NRA Takes On … Thomas & Friends???

A few days ago, several readers made the comment that the world has gone mad, and I agreed with them.  Today, I am more convinced than ever that there is something toxic in the atmosphere that is turning people into raving lunatics.  The headline in the New York Times reads …

N.R.A. Show Puts Thomas the Tank Engine in K.K.K. Hood to Criticize Diversity Move

The story begins last Friday, when the kids’ show Thomas and Friends announced that it was adding new characters in partnership with the United Nations, as part of an effort to introduce its preschool audience to new cultures and issues.  The new characters are mostly female and international characters, including Nia, a train from Kenya.

Nia

Nia

The character Thomas the Tank Engine was invented more than 70 years ago by the Rev. W. Awdry, as a story for his son. Mr. Awdry turned the story into the first of many books in 1945, and in 1984, Thomas became the star of a new British animated show that was narrated by Ringo Starr. The show made its American debut in 1989 on PBS.

Apparently, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has a problem with Nia … or is her problem with diversity … or is her problem with non-whites?  Loesch hosts a program titled Relentless on NRA-TV (yes, for those who didn’t know, the NRA has its very own television network).  On her program last Friday she questioned the ‘need’ for diversity on Thomas’ show …

Dana Loesch“How do you bring ethnic diversity? I mean they had to paint, what I guess they thought was some sort of African pattern on the side of Nia’s engine? How do you bring ethnic diversity to a show that literally has no ethnicities because they’re trains? They don’t even have skin pigmentation. Was there some concern that the show had racist undertones?”

Obviously, Ms. Loesch has no understanding of ethnic diversity, the intolerance that exists in this nation today, or the need to teach children to value those of different cultures & ethnicities.  And so, Ms. Loesch, along with producers at NRA-TV, came up with this …thomas-tank-kkk

I don’t know about you, but when I first saw this image, I was speechless. This is a new low even for the NRA that, as we all know, has no values and cares not a whit about humans … only about money. But to target a very popular kids’ show??? Can anybody say “social conscience”?

What does Loesch’s grotesque distortion of a children’s cartoon have to do with gun rights? Nothing, according to the laws of common sense.  But of late, the NRA has taken its culture war cues from Trump and its segments are anti-Black Lives Matter, pro-cop, anti-media and pro-Trump.  It is no longer just guns the NRA is defending, but its way of life, its identity.  And apparently a children’s television program that promotes peace, understanding and love of others is offensive to Ms. Loesch and the NRA.

There is something ugly about all of this.  There is something vitriolic, toxic in Ms. Loesch and others such as Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter who bring the message of hate and bigotry, even to small children.  I have been engaged in a back-and-forth discussion for the past week or so with a reader concerning whether there ought to be limits to free speech. This abomination by Ms. Loesch and the NRA further cements my viewpoint that when a person or organization fails to accept the responsibility that accompanies the right to free speech, it is further proof that there need to be some limits, some constraints.  Try explaining the above picture to your 4-year-old:

“Well, you see honey, there are some people who don’t like people who don’t look like they do, and so they put white sheets on their heads and go around setting fires on people’s property and killing people.”

Doesn’t make sense even to me, and I’m not 4-years-old!

Where do we draw a line, folks?  Surely even supporters of the 1st and 2nd amendments must be incensed by this?  Surely nobody can defend Ms. Loesch’ attack on diversity?  Or … can they?  Have we gone too far?  For me, the answer is ‘yes’.  What about you?Pooh-sad

24 thoughts on “NRA Takes On … Thomas & Friends???

  1. In response to the fact that they are engines and don’t have color, they are in fact engines that TALK. Therefore, it would stand to reason, it makes perfect sense that trains from different parts of the world would have different accents. So how does a little engine manage to get to Africa and Australia? In a language that NRA and the bunch can understand, let me say this: No reason to get all upset this is just good ole capitalist values. Nothing more. They need to stay current to compete in the market. Seriously – here is an interesting article on how and why they chose the characters and the costumes. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-15/thomas-&-friends-to-get-more-female-characters/9051120.

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  2. At least-I Hope- this isn’t going into an episode of Thomas or a book.But it’s nothing short of sick and I’m beginning to wonder if there’s not something in the water there to create so many depraved minds. Surely there must be some republican parents who won’t be amused by this.
    Cwtch

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    • I’m sure it won’t go into any legitimate book or television episode. However, there are a lot of sick minds, and I have seen other innocent children’s characters debased online by what are referred to as ‘junk sites’. Look what the white supremacists did to Pepe the Frog, who started out as a cute cartoon character, and is now one of the biggest symbols of hate. 😥 No, I don’t think any parents will be amused by this, but then in this country you never know, for some think more highly of their guns than their own children. 😥
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree. Not necessarily because they have leanings in discriminatory directions themselves, but most parents (I truly believe) want their kids to be better people than them. That’s why so many folks who would never darken the door of a church suddenly find themselves either there on Sunday morning with their kids, or dropping them off for Sunday School even the parents don’t participate. She was just running her mouth so they don’t get pushed to the last page of the newspaper. Stupid is as stupid does!

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  3. Jill, this is consistent with Hugh’s post on the intentional effort to rewrite history. I opine your and his posts are part of a slow and insidious process to address the changing demographics in America. I won’t repeat my comment in Hugh’s post, but with white America heading toward a plurality from a majority status, there are more than a few efforts underway to promote the rights of white Americans at the expense of other Americans. I know fully this sounds conspiratorial, yet this is part of the Koch Brothers long game. But, just think of the promotion of nationalism and anti-immigration messages, a theme of reverse discrimination, the restriction on the rights of voters of color, the gerrymandering, the movement to push a constitutional convention to alter select amendments (one is to overturn the amendment that requires a vote on senators to go back to appointment) and the acquiescence to a very white, anti LGBT Russia. This fall’s vote is extremely important for more than just Trump. This comes from an Independent and former Republican voter. Keith

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    • I hadn’t read Hugh’s post yet, but dashed over there to read your comment and you are right, though I had not yet put all those events together in one basket. Your doing so left me with a strangely ill and dizzy feeling that we are spinning out of control. If the momentum is allowed to continue … people like us will have no place here anymore. You’re right … the mid-terms are not just about Trump, but are perhaps our last chance to preserve the things we value.

      I told you I would try to share some sunshine … ☀️☀️☀️

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      • Thanks Jill. I have been observing this for some time, but when I saw Steve Schmidt (I think it was him), articulate this on Real Time with Bill Maher, it was frightening. Schmidt is a former Republican strategist, so it is not just a “way out” conspiracy theory. I go back and forth between “conservative” and “white” when I think of this, but the two are entwined in the strategy. The other tactic I am witnessing in NC is the super-majority GOP General Assembly (due to gerrymandering) has changed the UNC System Board of Directors (over 17 universities) to be a partisan group that is dictating influence over curriculum and research, especially around poverty issues. True story. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it was Steve Schmidt … on reading your comment, I went in search of and found the interview. Despite temps in the high 80s today and the a/c running even now, at nearly 3:00 a.m., I feel chilled. We hear one thing or another each day, one abomination, one new lie, one unconscionable act atop all the others, but when you put them all together … when you see a list of everything that has happened in the past 20 months and look at it as a whole picture … Suffice it to say that there were some Italians and some Germans in the 1930s – 1940s who looked up one day and said, “How did we not see this coming?” Am I an alarmist? Perhaps. Time will tell.

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  4. Just trying to get my head around this, I’m sure the poor Rev Awdry must be turning in his grave.My eldest fell in love with Thomas at 18 months old when we joined the library. The original books are small, just right for children’s hands, writing on one side and colourful picture on the other and he was content with those before ‘commercialisation’ took off. Even making an animated version seemed innocuous at the time. Of course most of the stories are about trains being naughty or getting into scrapes and attitudes change. My daughter thinks Thomas is a bad influence on her two year old ( naughty ) son, who wanted them read over and over. She also thinks some of the stories are nasty with Henry being bricked up in a tunnel – I wonder what they could make out of THAT story. Anyway, no one should use or abuse children’s literature.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I absolutely agree with your last sentence … leave kids’ books alone!!! My kids were already in their teens when Thomas came to the U.S., but my granddaughter adored him. The bookstore we used to go to when she was little had a table set up with wooden Thomas trains and she would spend an hour playing with them. I never heard of anyone thinking it was a bad influence before, but I suppose we all have our own perspectives. My parents used to read to me from Grimm’s at bedtime when I was little … 😉

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      • Just tell me one thing.. What the heck do the Texans have against Helen Keller? She was such an inspiration. Do they dislike people with disabilities, too? You know what Hitler did with disabled and sick people, don’t you? He had them killed. Went right into the hospitals and demanded the docs and nurses do his bidding… I feel like I’m riding in an out-of-control car holding on for dear life, shouting, “Are we there yet, dad???” while I piddle down both legs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Like you, I’m puzzled by them wanting to remove Helen Keller from history books … the only thing I can figure is that they consider her to be irrelevant? Personally, I think she’s highly inspiring! And I fully agree with you … I feel like this is all a horrible nightmare, like maybe I shouldn’t have eaten those fried onions before going to bed. I just keep hoping to awaken some morning to find that Obama is still in the White House and all is well. 😉

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