The Good Neighbor, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 21 2011 @ 8:22am

A reader sends the above video and writes:

I can't help but pass on Fred Rogers' extraordinary acceptance speech receiving a lifetime achievement Emmy Award in 1997.  Notice the momentary tittering in the audience when Mr. Rogers says he'll watch the time, while they all observe ten seconds of silence.  The tittering very quickly disappears, and a profound sense of contemplation fills the room.  In his quiet, gentle manner, he commands everyone's attention, and directs it AWAY from himself; directs it inwardly and compels each person there to actually reflect on a meaningful aspect of their lives.  I can't quite describe how magical and moving this is to me. It was a gift he blessed with, applicable to both children and adults, and he applied it, tirelessly, throughout his entire career. Enjoy the clip, if you haven't seen it already.

Another writes:

As long as this thread is developing, may I add that when my kids were watching "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood", if I weren't in the room with them I'd always keep an ear out for the fabulous Johnny Costa, who never played the closing theme the same way twice.  Mr. Rogers gave us the best live music on television, bar none.  And what a great day job for a jazz musician!

I also got a huge kick out of the interactions of the frightening Lady Elaine Fairchild and the passive-aggressive Daniel Tiger.  There was something there for adults with imagination and a sense of humor, both of which I believe Fred Rogers had in spades. It's his confident love of humanity, however, that leaves me in awe.


What's really remarkable about that Mr. Rogers video is seeing a United States Senator actually open to the arguments in testimony during a Senate hearing. When was the last time you saw that happen? These days everything in a hearing is prearranged, from the testimony to the prejudices of the legislators. No one is convinced of anything.


Thanks for the posts on Mr. Rogers.  I needed a calming influence from a Christian man. Also, Wiki says Mr. Rogers was a member of the More Light Presbyterian group, which was way ahead of its time on the issue of inclusion of gays and lesbians in the body of Christ.  "I like you just the way you are."


Diane Rehm's last interview with Fred Rogers is a must-listen.  In December 2002, he said he loved to play the piano when he felt sad.  He said he had just played for a long time the other night.  When Diane asked him why he was sad, he just said, "I had a stomachache."

Three months later, he died of stomach cancer.