Spencer Tweedy

Observations 9-29-18

  • Hope Hall’s (great) advice for emotional health in The Creative Independent reading like Confucian aphorisms.
  • Watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the Mr. Rogers documentary, and feeling, apart from so much warmth and love from Mr. Rogers and the people who worked with him, anger and dejectedness thinking of the people who tell us that it’s not okay to care. As a twenty-something figuring out how to balance gooey emotionality with the realism that we associate with adulthood, it is a noise jamming my signals to hear Fox News hosts or any cynical person tell us that caring is immature, unrealistic, irresponsible. I want to be mature, and I want to see the world realistically, and I want to be responsible, so I take their accusations seriously. I’m even willing to find goodwill in them: they see Mr. Rogers’ way of being as a risk, as something that could harm you or other people. (If you value feelings more than rational thought, they say, you could get trampled or you might demand a participation trophy you don’t deserve.) But the way I see it, Mr. Rogers didn’t ask kids to ignore the harsh reality of the world; he asked them to acknowledge it. He didn’t ask kids to value feelings more than rational thought; he asked them to think about their feelings. So when cynical cultural conservatives say that they’re in touch with reality, and anyone who cares like Mr. Rogers did is a fool, I think—and I say this with anger, and uncertainty—they’re hypocrites. Because only someone who is ruled by self-pity about their own sacrifice of childhood hoping and caring could tell other people to make that sacrifice.
    • The schmutz on Mr. Rogers’ house sneakers.
  • “I Can Sing It But I Can’t Say It” by Honeybus and its similarity to “Cold Hard World” by Daniel Johnston (both songs talk about checking out library books to get the attention of a librarian).
  • The student practicing harp outside on a fire escape.
  • Being scared, for the second time in a week, by a piece of lint shooting out from a corner of the floor on a draft.
  • Falling asleep to the sounds of the “Cha-Cha Slide” wafting out of a dorm, across the quad.