July 27, 2011

LIBERALS VS TRAINS:

Thomas the Imperialist Tank Engine: The not-so-hidden subtexts of the popular children's show. (Jessica Roake, July 26, 2011, Slate)

There is something rotten on the Island of Sodor, home to Thomas the Tank Engine. Viewers won't find guns, violence, or anything even approaching a double-entendre. There's none of the blatant racism of early Disney Song of the South or religion delivered through talking produce, as in Veggie Tales. Yet something about Thomas and Friends gives liberal parents the creeps.

For example: In 2009, academic Shauna Wilton wrote that Thomas carried a "conservative political ideology." Her report was derided as whimsy-hating "political correctness" by conservative media outlets. But wait: Thomas espouses top-down leadership, is male-dominated, punishes dissent, and is uninterested in the mushy sensitivity of its PBS counterparts. (Thomas and his "friends" often "tease" like this: " 'Wake up lazy bones! Do some hard work for a change!") Its innate conservatism is as obvious as the liberalism of cooperative, solar-panel-building Bob the Builder and his band of hippie hammer-lovers. Given charges that Thomas is anti-Semitic and that Sodor is a fascist paradise, Wilton's assessment is mild. Obviously, it's foolish to claim that Thomas is a fascist. He and his friends are clearly imperialists.



Posted by at July 27, 2011 7:24 AM
  

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