Friday, April 21, 2006

News / Comment: The best summary of Thomas's History and appeal

The Hindu Business Line : Carry on, Thomas: "The cheeky little tank engine and his affable engine friends have turned 60 this year. " This is the kind of article that makes a blog like this worthwhile (if indeed it can be argued that a blog like this is worthwhile).

It's a great summary and has some details (not sourced) that I'd never seen before like:

Critics also accused him (Audry) of "mid-20th-century masculinist attitudes" in showing male engines hauling dim, gabby female carriages. A 1991 report on gender-equality by education officers in the West Midlands stated that, while the male engines had adventures, Annie and Clarabel, two of the carriages, were merely shunted about. To keep young children from "heroic, macho male stereotypes", his tales were even banned from 85 nursery and primary schools. "They (carriages) are towed, pulled and `looked after'," carped a 1983 report, "They cry and sob when things go wrong ... True to the demands placed upon women in the 1950s, the gendered coaches pick up the emotional and unpaid labour of servicing capitalism."

Another great line: "Awdry had earlier renamed the Fat Controller as Sir Topham Hatt to placate well-girthed Americans offended by the word "Fat"."

And another: In 2003, a senior psychology lecturer from Exeter even went to the extent of inferring that up to 15 adults-an-hour suffer narcolepsy while reading these books to their offspring.


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