Until I read about this University of Alberta study, I didn’t even know Thomas the Tank Engine was still on the air. My kids watched it several years ago, but now I’m understanding why they seem to be growing up so damned politically conservative:
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.
Initially, I was skeptical of the claim that the show is overtly conservative, but I looked into it further and discovered that the university’s researchers may have a point.
This is what I was exposed to while watching one episode of “Thomas and Friends” and displaying a closed caption of the dialogue. The pro-conservative bias is fairly cryptic and subtle, but you might be able to spot it:
Oh well… U of A researchers might call Thomas “conservative,” but I call it a “Sesame Street offset.”