It seems clear that no stone will be left unturned in our ongoing culture wars. Proving this, Professor Liam Kennedy of Canada’s King’s University College appeared on the CBC this week to take aim at a very unlikely target: The hit television program, Paw Patrol. The show, which features a group of heroic dogs who work under the tutelage of a 10-year-old boy named Ryder, has been playing on TVOntario in Canada and Nickelodeon in the U.S. since 2013. Despite overwhelming popularity with children internationally, the show has largely avoided controversy.
Until now, that is.
According to Kennedy, the show is thinly veiled propaganda.
“I’ll start with the depiction of the state. Mayor Humdinger and Mayor Goodway — kind of the representatives of the state or the government — are portrayed negatively,” Kennedy said. “Mayor Humdinger is portrayed as unethical or corrupt. Mayor Goodway as hysterical, bumbling, incompetent.”
In his paper (yes, he actually wrote a paper about this show), Kennedy insisted that Paw Patrol “encourages complicity in a global capitalist system that produces inequalities and causes environmental harms.”
On the CBC, Kennedy complained that the dogs in Paw Patrol were serving as a private police force, thus undermining confidence in the government.
“I would argue that the Paw Patrol, as a private corporation, is used to help provide basic social services in the Adventure Bay community,” he said. “That’s problematic in that the Paw Patrol creators are sending this message that we can’t depend on the state to provide these services.”
Perhaps beginning to sense that she was sharing the stage with an actual lunatic, the presenter asked Kennedy if he could at least appreciate the central message of the show, which is “No job is too big, no pup is too small.” Surely he could endorse a message that encourages children to believe in themselves, even in the face of–
“To me that’s an individualist message,” he said. “Pull up your boot straps, you can do it if you just try hard enough. That kind of message ignores structural barriers in our society and not everyone can do it.”
We suppose that Kennedy would be happier with a show where cartoon dogs sit around and blame millionaires for their lot in life. We’re pretty sure that children, on the other hand, would see that message for the BS that it is.