You start to realize that if only these primary-colored engines (Thomas, Percy, James... the whole gang) could just repress any vestige of unique personality, they would show themselves to be, at last, once and for all, "really useful engines."
On the surface all of this is harmless. And I don't worry about any damage I may have inflicted on George and Cole's psyches.
But it got me thinking: "Wouldn't it be great if just once a rainbow-colored, feather-bedecked engine came whistling down the track?" "Wouldn't it be great if this engine didn't have to justify itself by proving its usefulness?"
Which brings me back to the anti-semitic charge my friend made.
No, I'm not saying that Jewish people have a proclivity towards rainbows and feathers (though a visit to the open-air stalls on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on any given Saturday may suggest this surprising connection). But let's revist the arguments in 1930s Germany directed against the Jewish population of Europe.
Anti-semitism has always used the language of "usefulness." Relegated to minority status, and in most cases restricted from owning property, Jews throughout Europe developed roles outside of the traditional agrarian ones. They charged interest (gasp!) for money-lending, and their religion's reliance on the word of the Talmud led many Jews to find work in journalism, academic pursuits, literature and the arts.
For example: In 2009, academic ShaunaWilton wrote that Thomas carried a "conservative political ideology." Her report was derided as whimsy-hating "politicalcorrectness" by conservative media outlets. But wait: Thomas espouses top-down leadership, is male-dominated, punishes dissent, and is uninterested in the mushy sensitivity of its PBS counterparts. (Thomas and his "friends" often "tease" like this: " 'Wake up lazy bones! Do some hard work for a change!") Its innate conservatism is as obvious as the liberalism of cooperative, solar-panel-building BobtheBuilderand his band of hippie hammer-lovers. Given charges that Thomas is anti-Semitic and that Sodor is a fascistparadise, Wilton's assessment is mild. Obviously, it's foolish to claim that Thomas is a fascist. He and his friends are clearly imperialists.
NEXT STOP! THE RIVERS OF BLOOD!