Generations of American children were raised on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this writer included. Fred Rogers, the unlikely titular star of the show, taught his young audience not just their ABC’s. They also learned self-esteem, how to react when dealing with extreme emotions and how to deal with the crap that life can throw at you.
The new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, follows not only the life and career of Fred Rogers, but also tells the story of his television show was the basis of the emotional and academic education for millions of American children. He proved that children’s television, then and now, does not need to bop its audience over the head or use a cartoon to sell toys and other merchandise. It can speak to its audience on a personal level and teaches them without the child being aware that they are learning.
If there was ever a reason to go to the movie theater, this movie is it. When we grow up, many of us can become cynical, angry or just go about our day-to-day life without feeling anything. Mister Rogers allowed his young audience to feel, to ask questions and to understand that sometimes life is hard. I think when we grow up, we forget that. Seeing this movie reminded me that it’s ok to feel, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to understand life can be difficult.
I absolutely recommend it.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is presently in theaters.
American politics has become a sh*tshow these days, regardless of the where you stand on the political spectrum.
Charles J. Sykes is both a conservative radio personality and best-selling author. His 2017 book, How the Right Lost Its Mind, tracks how the GOP and the Conservative party has changed its core values. In the past, the party stood for limited government, traditional values and a free market. As of recently, the party has come to stand for bigotry, hypocrisy and political falsehood. The question is, can the GOP and the Conservative movement return to the values that have defined them in the past or have they forever been changed?
Many of regular readers will know that my politics are squarely on the left. I read this book not to gloat, but to understand what happens when a political party is hijacked and abandons the values they once held near and dear for a candidate or a politician who motives are not exactly crystal clear.
BTW, you know who comes up in the book, but he is not the only issue that the author points out has caused this dramatic shift.
Among the recommendations that are often quoted to writers, one of the most well-known is to write what you know.
Philip Roth was raised in Newark, New Jersey and famously used his fiction to write about his experience growing up in the years during and after World War II.
In his 2008 novel, Indignation, Marcus Messner is a young man who has been raised by his second generation Jewish parents in Newark in the early 1950’s. After completing his first year of college at a local university, Marcus is ready to spread his proverbial wings. But his father, who owns his own butcher shop is increasingly becoming a helicopter parent. To get away from his father, Marcus enrolls in Winesburg College, a small university in Ohio. At school Marcus is slowly becoming a rebel. He is starts dating Olivia Hutton , a young woman who carries her own emotional baggage, in addition to not sharing Marcus’s religious faith.
Can Marcus find his own way in the world or will he follow the path that has been laid out before him?
This book is amazing. What makes it stand out for me is that his journey feels normal for a kid in their late teens or early 20’s. That period of life, as I remember it be, is a period of exploration and discovering your own identity as a human being.