It’s Not All Mary Poppins

A Gentle Answer Turning Away Wrath

Everyone knows Mr. Rogers. Slow-spoken and gentle, Fred Rogers began his career with the CBC in 1963. Yes, we in Canada found him first! In 1967, he was aired by PBS in Philadelphia. Fred Rogers died of cancer in 2003, but his show lives on, making Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, the longest-running show in PBS history. His appeal was ever in his gentle kindness, and his passionate concern for the health and development of young children.

This weekend, my husband found another bit of cultural history involving Fred Rogers on a blog he reads. Check out Mr. Rogers Goes to Washington, in which even a hostile, cranky senator is won over by Mr. Rogers’ sincerity, love for children, and kindness.

It starts slow – this is Fred Rogers, after all! – but it’s worth waiting till the last section, where Mr. Rogers makes a brilliantly subtle anti-war statement that ends with a rendition of his classic “What Do You Do With the Mad that you Feel?”. Brilliant.

May 28, 2006 - Posted by | manners, power struggle


  1. I wish Mr. Rogers could have gone on forever.

    Comment by Granny | May 28, 2006 | Reply

  2. I must admit that Mr. Rogers always creeped me out somewhat. He just seemed kinda ooky.

    Comment by kittenpie | May 29, 2006 | Reply

  3. Someone else posted a link to that video about a week ago, and ever since, Mr. Rogers has taken over my dreams. He keeps telling me I need to improve my self-esteem and that it’s okay to be mad. Weird.

    Comment by BeckcaJo | May 29, 2006 | Reply

  4. Granny: Wasn’t he great?

    Kittenpie: I used to find his speech odd – it was sooo slow! But I’ve since learned that’s just the way he talked, always. Apart from that, I see him as one of the truly rare gentle men.

    BeckaJo: And is he right??

    Comment by Mary P. | May 29, 2006 | Reply

  5. Thanks for the link, Mary P. 🙂

    Yeah, my first instinct was that he seems a little… off. But then I realized that’s just the jaded part of me talking, that the world’s so screwed up that a great person like him seems bizarre.

    Comment by Jewish Atheist | May 29, 2006 | Reply

  6. I have always loved Mr. Rogers. Since I was a child.

    A few years ago, Esquire magazine published an edition about heroes. Fred was on the cover. The article made me weep. Simply an incredible man.

    Comment by Andie D. | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  7. JA: I agree: it’s hard for jaded people to see and accept a man so… unjaded. He was what he was, and what he was, was genuinely good. It’s rare.

    AndieD: I’ll have to look that up!

    Comment by Mary P. | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  8. Here’s the esquire article.

    Comment by Jewish Atheist | May 30, 2006 | Reply

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