Saturday, December 12, 2009

Andrei And Thomas eats coal and emits CO2 - get over it

You learn something new every day.

I always thought that my political attitudes and beliefs were shaped by reason applied to life experience.

Not so it seems, it turns out that I may have been indoctrinated as a child by my Thomas the Tank Engine books.


Well maybe not since the Canadian Political scientist, Shauna Wilton, making this bold claim is making it on the basis of the TV show rather than the books.

Political scientist Shauna Wilton, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at University of Alberta's Augustana Campus, said parents should be more mindful of children's programming.

It played a major role in shaping a child's conception of the world and in the case of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was not always constructive.

Dr Wilton said the show conveyed a number of positive political values such as tolerance, listening, communicating with others and contributing to the community.

"It also represents a conservative political ideology that punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles," she said.

Still fussing over supposed subliminal messages in Thomas the Tank Engine stories is harmless enough and it does provide something to smile about on a day when summer steadfastly refuses to show its face in these trying times of runaway global warming.

11 comment(s):

graham roberts said...

i agree the study is bullshit
it is easy to recognise
A bit like
"when summer steadfastly refuses to show its face in these trying times of runaway global warming."

PM of NZ said...

So that's why they had to get rid of books about Noddy and Big Ears. And books about Golliwogs.

ZenTiger said...

And here's me thinking the message that he was very helpful engine to do with his attitude, and not that he uses coal.

PM of NZ said...

ZT, There you go again, it's ALL about HE did this, HE did that. So ingrained you know, mere males are made for action.

No wonder the poor hand wringing polsci is getting her knickers in a twist.

homepaddock said...

Ah - now I know what's wrong with me, I grew up reading Famous Five books where one of the girls wanted to be a boy and the other was a wuss.

Psycho Milt said...

It's a good job Shauna Wilton didn't get to analyse boys' reading when I was a kid - it mostly consisted of war comics in which our brave lads slaughtered vast numbers of "Jerries" who yelled "Englischer Schweinhund!" and who went "Aagh!" when they were shot, and equally large numbers of "Nips" who yelled "Banzai!" and went "Aieeee!" when they were shot. Strangely enough, these politically conservative influences haven't led me to slaughter large numbers of "Jerries" or "Nips" in later life.

Likewise, other reading experiences at a young age didn't lead me to want to build a large money bin, or develop an obsessive fear of kryptonite.

I did read some actual books. Most of them were about public school boys creating mischief and learning to be young gentlemen (clearly, that didn't rub off on me).

One of my favourites was "Under Sealed Orders," written in the early 20th Century, in which our brave lads have to go and sort out some fuzzy-wuzzies who've topped the British official sent to nick their country, sorry negotiate with them. I can't remember what they shouted when they were killed now. Strangely enough, I haven't developed any desire to go and nick darkies' countries in later life. Do you think it's possible that people aren't simply blank slate automata to be programmed with whatever rubbish is fed into their brains? Well, clearly Shauna Wilton doesn't - perhaps the rest of us are merely lacking an appropriate level of social science education?

ZenTiger said...

The newspaper article is nauseating in the extreme, and it leaves me with the impression of a very unbalanced person:

"It also represents a conservative political ideology that punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles," she said.

What absolute twaddle. Thomas as a useful and helpful engine shows lots of personality, individuality and initiative. Why, the adventures he has had and the people he helped in the process!

Out of conservative values such as politeness I shall say no more.

Oswald Bastable said...

She must have read the one where Daisy get all precious about hauling the milk wagon!

KG said...

Strewth! I read Biggles books and H.Rider Haggard as a kid....no wonder I'm a psych mess!

ZenTiger said...

Probably not half as much as the people that write these reviews.

Glenn said...

Ha ha, what a silly chick. She clearly needs a man.

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