"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Sunday, January 25, 2004


On Friday, Bob Keeshan died. He was, of course, TV's Captain Kangaroo and (I had forgotten) Clarabell the clown on Howdy Doody (which was a little before my time). Reading his obituary, I was surprised by his age at death: 76. The Captain Kangaroo character was an elderly man, so to my mind, he would have been in his 90s by now. In reality, the ridiculous gray-haired, pageboy hairstyle was just a wig on the head of an actor who, when I was a child, was about the age that I am now (42).

I read in his obituary that he was an "advocate" for children, as was his good friend, the late Fred Rogers of Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Mr. Keeshan lectured parents with such platitudes as, "A child needs to be listened to and talked to at 3 and 4 and 5 years of age." Duh. I don't know why doing a children's show should make someone consider himself a child development expert. Especially when his show is painfully boring and anachronistic. My generation's childhood was the heyday of Fred and Bob, and I don't know anyone who speaks fondly of those shows. They were oddities, and the only times I remember tuning in were to stare in amazement at the lameness of it all.

It was Bugs Bunny & Friends for me.