As a child I didn’t grow up with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,
it was before my time and from another country.
Instead I grew up like most kids back then,
blinded by different collections of action figures,
they were all pretty much the same
but they were dressed in different ways.
I rewatched countless tapes of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,
I thought Shredder,
in his modified Samurai suit,
with blades sticking out from his palms and shins,
was the most bad-ass of all.
There was the Disney Palace,
the murmur of angels in the background,
the star that flew around it,
the jingle that will forever be stuck in my subconscious.
There were cartoons bashing each other’s heads in,
those who could never die,
there was always the victor
and the sufferer
and the game never got old.
But even if it aired in my time and in my country, it wouldn’t have caught on. The world had changed too much. No matter how inviting Mr. Rogers’ smile, the kids rather want to see something that sparkles or explodes. They rather want to watch a swashbuckling hero stab a series of nameless villains then hear the wise words of a sock-puppet.
The times have changed now. There’s too much available. The marketers know the game too well. The parents let it happens, the parents couldn’t have done anything about it even if they wanted to. The parents were too distracted themselves by the newest gadgets, building up their pension and Christmas bonuses. The marketers got them in their pockets too. It’s everything you stood against Mr. Rogers. But you see, in your day, television entertainment wasn’t as evolved as it is now. Now things can be created out of thin air, by computers. Now there’s so much money at stake. So much money. And you don’t fuck with the money Mr. Rogers.
They won’t let you fuck with the money. They’ll kick you out of the air if you do.
I’m sorry Mr. Rogers but the assholes of the world have won. Look no further in how little people care now about good morals, about being nice to each other. It’s too difficult to be empathetic, it’s much easier to dismiss people’s pain.
There’s so much pain and misery. There are people debating whether or not to give people medical assistance if they can’t afford it- they should have taken better care of themselves right?
There are the unfortunate people who lost their minds through either either neglect or genetic predisposition and the fortunate ones who pass them on the streets, telling the unfortunate ones that it’s their own fault.
Or at the very least, that their pain is not their problem.
There are people in charge of the government now who favor objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand- if anyone can play a witch without make-up, it’s her- which states that selfishness is a virtue.
But you were special Mr. Rogers.
You were all about love. All you wanted to do is tell the truth and make them understand. You understood that you didn’t have to patronize the kids, that you didn’t need to manipulate them. That there was a higher goal in having a broad children’s audience.
You could teach them to be good to each other.
You could tell about the horrors of this world,
how ugly people can be to each other,
how good people can be murdered for no good reason,
how people can fall out of love,
how people are scared for things that are different,
why sometimes we get a little sad because the world is a tough place
and we have to be alone sometimes
and we have figure things out for ourselves
and sometimes we love will leave us
and they can never come back
except in our hearts and minds.
And we have to accept things
even if we don’t want to,
because if we don’t
this world will be unbearable.
And it’s full of vultures waiting for desperate children who can’t handle this world
And sometimes we let the vultures eat our children
because we don’t know what to do,
we don’t know what to do…
And I wish I was more like you
I wish I was as pure as you
but I guess it’s too late for that.
I’ve done too many bad things,
I have too many bad habits,
patterns of thoughts I can’t seem to get rid of.
I feel uncomfortable with children,
I don’t know what to say,
I’m afraid to embarrass myself.
And I wished I lived in your neighborhood,
I wish you could tell me
that things are going to be alright
and that it’s okay to be me
and that I shouldn’t be like you,
cos nobody should be the same
because otherwise the neighborhood wouldn’t be so colorful.
You’d tell me these bad men
who are glorified by too many people,
people who should know better,
aren’t really winning.
And it’s because they don’t see it,
even though the right answer was always there.
The higher plain,
some of us see it right at the end.
They will understand that they’ve wasted so much time
worrying too much
or hating each other.
Thinking too much of the past,
building a fantasy world inside their heads,
putting their names
on top of tall buildings
in plaques made of gold.
You’d tell me:
”I know you want to change the world
but now you gotta look out for yourself.
You gotta show the world
and all its misguided creatures,
what it means to be human.
You don’t let them change you,
you don’t let them away your light.
It’s what happens to so many of us,
and if we could keep that light inside us
and share that light,
by helping others,
collectivize it in one beautiful image
for the world to see.
And it might not change the world
but it might change
the mindset of some,
it might make them feel better
the less fortunate ones,
the ones who see no way out.
And wouldn’t that be nice?”
”Yes it would,” I’d say,
and then I’d smile and look away,
and I would wish I wasn’t so cynical,
that I was more like you.
And you’d see that familiar glare of mine
and it wouldn’t dishearten you,
you would understand.
You’d finish by saying:
”Love is at the root of everything. love
or the lack of it.
And what we see and hear on the screen
is part of who we become.”
And I’d wipe away a tear
and tell you I need to go home
”but I’ll be back,” I’d say,
”because I like it here.
I really, really like it here.”