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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:40 AM
Original message
Thomas the Tank Engine drives 'conservative political ideology'
By Lester Haines 10th December 2009 11:22 GMT

Research by the University of Alberta has chillingly revealed that kids' TV show Thomas and Friends may be engendering a "conservative political ideology" in future generations - a repressive mindset which "punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles".

Shauna Wilton and friends from the uni's Department of Social Sciences analysed 23 episodes of the programme, and noted that while it "conveys a number of positive political values such as tolerance, listening, communicating with others and contributing to the community", there is a dark side to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Wilton claimed that "storylines in several episodes that divided the characters into different social classes and punished those who tried to gain individual power". She said: "Any change is seen as disrupting the natural order of things."

Furthermore, "of 49 main characters listed in the show, only eight were female, reflecting a general trend among children's programming".

<SNIP> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/10/thomas_and_frie...
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Chillingly repressive?
Emily is my son's all time favorite engine. He likes her big wheel.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. FFS
Some people have way too much time on their hands.
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sharp_stick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. People like this illustrate
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 11:50 AM by sharp_stick
why having too much time on your hands is a bad thing. I wonder what kind of Fascist horrors she could have come up with if all of the episodes were viewed.

Alec Baldwin and George Carlin were obviously moles planted in the series to make us think it was all cool.

On edit: my usual typos
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. Don't forget Ringo!
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sharp_stick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. Damn forgot all about him n/t
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. Thomas the Tank engine is a moron. And an asshole.
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 11:55 AM by A HERETIC I AM
Disclaimer; I work each Sunday at a train museum in Fort Myers and we have a small childrens theater which runs Thomas videos almost constantly. So I've seen a few of them.

The theme of each of these videos is similar, i.e. Thomas wants to do something to impress his friends/the boss/the townsfolk. Thomas does something stupid along the way out of pride/jealousy/stupidity. Thomas has to be helped out of his pickle by one of his friends and he realizes the error of his ways.

It dawned on me that Thomas is simply an asshole. He never learns. Just do your fucking job, god dammit. You're a fucking locomotive. No one will be impressed if you move more freight cars than the other engines if by doing so you cause the destruction of one or another expensive piece of infrastructure.

If I was a bulldozer with a face, I'd go to the island of Sodor and push that annoying little blue fucker off a cliff.












:evilgrin:
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I LOVE Thomas....
... but I am LMAO. "Thomas is simply an asshole"... "...that annoying little blue fucker..." :rofl: This is the funniest thing I've ever read.
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Hee hee.... n/t
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jaksavage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. ROTFLMAO ! NT
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RubyDuby in GA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I agree that Thomas is an asshole, but its really that Percy you have to watch out for
Percy is a prick and there is always an accident wherever he is. I wouldn't want him anywhere near my town. And yes, I have a 3 year old and I've seen more than my fair share of Thomas.

I also agree that the stupid woman who did this "study" has way too much time on her hands and if given the right motivation, anyone anywhere can read just about anything into any story. Just ask Rudolph how he likes being discriminated against for a disability he was born with by Santa and the other bastard reindeers only to be their saviour when the old fat man needs his help and his disability becomes a great asset.
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sharp_stick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. Gordon is the arrogant asshole
I'm surprised Thomas or one of the other engines never snap and do a banzai run right at that egomanaic down a steep grade with train load of troublesome trucks or stone from the quarry to increase mass.

:-) ;-)
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. "Just do your fucking job, god dammit. You're a fucking locomotive."= Thomas the conformity engine
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 12:19 PM by JVS
It's not surprising or wrong that a TV show for children should revolve around a character who has difficulty with the boundaries of his abilities. Children are constantly exposed to new things that they are supposed to gain competence at and have similar setbacks all the time. It would be a sad show that taught kids to say "Fuck this! I'm sticking with the sippy cup and training wheels because I don't want to fuck it up and spill or fall down"
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
26. First of all, I hope you know my tongue was most certainly in my cheek with the above post.
But to a certain extent, at least from the videos I've seen ( and I admit, it is a small percentage of the total number produced) the theme, as I said, is always the same.

Here's an example from one of the series narrated by Pierce Brosnan;

A trainload of rocks has to be moved and the job is given to one of the other engines. Thomas thinks he can do the job better, so he adds several cars to the train the other engine is going to hook up to later on in order to prove that the other engine is not up to the job. The other engine hooks up to the train not knowing it is too heavy for him and begins to pull it up a grade. Predictably, the engine struggles with the load, the load breaks away, rolling backward down the hill and crashes into a water tower, destroying it.

The lesson directed at the child viewer I suppose is that teamwork is a good thing and one shouldn't do things to others that might cause harm.

Fair enough. Perfectly good lesson. But it seems to me the lesson that is never addressed is "Think before you act" because your actions, particularly when aimed at making things difficult for others can backfire in a dramatic way.

In my opinion, the above example isn't about "a character who has difficulty with the boundaries of his abilities", it's about a character that completely lacks the ability of being circumspect. It isn't about "Thomas the conformity engine" but I realize why you might say such a thing based on what I wrote.

Children are constantly exposed to new things that they are supposed to gain competence at and have similar setbacks all the time. It would be a sad show that taught kids to say "Fuck this! I'm sticking with the sippy cup and training wheels because I don't want to fuck it up and spill or fall down"
You are absolutely correct and I don't advocate such a thing by any means. As I said, I was speaking tongue-in-cheek. As ridiculous as it may sound to you however, if I had children that watched this sort of thing (and I don't have children either, BTW) I would want to discuss with them the error of Thomas' ways whenever he did something like I described above. Of course children need to test their limits and explore, but they also need to understand that all actions have consequences.

Trying to prove a point about yourself by making life difficult for others is not a very good lesson.

Now, having said all that, please, PLEASE know that I don't take this all that seriously. I was just trying to be funny in my post above. Whether a parent likes or dislikes the Thomas the Tank Engine series and/or sees it as something they would like their children to watch and read about is of no concern to me. It has been a valuable and charming story line for decades.

It's just that in the few episodes I've seen, Thomas is indeed an annoying little blue fucker!
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cark Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. Recced. just because of your post!
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TheMightyFavog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. You owe me a new monitor.
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 12:24 PM by TheMightyFavog
:spray:
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Kalyke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. A bulldozer with a face.
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 12:24 PM by Kalyke


Courtesy of Bob the Builder: Muck the Bulldozer.

:hi:
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. LOL! Perfect. n/t
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sharp_stick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
21. Anybody that has to watch
those damned episodes over and over and over is well within their rights to this.

Thomas is an asshole, push that annoying little blue fucker off a cliff. Too damned funny. I think the same thing when my youngest one happens to catch an episode starting and I have to sit there with him and pretend I enjoy it.

BTW are you Diesel posting here in disguise?

:beer:
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. No, I only post with this user name.....
but here's the train I drive;



On Sundays it runs avery half hour on the quarter hour and is a fifteen minute ride. So I've got 2 fifteen minute breaks between rides every hour - enough time to go inside the museum and shout at Thomas for being a dipshit!
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. Post of the day!
You, my friend, win a bright, shiny internet!
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
27. BWAAA HAAA HAA. Thanks for the laugh!
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RedCappedBandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
32. Funniest thing I've ever read on the interwebs.
:rofl:
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
33. Gee, thanks
You just ruined my daughter's Christmas!! :grr:
















:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :hi:
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. I watched both Thomas and Disney when I was young
and I'm a "gay radical" anyway...
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
10. To be honest, I think that's over-interpreting the stories from an adult point of view...
Edited on Thu Dec-10-09 12:11 PM by LeftishBrit
It reminds me a bit of people who claim that Harry Potter will turn children into Satanists and occultists, or that watching SpongeBob will make them gay, etc.

Children's ideas about life are much more influenced by their experiences, their personality, and that attitudes of those around them, than by a story or TV programme.

For once, this really IS that often-misused term: 'political correctness run mad'.
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liberal_at_heart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Remember when they said one of the Teletubbies was gay?
I am glad to see more female driven shows like Dora, but I think that for the most part people are reading too much into these children's shows. I do remember wondering why they needed to create a Diego after they created Dora though. What boys can't watch Dora? They have to have a male version to be able to learn a few spanish words? My son watches Dora all the time. He never really got into the Diego shows. They just came along too late and he had already become accustomed to watching Dora.
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Blue Owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
16. The 2010 PNAC Express is now boarding
Don't hop aboard, President Obama!

Take the peace train instead!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
18. Sir Topham Hat rules.
Yes, Sir!

Railroads are very Big Business.
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. It is the Fat Controller's Railway, after all
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
23. Completely missing the point that the stories merely reflect the time in which they were written...
This came from a University? How fucking stupid can they be...that's like critiquing Mark Twain's use of certain words against today's society...

Thomas was written by a Reverend, in a day and age when the class structure was very rigid, and women were in "supportive roles"...

Amazing...All students get an 'F' for being so fucking clueless..
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-11-09 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #23
34. true, but someone's deciding to put these shows on TV *today*
So I don't think it's entirely crazy to study the effect the stories might have on the children watching them.
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
29. Children can't even do that kind of thinking at that age. nt
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
30. Kick
for the awesomeness that is #4
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Awww....thanks, man! n/t
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