Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings us the latest news from Leftist Crazyland:
Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Tracy Van Slyke, authoress of the SINGLE dumbest thing ever written:
Thomas [the Tank Engine] and those friends are trains that toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor – which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times – and, on its surface, the show seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship. But if you look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks, you realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages.
ANNNNNNNNND we’re off. What kinds of “pretty twisted, anachronistic messages” can be worked into a kid’s TV show, Tracy?
For one, these trains perform tasks dictated by their imperious, little white boss, Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller), whose attire of a top hat, tuxedo and big round belly is just a little too obvious. Basically, he’s the Monopoly dictator of their funky little island. Hatt orders the trains to do everything from hauling freight to carrying passengers to running whatever random errand he wants done, whenever he wants it done – regardless of their pre-existing schedules.
Because he’s a human being and they’re…talking machines?
Inevitably, the trains get in a fight with or pick on one another (or generally mess up whatever job they are supposed to be doing) until Hatt has to scold one of them about being a “really useful engine”, because their sole utility in life is their ability to satisfy his whims. Yeah, because I want to teach my kid to admire a controlling autocrat.
Trace? Sweetie? You do know that Sir Topham Hatt isn’t the central focus of that show, don’t you? And that sentient trains don’t actually exist?
But there was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good. It revolved around James, a red engine who is described in the opening credits as “vain but lots of fun.” (Wait, it’s OK to be vain if you can show others a good time occasionally? Great – that’s going in my Parenting 101 book.) In the episode “Tickled Pink”, poor vain James, is ordered by Topham Hat to get a new coat of paint. But while James has only had an undercoat of pink slathered on, Topham Hatt interrupts and demands that James go pick up Hatt’s granddaughter and deliver her and her friends to a birthday party right now.
You all know what pink means.
James is mortified that he has to travel while pink and proceeds to hide from all the other trains along the way. When he’s caught, the other trains – including Thomas – viciously laugh and mock him.
Thomas the Tank Engine. Gay basher.
“What are you doing James? You’re a big pink steamie,” says Diesel, the bad-boy engine. (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.)
Check that. Thomas the Tank Engine. Racist gay basher.
But once James gets back on the rails and picks up Granddaughter Hatt and her friends, all seemingly ends well because the girls love pink.
Well guess what? It’s not OK. You think a little boy watching Thomas is going to file away the lesson that pink is OK for boys? No, what kids remember is that James was laughed at, cruelly, over and over again, because he looked different and was clad in a “girly” pink color.
Whatever, kid. Trace? You’re right to be concerned. If you play any given version of a British Thomas episode backward, do you know what you’ll hear? Campaign commercials for the UK Independence Party (play an American version backward and you’ll hear a whole lot of people explaining why Barack Obama is the single worst president in the history of the United States of America).
Get help, Tracy. Continue Reading