February 28, 2008

Mister Rogers Absurdity

I've been on a quest to score a solid album of music performed by Johnny Costa, the jazz pianist who defined the sound of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I checked around for some videos as well, and in doing so, I stumbled across this weird creation. Don't get me wrong. Fred Rogers is, I believe, one of the only entertainers whose efforts were genuinely deserving of a national holiday. He sincerely cared about children in way which most of us find difficult to trust as authentic for any number of reasons. He seemed too good to be true, and therefore, he became an easy, unfortunate target for endless parodies. The video below gets very close to crossing over into the realm of mean-spiritedness, but it never quite gets there for me. It's just weird enough, slow enough, and quiet enough to be enjoyably absurd. Kembrew McLeod, the video's creator, says the following: "Mister Rogers released a number of records in the 1960s and 1970s that contained weird segments that I sampled and collaged, mixing in drums, noises and a bass line from a band named Bedhead. I didn't rearrange Mister Rogers' sentences, so many of the things that sound out of context are also messed up in context ('you can never go down the drain,' for instance)."

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