Just when I thought political correctness could not get anymore idiotic, I was – once again – proven wrong. I stumbled upon an article, written by Tracy Van Slyke for The Guardian, that blew my mind. Of course we all know the liberal bias The Guardian’s got going on, but I digress. The article, titled “Thomas the Tank Engine had to shut the hell up to save children everywhere” is about how Van Skye feels the Thomas show shows blatant classism, sexism, anti-environmentalism and borders on racism.
Do what now?
According to Van Skye, it’s sexism because there are far more male trains than female. It promotes classism because Sir Topham Hatt is a rich white guy, who conspicuously looks like the Monopoly guy, that bosses all the trains around making them cater to his every whim. Anti-environmentalism because of the smoke and such coming from the train stacks and racist because white smoke comes out of the smokestacks of Thomas and his friends while black smoke comes out of evil Diesel and his evil friends.
Classism. Really? Since when does owning and running a business mean you discriminate against the poor? Is that what we’re doing now? We’re making the rich feel guilty for being successful? Ridiculous. I’ve had conversations with people on the net who say it’s not fair that rich people are rich. When I point out that they, too, could work hard and become rich they say it’s not fair that some people are born into money and they should be forced to share it – spread the wealth, you know… Well, I don’t think it’s fair that I wasn’t born into the royal family. I guess we should spread around royal titles too…
You’ll be hard pressed to find a kids show that doesn’t have people in better positions than others. Oscar the Grouch lives in a trashcan, Big Bird lives in a nest but Bert and Ernie have an apartment. Plus the actual people on the show own stores and diners or they’re doctors and live in places better than all the rest of them. Clearly they’re promoting classicism… *eyeroll*
The smoke color promoting racism is even more of a leap than the others. She says
“For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.”
“It’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory”? Really? Uhm, yes it is. I watched the show, well – sort of – with my kids for many years. Not once did I make that leap. Clearly she doesn’t have a clue about how things work. The most common color of smoke from a steam engine is white and the most common smoke color of a diesel engine is black. It may not be hard for her to leap into the race territory, but it seems to be too hard for her to stop and think about how things work – or to even do a Google search before making such a ludicrous statement.
I read the article to my husband. Toward the end, my son, who is very close to 14 and was a huge Thomas fan when little, walked in and heard. He asked what I was reading, so I told him. After he got done talking about how stupid it was, we talked a bit about it. He says he didn’t pick up any of that stuff and was confused how anyone could. Van Skye cited the story where James, a normally red train, was pink and sent to pick up some kids. He was embarrassed and his friends poked fun at him, but when he arrived to pick up the kids, they were little girls and loved the pink train.
I asked what Harrison took away from that episode. He said “That sometimes being different can be good…” So, yeah, she’s right, a boy won’t learn that pink is okay for little boys, but they certainly didn’t learn that it wasn’t. She’s over-reaching, and truthfully, giving her 3 year old son way too much credit if she thinks he’s going to learn anything other than “Thomas the Tank engine is a good show”