Jia Tolentino describes The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends”, that most cosy and all-conquering example of English bullshit for children.
through the dedicated and comprehensive Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia, as well as asmattering of critical assessments and message-board threads from dedicated viewers, I have become a little obsessed with the show’s repressive, authoritarian soul.
It is clear from his work that Awdry disliked change, venerated order, and craved the administration of punishment. Henry wasn’t the only train to receive a death sentence. In one episode, a manager tells a showoff engine named Smudger that he’s going to “make him useful at last,” and then turns Smudger into a generator, never to move again. (There are several “R.I.P. Smudger” tribute videos on YouTube.) In another episode, a double-decker bus named Bulgy comes to the station and talks about revolution—“Free the roads from railway tyranny!” he cries. He is quickly labelled a “scarlet deceiver,” trapped under a bridge, and turned into a henhouse. A recurring storyline involves the “troublesome trucks,” which are disciplined into fearful obedience through public, symbolic punishments. Their leader, S. C. Ruffey, is pulled in two different directions until he breaks into pieces—“I guess the lesson is that if someone is bullying you, kill them?” a YouTube commenter writes—and, in another episode, a “spiteful” brake van is crushed into bits.
By the time Awdry wrote “The Railway Series,” the railway industry had shifted away from steam and toward diesel and electric. But on the Island of Sodor steam locomotives are permanently on top.
Welcome to the dystopian future of yesteryear’s futurist cyberpunk novels.
Donald Trump’s thoroughly corrupt Justice Department today dropped its criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty previously to lying to F.B.I. agents about his conversations with a Russian diplomat. The Justice Department said it had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified […]
The Trump administration is reportedly considering the possibility of re-implementing the Defense Production Act. Originally enacted during the Korean War, the Act essentially empowers the President to control the means of production—the idea being that it would be in the interest of the nation’s defense to force private manufacturers to focus their production efforts on […]
We all know the drill. As the overlords of the smartphone and tablet markets, the braintrust at Apple very seldom hold sales on their signature devices. So rather than spending almost $1,000 on a brand-new iPad Pro, the folks in Cupertino are instead giving you the opportunity to score one for about a third of […]
Entrepreneurs looking for new avenues to reach customers may not have considered one of the fastest-growing content mediums today: podcasting. And we don’t mean just dropping an advertisement for your product or service in the middle of a popular show. Right now, there are about 850,000 active podcasts reaching 165 million Americans. Those listeners are […]
Twitter rants and various online ugliness aside, social media has actually grown up a bit over the past 15 years. In general, users are warier of their interactions on platforms like Facebook or Instagram — and marketers have taken note. In fact, if you felt retailers you saw on social media were only looking to […]