Liam Kennedy, a Canadian professor at King’s University College, no longer allows his 2-year-old son to watch the popular kids’ show PAW Patrol because he thinks the show’s underlying messages are harmful.
PAW Patrol is an animated show about a boy named Ryder who leads a team of six playful rescue dogs who each use their individual talents to protect the seaside town of Adventure Bay.
Kennedy published a paper on the show for the journal Crime Media Culture after watching hours of it for research.
“With few exceptions, cultural criminologists have yet to investigate how crime, criminalized individuals, and punishment are depicted in children’s television programming,” Kennedy wrote. “Undertaking the case study of the popular animated children’s series PAW Patrol, I find that crime is committed predominantly by literal outsiders and that wrongdoers are temporarily warehoused or forced to engage in hard labor.”
In this world, politicians are presented as incompetent or unethical and the state, either incapable of delivering or unwilling to provide basic social services to citizens, relies on the PAW Patrol corporation to investigate crime, rescue non-human animals in states of distress, and recycle. I argue that the series suggests to audiences that we can and should rely on corporations and technological advancements to combat crime and conserve, with responsibilized individuals assisting in this endeavor. Ultimately, PAW Patrol echoes core tenets of neoliberalism and encourages complicity in a global capitalist system that (re)produces inequalities and causes environmental harms.
Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy told Ainsley Earhardt on Fox & Friends Thursday morning that she thinks the “Marxist, socialist,” professor was triggered by the “very American” message of the show. “So, in other words, we don’t want to teach our kids that they can do things for themselves and that, you know, the American dream…is alive and that you can lift yourself out of poverty or help yourself,” she said.
If a looney liberal professor thinks PAW Patrol is such a terrible thing for kids, I guess I’ll encourage my son to watch it even more than he does.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis