Hear a 12-Hour Playlist of Experimental Symphonic Noise Rock by Avant-Garde Guitarist and Composer Glenn Branca (RIP)

Glenn Branca died on Monday at age 69. In tributes from august publications like The Guardian and The New York Times, the guitarist and composer’s name is mentioned by and alongside minimalist luminaries like Steve Reich and John Cage. Branca himself cited composers like Olivier Messiaen and György Ligeti as influences. He belongs in the company of these avant-garde pioneers, but many who might recognize their names may not have heard the name Glenn Branca.

Branca worked in a much more anarchic milieu, namely the downtown New York noise rock scene that came to be called No Wave. “My real influence was punk,” he told Pitchfork in 2016. “I must have listened to the first Patti Smith album 300 times.” In turn, the composer influenced the next generation of underground New York artists, nurturing the talents of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, who honed their art-rock chops—the drone notes, odd tunings, etc.—in the early ‘80s while playing in one of Branca’s notoriously noisy guitar ensembles.

Branca released Sonic Youth’s first two albums on his record label, tutored abrasive noise pioneers Swans' guitarist Norman Westberg, and inspired essential downtown figures like Lounge Lizards' John Lurie, who described seeing the composer’s band Theoretical Girls in 1979 as a life-changing event. Minimalist post-rock masterminds like Godspeed You! Black Emperor owe much to Branca’s innovations. Given that he occupied such a seminal place at such a key musical moment, giving birth to such seminal bands, why isn’t Branca’s work better known?

Perhaps this is because, while he drew from classical avant-garde, jazz, and punk rock, he refused to settle comfortably into any particular camp or to clearly define the boundaries of his work. Branca created a template all his own. Reich described him as “an absolute original,” which made him a very inspirational figure, but a difficult one to slot into a genre bin.

His treatment of rock instruments in orchestral settings made for intense, and for some unlistenable, music that thoroughly defied the conventions of rock and orchestral music, with ensembles of up to 100 electric guitars playing at once. (John Cage objected to Branca's overwhelming performances on "political" grounds, saying they "resembled fascism.")

But while Branca’s music has never had mass appeal, the few who love it, love it passionately. Of his classic 1981 album The Ascension (hear the title track at the top), Allmusic’s Brian Olewnick writes, “if one chooses to categorize the music on this recording as ‘rock,’ this is surely one of the greatest rock albums ever made.” One hears in The Ascension and Branca’s work in general the genesis of a muscular, noisy, orchestral post-rock sound now familiar in, say, the soundtrack work of artists like Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

Despite his contention, as he told the NYT, that “I don’t change,” his work has evolved over time, developing new depths and complexity. In the Spotify playlist further up, hear Branca’s development as a composer in 66 tracks (or 12 hours) of symphonic experimental noise rock, and in the interview just above with the Louisiana Channel, see Branca describe (and demonstrate) his unusual guitar techniques and his breadth of musical influences.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Hear Tom Wolfe (RIP) Tell Studs Terkel All About Custom-Car Culture, the Subject of His Seminal Piece of New Journalism (1965)

Photo by Susan Sterner, via Wikimedia Commons

American journalism breaks down into two basic varieties: that which came before Tom Wolfe, and that which came after. The 1960s counterculture, the space program, the modern art scene, the influence of Bauhaus architecture: whatever the subject, readers could trust Wolfe--who died this past Monday after a more than sixty-year career in letters--to convey it with great vividness of imagery and inventiveness of prose. He first developed his style of "New Journalism" in 1962, almost inadvertently: while struggling to shape his research on California custom car-culture into an article for Esquire, he wrote a letter to his editor describing what he had seen. The editor, so the legend goes, simply removed the letter's salutation and printed it — leaving its voluminous detail and casual, conversational style untouched — as reportage.

That piece became the lead essay in 1965's The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection now considered one of the defining books of the 1960s in America (a list that also includes Wolfe's own The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test). After its publication, Wolfe made this appearance on the radio (part one, part two) across from Studs Terkel — a fellow journalist with an equal work ethic but a very different sensibility indeed — to talk about the California car customizer's highly specialized enterprise as well as his own.

"It's something that's a real form of expression," Wolfe says to Terkel. This is something we've overlooked in this country about the automobile and the motorcycle: that these things are forms of expression. We thought we were being very sophisticated a few years ago when we discovered that the automobile was a status symbol." Looking back, the realm of the Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby-builders was Wolfe's ideal starting point, vividly crystallizing as it did phenomena that would go on to number among his major themes: style, status, subculture, self-indulgence.

Just as one can't imagine William Makepeace Thackeray outside mid-19th-century England or Émile Zola outside late 19th-century France — two cited inspirations in Wolfe's later efforts to write not just novel journalism but journalistic novels — could Tom Wolfe have become Tom Wolfe anywhere other than postwar America? Looking back, that vast country plunged suddenly into a brand new kind of modernity, brimming as it was with wealth and wonder, vulgarity and violence, seemed to have been waiting for just the right chronicler, one sufficiently (in the highest sense) unorthodox and (in an even higher sense) undiscriminating, to come along. That chronicler came and now has gone, but the writing he leaves behind will let generation after generation experience the overwhelmingly vital decades in America he both observed and had a hand in creating.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Watch the Brand New Trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, the Long-Awaited Biopic on Freddie Mercury & Queen

"Talk of a movie about [Freddie Mercury], who died in 1991, has gone on for years: Dexter Fletcher came up as a potential director, and for the role of Mercury both Ben Wishaw and Sacha Baron Cohen have at different times been attached. But now the film has entered production, having found a director in Bryan Singer, he of the X-Men franchise, and a star in Rami Malek, best known as the lead in the television series Mr. Robot."

That's how our Colin Marshall introduced a post last fall which, among other things, gave us a first unofficial glimpse of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Now comes the first official glimpse of Malek as Mercury. Above, watch the newly-released trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-awaited biopic that explores 15 years in the history of Queen--from the formation of the band, to their captivating, career-defining 1985 performance at Live Aid, previously featured on our site here.

Enjoy the trailer, and look for Bohemian Rhapsody to hit theaters on November 2.

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Get the History of the World in 46 Lectures, Courtesy of Columbia University

When you dive into our collection of 1,300 Free Online Courses, you can begin an intellectual journey that can last for many months, if not years. The collection lets you drop into the classrooms of leading universities (like Stanford, Harvard, MIT and Oxford) and essentially audit their courses for free. You get to be a fly on the wall and soak up whatever knowledge you want. All you need is an internet connection and some free time on your hands.

Today, we're featuring two courses taught by Professor Richard Bulliet at Columbia University, which will teach you the history of the world in 46 lectures. The first course, History of the World to 1500 CE (available on YouTube and iTunes Video, or fully streamable below) takes you from prehistoric times to 1500, the cusp of early modernity. The origins of agriculture; the Greek, Roman and Persian empires; the rise of Islam and Christian medieval kingdoms; transformations in Asia; and the Maritime revolution -- they're all covered here.

In the second course, History of the World Since 1500 CE (find it on YouTube, iTunes or embedded below), Bulliet focuses on the rise of colonialism in the Americas and India; historical developments in China, Japan and Korea; the Industrial Revolution; the Ottoman Empire; the emergence of Social Darwinism; and various key moments in 20th century history.

Bulliet helped write the popular textbook The Earth and its Peoples: A Global History, and it serves as the main textbook for the course. Above, we're starting you off with Lecture 2, which moves from the Origins of Agriculture to the First River - Valley Civilizations, circa 8000-1500 B.C.E. The first lecture deals with methodological issues that underpin the course. All of the remaining lectures are available below.

Once you get the big picture with Professor Bulliet, don't forget to visit our collection of Free Online History Courses, a subset of our big collection, 1,300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

History of the World to 1500 CE 

History of the World Since 1500 CE

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in April, 2013.

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Hear the Recently Discovered, Earliest Known Recording of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” (1894)

As keen observers of American culture and history like W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison have written, there is no American music without African-American music. The history of the recording industry bears witness to the fact, with jazz, blues, and ragtime dominating the early releases that drove the industry forward. Before these popular forms and the age of “race records,” however, came the spirituals, gospel songs dating back to slavery, whose fame spread across the world in the latter half of the 19th century with groups like the Fisk Jubilee Singers. As Du Bois wrote in 1903, “their songs conquered till they sang across the land and across the sea, before Queen and Kaiser, in Scotland and Ireland, Holland and Switzerland… they tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wanderings and hidden ways.”

Given the worldwide fascination with the spiritual and the singing groups who spread them across the world, it’s no wonder this was sought-after material for a nascent industry eager for music that appealed to the masses. And no spiritual has had more mass appeal than “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

The first recording of the song was long thought to have been performed in 1909 by a foursome, the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet, “carrying on the legacy,” notes Public Domain Review, “of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers of the 1870s.” You can hear that recording below, made by Victor Studios.

Even before the turn of the century, writes Toni Anderson at the Library of Congress, “the musical landscape was peppered with over ten companies fashioned after the original Jubilee Singers, and by the 1890s, many black groups had launched successful foreign tours.” (Du Bois laments the poor quality of many of these imitators.) The 1909 recording, writes Public Domain Review, “popularized the song hugely,” or, we might say, even more hugely, helping to make it a staple in decades to come for artists like Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Etta James, Johnny Cash, and Eric Clapton (in a 1975 reggae take). However, it turns out that an even earlier recording exists, made by one of those successful traveling groups, the Standard Quartette, in 1894.

Recorded on a wax cylinder by Columbia Records in Washington, DC while the group made a stop on a spring tour, this “’holy grail’ of early recording history,” writes Archeophone Records, “pushes back by fifteen years the first known recording of the classic spiritual,” but it might have been lost forever had not a careful collector preserved it and Archeophone’s Richard Martin not identified its badly-decayed sounds as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The recording has been included on a 102-track compilation, Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900.

First discovered on a “large group of damaged early cylinders—moldy, noisy, and thought to have no retrievable content,” the song has been unearthed from beneath “an ocean of noise.” What Archeophone’s Meagan Hennessey found is that the version “is very different from what people expect. The chorus is familiar, but the verses are different. The Standard Quartette sing lyrics we associate with other jubilee songs.” Also, as Martin points out, the song’s arrangement is unusual: “there are complex things going on here with harmony and rhythm, but you’ve got to listen closely through the noise.” (Learn more about the discovery and restoration in the short video above.)

The song itself may have been written in the mid-1800s by an enslaved man named Wallace Willis, who was taken from Mississippi to Oklahoma by his half-Choctaw owner during forced relocation in the 1830s, then “rented out” to a school for Native boys. The headmaster heard him sing it, and passed it on to the Jubilee singers. In another, more dramatic, account of the song’s composition, it “’burst forth’ from the anguished soul of Sarah Hannah Sheppard, the mother of Ella Sheppard of Fisk Jubilee Singer fame,” when Sarah learned she would be sold and separated forever from her daughter.

In his live performance of the song, above, Johnny Cash gives a picturesque origin story of an anonymous slave, "sitting on his cotton sack one day," and singing about a vision of a chariot. But whatever the song's true origins, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” perhaps more than any other popular spiritual of the 19th century, has come to represent the music, Du Bois wrote, through which “the slave spoke to the world.”

via Public Domain Review

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Extremely Rare Technicolor Film Footage from the 1920s Discovered: Features Louise Brooks Dancing in Her First Feature Film

In brief surveys of film history, the eye-popping process known as Technicolor seems to emerge fully-formed in the 1930s and 40s with classics like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, movies so vivid they almost exemplify the phrase “eye candy” with a “richer, color-flooded version of the real world,” writes Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic. This golden age of Technicolor, with its “supersaturated aesthetic… created films punctuated by colors so electric they were surreal.”

But like any new technology, color film, and the Technicolor process in particular, followed a long trajectory of trial and error involving many an ambitious failure and many early attempts now lost to history. One such film, 1917’s The Gulf Between, considered the first Technicolor film, employed one of the earliest, two-color versions of the process. Surviving now only in very short fragments, the 58-minute production was “expensive and hard on the eyes,” notes Richard Trenholm at Cnet, “a critical and artistic flop” and “a commercial one, too.”

Technicolor scientists and filmmakers refused to give up on the process, laboring mightily throughout the 1920s to figure out the exact elements needed to connect with moviegoers. Most problematically, the two-color process could not reproduce believable blues, purples, or yellows. As James Layton, co-author of The Dawn of Technicolor, tells The Atlantic, “skies would never reproduce accurately, and water wouldn’t…. There are some great examples. A beach scene… where the sky is this very vivid green, it’s very unnatural.”

One herculean effort to make Technicolor a hit came from Douglas Fairbanks, whose painstaking 1926 film The Black Pirate made artistic use of the process’s limitations, taking inspiration from the Dutch masters to achieve a sense of depth. In 1970, the British National Film Archive began a restoration (see some clips above, with a 70s-sounding soundtrack overlaid).

Fairbanks’ film remains one of only a handful of Technicolor films from the period that has survived in full into the present, likely because it represents one of the few commercial successes. But just last month, Jane Fernandes, a British Film Institute (BFI) conservationist, discovered several snippets of many more 1920s Technicolor films taped to the beginnings and ends of reels from a copy of The Black Pirate donated to BFI in 1959.

These fragments include a very brief shot of silent icon Louise Brooks in color (at the 1:11 mark), from the lost 1926 film The American Venus, her first feature. Also included in the find are short clips from other Technicolor films made that same year, The Far Cry, The Fire Brigade, and Dance Madness, as well as a test shot from the historical drama Mona Lisa, starring L.A. Times gossip columnist Hedda Hopper as Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic model.

You can see these prized snippets in the video at the top of the post, with narration from BFI curator Bryony Dixon. “Another batch of extracts,” reports Smithsonian.com, “was found taped to ads for a North London television shop that ran before and between movies in the 1950s. They include scenes from early Technicolor musicals that came out in 1929 including SallyGold Diggers of Broadway, Show of Shows and On with the Show!

In BFI’s April 30 press release announcing these rare finds, Dixon compares them to “an Egyptian vase shattered into pieces and the shards scattered across museums all over the world…. For now we have the shards but we can dream of seeing Louise Brooks’s first film or a lost Hedda Hopper in colour.” Future discoveries, as well as the latest restoration techniques, may soon return an expanded history of 1920s two-color Technicolor to scholars and film fans of the 21st century.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Groundbreaking Map from 1858 Colorfully Visualizes 6,000 Years of World History

We start to understand history by listening to it told to us verbally, which lets us visualize it in our imagination. But how much more might we understand history if we could see it rendered visually right before our eyes? That question seems to have occupied the minds of certain of the cartographers of 19th-century Europe, those who wanted to take their craft beyond its traditional limits in order to do for chronology what it had long done for geography. Here we have one of the most glorious such attempts in existence, Eugene Pick's 1858 Tableau De L'Histoire Universelle — or at least the half covering the civilizations of the Eastern Hemisphere — as held in the David Rumsey Map Collection.

At first glance, all of the information on the map might appear overwhelming. But zoom in (looking at the center first, ideally from top to bottom) and you'll soon grasp how Pick has depicted the history of the world, as a mid-19th-century Frenchman would conceive of it it, by drawing a kind of network of rivers and tributaries.

The "sources" of ancient civilizations, like those of the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and the Chinese, flow down to those of various descendants — the Gauls, the Norwegians, the Russians, the Turks — and the mighty empires in which they pool, and arrive at the nations of the Danes, the Swedes, the Belgians, the Spanish, the Persians, and others besides. In total the map covers 6,000 years of history, moving from 4004 B.C. to 1856.

This technique of visualizing history has its precedents, including Friedrich Strass' Der Strom der Zeiten oder bildliche Darstellung der Weltgeschichte, pictured just above (and later updated by American mapmaker Joseph Hutchins Colton as The Stream of Time in the 1840s and 1860s.) The David Rumsey Map Collection notes that, unlike Strass' map, Pick's also has "vignettes of people, buildings, historical scenes and important places in the history of the world" lined up on either side of the main content. It thus illuminates the abstract and continuous central rendering of history with representative, discrete ones, showing viewers everything from the Biblical flood and the Tower of Babel to the Great Sphinx of Giza and Agrippa's Pantheon to Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. It has a certain francocentrism, to be sure, but consider how many in Pick's time considered France the center of humanity's genius. Producing a map as compelling as this one couldn't have diminished that image.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

National Geographic Has Digitized Its Collection of 6,000+ Vintage Maps: See a Curated Selection of Maps Published Between 1888 and Today

As some of the finest fictional world-builders have understood, few things excite the imagination like a map. And despite the geographical limitation implied by its title, National Geographic’s maps have surveyed the entire globe and beyond. The magazine’s articles have not always presented an enlightened point of view, but for all its historical failings, the richly-illustrated monthly has excelled as a showcase for cartography, over which readers might spend hours, projecting themselves into unknown lands, journeying through the carefully-drawn topographies, cityscapes, and celestial charts.

Started as the official journal of the National Geographic Society, the magazine has amassed a huge, 130-year archive of  “editorial cartography,” the National Geographic site writes. “Now, for the first time,” that collection is available online, “every map ever published in the magazine since the first issue of October 1888.”

The entire archive is only available to subscribers (however you can find curated selections on the NatGeoMaps Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts), but we can still see an astonishing quality and variety on display in dozens of maps on social media of every conceivable location, topic, and event, beginning with the very first published map, depicting the Great White Hurricane, “one of the most severe blizzards to ever hit the United States” (above)—the “start of a long tradition… of enhancing storytelling with maps.”

As longtime readers of National Geographic well know, the maps—often separable from the magazine in fold-outs suitable for hanging on the wall—function as more than visual aids. They tell their own stories. “A map is able to connect with somebody in a different way than a text will or a photo will,” notes the magazine’s director of cartography Martin Gamache. Maps “engage with a different part of our psyche or our brain.” From its earliest articulation, geography has inclined toward the poetic. The ancient geographer Strabo credited Homer as “the founder of geographical science,” who “reached the utmost limits of the earth, traversing it in his imagination.” Maps present us with a visual poetry often Homeric in its scope.

Though so many of these maps are detachable, it often helps to understand the specific context in which they were created, which doesn’t always appear in a self-contained legend. The map above, for example, published in March 1966, shows the Kremlin “in unprecedented detail,” as the magazine’s Twitter account points out: “Soviet regulations prohibited aerial photos, so artists collected diagrams and ground-level photos to draft a sketch that was brought to Moscow and corrected on the spot.” Further up, we see a map of Mexico from May 1914, “one of the first general reference maps of the country” from the National Geographic archive. The map at the top, from the December 1922 issue, is the magazine’s very first published general reference map of the world.

There are maps celestial, as above from 1957, and architectural—such as recent digital recreations of King Tut’s tomb, lately revealed to have no hidden chambers left to explore. Maps of planets beyond the solar system and planets (or “dwarf planets”) within it, such as this first published map of Pluto. Maps of rivers like the Rhine and spectacular natural formations like the Grand Canyon. There are even maps of flowers, like that published below in May 1968, showing “the origins of 117 types of blooms.” Some maps are much less joyous, like this recent series showing what the world might look like if all of the ice melted. Some are purely for fun, like this series on the geography of Star Wars and other fictional franchises.

If we can imagine it, National Geographic suggests, we can map it, and conversely, when we see a map, our imaginations are immediately engaged. Learn more at the NatGeo blog All Over the Map, and connect with many more curated maps from this huge collection at the magazine’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The 16,000 Artworks the Nazis Censored and Labeled “Degenerate Art”: The Complete Historic Inventory Is Now Online

The Nazis may not have known art, but they knew what they liked, and much more so what they didn't. We've previously featured here on Open Culture the “Degenerate Art Exhibition” of 1937, put on by Hitler's party four years after it rose to power. Following on a show of only Nazi-approved works — including many depictions of classically Germanic landscapes, robust soldiers in action, blonde nudes — it toured the country with the intent of revealing to the German people the "insult to German feeling" committed by Entartete Kunst (Degenerate art), a Nazi-defined category of art created by the likes of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, and others, a roster heavy on the abstract, the expressionistic, and the Jewish.

Now, thanks to the Victoria and Albert Museum, we know exactly which works of art the Nazis condemned. "The V&A holds the only known copy of a complete inventory of 'Entartete Kunst' confiscated by the Nazi regime from public institutions in Germany, mostly during 1937 and 1938," says the museum's site.

"The list of more than 16,000 artworks was produced by the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) in 1942 or thereabouts. It seems that the inventory was compiled as a final record, after the sales and disposals of the confiscated art had been completed in the summer of 1941."

You can read and download the entire document, which provides "crucial information about the provenance, exhibition history and fate of each artwork," in PDF form at the V&A's page about it.

Daunting though the inventory itself may seem, Hyperallergic's Jillian Steinhauer points out "a way to connect many of these pieces to the present day: an online database maintained by the Freie Universität Berlin. You can plug an artwork’s inventory number from the Nazi log books directly into their search engine, and it will pull up a record." Here you see Max Beckmann's Zwei Auto-Offiziere, El Lissitzky's Proun R.V.N. 2, and Paul Klee's Garten der Leidenschaft, just three examples of the thousands upon thousands of images that Hitler and company considered a threat to their regime. Today, the artistic merits of work by these and other artists once labeled Entartete Kunst have drawn more admirers than ever — though the very fact that the Nazis didn't like it constitutes a decent reason for appreciation as well.

via Hyperallergic

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Mister Rogers Accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Helps You Thank Everyone Who Has Made a Difference in Your Life

Television host and children’s advocate Fred Rogers was also an ordained Presbyterian minister, for whom spiritual reflection was as natural and necessary a part of daily life as his vegetarianism and morning swims.

His quiet personal practice could take a turn for the public and interactive, as he demonstrated from the podium at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1997, above.

Accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award, he refrained from running through the standard laundry list of thanks. Instead he invited the audience to join him in spending 10 seconds thinking of the people who “have loved us into being.”

He then turned his attention to his wristwatch as hundreds of glamorously attired talk show hosts and soap stars thought of the teachers, relatives, and other influential adults whose tender care, and perhaps rigorous expectations, helped shape them.

(Play along from home at the 2:15 mark.)

Ten seconds may not seem like much, but consider how often we deploy emojis and “likes” in place of sitting with others’ feelings and our own.

Of all the things Fred Rogers was celebrated for, the time he allotted to making others feel heard and appreciated may be the greatest.

Fifteen years after his death, the Internet ensures that he will continue to inspire us to be kinder, try harder, listen better.

That effect should quadruple when Morgan Neville's Mister Rogers documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor? is released next month.

Another sweet Emmy moment comes at the top, when the honoree smooches his wife, Joanne Rogers, before heading off to join presenter Tim Robbins at the podium. Described in Esquire as “hearty and almost whooping in (her) forthrightness,” the stalwart Mrs. Rogers appeared in a handful of episodes, but never played the sort of highly visible role Mrs. Claus inhabited within her husband’s public realm.

The full text of Mister Rogers’ Lifetime Achievement Award award speech is below:

So many people have helped me to come here to this night.  Some of you are here, some are far away and some are even in Heaven.  All of us have special ones who loved us into being.  Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.  10 seconds, I'll watch the time. Whomever you've been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they have made.  You know they're kind of people television does well to offer our world.  Special thanks to my family, my friends, and my co-workers in Public Broadcasting and Family Communications, and to this Academy for encouraging me, allowing me, all these years to be your neighbor.  May God be with you.  Thank you very much.

via Mental Floss

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Watch a Marathon Streaming of All 856 Episodes of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and the Moving Trailer for the New Documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Mister Rogers Turns Kids On to Jazz with Help of a Young Wynton Marsalis and Other Jazz Legends (1986)

Mister Rogers, Sesame Street & Jim Henson Introduce Kids to the Synthesizer with the Help of Herbie Hancock, Thomas Dolby & Bruce Haack

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC this Wednesday, May 16, for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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