Mr. Rogers Today

Posted on by MarcusB and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Thought you might find this interesting. Wait a few minutes into the video.

I wonder what a child is supposed to think after a full 30 minutes of this.

[Editor’s Note: It’s worth sitting through the whole 5 minutes of the video. -PB] 

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32 Responses to Mr. Rogers Today

  1. BluegrassJack says:

    1. The late Mr. Rogers and Johnny Cash speak their songs better than anyone else.

    2. Mr. Rogers changed wardrobes so much from episode to episode that kids probably wondered why someone who repeats the “you are special” mantra needed more than just one sweater for the whole series. He was really the Sharp Dressed Man (love that song!) who needed many colorful sportcoats to make himself Special.

  2. Calecute says:

    That’s was creepy was hell.

  3. eqv says:

    Holy shit. Fear and loathing. I actually jumped a little when it cut to the shot of him with the clown mask on. Whoever cut that together knew what they were doing… great, now my state of mind is something like the new banner.

    Before the ads started to trickle in, it seemed to have a sort of hypnotic, brainwashing effect. I’m special! People can like exactly as I am!

    For me, the message is pretty obvious: both Mr. Rogers and the commercials are telling me that people can, should like me exactly the way I am… but Mr. Rogers isn’t suggesting that people won’t like me exactly the way I am if I don’t buy product xyz. Rogers is quaint, slow, old-fashioned, whereas the adverts are polished and flashy and modern. The irony achieved by cutting the two together is beautiful.

  4. Robert says:


  5. MarcusB says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with commercials, contrary to Pastbagel or TLP.

    But when you are 7, how are you supposed to go to sleep with a consistent mindset after an hour of thiss? It’s like teaching a child that hot and cold are the same thing. Some day, that kid will crack, and won’t know what’s what anymore.

  6. Blackjack says:

    Funny video. Definitely a bit disconcerting with the spliced ads — but what isn’t juxtaposed with Mr. Rogers?

    Seriously though, I hope you’re not saying Mr. Rogers is responsible for narcissism. The speeches from this video often compromised the last few minutes of the show; it was never 30 full minutes of “you’re special and unique.” Most of the time, Mr. Rogers was touring places like violin factories, talking with his friends in the neighborhood, feeding his fish, or putting on a puppet show with a moral lesson. That’s what was intriguing about Mr. Rogers, he showed us cool things and made us think.

    When you were sick from school or had a snow day during the 90’s, PBS was a great channel to watch and learn from; at least, for me. If there was any fault to Mr. Rogers it’s that he painted an overly ideal picture of the world. Not everyone is nice and you can’t exactly escape that reality by boarding a trolley.

    Or, maybe I’m missing the entire point here and you’re suggesting today’s advertisement are the real cancer on society. Either way, luckily, PBS doesn’t have ads (thanks to viewers like you).

  7. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    The child eventually reconciles that the Mr Rogers message is supposed to be how you feel, whereas the commercials is how you behave in public and the persona you give to the world.

    The messages really aren’t contradictory – only to a person who has a child like view of the world are these mutually exclusive. You can feel good about yourself , like yourself, and be positive, while also enjoying making yourself more physically attractive.

    It’s kind of a myth that women wear makeup and use skin products because they feel bad about themselves. Women wear makeup and use skin products because they enjoy it and they feel positive about themselves. The thought process is not “let me cover myself up because I hate myself”, it’s more “let me adorn myself because I feel good and like myself”.

    I don’t know about you, but when I am depressed and self loathing I don’t go and dress up and try to improve my appearance. I turn into a slob. I only do those things when I feel pretty good.

    It’s a balance; we should all strive to like ourselves as we are, but we should also strive to better ourselves. These are not contradictory goals. Accepting your flaws and learning to live with the things about yourself you can’t change and being okay with yourself does not mean you shouldn’t wax your legs or try to have more beautiful younger skin. I don’t see the contradiction here.

    If your mother tells you “I will love you no matter what” does that mean she is giving you a pass to fail out of school and become a stoner? “But you said I was lovable no matter what mom, so no more school for me! I”m gonna lay on the couch and play computer games all day, weee!” Duh.

    Why are things polarized when they pertain to females, caniaskyou?

    I’ve noticed, in culture, especially when men are observing, anything pertaining to women becomes hyperpolarized. “She said she likes herself as she is…. but why is she buying makeup ZOMG THAT LYING BITCH WHAT A MANIPULATOR”.

    We can easily accept gray areas in “mens things”. He can like himself as he is, but he is also allowed to play competitive sports and go to law school and open a new business. No one questions this; no one considers it conflicting cultural messages we are sending to poor little men. He is okay as he is, but we also tell him to better himself and his lot in life — omg how will you deal with all these pressures you poor little boy, how can you be such a liar and a fake you bad little boy!

    Women aren’t allowed to have complexities like this, or else it is evidence of her being a liar and a manipulating harlot… or of all the pressures and excessive demands and “privileges” women irrationally request.

    Women are just as bad as men – they complain more than anyone about the “mixed messages” sent to them. Hello, life is complex, welcome to being an adult.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes yes and more yes. But on the flip side…

      There’s also the double standard of having pride in your appearance. There is nothing socially wrong with a man saying “I’m a handsome guy.” A man who says that is aware of his physical benefits and is seen to be confident. If he wears nice clothing, takes care of his body, ensures he is well groomed, he’s simply keeping up his Adonis-like appearance.

      Women, on the other hand, are considered vain if they openly state they are attractive. I cannot count the times men have thought they were paying me a compliment with the tired, “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” Yes, I do, thank you very much. You’re the fifth tonight to state the obvious. But women can’t say that. We’re expected to play the role of insecure and fragile.

      So we put on our make-up because it makes our eyes pop a little more, covers up that zit we picked at a little too much or makes our lips look more sexually available, but we act as if we’re hiding behind it. Or, at least, we’re supposed to. And now we can tangent to your follow-up post.

      We’re supposed to hide behind it because modern men have no testicles. You can speak of social pressures, obligations and other external factors all you’d like. At the end of the day, the Marlboro Man really is the ideal mate and Justin Timberlake is a sniveling little boy who can’t handle a self-assured woman. Modern men appear to have more pressures specifically because modern men cannot handle the expectations placed upon them.

      You are correct that men have more pressures because they are, evolutionarily, in stricter competition for a mate. Yet only a man who is not worthy of mating shies away from the pressures. These are the same men who shy away from women who know they are superior mates, who have self-esteem issues and ultimately destruct the relationship. The women who play the self-deprecating card on their single evolutionary criteria [looks] do the same – they’re clingy and needy and attach themselves firmly to a single male because they have an irrational fear that they will never find someone else.

      In that regard, I don’t see much point in drawing a distinction between who has it “better.” It all comes down to self-esteem. You either have it or you don’t, and if you do, the pressures placed aren’t obligations so much as the way it is.

      • Rebecca says:

        English clarification

        “These are the same men who shy away from women who know they are superior mates, who have self-esteem issues and ultimately destruct the relationship.”

        “These are the same men who shy away from women who know they are superior mates – these men have self-esteem issues and ultimately destruct the relationship. “

  8. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    I know women are going to point out that it is not fair females are valued for appearances whereas males are not.

    It is perfectly fair. Absolutely. It’s fair because men have much greater pressures – the pressure to be successful.

    An ugly women is the social equivalent of an unsuccessful , poor, apathetic man. It is not one ounce different, and men have it worse in this situation.

    Women need to stop complaining because they have it way easier; it’s very easy to be at least averagely attractive. All you need is to be female, between the ages of 16-35, not too fat and just put a small bit of effort into your appearance, boom you’re done. If she puts more than minimum effort she can be pretty, instantly upping her social value

    But for men, there is much more pressure… it’s not exactly easy to have a valuable skill, make a lot of money, be influential in some sphere, be confident/assertive/charming etc. Very few men fit this category. Women are chronically dissatisfied with men precisely because so few of them meet their standards. Evolutionarily speaking that makes sense. Humans are not designed for monogamy, that is a religious made up fairytale style of living. Many women are supposed to reproduce with just a few men. We are not monogamous by nature. This is why women will fight over one man, this is why men are CHRONICALLY cheating or at least always thinking about it (when women cheat its more of a being dissatisfied/bored/not cared for by her current partner type of thing, or mental illness… men cheat simply because men like sex with lots of different women, very different very simple reason… this is also why men like porn and women do not).

    Evolutionarily speaking this makes sense – in an evolutionarily logical human society very small percentage of men were reproductively successful, whereas almost all females are because males are not nearly as selective as females and this is so because of reproductive constraints placed on females biologically.

    Social “value” mirrors reproductive value. When women complain that they are expected to look good, they ought to remember that the demands placed on men are just as real and much much higher. It’s so easy for a girl to fake attractiveness. We’ve got girdles and breast implants and blonde hair dye and foundation that covers skin flaws and flattering clothing and high heels and lip gloss and blush.
    Women never stop and think about the demands placed on men, because they are the ones placing them and they just take it for granted. Just as men don’t even see morbidly obese and old women, females don’t see janitors and bus drivers. They don’t even think they exist as far as this discussion is concerned.

    It’s taken for granted by women that the man needs x y an z in place before he is considered. Why are those demands okay, but it’s not okay for men to place demands on women?

    Why is it worse to demand a certain physical appearance than it is to demand a certain personality and profession? Why is a put on personality any more “real” than a put on appearance? Men who are hypermotivated are just as fake and manipulative as women who wear stilettos if you think about it.

    When women request that they stop being valued for their appearance, they irrationally expect no demands placed on them at all. They still expect men to reach those high bars and be ultra successful and assertive and charming and all that, but they expect for themselves to be like Mr Rogers – “Im me and I am special just as I am… but you, you better be a high powered lawyer with a fancy car and an assertive motivated personality, or else buh byez, no janitors or garbage men need apply thx”.

    Speaking as a human, given the options here (being expected to be cute and attractive , vs being expected to be successful and powerful and motivated and skilled) I’d way rather be female.

    And the best part about being female is you are still ALLOWED to be successfulish. You can have a career, you can succeed, you can be skilled and influential.

    A man who tries to bank on his looks won’t have as much luck , because very few women out there are keen on having a house husband. There are still a lot of men who would marry a girl and take care of her. I mean I’m sure some women will take a house husband but they’ve got to be uber pathetic / desperate. I’ve heard of fat old women doing this on occasion especially if the man is gay/closeted. No woman with any options will do this.

    TLC wrote that “no scrubs” song all about loser men who are losers. “No scrubs” is the female equivalent of men making fun of fat chicks. If you are a man there is nothing worse you can be than an unmotivated apathetic loser.

    • rapscallione says:

      Jesus. I was all set to tell you that your mindset is really, really off, but then I found out that you were a girl. So now I’m all confused as to where your unrelated rants on every posting comes from.

    • DJames says:

      The world is more cruel to women. (And to beauty.)

      Full disclosure—I’m male. Worked decently hard to get competitive/mathematical masters degree. Make plenty of money. I like it okay.

      But even though most HR centers, college scholarships, etc., would give preference to women in my career field (generally a sausage fest, of course), I still sense that the world is generally more cruel to women. Jesus, women are more cruel to women (see the rant, above).

      But yeah, that rant, while interesting and creepy in its chauvinism, does seem out of place. Perhaps a post dedicated to your topic, AnonAtLarge?

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        I never said the world was kind to women.

        In the REAL world, women have it worse.

        The worst thing that ever happened to women was agriculture. All of a sudden one man could horde all the food, and so we developed sprawling societies and slavery and harems. When living in an evolutionarily logical hunter-gatherer environment, things are pretty equal between men and women. Life is hard for both. There is abuse and violence but no gender has it substantially worse. Agriculture shifted the power dramatically in favor of men, because suddenly a very few men could now become super powerful, tyrants, despots, slave drivers, and of course women became chattel as man in general is driven and motivated by a desire to have as much sex with as many women as possible.

        As an answer to this (as well as the fact so few men could have mates in an agricultural society), along comes christianity and monogomy.

        It’s no longer moral to have harems – one man for one woman, one woman for one man.

        Men stop fighting with each other as much. Loser men are keen to join christianity because they will be assured mates, which was previously impossible. Women have greater options in a monogamous society as well (vs a non-monogamous religious society where women have no options at all because of the extreme power differential in favor of men, or rather one or two super powerful men).

        It is definitely easier to be a man over all, but reproductive competition is one of the few areas where it is easier to be female. This is why it annoys me when women COMPLAIN that there is pressure placed on them to be attractive. Women take full advantage of the fact that no one expects them to make a lot of money or be powerful and distinguished (the way they expect men to be), yet they also complain if men expect them to look good. I mean, that’s annoying because it’s so hypocritical.

  9. nadiaak says:

    I wonder if the ‘you are special’ message is an American trend. I grew up in the US but my parents were Polish immigrants; my mom still rants about these kids shows.

    I can’t remember where I read it, but there was a great article talking about how low self-worth is probably accurate: you suck, fix it. Don’t justify it.

    • sunshinefiasco says:

      See, that’s what got me: it wasn’t the “You’re very special”, it was the repetition of “You are perfect just the way you are.” that seemed the most damaging to me. I don’t think low self-worth is always accurate, but it certainly is a means of getting your ass in gear.

      • philtrum says:

        I don’t quite agree. I think you need a certain baseline self-confidence in order to get your ass in gear. You have to believe you can fix what’s wrong.

        AAL had it right below when she said that women who really feel horrible about their looks, or horrible in general, don’t get dressed up and put on makeup; if you believe you’ll look awful no matter what you do, what’s the point? motivator.

        • philtrum says:

          Dammit, I forgot to delete that last word. Please to ignore.

        • sunshinefiasco says:

          I agree, you do need a baseline. I’ve just spent a lot of time around a lot of privileged people who are told “You’re perfect just the way you are.” and hear “Don’t change, your personality and worldview require no editing. In fact, to edit those things would compromise your integrity.”

  10. TTFIO says:

    I wonder if it’s worth mentioning that, when I was a kid, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was broadcast on Public Broadcasting.

    Moreover, narcissism gets a real bag on this and other blogs, and that’s probably right, but I think there’s a distinction to be made between a message of narcissism and one of being able to (trying hard not to be a religious wind-bag) see yourself as worthy of God’s love, which I think was Mr. Roger’s ultimate intention.

  11. Half says:

    Eh, I’m not a fan of the narrative being crafted here.

    Today, sure, it would be accurate, but Mister Rogers isn’t run anymore, and while it was being run, I doubt those would be the exact kind of ads you would be seeing. And the kind of kids shows where you would be seeing those ads would be pretty far removed from Mister Rogers

    The idea I guess you’re trying to create here is the connection between the whole “Everyone is special” thing and the Narcissism/superficiality prevalent. I’d imagine its the other way around. Sure, Mister Rogers is telling you that “you” are special, but he is a television show, he targets an audience. The viewer is going to be acutely aware that he is not the only intended recipient for this message (yea, even young children get that). You know how the cliche goes right? …When everyone is special….

    if anything, for a pampered child, Mister Rogers would be a narcissistic break, the realization that he isn’t the only one he gets accolades just for existing.

    Indeed, I note that nobody I know from the whole Mister Rogers generation actually watched or liked Mister Rogers as kids, and most children who are now adults hated that show…

    • philtrum says:

      I liked Mister Rogers very much when I was little, and I know many other people of the same age who have great affection for him. I do recall slightly preferring Mr. Dressup.

  12. MarcusB says:

    This is PastBagel’s writeup on MisterRogers. CTRL + F and look for Pastabagel.

  13. Napsterbater says:

    For some reason, Americans have stopped believing that Mr. Rogers could exist. That a person could be that loving and that caring, without fail, in all situations, in all contexts. So whenever they see him, he’s derided as creepy, insincere. Showing that much interest in children simply has to indicate prurient sexual deviancy. Americans have lost their sense of honesty, so Mr. Rogers simply couldn’t have been honest. His message must be twisted into something it’s not because we can’t be satisfied with it.

    We cannot believe in ourselves, and so we cannot believe in anybody.

    • Rebecca says:

      Is it because we have lost our honesty or our ability to accept who we are as people without being satisfied with our life position? America is a unique experiment in unlimited upward mobility. We are programmed from an early age to always strive for more. At some point, we began intertwining the life with the person. We no longer accept that a very good person can have a run of bad luck that puts them in a poor position. Instead, we judge someone’s value as an individual on their possessions.

      I agree that people slam MR openly for those reasons (creepy old pedophile), but that’s not the real issue. People don’t like the message. Americans avoid examining the self and focus on the external, which is entirely counter to MR’s message. You are you independent of the house you live in and the car you drive. It’s just easier to call him a child molester and call it a day.

  14. BHE says:

    The great service Mr. Rogers provided was to me that he spoke to thousands if not millions of children, emotionally abandoned or abused by their parents and left in front of a television to be out of their hair. “Self-esteem” may not be a predictor of success, but if there were children who felt a little better about themselves at the end of an episode, then what Mr. Rogers did was nothing short of pure goodness.

  15. Hilomh says:

    I’ll say this about Rogers – he hired a badass pianist. That guy is smokin’! And there’s even a lovely 13(b9) chord at 1:02.

  16. Francis says:

    BORING. Was back then, and is now… Isn’t this more for the parents then the children?

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