Longtime readers of this blog may recall the fondness and respect Chris and I have for Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister and educator from Pittsburgh who invited us all to be part of his TV neighborhood. In a recent Q essay on the “Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade,” Andy Crouch listed Place at #2, writing, “This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life.” It is fun to speculate – and speculation is all it can ever be – that Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired about 900 episodes over nearly 45 years, baptized the imaginations of several generations of young people, giving them a glimpse of what local, embodied presence can look like.
Chris and I were thus both delighted to see a recent PBS Digital Studios video of “Mister Rogers Remixed.” It’s called “Garden of Your Mind” and it’s a reminder of some of the reasons we all loved Fred Rogers so much. The video has gone viral, as the kids say, with nearly 5 million views on YouTube in just two weeks. What do you think? Bizarre? Awesome? Maybe both?