noise and circus, Mr. Rogers and the other great people at PBS were teaching kids science and classic literature and how to deal with complicated social and emotional issues.  That's so great, you guys.

Anyway, I think I've been clear about how much I love public television (and, therefore, Mr.Rogers, who, if you didn't know, was basically responsible for making public television a thing when he testified before a Senate committee about it in 1969 and got an increase in federal funding from 9 million to 22 million dollars.)  March 20th is Mr. Rogers's birthday, so we celebrate Won't You Be My Neighbor Day to commemorate the man whose earnestness, caring, and commitment to education made him an American icon.

Here's Mr. Rogers being unbelievably charming talking to Joan Rivers on The Tonight show.  It's unreal.

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So, what do you think?