In a world gone mad, when war is endless and politics are chaos … there’s only one man who can reassure our troubled souls.
Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us (RIP).
Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of Mister Rogers on tape — and for the next two weeks, you can binge him 24 hours a day.
Twitchy, the online video streaming service, is currently marathoning all 866 episodes of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” in chronological order.
That means you have until June 3 to relive the most soothing, gray sweaterful moments of your childhood.
It’s an opportunity every American should be pretty grateful to seize right about now — and it’s for a good cause.
The marathon is an effort to raise money for local PBS stations, many of which have trouble keeping their funding levels up.
As of this writing, over $14,000 has been donated.
Periodically, PBS has to fight to survive in the face of apathy and political calls to cut its funding. Now is one of those times.
A budget proposed by the Trump administration in March 2017 would have eliminated funding for the network.
The initial version of the budget did not pass, and PBS remains in on the air for now, but the threat is real for the kind of enriching children’s programming that Fred Rogers spent his life making and advocating for.
A 2015 study found that shows like “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street” — available to anyone with a TV set for decades — made low-income children who watched regularly 14% less likely to fall behind in school.
“These findings raise the exciting possibility that TV and electronic media more generally can be leveraged to address income and racial gaps in children’s school readiness,” study co-author Melissa Kearney said in a statement.
48 years ago, Rogers appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications to convince skeptical elected officials to allocate $20 million for public television.
His heart-wrenching, six-minute testimony was key to convincing the lawmakers to provide the funding.
Though Rogers may no longer be with us, this two-week fundraising marathon allows his message of kindness and empathy — broadcast for over 30 years to millions of American children from all walks of life — to speak for itself.
You should check it out — and prepare yourself for a nostalgia-and-classic moment tsunami. In a just world, that would be enough to secure PBS the funding it needs.