You might expect Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about Fred Rogers, to be a nostalgia exercise for Gen-Xers like me, or even a movie for kids. As it turns out, it is nothing of the kind. Mr. Rogers was a profoundly counter-cultural figure in the true sense of the word. He spent his life lighting a candle against the calculated stupidity of mass culture and the indoctrination of kids as mindless consumers. He deeply respected the intelligence and sensibilities of children and lived a life of honesty and moral courage.
It took me about 10 minutes watching this documentary to understand why it was shut out of the Academy Awards (some critics had naively suggested it would contend for Best Documentary). Mr. Rogers was everything that Hollywood is not. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is beautiful, inspirational, and emotionally resonant. Highly recommended.
I recently re-read the classic political novel Advise and Consent by Allen Drury. Drury was extremely prescient about Washington and its relationship to the American people. I was struck by his critique of the press corps (Drury was a Capitol Hill correspondent for decades). He was wise to the techniques the press uses to take advantage of the people’s credulity. When I ran across this handy chart of logical fallacies, I thought I’d share it. You can find at least one of these in almost every “breaking” news story or opinion piece. Once you get on to it, it’s fascinating to realize how it works. Educate yourself.
I’ve had my differences with Toby Keith but I can’t get enough of his beautiful new song about aging. May you be forever young at heart!