Digging into the surprisingly mysterious life of Bob Ross

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/22/digging-into-the-surprisingly.html

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The media acts astonished that anybody would value privacy, and they get a little offended.


Before seeing this video, I was scared that it would turn out that Bob Ross would turn out to be some big asshat, greedy, and conniving. (SPOILER ALERT: he’s not.) My childhood memories of him being a world of peace and introspection remain in tact.


Do you mean the corporate media? The media I tune into don’t act like that.


Bob was one of the best happy mutants ever and was probably surprised everyday that he got paid to paint happy trees.


He used distressed baby unicorn eyelashes for his brushes


I was actually hoping for a bit of Shittown depravity. Since I’m in withdrawal from bingeing on that podcast, I’m on a quest for seamy underbellies.

True. Some journalists have the wisdom to know and understand that certain celebrities are opaque because their host culture likes them that way. See also: Fred Rogers, Bill Watterson, Jeff Mangum, etc. Each is a personal hero of mine in part because of how well they’ve defended their privacy from the prying eyes and ears of journalists who seem to believe that more knowledge is always better.

I think it terrifies some people that certain biogaphical facts might die with the people who retain exclusive knowledge of them. I respect that some of those same people simply want to know what made these people tick but as an intensely private person myself I feel that, ethically, one’s privacy outweighs another’s curiosity unless there is something greater than either which is at stake.


As opposed to all of the other painters of the past century whose lives are an open book for mass-media commentary?

Isn’t Bob Ross the people’s painter? I mean, he basically told us we can all paint, right?



Didn’t he have a deal with PBS stations - kind of like Rick Steves, to provide ready-to-air videos for free while reserving the right to profit in other ways, like selling books, videos, and in the case of Ross, branded painting supplies?

He did build up a helluva commercial empire based on his painting over the years though - and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

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Bob Ross was a bankrobber, but he never hurt nobody.


Haven’t seen the video (about to), but I have read the wiki page on Bob Ross.

IIRC he said something like “When I was in the armed forces, I had to tell a lot of people what to do. I had to yell at them. And I hated it. So now I do things where I never have to yell at anyone.”

If he’s not a gentle soul, I don’t know who is.


The video is fair enough, if you follow the references. On it’s face it makes some confusing, and possibly misleading comments.

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I heard he killed a man …

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There is always something greater than either at stake.

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Pfft, here’s all you people need to know:

  1. He didn’t like cops much. (That’s a boondocks ref.)
  2. Taught kids to paint, and the value of art.
  3. Was sent to earth to teach us all the way.

I heard he had an ex-wife in some place called Mayors Income, Tennessee. And he used to have a consulting business in Indonesia…


Bob Rossman


Me on the left, Bob Ross, and my old friend Wes in 1992. I’m about as hardcore an atheist as you can find, but even I feel blessed in some numinous fashion that transcends the material by having met the Man Himself and patted his 'fro! A true gentleman in every aspect of the word.