*Won’t You Be My Neighbor?*

That is the title of the new documentary on the life and career of Mister Rogers.  Are there better movies on?:

1. The roots of American greatness.

2. The importance of “will” in building a succcessful career.

3. Toleration and individualism and respect for children.

This has to go down as one of the better documentaries, and it seems Mister Rogers was a better and more important thinker than many of the intellectuals of his time.  I had not known that Rogers had been trained and ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

On top of all that, the film is Straussian throughout.  Definitely recommended.  By the way, the documentary doesn’t mention this, but the show actually had its origins in Toronto on CBC.


Straussian? J Peterson commands you to be precise in your speech!

Yeah, I need a short definition. Google quickly gets me into the weeds.

Straussian, as commonly used by Tyler, means that there are hidden messages in the work, because the author wanted to avoid the controversies, etc. which could come up if the messages were plainly stated.

Which appears to mean ideas that are so stupid as to embarrass the author, so they are hidden where no reasonable person need be bothered by them, but allows the author to feel confident the message is delivered via subconscious osmosis.

I wouldn't go this far, but I am not a fan of "Straussian". As far as I can tell it just means "implicit", but with a false pretense of academic precision.

Sometimes, in interviews, Tyler asks someone about a "Straussian reading" of something they wrote. He has to pause and (inadequately) explain the term. But why not just say "reading between the lines, I had to wonder..." or "there seems to be an unstated criticism of..."? —Or stop asking that kind of question, since they don't draw good answers. The writer is inevitably baffled by the accusation that they had a secret or even subconscious agenda.

One reason conspiracy buffs can switch instantly and seamlessly between leftwing conspiracies and rightwing conspiracies is that they all have that same intellectual allure, a sense of being in a secret elite priesthood which can see the truth hidden from ordinary rabble. The actual thought isn't important, but the heightened sense of drama and importance is paramount.

So you will find earnest people claiming that Mr. Rogers is a crypto-Communist indoctrinating children into collectivism, others claiming he is a patriarchal fascist, and every possible variant of different ideas, all tied together by the central conceit that the viewer alone can see the hidden figures others miss.

Straussian in the timing. It's a social commentary on our current media and cultural situation, of relentlessly provoked polarization and agitprop via slant, and of the lack of any emphasis or spotlight on a silent majority of decent people. Consider the contrast with Fred Rogers, nationally beloved celebrity yet unlike any celebrity we know or could have today. Not so much the anti-Trump (no need to go there), but perhaps anti Trump-era, the present's polar opposite, shown to, well, awaken us to our degradation, to, hopefully, humiliate us in the epiphany of our contributory participation in it, to shame us by his example, maybe inspire us to make a hard change, commit to being better, like him. Who is trying to bring everyone together, to include and integrate, to establish social harmony, to explain current events with simple and fair accuracy, instead of through a narrative of victims and villains? Who is above our boundless politicization, who transcends? No one now. But once, look, see, Mr Rogers. A real man, among us. We could do it too; we should try harder.

"Who is above our boundless politicization, who transcends? "
--> Jordan Peterson

A wonderful article at the Atlantic, discussion the linguistic side of Fred Rogers, his use of a language otherwise known as "Fredish":


Hey, why doesn’t PBS show any reruns of Rogers’ show?

Because Rogers is a communist and communism has failed everywhere it has been tried. 100 million dead, it bloody failed.

Even if this silliness were true, PBS is the last place to have a problem re-running a Commie.

You can share my crayons when you pry them from my cold, stiff fingers.

A friend of mine worked for Mister Roger's Neighborhood while in college. Among other things, he was responsible for running Trolley.

One day he caused Trolley to speed up too fast around the curve. Trolley jumped the tracks and fell to the ground.

This is the only time he ever saw Mr. Rogers get angry.

Don't mess with Trolley.

What if he could prevent Trolley from jumping the tracks by switching it to a different set of tracks on which a psrson is tied up? Would it have been worth it?

I grew up with Captain Kangaroo. He was a Captain of something and wore what looked like a uniform, and his haircut was early Star Trek. By contrast, Mr. Rogers was definitely not military, not with that sweetness and red sweater. My Saturday morning lineup included Tarzan and Robin Hood (the latter made in England). Think about the contrasting messages of those two shows. I suppose if they were on tv today Tarzan would be on Fox and Robin Hood would be on MSNBC. Just consider how different John Bolton would be today if he had grown up during the telecast of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood instead of Captain Kangaroo and Tarzan.

At the very least, had he not grown up with Captain Kangaroo, Bolton would certainly have thought better than grow that mustache.

I was a member of the Mr Rogers Neighborhood fan club when I was a kid in the 70s. The envelope was shaped like Trolley.

Rogers changed into sneakers at the beginning of the show because they didn't make as much noise when he had to run from set to set behind the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

I used to live in Pittsburgh and would frequently walk by the WQED building. One of the useless pieces of information I picked up before moving to Pittsburgh is that it was in the PBS station in Pittsburgh where Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was filmed. I was surprised that there was nothing outside the building to let you know that that is where the show was filmed. They had a historical marker about it being an early pioneer of educational television, or something like that, but nothing about Mr. Rogers.

Movies on the "roots of American greatness"

1. I prefer the 1939 film "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" - as it is one of the few very sincere articulations on why it makes sense to stand for one's principles as opposed to merely get along and make compromises. American political fundamentalism - be it of the Ted Cruz or the Elizabeth Warren variety - can be traced in the character of Jimmy Stewart. Stewart epitomizes sincerity and conviction in a manner few actors can.

2. Another great conservative classic that discusses the conflict between American liberal idealism and the conservative scepticism for abstractions like "rule of law" is the John Ford classic from 1962 - "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance".

Stewart in this movie is an Easterner preaching the virtues of civilization, pacifism and rule by law in a land ravaged by factions, mobs and guns. Despite all his good intentions, Stewart fails to get the better of the local gangster cowboy - Liberty Valance. It takes John Wayne's rough methods to vanquish evil. The movie, in my view, sides with Wayne and is sceptical of the efficacy of Stewart's pacifist argument in the wild west. Second Amendment advocates will find this movie on their side of the argument

"Second Amendment advocates will find this movie on their side of the argument."
Only those who fantasize being living in Shinbone. Most people, pro-Second Amendment or otherwise, have a stronger grasp on reality.

I've always loved this line from A River Runs Through It: "The Burns family ran a general store in a one store town and still managed to do badly. They were Methodist, a denomination my father [a Presbyterian minister] always referred to as Baptists who could read."

though you may be deft of mind, you are not clever in thought. Methodists descend from John Emory Weselyn who's statute is in savannah.

Hey Professor, he is quoting the movie. Direct your grievance to the screenwriter.

4. Sharing.

Won't you be my neighbor? insinuates a sense of community that is sorely lacking today. Who we choose to surround ourselves with, whether in white enclaves or mixed areas, often define our perspectives on sharing. Immigration, taxes, housing, public transportation, trade, foreign aid. Please, please. Won't you be my neighbor?

As Americans turn against one another, the internal contradictions of America's system become plainer and plainer.

People who live over an ocean in Africa are certainly not my neighbors. My neighbors are my neighbors. How about try caring about people in this country first or *gasp* people in your own local community. I know this entails less virtue signaling points but you will probably do more good.

Shut up your the one virtue signaling. As if you really cared about people. I don't give a damn about blacks, Jews, women, or liberals. I only care about my money and guns.

I pay over 30% of my labor income alone in taxes.

We are well beyond the point of “sharing.”

We are at the point in which I work 4 months out of the year for free. That’s not sharing, that’s confiscating.

Then move to Mexico, fuckwit

His tax rate could be higher there, fuckwit

Thats because youre an idiotic moronic buffoon. If you worked hard like Mitt Romney you could get your tax rate down to like 12%. There's a reason poor people stay poor. The same reason why stupid people stay stupid.

I would advise incorporating and paying 21% (or less.)

Can a film be “Straussian” as a medium given that it is visual? I guess that it could be possible (I remember a renaissance painting in which a man from a biblical story is pointing at someone, and it isn’t clear exactly who is being pointed to), but outside of that kind of intentional visual ambiguity, I don’t believe that films can meaningfully have secret meanings. Film as a medium is simply too immediate and is meant to work directly on emotions for all but a few films to ever esoteric meanings, because for them to have esoteric meanings they would need to provoke different emotions in different audiences.

Provocative question. I wouldn't say straussian, but Casablanca comes to mind as a movie narrative rorschach blot. Sunset Boulevard, too with more contrast and less range. The Last Jedi? I saw a different film than the friend I went with, for sure. That may be more the twilight language of myth than practiced esotericism.

Actually here's a straight up straussian film: Avanti, also by Wilder. Jack Lemmon morally redeems himself by. . . consummating a marital affair. That tidbit is coated with sugar to go down easy. And it does!

Mister Rogers was a rather remarkable individual. In addition to what is said here, he was the special forces during the Vietnam War and was highly effective according to all accounts. Later, he was appalled by the violence he had done and swore off any further violence. It was after this time he started his television show. One of things people remember from the show is that he never wore short-sleeved shirts. This was due to the many tattoos he had on his arms, signifying his many Kills out in the field in Vietnam.

What did Mr Rodgers feel the moment he bagged his 20th confirmed sniper kill?

The recoil of his gun.

Ridiculous. Fred Rogers never served in the military.


Especially absurd given the timeline. He was too old and had continuously been putting out children's television shows since 1954

Straussian clearly means necrophilia, taken from Salome and her intonation of John the Baptist. So it means the movie has dark and perilous undertones.

That's funny. I thought the film was less about individualism and more about community. The film after all is entitled "Would you be my neighbor?" Throughout the movie, Mr. Rogers is making an argument for being a good neighbor, e.g. not putting up walls to keep others out, sharing a pool with you neighbors regardless of their skin color, calling on adults to protect children from dumb TV and violence that reinforce bad behavior and morals.

Of course American greatness got started in Canada, just like Superman :P

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