(Video link here.) We didn’t “get” Mister Rogers until we were introduced to Paul Zelevansky, an artist, writer and teacher who created the YouTube series “Mister Rogers for Adults”, provocative 60-second shorts made up of video clips from Rogers’ shows and interviews. Zelevansky challenges the assumptions that Mister Rogers was a sweet, milquetoast cornball. In Zelavansky’s view, Rogers’ approach, philosophy and strategic use of television was — and remains — radical in nature. (His words about love threw Joan Rivers for a loop.)
Mister Rogers functions as a mediator and guide, not a propagandist. His method is to ask questions, encourage speculation and advance interpretations that encourage his young audience to recognize that careful thinking and looking can lead to both understanding and action..
…the bottom line message to the show is focused on reflexive thinking and work, not entertainment: The wonder of living is tied to the ability to imagine, conceive and manifest ideas; and to learn from, contemplate, and revel in the work and conceptions of others.
—Paul Zelevansky,”The Good Thing”: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
We plan to feature Mister Rogers for Adults regularly. In the meantime, here’s the clip that made us finally see Fred Rogers (Video link here.)