Monday, March 23, 2015

Know your station

I’ve come to the realisation that Thomas The Tank Engine is a classic example of what Louis Althusser referred to as "ideological state apparatus", serving as covert propaganda designed to inculcate unquestioning obedience and the value of hard work in our young. Sodor is a totalitarian society in which challenges to the ostensibly benevolent authority of the state (the aptly named Fat Controller) are shown to result in disaster, and order is only restored when the engines do as they’re told, accept their designated roles and prove themselves to be Really Useful parts in the service of the whole. We must not allow our children to be brainwashed, and must expose them to the psychedelic anarchy of In The Night Garden instead.

(Incidentally, it turns out that a Canadian professor of political science reached much the same conclusion a few years ago.)

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