Hi folks... it's my honor, on the occasion of what would have been his 90th birthday, to present to AICN a trailer for WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, a new documentary looking at Fred Rogers and the legacy of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD, directed by Morgan Neville (BEST OF ENEMIES: BUCKLEY VS. VIDAL).
This looks great. I grew up with Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, the trolley train, Make-Believe, Henrietta... IIRC, the King Friday puppet used to really creep me out. Mister Rogers was the calmest thing about my childhood, and he always made me feel like I was... not special, but... okay, just as I was. His mild, open kindness wasn't representative of my generation, at all. He was a fluke: a kind, moral man during selfish, angry times, and I don't think he's remembered or referenced enough.
Compared to his current contemporaries, Rogers seems saint-like in his gentleness and willing to reason. He represents the trust Americans used to have in each other, to plead their case without hyperbole or rancor, to stop trying to win an argument in the opening seconds and start trying to communicate with other regardless of the result, where a middle-ground could be found and enjoyed by everyone.
He has been the focus of many memes lately, as people have been sharing his thoughtful plea to the Senate to fund Public Television. Instead of pretending to understand someone on the opposite side of an issue with the intent of defeating their cynicism, Fred Rogers took the time and consideration necessary to understand their many concerns (legitimate or otherwise) Senators had and addressed them in a graceful way, that shows more respect than mastery. He didn't slam-dunk on them. He left a space for the Senators to be graceful, too, and they did so, of their own free will.
Rogers makes such a stark contrast to the world of 2018. He is the best of the liberal idea and the conservative idea: all the hopes and dreams of playing fairly, without the anger and venom that seem part-and-parcel of the conversation.
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? premieres in select theaters June 8th.