Public Brainwashing Service

I have been suspicious of PBS since 9/11. In 2001, I was a poor college student without cable television. And, on the weekends especially, in Oklahoma, broadcast television is mostly sports. So I watched quite a bit of public television. In the months preceeding 9/11, PBS seemed to be playing a lot of documentaries about the Taliban. It was enough that it was obvious, even before 9/11 happened. We now know that Bush administration diplomats were negotiating with the Taliban in the summer of 2001, offering either "a carpet of gold, or a carpet of bombs."

Sesame Street episode 2399 features a character named "Ronald Grump", who shows up and offers to build Oscar the Grouch a high-rise trash-can to live in. The deal, of course, goes badly. The episode is "sponsored" by the letter 'D'. In one vignette, a bus stops at the 'D' stop and a bunch of D's get out. I was seven years old when this episode aired.

In 2005, I moved into one of my grandparents rental houses. This was a house that my parents and I had lived in, for a short time, when I was very young. I have no memories from that time. Since the neighborhood was quite bad, we moved out quickly. I had seen the house a couple of times since then, but didn't know really anything about it.

One of the memories from my youth was watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I was always fascinated by the model of the trolly that takes Prince Tuesday to the land of Make-Believe. The trolly appears as if out of nowhere, on a road on a hill in the distance. As a young child, this was always one of my favorite parts of the show. Growing up in the midwest, the idea of trollys on faraway hills was not something in my everyday experience. And yet, it seemed strangely familiar.

When I moved into the rental house, I realized it was in a part of town that did have a few hills. And I realized there was a bus stop right in front. If I looked out the window at the right moment, I could see a bus appear on a faraway hill, and then disappear from view as it continued along the road.

Last Updated on 11/14/16