I like As Miss Beelzebub Likes

Beelzebub, nothing

[I’ve finished this week with a bad cold… so just an aborted introduction and scattered thoughts while I try to fall asleep and wake up again.]

Why do people take, and mean, “so boring I fell asleep” as an insult? It’s among the highest praise!

Consider Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. The show seems to have won a new life as an old-timey nostalgia trip for adults. Somehow, it has remained relevant over a decade after Roger’s death, with a surprisingly strong media presence via the Twitch stream marathon, the new documentary, and frequent mentions in recent editorials following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in Roger’s real-life neighborhood last month. In my own adulthood, I’ve found it tremendously useful in my tutoring classes for teaching American culture at its least sensational. Roger’s slow, family-appropriate speech makes for great English listening practice and I’ve even gotten good discussions out of his simple moral dilemmas. What to do on a hot day is a perfect question for an oppressively humid Japanese summer.

But I’m getting off topic. Back to boredom.

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood is fantastically boring. So, so boring that I sometimes forget the current editorial zeitgeist exalting “Mr. Rogers for adults” and think it’s for children until I remember that “Oh, it is for children” halfway through a literal explanation of the “round peg, square hole” phenomenon. If that doesn’t bore you, how about the episode when Rogers puts a timer on camera, sets it to a minute, and lets it count down in silence? To no one’s surprise, nothing happens. And well… nothing is more boring than nothing, right?

So why am I watching it, beyond the classroom utility? I want to take a nap, and no television show puts me to sleep faster than Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (unless you count golf tournaments or the entire CSPAN network as a “show”). As Roger’s himself clearly understood, adults can learn a lot from children… and sometimes, the most useful hobby is some quiet, restful naptime.

But I’m getting off topic again. I wanted to write about As Miss Beelzebub Likes (Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama) today.

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