Won’t you be my neighbor?

In a Wall Street Journal article this week, Don Chance, a professor at Louisiana State University, sees a problem with students who feel entitled and decided, “We can blame Mister Rogers … he’s representative of a culture of excessive doting.”

“You’re special.” On the Yahoo Answers Web site, a discussion thread about Mr. Rogers begins with this posting: “Mr. Rogers spent years telling little creeps that he liked them just the way they were. He should have been telling them there was a lot of room for improvement. … Nice as he was, and as good as his intentions may have been, he did a disservice.”

Talking bad about Mr. Freakin’ Rogers!?

Are you kidding me?

Screw you, Don Chance, and the high horse you rode in on. Put down your misguided notions and step away from Mr. Freakin’ Rogers.

You want to know who to blame for any child that feels entitled? You want to know who to blame for lazy ass kids who don’t want to work for anything?

The parents who raised them that way, not the kind man in the sweater and sneakers who showed PittGirl how crayons are made.

Excuse me while I ride the trolley to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and make believe that Don Chance is getting his eyes clawed out by Henrietta Pussycat.

(h/t Spoon)


    July 9, 2007 10:37 am

    Doting = a child feeling loved and valued. Is there such a thing as being “excessively” loved and valued? People like this make me seriously question the state of “institutions of higher learning.” I wonder if this pompous jackass has any research to back this up? I HIGHLY doubt it. Hopefully the parents who read this do not buy into this garbage.

  2. Tinare
    July 9, 2007 11:18 am

    If Mr. Rogers is solely responsible for the “increasing narcissism in college students over the last 25 years” why is it only over the last 25 years? Mr. Rogers started on TV in U.S. in 1967. So why is it not increasing over the last 40 years? I just love how some professor can just have something “hit him” and decide that is the reason and get press coverage for it. What happened to professors researching and backing up their theories with facts? I mean, from the article this just appears to be some idea some guy came up with, but because he’s a professor it gets media attention. I mean he’s a FINANCE professor for crying out loud. What does he really know about child development, cultural trends, etc. No more than any other average person. It’s not his area of expertise. Next they’ll be publishing some english prof’s theory that the tech market actually crashed in the early 00s due to Barney being so popular among small children that their parents stopped buying computers since all the kids wanted to do was sing… I’m so disappointed in the WSJ for even making this a news story.

  3. Kat
    July 9, 2007 12:05 pm

    That little movie about how crayons are made is one of my favorite things ever.

  4. Anita
    July 9, 2007 12:18 pm

    I read this article the other day, and also was angry that Mr. Rogers was being blamed for the attitudes of some teens/college students. I agree that is is bad parenting that usually leads to bad kids.

    Also, my favorite episode of Mr. Rogers was the crayon one too!!

  5. Michael
    July 9, 2007 12:29 pm

    Mr. Rogers was certainly responsible for something – saving PBS in the 1970s. Remember, this was when the vast wasteland was three networks, a few local independent providers in the big cities, and almost no educational programming on any of it.

    Without Fred Rogers, Sesame Street (before it became the marketing machine it is today), Electric Company, and his own show certainly would have never been on the air. Maybe today, an argument against public television can be made, but in those days, shows like those on PBS were the only countervailing force to the things like the Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour.

    Watch this video clip:

  6. honda driver
    July 9, 2007 12:35 pm

    I loved Fred Rogers. He knew child development. He was fully aware of the power of his words and knew we were seeing the rise of the ‘age of entitlement’ among the younger generation. At the end of his years he did make a statement along the lines of, “Instead of saying, ‘You’re special’ I should have said, ‘You’re special..and so is everyone else.”

  7. Freewheelin' Joe
    July 9, 2007 12:47 pm

    “…the kind man in the sweater and sneakers who showed PittGirl how crayons are made.”

    Cutest line ever! Mr. Rogers made me into the man I am today, which is a pretty good one, despite what you may hear. :-P

  8. Ms. Caroline
    July 9, 2007 1:21 pm

    I enjoyed the episode that he addressed the “fear of going down the drain” issue.

    I have a friend who was a manager at a grocery store in the Pittsburgh suburb near Mr. Roger’s home. My friend was a bit awestruck the first time he saw him, but eventually worked up the nerve to ask for an autograph for his daughters. Every time he saw my friend after they met, he asked him how his daughters were – by name.

    A quality human being. People like that are rare these days.

  9. Puma
    July 9, 2007 1:38 pm

    There are educational prgrams for kids, cooking, home repair, right down to pimpin’ out your ride… but it seems to me there is nothing for parenting. Parents am I wrong? There are the occasional Oprah or Dr. Phil episodes, but really, are those the people you want teaching our generation about the realities of parenting?

    Besides, we all know the real blame for all of this rests with Gary Gnu or possibly the cast of “The Electric Company”.

    Uh, Conrad Bain, your thoughts?

  10. NY Luvs Pitts
    July 9, 2007 2:02 pm

    Leave Mr. Rogers alone. NY Luvs Mr. Rogers too.

  11. Aeran
    July 9, 2007 2:10 pm

    what an ass. to counter chance’s bad feelings, here’s a little Mr. Rogers YouTube love:



  12. Zsa
    July 9, 2007 2:14 pm

    So stupid – as Tinare says, if we were all going to turn into brats, it would have happened 40 years ago. I think the real blame should be placed on the plethora of children’s TV channels. Back when the only time you saw cartoons was Saturday morning and that one measley half hour of Tom & Jerry on the weekdays, kids knew where their place was.

  13. Kat
    July 9, 2007 2:44 pm

    I think there’s something to that, Zsa. The Wizard of Oz and the Sound of Music were on once a year, and we waited for them with great anticipation I have friends with kids who watch Cars or the Incredibles every day for weeks.

    Kids now don’t have to share a bathroom or a tv with their siblings, so they never have to learn to negotiate. The parents make them special meals, so they never have to try new things. They have portable DVD players and video game dealies at all times, so they’re never bored and have to learn to entertain themselves. Damn kids, get off my lawn!

  14. SeanCollier
    July 9, 2007 3:10 pm

    25 years, incidentally, puts you back to the mid-80’s – right when the kids advertising boom began in earnest. Look at even video game ads – VIDEO GAMES, for god’s sake – and they didn’t really market strongly to kids until this time period. As anyone who’s watched even one commercial break on modern-day Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network (or can recall their own childhood pining for Slip-n-Slides and POW POW Power Wheels) can tell you, kids advertisements are downright brainwashing. The general theme goes: 1) This is the coolest thing ever, and it makes everything great. 2) Every kid has this thing. EVERY one. 3) Bug your parents to buy it for you. NOW.

    Kids hearing those kind of ads might feel…gee, ENTITLED to the items presented! I sure know I was pissed that I never got a Power Wheel – why, look at the commercial! After Mr. Rogers, however, I mainly felt, you know, NICE. God forbid. Why even give this moron the press.

    July 9, 2007 3:40 pm

    “It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive, it’s such a happy feeling, you’re growing inside and when you wake up ready to say…I think I’ll make a snappy new day [snap, snap]it’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling, the feeling you know that we’re friends…” Just singing that song makes me feel happy – we loved and miss you Fred Rogers!!!

  16. Michael
    July 9, 2007 7:49 pm

    I think that Mr. Rogers had great intentions but we ALL need to “harden the f**k up”

    Here’s an Australian example:


    Just my two pennies

  17. Heavy T
    July 9, 2007 8:04 pm

    I think the alli weight loss drug has hit it spot on. The drug’s web site essentially tells you like it is. Take this little pill and you will probably crap yourself. Wear dark pants to avoid the embarassment. We need more “straight upness”. People are too soft. Fred Rogers is not a contributor to society’s problems. Where are the parents is the question I pose. You should be able to spank (not beat) your children. You should be able to put soap (not liquid) in your kids mouth when he swears or talks in Pittsburghese. Yous houdl do this without fear of some freak threatening to call child custody services (althouth they are probably laid off due to budget issues today). I think I’ll take my alli and go to F’in Burger King n’at

  18. Benjamin
    July 10, 2007 12:24 pm

    Mister Rogers was an easy target, and I think he knew it. That’s one of the things I found so inspiring about him: In the face of growing cultural cynicism, complexity, and shallowness, he persisted with simple, sage words, and deeds to match. He wasn’t about trends or fashion, he was about being. So — while I imagine that ,if he were here today, he might speak to this specific debate — it certainly wouldn’t break his stride. He’d go for a swim, or play his piano, and carry on. Just as we should.

  19. Jillian
    July 11, 2007 5:19 pm

    It’s a low, little man that attacks Mister Rogers. It’s almost sacrilegious!

    Sure, a lot of college students feel entitled, but the blame lies in “the customer is always right” mentality. Young ‘uns been taught to be savvy consumers from the time they were tiny. They’re paying the tuition, so they call the shots, right? Plus, the helicopter parents are probably driving the guy crazy.

    Really, he can’t place the blame where it belongs – the parents – because he’s probably one himself.