When Did Being Neighborly Become Radically Subversive?
by Tony Howard
The Mr Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor has been the sleeper summer indie movie hit, suggesting that its poignant message is just right for the times we’re living in. With a focus on the short supply of human decency, respect, compassion and tolerance, at this moment in history the film feels, as Alissa Wilkinson at Vox points out, “radically subversive.” How did we get here?
The answer to that question is of course long and complex. But it’s my hope that everyone receiving this email resonates with Fred Rogers’ mission, which is distinctly Piscean: We’re all sisters and brothers here, with insecurities, fears, problems. So why not support each other with care and kindness?
Rogers had such a lasting impact, in part because, as the documentary shows, he walked his talk.
Like many of you, I’m so jaded by the high drama of the news cycle and of sensational documentary exposes that I found myself waiting on the edge of my seat for the “big reveal.” But it never came. It turns out that the big revelation was that Rogers was the guy we all thought he was - and that his mission hasn’t lost its power or importance.