Tracey Van Slyke writes of her refusal to allow her children any enjoyment in life without subjecting them to her own white, post-colonial guilt:
“…these trains perform tasks dictated by their imperious, little white boss, Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller), whose attire of a top hat, tuxedo and big round belly is just a little too obvious. Basically, he’s the Monopoly dictator of their funky little island. Hatt orders the trains to do everything from hauling freight to carrying passengers to running whatever random errand he wants done, whenever he wants it done – regardless of their pre-existing schedules.
She of course means “boss” or “employer” or something along those lines. But calling the Fat Controller and imperial dictator is a little spicier isn’t it? Plus who believes in “bosses” anyway? It’s 2014. Isn’t the whole world a commune yet? She continues…
“(For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.)”
Actually it is almost impossible to make that leap, yet Van Slyke manages it anyway, quickly forgetting that the show is about steam engines, and that light vs dark in terms of good and evil is a notion that far predates the Equality Commission.