An epic rant from my good buddy Boganette on Thomas the colonialist tank engine and Sodor the capitalist nightmare:
Sodor is quite frankly a capitalist nightmare. Trains are sent to the scrapyard if they’re not Useful. And we all know what that means – it means they’re executed. They execute workers who don’t work hard enough! Anyone who isn’t Very Useful is goneburger. There are no unions in Sodor that’s for sure. And that’s not even the most fucked thing about Sodor either. Don’t get me started on how lacking the representation of women is on the show. The women trains are actually girl carriages. You don’t need to have a masters in gender studies to read between the lines on that one.
Read the whole thing, it’s beautiful (and makes me dread having kids and getting first-hand experience of the Watching One DVD Over and Over parental hell).
It pairs well with Giovanni Tiso’s 2009 post, Reverend Awdry’s Revenge:
The titular hero of the modern cartoon and toy empire, Thomas, turns out to be an insufferable character with an inflated sense of self and an overriding desire to grow up to become, in the words that he often parrots from his master, ‘a really useful engine’, and therein is encapsulated the bludgeoning moral of conformity and compliance of the whole thing.
I have a younger cousin who, from ages 2 through 7, demanded a “Thomas and Percy”-themed birthday celebration. They were terrifying all-blue-and-green-everything times.