Putting KKK Hoods on Cartoon Trains to Own the Libs - Rolling Stone
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Putting KKK Hoods on Cartoon Trains to Own the Libs

The NRA’s Dana Loesch took dead aim at Thomas the Tank Engine

Dana LoeschDana Loesch

Dana Loesch

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The NRA appears to be at a loss for content. The organization has turned to covering an array of cultural issues that have nothing to do with guns. On Friday, it set a bizarre new low when Dana Loesch used the “Final Cut” segment of her hour-long show Relentless to take dead aim at long-running children’s program Thomas & Friends. The segment was capped with an unsettling image of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends wearing white Ku Klux Klan hoods atop flaming train tracks.

How did we get here? For the show’s 22nd season, which premieres this month on Nick Jr., the titular train will travel to locales around the world, where it will run across a new cast of characters. Some of these new trains will be female, which was Strike One for Loesch. “They’ve decided that the next stop is virtue town,” she said. “Thomas the Tank is now bringing gender bounds to the show by adding girl trains. Seriously.”

One of the new trains, named Nia, is Kenyan, playing into the global theme of the show’s new season. Strike Two. “That’s where it gets really strange to me,” Loesch said. “I’ve looked at Thomas & Friends and I see gray and blue. Am I to understand that Thomas and his trains were white? They all have gray faces. How do you bring ethnic diversity? They had to paint what I guess is some 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!”

Anthropomorphizing inanimate objects to appeal to children is a device that has been used in cartoons for decades. None of these objects-turned-characters have skin pigmentation, or any other human characteristics. They do in cartoons because they’re cartoons. That’s the point. Accusing one of the most innocuous children’s shows in recent memory of cowing to liberals because they added new characters with a different shade of gray than the hue Loesch grew up with is a truly strange, painfully contrived way to rail against political correctness, or whatever it is she is trying to accomplish with this segment.

If your brow wasn’t already furrowed enough, she then imagined Thomas & Friends with a racist past for which the show may feel it needs to atone, hence the introduction of a Kenyan character. It was a weird journey but we finally made it: cartoon trains wearing KKK hoods.

“I hate everything,” Loesch concluded.

The new Thomas & Friends characters had been introduced last month, and on Friday the show announced it had partnered with the United Nations, which under the Trump administration has become an enemy of conservatives. So too has the idea of exploring other cultures, caring for nature, gender equality, recycling and other issues the collaboration aims to promote.

“SJW’s Now Ruining Childhood,” read the chyron at the top of Loesch’s segment. Talk about snowflakes.

The NRA has yet to respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

Meanwhile, in Bakersfield, California, a gunman shot and killed five people and himself Wednesday evening.


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