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On Bronies and gender
June 21, 2012 2:16 AM   Subscribe

On Bronies - With all the discussions about gender it's good to see something that doesn't point at guys doing 'non-guy' things and use the word 'freak'. Even if there are plenty of people out there doing exactly that

I particularly like how they claim every single last one is unemployed and claiming benefit.

Disclaimer: This is the first time I've encountered the term.
posted by lith (180 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demagraphics. If they can appropriate and internalize this corporate agenda that is not intended for them they can, in turn, reclaim a stolen psychic space. These are all unconscious procedures, of course. If these processes were revealed, the Brony would then be forced to accept that part of their identities have been created by a system of opposition, not one of "pro-position".
posted by coolxcool=rad at 2:27 AM on June 21, 2012 [27 favorites]


That Fox news thread is a gold mine of funny images.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:33 AM on June 21, 2012


This is the first time I've encountered the term.

Bronies?

So... how do you feel about Cupcakes?
posted by Mezentian at 2:37 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still waiting for the lifetime Orginal movie about it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 AM on June 21, 2012


Have they done a CSI about murder and sinister undercurrents in the bizarre Brony subculture yet? That's when you know you've made it.
posted by Grangousier at 3:06 AM on June 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


coolxcool=rad: For my own sanity I have to assume you're making that up :)
I swear if I analysed everything to that degree I would do absolutely nothing in case it was for the wrong reason... and then feel guilty about doing nothing for exactly the same reason.

Mezentian: Not so much but I had some great Danish Pastry only 10 minutes ago :)
posted by lith at 3:06 AM on June 21, 2012


Disclaimer: This is the first time I've encountered the term.

Previously.

Fluttershy is best pony.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:12 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


What bronies are doing is the textbook definition of (Internet) Guy Thing.
posted by michaelh at 3:16 AM on June 21, 2012


Great find. Thanks
posted by Jofus at 3:31 AM on June 21, 2012


I swear if I analysed everything to that degree I would do absolutely nothing in case it was for the wrong reason... and then feel guilty about doing nothing for exactly the same reason.

That's my entire career at Art School in a nutshell, for exactly that reason.
posted by Grangousier at 3:32 AM on June 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


lith, I think being able to think clearly about the external forces that are pushing you toward a certain mode of behavior can make you *more* free.
posted by subdee at 3:45 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


What bronies are doing is the textbook definition of (Internet) Guy Thing.

Some bronies are women.

YEAH THAT'S RIGHT WHAT NOW
posted by LogicalDash at 3:51 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


No, those are pegasisters.

(Why do I know this...)
posted by ymgve at 3:55 AM on June 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed ... Brony would then be forced to accept that part of their identities have been created by a system of opposition, not one of "pro-position".

That comment reminded me of most tragic plot summary I've ever read on Wikipedia.
posted by delmoi at 3:56 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Plot summary"
posted by Wolfdog at 4:04 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's funny, Grangousier, that's my entire career as a philosophy student for exactly that reason. I think coolxcool might be onto something...
posted by zinful at 4:06 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some bronies are women.

Unpossible. There are no women on the Internet.
posted by Mezentian at 4:06 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually that fox thing is an interesting example of how conservative propaganda works in practice. See it, and having heard of "Bronies" before you know what he's saying about them makes no sense: being a "Brony" has nothing to do with being on SSDI, but the claim is that bronies are people getting benefits because they are so obsessed with the show.

The earlier bit was a about a guy with a diaper fetish, and the claim was he was getting benefits because of his fetish, which is absurd. My guess, if you looked into it the guy probably has some other fucked up issues, possibly psychological, but maybe not.

But the thing is, you hear anecdotes like that all the time, from other conservative bullshitters, and then when you hear something like this it doesn't it doesn't sound odd you have an internalized view of the world where this is the kind of thing that "liberal government bureaucrats", do all the time due to their unyielding zeal for political correctness
posted by delmoi at 4:07 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Rarity is best pony.
posted by Mizu at 4:12 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


If my 13 yo Brony son is collecting SSDI, I want a fucking cut, damnit.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:13 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


delmoi: "She sends them to Titus, but deletes them" - is that the Outlook, "tell the people I sent it to I really wish I hadn't" button?

LogicalDash: No way!

ymgve: phew, the recursive gender issues were too much to get my head around.
posted by lith at 4:22 AM on June 21, 2012


Thread worth it for the Trek/MLP crossover image.
posted by Mezentian at 4:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


delmoi: The scary thing is how many comments on the fox video go, "But all Fox are saying is that we shouldn't have to support these people who won't work and claim benefits because they love MLP so much".
So they've learnt to suspend their disbelief of Fox news a little too well huh?
posted by lith at 4:53 AM on June 21, 2012


The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demagraphics. If they can appropriate and internalize this corporate agenda that is not intended for them they can, in turn, reclaim a stolen psychic space. These are all unconscious procedures, of course. If these processes were revealed, the Brony would then be forced to accept that part of their identities have been created by a system of opposition, not one of "pro-position".

That's an extremely astute observation. I'm a recent convert, and that really speaks to my experience with the show. The part of my brain that likes My Little Pony is the same part that frequently fills itself with cynicism about American media and its ideas about what I'm supposed to be interested in.

That said, I disagree that bronyism is created by "a system of opposition" and not "one of pro-position." You're saying we say we like My Little Pony because we're not supposed to like it, not because it's good. I hate to break it to you, but we actually do like it.

It may well be that my enthusiasm for it is part of a process of rejection of hypersexualized culture, but it's also a product of the show itself. My Little Pony isn't jut a show that exists outside of what I'm conventionally supposed to enjoy; it's also a really fucking good show. I like it less as an act of rebellion towards gender stereotypes and more as an affirmation that quality storytelling and characters, and, if I'm a little bit sappy, heart, are sublimely independent of (often sociopathic) mainstream cultural attitudes.
posted by Rinku at 5:03 AM on June 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


Machine Langauge Programming is back?
posted by Goofyy at 5:07 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Derpy Hooves is best pony
posted by erniepan at 5:17 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Disclaimer: This is the first time I've encountered the term.

Welcome to Metafilter!
posted by Artw at 5:20 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think one of the main problems people have with the 'brony' culture is that a non-zero amount of grown men want to actually have sex with a children's cartoon, and want to tell everyone all about it - complete with novel length essays and diagrams.

I couldn't care less if and adult likes a cartoon, but when they start sexualizing shows that were produced with children in mind, I personally become wary.
posted by synthetik at 5:25 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demagraphics. If they can appropriate and internalize this corporate agenda that is not intended for them they can, in turn, reclaim a stolen psychic space. These are all unconscious procedures, of course. If these processes were revealed, the Brony would then be forced to accept that part of their identities have been created by a system of opposition, not one of "pro-position".

*blink*

I thought bronies were just guys who liked "My Little Pony" and were okay with that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:30 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fluttershy is best pony.

Rarity is best pony.

In honor of S.R. Ranganathan and to prevent conflict, I think there needs to be a "5 Laws of Friendship Is Science."

1. Magic is for Friendship
2. Every Viewer Her/His Pony
3. Every Pony Her Viewer
4. Save the Time of the Viewer
5. Equestria is a Growing Organism

This is probably the best way to encourage correct acquisition, cataloging, preservation, and access to Ponies.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yes, well, liking things is regarded as a political act 'round these parts
posted by LogicalDash at 5:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sure, it's OK for grown males to like shows about magical ponies, but the last time I tried to pitch my idea for a show for little girls about a magical rooster, titled My Big Cock, everybody told me it was offensive.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:40 AM on June 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


I didn't realize that somewhere out there someone had combined MPP and Magic the Gathering. Now, I'm no Bronie, but I got a lot of entertainment out of that amalgamation. I do have have to thank MeFi for informing me of this.
posted by SentientAI at 5:45 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demographics ...

Welcome to Metafilter, Professor Žižek.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, well, liking things is regarded as a political act 'round these parts
posted by LogicalDash at 8:36 AM on June 21 [+] [!]


While this comment isn't exactly eponysterical, I just can't get over thinking of LogicalDash as a pony, although, obviously, a logical one. I apologize for my brain's misbehavior.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:01 AM on June 21, 2012 [14 favorites]


I didn't realize that somewhere out there someone had combined MPP and Magic the Gathering. Now, I'm no Bronie, but I got a lot of entertainment out of that amalgamation. I do have have to thank MeFi for informing me of this.

If you have to thank someone, thank XQUZYPHYR.
posted by zamboni at 6:10 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize that somewhere out there someone had combined MPP and Magic the Gathering...

That's Mefi's own someone.
posted by griphus at 6:16 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey look at that I read things in the morning
posted by griphus at 6:17 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]




No, those are pegasisters.

The word 'pegasister' is an abomination. Female bronies need not be singled out (there are more than you think), and besides that, it's just a horrible-sounding displeasing word.
posted by Gordafarin at 6:32 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


That Friendship is Magic the Gathering set is pretty good - would like to see more Instant effects, though.

All I managed was a My Little Pony to 2011-2012 Premier League Teams conversion.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:34 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


If they can appropriate and internalize this corporate agenda that is not intended for them they can, in turn, reclaim a stolen psychic space.

Okay, hold up. What precisely is the stolen psychic space that is "reclaimed" by internalizing a corporate agenda, whether it's for you or not? Who steals this space? What is supposed to be in this space that it can be filled by a detourned corporate agenda?

If this is a fancy way of saying "by getting involved with a narrative that is nominally for girls, they are getting in touch with a bunch of stuff usually denied to male-identified people", yes, well....but it does seem to say that there's an awesomeness to the particular fact that this is a corporate narrative being reclaimed. And I wonder about that, politically-speaking.

I would be curious to see you unpack the whole "internalizing a corporate agenda" piece - the fact that you call it a corporate agenda and then seem to say that it does something awesome as long as it is "internalized" by a gender it is not apparently written for makes me wonder about your larger analysis. I think that corporate narratives and agendas are actually pretty flexible; I don't think the mere fact of consuming "girls" products renders all the corporate agenda stuff moot. I know that we live in a world where self-formation is invariably through reaction to corporate marketing, whether we actually buy stuff or not, but I'm not sure that mere acceptance of this as a neutral fact is helpful.

(Which, I mean, we all live in a complicated world without pure moral choices, so I have no quarrel with folks watching My Little Pony and getting something out of it; but the formulation you use is an unusual one.)

(Also, I think it's silly to say that this stuff isn't about fashion as much as about content; I've seen lots of intellectual fashions come and go by this point and there's always a vogue for what you might call counter-consumption of something. That doesn't mean it's bad. It's just zeitgeisty. But it's not a timeless eternal ethical project either.)
posted by Frowner at 6:37 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am compelled to point out that that Fox segment is a year old. It was, unfortunately, one of the first mainstream pieces on the community, and rather typical in its approach. John De Lancie (Trek's Q, MLP's Dischord) is working on a documentary that promises to be much better.

The word 'pegasister' is an abomination. Female bronies need not be singled out

It was females who insisted on it.

I just can't get over thinking of LogicalDash as a pony

I want to read your LD/TS fanfic.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust:
"I just can't get over thinking of LogicalDash as a pony, although, obviously, a logical one."
Honestly, ever since the ascendancy of MLP I've thought the same thing.
To the pony maker!
posted by charred husk at 6:40 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


For some reason MLP, Smurfs, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, and other really, really BAD yet ultra colorful cartoons makes me angry. Like Hulk Smash angry.
posted by stormpooper at 6:41 AM on June 21, 2012


You can always take a survey to find out the movitivation.

I wonder if they got a grant for this?
posted by stormpooper at 6:45 AM on June 21, 2012


Because you all deserve it, here's a MLP/Neil Patrick Harris mashup.
posted by Freon at 6:46 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G39GSXsBTmU
The moment I knew MLP:FiM had me hooked...
posted by Jacen at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought bronies were just guys who liked "My Little Pony" and were okay with that.

From what I've seen on the Internet, a great deal of them are participating enthusiastically in fandom because it's in opposition to what one would expect, or to go against what they perceive as larger cultural norms.

I dislike brony 'culture' specifically because of this embattled attitude.

There's a difference between enjoying something and being a fan. Fans take the consumer object that they enjoy and make it a large part of their identity, which tends to irritate those who sit outside of the group (thereby reinforcing the group itself). This is how I'd imagine people who don't like sports feel about people who do.
posted by codacorolla at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


For some reason MLP, Smurfs, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, and other really, really BAD yet ultra colorful cartoons makes me angry.

One of these things is not like the others/ One of these things doesn't belong
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was females who insisted on it.

God, my brother does this, too, calls women "females." And pronounces it "FEEEE-males."
posted by liketitanic at 6:56 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I want to read your LD/TS fanfic.

ChurchHatesTucker, I read that as "your LDS fanfic," and I did not know what to say. Now that I have read it more closely, I still don't know what to say, but for somewhat less... theological reasons.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:57 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


God, my brother does this, too, calls women "females." And pronounces it "FEEEE-males."

Well, a lifetime spent poring over the Rules of Acquisition and even a hyoo-mahn will pick up bad habits.
posted by griphus at 6:59 AM on June 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


If these processes were revealed, the Brony would then be forced to accept that part of their identities have been created by a system of opposition, not one of "pro-position".

The problem with this analysis is that if you accept the underlying premises [and I'm not sure I don't, by the way], I'm not sure you could point to any sort of fandom as not being "created by a system of opposition." I mean, accepting this framework, where under capitalism is a supposedly pure act of performing one's identity (through proclaimed love of a product or otherwise) to be found? It's all just adolescent identity-formation-by-staving-off-potential-supposed-misidentifications until the day we die.

In any case, it's probably worth pointing out that the current incarnation of My Little Pony, which I believe is what set off this newish internet subculture (it didn't exist as such before then, right?), was created by one of the creators of the Power Puff Girls. And I don't think we find any of this sort of backlash aimed at fans of that show. The internet is chock full of cute-loving!
posted by nobody at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because you all deserve it, here's a MLP/Neil Patrick Harris mashup.

Huh. I was expecting Dr. Addorable.

I read that as "your LDS fanfic,"

If someone hasn't done a MLP/Book of Mormon mashup already, I'll eat AJ's hat.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't care less if and adult likes a cartoon, but when they start sexualizing shows that were produced with children in mind, I personally become wary.

I am pretty sure Harry Potter and Twilight franchises were aimed towards children of the same age demographic as MLP:FIM, but you don't have people out with pitchforks against the adult fans, despite the mountain of erotic fiction available for each.

Is it because it's a cartoon? Because it has a connection to the original MLP, which was positioned towards an even younger demographic?
posted by Theta States at 7:09 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem with this analysis is that if you accept the underlying premises [and I'm not sure I don't, by the way], I'm not sure you could point to any sort of fandom as not being "created by a system of opposition." I mean, accepting this framework, where under capitalism is a supposedly pure act of performing one's identity (through proclaimed love of a product or otherwise) to be found? It's all just adolescent identity-formation-by-staving-off-potential-supposed-misidentifications until the day we die.

Hmmmmm, no, surely that can't be it...
posted by codacorolla at 7:11 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm really curious, what is it that makes people want to control what other people do and don't like?
Because I can't see it any other way, as there's nothing inherently wrong with liking something that was designed for/aimed at a different gender or age group, or is there?
posted by lith at 7:16 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure Harry Potter and Twilight franchises were aimed towards children of the same age demographic as MLP:FIM

Somewhat older, excepting the first couple HP books. That's likely what is freaking people out. Our culture is obsessed with "stranger danger," while for the most part these guys (mostly teens and twenties) are going to be really good dads.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:22 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can find rule 34 stuff for nearly every cartoon, and it is somewhat creepy, but I've never had any issue with avoiding it with MLP stuff. You are on the wrong sites if you are seeing it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thread worth it for the Trek/MLP crossover image.

I was going to ask where Pinkie Pie is in that photo, but she is *obviously* Q.

Yes, I know, obviously Discord is Q for realz, but this is a fanfic anyway, right?
posted by maryr at 7:37 AM on June 21, 2012


I am a grown-ass man, and I really enjoy this show about cartoon ponies, which is ostensibly made for 6-year-olds.

It seems like literally every article about the series My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic must begin with a lengthy treatise on the “brony” subculture, one of those Internet things that gets a raised eyebrow, a shaken head, and a polite chuckle on Good Morning America. (If you say “brony” three times, you will summon them. I’ve got one to go.) There have been numerous attempts to theorize just why this show has been so embraced by adults—but particularly by adult men—when it would seem like it shouldn’t have done so at all. Articles about the topic are always a little disbelieving, when they’re not coated in superiority and scorn. And, yeah, any time someone’s an intense fan of something, it can be a little creepy, and yeah, this is not exactly where you’d expect that particular audience to turn up and get obsessive, but here the ponies are and here we are.

Let me offer an alternate explanation: Sincerity is a dying art in our culture. It’s really hard to do a story where, say, the power of love saves everybody’s lives, because that’s the sort of thing that’s just not done anymore. We’re past that. We’re beyond cynical and well into jaded. We stopped believing in the sorts of good, old-fashioned, hyper-earnest values so much of our entertainment used to be based on somewhere in the 1960s and probably even earlier than that. That’s probably good. Love doesn’t really last forever, and you can’t change the world simply by trying to be a good person, and everybody’s going to die, whether we like it or not. Approaching the world with just a touch of jaded cynicism is recommended for all.

But what’s wrong with wanting to believe all of the above things are lies? What’s wrong with telling our kids that there’s nothing more wonderful than the moment when someone says they’ll love you forever, even if that’s an impossibility, given who we are? What’s wrong with telling them that doing good things is something that will have impact far beyond yourself and your immediate friends and neighbors? And what’s wrong with believing in these things just a little bit yourself? It’s like those newspaper columns you see every Christmas, where somebody tries to argue that Santa’s really real so long as we keep his spirit in our hearts. We know it’s bullshit, and we return to thinking so on December 26, but why not spend a little time dwelling on the better parts of our natures?

At its best, My Little Pony is like an owner’s manual to being a kind person.
-Tod VanDerWerff, Onion AV Club
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:38 AM on June 21, 2012 [19 favorites]


I am pretty sure Harry Potter and Twilight franchises were aimed towards children of the same age demographic as MLP:FIM, but you don't have people out with pitchforks against the adult fans, despite the mountain of erotic fiction available for each.

Is it because it's a cartoon? Because it has a connection to the original MLP, which was positioned towards an even younger demographic?


Yes, fan fiction and people obsessing with sexual fantasies of a 12 year old Hermione raise the same flags to me. More so due to the fact that she is represented by an (at the time) underage actress. Sexualizing any kind of children's programming, whether it's Smurfs, Dora the Explorer, Punkie Brewster, or Blue's Clues, is strange to me, and makes me wonder about deeper reasons for it.

I'm really not trying to infer anything - each person can do whatever they want as long as they aren't hurting anyone else. Writing fiction about sex with a cartoon pony doesn't really do damage to anyone, but opinions will be made about the writer, due to the subject material.
posted by synthetik at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


At its best, My Little Pony is like an owner’s manual to being a kind person.

If that is is true then WHY ALL THE DUBSTEP???
posted by Theta States at 7:51 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


is strange to me, and makes me wonder about deeper reasons for it.

If we simultaneously have a time of prolonged adolescence and accelerated puberty, I'd say it's almost inevitable.
posted by Theta States at 7:57 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the fact people talk about the heart and sincerity being exuded by a product from fucking Hasbro.
The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demagraphics.
The revolution will not only be televised, it will be sponsored.
posted by fullerine at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm really curious, what is it that makes people want to control what other people do and don't like?

Evolutionary beanplating! Humans are animals who spent most of the species' history with a predisposition to function best in small nomadic bands or tribes. For most of that history, a given human being would mostly interact culturally with their own tribe, and social groups tend to like things and dislike things by general agreement (or at least pretend to, because it beats starving to death or not having friends around you when the saber-tooths or spirits know what are prowling). If someone starts vocally really liking or disliking something that you do or don't, that's danger signal territory. Thog really likes the yellow berries, which are edible sure, but the tribe doesn't gather them. What happens if Thog decides he doesn't like you when the bigtooths come? What is the Law? No Yellow Berries! Are we not men?! It's important Thog repent, because if the tribe starts not functioning together, we all die.

Now, those danger signals don't do much good in the modern world, where you're interacting with all sorts of people all the time. And people are flexible social creatures, so mostly people avoid bashing each others' heads in with thighbones when cultural likes and dislikes vary wildly from what different parties think of as the norm. There's higher level executive function that lets us override them. (That's part of the magic of friendship!) But the danger signals are still there, right down in still very recent hominid DNA, causing troubles and making people care altogether too much about what their real and virtual neighbors like or don't.
posted by Drastic at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure this is how a lot of people view "The Bronies".
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Drastic: Nicely explained. It feels like there's more to it but as an underlying source that does sound like it covers most of it!
I guess there's also the 'control for the sake of it' side as well, just wanting to impose your will on someone else to show you can, which some people are more prone to do than others - I don't want to use the term 'alpha male' but I'm not sure how else to put it.
posted by lith at 8:06 AM on June 21, 2012


It’s like those newspaper columns you see every Christmas, where somebody tries to argue that Santa’s really real so long as we keep his spirit in our hearts.

Except that Santa Claus is (by now) an open source cultural reference that is free and available to everyone to make use of. Sure, the fat man whores out the red suit for Coca Cola, but the end-of-year Shaman figure has multiple angles and axes on which one can access it without buying into the fucking corporate whoredom dressed up in enticing tradition.

But if you're a grown-ass adult who beats back the cynical darkness of the soul and seeks some kind of sweetness and light from a fucking corporate cartoon which is nothing more than a half-our long commercial for the cheap-ass, imported-from-China plastic toys...

My Little Marketing Tool isn't Zoom, or The Electric Company or The Magic Garden. It exists solely to sell plastic fucking toys. It is not a thing unto itself, it is a mechanism to get kids to bug their parents to give money to the corporation. If there were no plastic toys to sell, it would never exist.

Is there nothing more inspiring for grown-ass adults to take hope from than a commercial for a children's toy? Are we that beat-down as a culture that this is the emotional lifeboat keeping grown-ass adults heads above water?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, a lifetime spent poring over the Rules of Acquisition and even a hyoo-mahn will pick up bad habits.

You must be a MAAAAYYYYYYYY-le because I don't hear women refer to men in such a way. It appears to only go one way.
posted by liketitanic at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2012


A lot of adult women who enjoy MLP distance themselves from the "brony" movement because they are turned off by the non-zero number of adult men whose attitude toward being bronies (a word that is pretty self-evidently defining as male--who calls women and girls "bros"? Hence the female fan-coined term "pegasisters") is "We are the most important fans of this show." Cf. the whole Derpy Hooves controversy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


>At its best, My Little Pony is like an owner’s manual to being a kind person.

MLP greater than BIBLE
MLP less than VONNEGUT
posted by M Edward at 8:14 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If that is is true then WHY ALL THE DUBSTEP???

Dubtrot. Geez.

BTW, has anyone seen jonmc? I'm starting to worry
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


P-B-Z-M, if I may call you that, the rebooted MLP is much smarter than it has to be, and much wiser. Yes, it wouldn't exist if they didn't want to sell plastic ponies, but the content of the show is I think more complexly appealing than you might expect.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


The ponies sell

A children's toy

The bronies get

A life of

joy

Burma-Shave
posted by griphus at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


My Little Marketing Tool isn't Zoom, or The Electric Company or The Magic Garden. It exists solely to sell plastic fucking toys.

Wait... Television is a business? Holy fucking shit.

Thank god you mentioned three other TV shows in your comment so it spared us the part about you bragging you don't own one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:35 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Knowing is half the battle.
posted by maryr at 8:35 AM on June 21, 2012



"Is there nothing more inspiring for grown-ass adults to take hope from than a commercial for a children's toy? Are we that beat-down as a culture that this is the emotional lifeboat keeping grown-ass adults heads above water?"
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey


hrm... Lets see... Firefly got shafted... Uh......... There is.... uh...... uhmmm..... an election in American soon-ish? And Pixar! Whos last six films were, in order: Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, UP, Toy Story 3, and Cars 2. So.... Uhmmm........... People keep saying the economy is picking up?

FRAK! Time for MLP:FiM
posted by Jacen at 8:42 AM on June 21, 2012


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Money: But if you're a grown-ass adult who beats back the cynical darkness of the soul and seeks some kind of sweetness and light from a fucking corporate cartoon which is nothing more than a half-our long commercial for the cheap-ass, imported-from-China plastic toys...

I'm kind of curious exactly which episode(s) you watched that led you to form that opinion.

IMHFO, MLP:FiM looks like one thing on the surface (specifically, exactly what you describe) but turns out to be something else entirely if you actually sit down and watch it. It *is* a toy commercial, but it's one that happens to have clever writing, memorable characters, good voice acting and songs that'll give musical-theatre geeks squee-induced heart arrhythmia.

A big part of the appeal is that the people making it have a non-zero give-a-shit level with respect to telling a story that's worth 22 non-renewable minutes of your life.

So, anypony going to be at ApolloCon this weekend?

[Combs mane of Twilight Sparkle figure whilst muttering "brushie, brushie, brushie".]
posted by sourcequench at 8:45 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Two threads in one week? Really? Alright. I let the circlejerk happen but now it's time to nip this in the bud.

First of all, most of the most vocal and active hate towards MLP boils down to one intrinsic notion:

>>>/mlp/
>>>/mlp/
>>>/mlp/
>>>/mlp/
>>>/mlp/

The Internet has no intrinsic problem with bronies or with any fetish for that matter. Hell, the wider Internet tends to leave furries alone. The problem is when they try to smear their shit in every nook and cranny of the Internet they can find. The vocal parts of the Internet don't do "flaunting your inner manchild and try to force it down everyone's throat" well. They're like an even creepier version of JWs/Mormons.

Second of all, bask in your brony glory [mildly NSFW], your PR rep [mildly NSFW] and how bronies truly believe problems should be solved [mildly WTF].
posted by Talez at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait... Television is a business? Holy fucking shit.

Television has always been a business.

Here's the thing: Buffy The Vampire Slayer,Star Trek, and Greg The Bunny all existed as their own free-standing dramatic entities that were presented on television. Yeah, you can buy Kirk and Willow action figures, but the TV show wasn't created around the extant action figures

Plastic ponies came first, and the commercial-masquerading-as-a-tv-show-for-6-year-olds' only reason for existing was (and remains) to push their sale.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:47 AM on June 21, 2012


...and that brings us to 1987.
posted by griphus at 8:49 AM on June 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is there nothing more inspiring for grown-ass adults to take hope from than a commercial for a children's toy? Are we that beat-down as a culture that this is the emotional lifeboat keeping grown-ass adults heads above water?

Advertising as an art form has only one constraint: sell.

This stopped meaning "tv commercials and print ads" many, many, many years ago. Advertisers have devised cleverer and cleverer ways to focus people's attentions on a product. Guerrilla marketing, ARGs. TV shows that sell product aren't a new phenomenon. I grew up with Power Rangers and Pokemon and, ugh, Beyblades. But the cleverer the advertising becomes, paradoxically, the less it actually becomes about selling its product. It's not like MLP is Chinpokomon, encouraging you twice a second to buy the latest pony model. It's a show with well-defined characters and moral struggles, and as such it has value and meaning aside from its commercial ties.

Writers, animators, and creatives of all stripes may want to make the world a better place, but they still have to sell something in the process. That would be true even if we didn't live in a thoroughly capitalist world: ideas and thoughts must be sold to an audience, same as little plastic dolls. The art of rhetoric is the art of making an audience take notice.

There's certainly something insidious to the practice of selling a product by creating a culture around that product, but contrary to what you seem to believe, "grown-ass adults" (and children too!) are smart enough to separate what's valuable about a culture from its shallower origins. I'm not a Ponies fan – generally I don't handle twee well unless it's wrapped in melancholy – but the show seems to teach wonderful lessons, its writers have all proven themselves skilled in their past work, and my friends who are fans assure me that it's a legitimately good show, which promotes good happy feelings. A culture based on friendship on kindness is a good culture, period.

As hard as this might be to believe, even when capitalism pervades a society, it doesn't necessarily damage it; as in all societies, the value grows on top of the brutal selfish essentials. That's not new to the 21st century. It has ever been thus. Far more damaging is this attitude that says we should look cynically at all good things, accept nothing which is not absolutely pure, and fight to separate ourselves from a culture simply so we can say, with snobbishness and pride, that we're better than the people who've found something valuable within.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:52 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


If MLP:FiM (And I DO specify FiM here, ain't gonna touch any of the early ones) is purely a commercial, why is there mountains and mountains of viewer created content? (all ranging from innocent and well meaning to fantastic and stunning and yes, to the adult and creepy. Though adult on cartoons in TV isn't new, pointing to things like Penny tied and gagged in Inspector Gadget all the time, and characters with cleavage, etc. /end sidetopic! sorry!)

Songs, story, drawings, paintings, custom figures, role play (yes, both innocent and adult. Deal with it) games, even conventions..... Are we gullible? Drinking the Kool-Aid? Or... might, just maybe possibly, be something there? As PBZN asked "is this it?" And the answer to a lot of us is a pretty cheerful YEP!
posted by Jacen at 9:01 AM on June 21, 2012


Two threads in one week? Really? Alright. I let the circlejerk happen but now it's time to nip this in the bud.

Okay, thanks for intentionally clicking on the thread and then reading it and then posting a comment on it to let us know we are forcing our shit on you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:04 AM on June 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's an interesting point that PBZM raises about the disconnect between Friendship is Magic and the commercial origin of the show. Hasbro is liked merely because they finance the show and have not done much to quash copyright violations in fan works. The creative forces specifically behind the new FIM show are deified however, Lauren Faust specifically due to her role as creative steward. FIM is a complete reboot; a completely new universe straight from the pages of a young girl growing up with three brothers. Instead of Applejack dressing going shopping in her convertible (sold separately), she's a cowgirl with a country accent and she ropes up livestock.

Another example which transcends the commercial origins: "Cutie Marks". It's a mark on the flank of ponies, usually related to their name or talent. It's an artifact of the older generation; I bet Hasbro thought it up just so they can sell palette swaps of the same goddamn pony doll as a completely new doll. In the new FIM universe, it ended up being a meaningful literary device -- the cutie mark appears when the pony realizes his/her special talent (e.g. music, carpentry, math). The show emphases that earning your cutie mark is a process that takes time, and that you should try many different things when you're young so that you can find your passion in life. It's a good metaphor for the sort of figuring out that kids and young adults do as they grow up.
posted by cyberscythe at 9:09 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


The problem is when they try to smear their shit in every nook and cranny of the Internet they can find.

You realize that's an oddly specific google search, right?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:13 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing: Buffy The Vampire Slayer,Star Trek, and Greg The Bunny all existed as their own free-standing dramatic entities that were presented on television. Yeah, you can buy Kirk and Willow action figures, but the TV show wasn't created around the extant action figures

Speaking as someone who has actually worked in the television industry, your notion that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not greenlighted with an advanced understanding of its merchandising potential shall now be met with thirty unbroken seconds of laughter.

Plastic ponies came first, and the commercial-masquerading-as-a-tv-show-for-6-year-olds' only reason for existing was (and remains) to push their sale.

Well, duh. Hasbro owned the license to My Little Pony and decided make a show. Just like WB owned the license to a crappy teen vampire movie and decided to do the same thing.

Here's a funny thing about "pushing their sale" though: Hasbro had to go back and redesign one of the toys of the main characters on the show because fans of the show complained that they didn't look anything like the character. Hasbro's marketing geniuses believed that "white ponies wouldn't sell as well as pink ones."

So Hasbro, since this is all about pushing that plastic, edited the show and made the character pink to match the toys that were selling so well oh wait that is the exact opposite of what happened. Now it's sold in white, because fans liked the toy looking like the character they watch on the show: a show that, by the way, is produced almost entirely by a studio in Canada that has almost no actual interaction with Hasbro's toy division on a regular basis. Meanwhile, fan favorites are being made into toys based on the popularity of their appearance in the show, in some cases without even having speaking roles. I will repeat this because it's kind of important in the light of baseless accusations that this show is "just to sell toys:" the biggest complaints fans have about the toys are that Hasbro isn't making toys of characters on the show, because those are the toys they actually want.

It's almost as if, despite the so-obvious-it's-ridiculous-it-was-even-brought-up notion that children's television is (gasp!) driven by profit and merchandising, the success of a show and the fan bases' independent arbitration of quality has led to said changes in the merchandise based on accepting what the fans what to pay for, not what a show is telling them what to buy. You know, like almost every other merchandise-incorporated show on television, ever.

Of course, that would fly in the face of vending-machine anti-corporate screeds so I guess we'll have to weigh the decision over your opinions on a show you have almost definitely never even watched and, you know, facts independently.

Jesus Christ. Is it so painful to you that a television show designed to market toys has broken the mold by also actually being good independent of its marketing? It's like the very notion of a quality product making a company money because people appreciate its quality offends your principles of not liking things by default. Get the fuck over it. The show isn't the Hub Network's most popular series because of mass hypnosis aka eeevil corporate propaganda.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:49 AM on June 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


The real issue with Bronies is that they are in a process of reaction towards a capitalist system of normative control directed at specific gender and age demographics ...

Welcome to Metafilter, Professor Žižek.



Oh please, that analysis is way too straightforward to be Slavoj.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:54 AM on June 21, 2012


Adding as well: all of this--every part of the quality and design and appeal of the show-- came from Hasbro choosing Lauren Faust to run the relaunch. Faust has explained repeatedly that this wasn't just because of an arbitrary decision or that she wanted to do it for the money, but that she herself was an enormous fan of the source material as a child.

So... who really gives a shit if the "source material" was a plastic toy pony? We gave Heath Ledger an Oscar for playing a character that was written from "source material" of Dick Sprang spash panels of a man in a bat costume fighting a man in a clown costume over giant prop bongo drums.

That's what makes every part of this kneejerk nonsense about "just selling toys" so infuriating to me. Are there concessions made for the sake of marketing? Of course there are. Is Hasbro ultimately just in this for profit? Of course it is. But Hasbro also had, and has, every opportunity to not also allow a well-done show to be made by a team of talented people who give a shit about the product- one far better than most shows you're exposing your children to- and they made a good show anyway. And for some reason this bothers people just because it also lets a toy company sell toys. The hell, people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 AM on June 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Beginning the "Putting Your Hoof Down" episode.

-Attitudinal rabbit needs an attitude adjustment. I was reminded of the "I speak Jive" segment in Airplane. "Sucka don't want no rabbit-food, sucka don't get no rabbit food." This is not a fucking restaurant, this is... a rainbow pony barn.

-Okay, this is the "Don't be a fucking doormat episode". I lucked out and got a good one.

-Manipulative unicorn is manipulative. When does the "Brass Pole" cutie mark show up? Some day there's gonna be some guy-pony with a microphone on his ass singin' "I see you prancing 'round town with the pony I love, and I'm like fuck you..."

-Why are the ponies trying to screw the tomato farmer out of making a decent living? Do these spoiled brats have any idea who fucking expensive organic farming is? Screw you, farmer. Maybe if you sparkled more...

-Haggling is not her strong suit.

-Okay, goatman is good. Magnolia-style motivational seminal... baaaaaaad. Hat tip to Pay as you Exit.

-Hey, at least the petunias aren't gonna drown anymore. Goatman 1, mud-pony 0.

-Oh, he was a minotaur....

I can't watch any more of this. Yes, absolutely brilliant and wonderful for children. If I had a 6-yr-old daughter, this is exactly the kind of thing I'd love for her to watch. If my 6-year-old son wanted to watch, rock on. Lean a thing.

Back in the seventies, when a generation of young adults was feeling crushed and beat down and looking for something non-threatening in the face of ugly reality, the culture got soft-rocked by James Taylor and the Carpenters.

But it just really feels... wrong for adults to be seeking solace in a 6-year-olds cartoon.

And not in a "my moral code says that's wrong", but in a "We have a fucking broken world, broken economy, declining health coupled with skyrocketing costs, a crippled environment that may be coming up on a tipping point of "There is no fixed, there is only ameliorating the worst of the catastrophic effects and learning how to live with the rest", and a cartoon aimed at 6-year-olds is what gives grown-ass adults inspiration?"

Boy, are we fucked.

In my work as a beverage caterer, I sometimes put away the liquor bottles and pour nothing but Shirley Temples all night at proms. Or as I like to call them, "Watching the look of horror on the chaperones faces as their kids dance doggy-style". But they get dressed up in adult clothing and celebrate transitioning into adulthood. Some of them fuck it up, but that's what transition points in life are about.

But the most depressing events are the "Grad Nights", where the kids impending high school graduates get taken some place like a gym, given giant tricycles and games and stuff to keep them entertained all night. They bring in a magician or hypnotist at 2am or so, and it's all sorts of fun. And it keeps the kids under the watchful eye of their parents so they can't go out and do anything crazy like drive drunk into a pole. Fair enough.

So rather than dressing up as adults and trying on new grown-ass adult roles on a night on celebrating transitioning away from their childhood, they spend the night dressed in jeans and t-shirts playing kids games, looking fondly back at the childhood they're leaving behind, their backs to the big, scary adult world closing in on them. And then, once the inevitable dawn comes, Generation: Veal strikes out to meet the future...

I think watching this happen season after season colors my reaction to bronies.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:09 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, if I worked in a glue factory I might have a different take on the show.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:14 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: ...but in a "We have a fucking broken world, broken economy, declining health coupled with skyrocketing costs, a crippled environment that may be coming up on a tipping point of "There is no fixed, there is only ameliorating the worst of the catastrophic effects and learning how to live with the rest",

Care Bears Countdown!

CARE BEARS STARE!
posted by Theta States at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


BTW my aforementioned 13 yo son wore this t-shirt on his last day of school this year. He loves the show and all the culture created by the fans. Nothing deeper or more interesting than that.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


How come people forget that the whole brony thing was started as a hoax by internet trolls? The show is a very average, formulaic cartoon, originally intended for little girls. It's only intended to be children's light entertainment.
posted by Yakuman at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2012


BTW my aforementioned 13 yo son wore this t-shirt on his last day of school this year. He loves the show and all the culture created by the fans.

Half the fun is the fan created stuff. Doctor Whooves, Derpy's struggles as a single mom, Bon Bon trying to deal with Lyra's obsession, Octavia putting up with Scratch, etc. All based on ponies who appear briefly, or in the background.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


synthetik: I think one of the main problems people have with the 'brony' culture is that a non-zero amount of grown men want to actually have sex with a children's cartoon, and want to tell everyone all about it - complete with novel length essays and diagrams.

I couldn't care less if and adult likes a cartoon, but when they start sexualizing shows that were produced with children in mind, I personally become wary.


If someone actually has come up to you with his exciting explicit diagrams for pony sex, then A. your experience is idiosyncratic and not representive of brony culture as a whole, and B. you need to hang out with better people. There is much less of this going on in the pony fandom than (I hear) the furries. There is some of it, but it's of small enough quantities that it's difficult to distinguish from the background radiation (that is to say, trolls).

I have some experience with brony culture, and I can tell you that this is not what generally goes on. "A non-zero amount" means that someone, somewhere, sometime does this. But that's true of everything else on the internet. That's what Rule 34 means. If you honestly believe this, then you might as well exile yourself from the internet.
posted by JHarris at 10:42 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yakuman: "How come people forget that the whole brony thing was started as a hoax by internet trolls?"

Because that's not how it happened?
posted by radwolf76 at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


If someone actually has come up to you with his exciting explicit diagrams for pony sex, then A. your experience is idiosyncratic and not representive of brony culture as a whole, and B. you need to hang out with better people. There is much less of this going on in the pony fandom than (I hear) the furries. There is some of it, but it's of small enough quantities that it's difficult to distinguish from the background radiation (that is to say, trolls).

You've never been to /mlp/ have you?
posted by Talez at 10:50 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


How come people forget that the whole brony thing was started as a hoax by internet trolls?

Because so many guys take it so fucking seriously.

If someone actually has come up to you with his exciting explicit diagrams for pony sex

You might be Lauren Faust. People are constantly sharing MLP porn with her, despite her request that they not do so in her Deviantart FAQ. (Including porn of her self-insert pony character.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2012


My Little Marketing Tool isn't Zoom, or The Electric Company or The Magic Garden. It exists solely to sell plastic fucking toys. It is not a thing unto itself, it is a mechanism to get kids to bug their parent

ObBah: Bah. The Electric Company was just there to make your local utility company look all nice and kind while it was busy polluting the earth with their coal fire plants.

It's a capitalist world, everything you're into is just there because somebody wanted to make money of it.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 AM on June 21, 2012


You've never been to /mlp/ have you?

I'm shocked that someone would post porn on 4chan!
posted by Theta States at 10:54 AM on June 21, 2012


You've never been to /mlp/ have you?

Yes, I've been to 4chan. WTF were you expecting?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:56 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think basing one's opinion on any cultural phenomenon via its 4chan or Reddit presence is like diving deep, deep into the sewers of a city, finding a dead rat clutching a turd, scooping a cup full of sewer "water", eating the rat, drinking the water, and then posting a diatribe on the internet about how there aren't any good restaurants around.
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


You've never been to /mlp/ have you?

No, I haven't gone to a site notorious for posting porn of all varieties to discuss this show. Here, try this site for discussion and this site for art and suddenly your problems will go away!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:00 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of Reddit is good. Wouldn't expect that of any pop culture sub reddit likely to have a large young male membership though.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on June 21, 2012


On the toy/cartoon relationship, there's some great stuff in the Paul Dini interview here about working with HASBRO on He-Man.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2012


...and if there's one thing large young male members of pop-culture boards will make and share pornography of it's everything.
posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on June 21, 2012


It's not easy being a Brony.

Hah! iOS capitalizes "Brony.". Brohoof, Cupertino.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:06 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah well, /r/programming is relatively pornography free.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on June 21, 2012


Basically the rule of subreddits seems to be that if the links on its page are greater than 50% imgur that subreddit will be unusably awful.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2012


Basically the rule of subreddits seems to be that if the links on its page are greater than 50% imgur that subreddit will be unusably awful.

Meh. Bad metric. r/mylittlepony is fine, so is r/gameofthrones an r/asoiaf.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2012


How can a game of thrones board NOT have explicit photos?
posted by Theta States at 11:26 AM on June 21, 2012


It is something of a paradox.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2012


It exists solely to sell plastic fucking toys.

MLP vibrators? I think there is more to the show than that...
posted by wildcrdj at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually pony-tail plugs in the colors of various ponies seems like the obvious product there...

(oh god now I can't stop thinking of MLP sex toy products...)
posted by wildcrdj at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


All I need is an enchanted Smartypants doll...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2012


My 7-year old daughter watches this show, so I've seen more than a few episodes. I try to steer her away from it a bit, because I'm not sure she needs more cultural pressure to be nice. She doesn't live up to the stereotypically relationship-oriented, empathetic and sensitive girl that the show celebrates, and I don't want her to feel like there's something wrong with her.

Thankfully she is more drawn to powerful female characters on other shows, so hopefully this will be balanced out, but it doesn't surprise me that much that men would be fans of the show.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:08 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


So when do the Ponies transform into fighting robots? Or shoot lasers at each other? The 8 year old boy in me is waiting.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2012


There is Voltron style action.
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2012


She doesn't live up to the stereotypically relationship-oriented, empathetic and sensitive girl that the show celebrates, and I don't want her to feel like there's something wrong with her.

What show are you watching?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


You've never been to /mlp/ have you?

Please see my point B above. Sheesh.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2012


Chekhovian: "So when do the Ponies transform into fighting robots? Or shoot lasers at each other? The 8 year old boy in me is waiting."

Lasers.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2012


AlsoMike, the show exists to try to teach those values. Empathy is something that has to be learned. The show is perfectly fine, and in fact deals with the conflict sometimes created even among well-meaning people often. For homework, I assign "A Friend In Deed." There will be a quiz later.
posted by JHarris at 12:30 PM on June 21, 2012


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: But it just really feels... wrong for adults to be seeking solace in a 6-year-olds cartoon.

They're not seeking solace any more than Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, X-Files, or what have you fans do. It's a good show. It's not what you think it is. For your homework, I assign "Party Of One." Maybe also "Best Night Ever," which is extremely well-constructed and the "moral" at the end is sometimes, things just suck. Oh well.
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It occurs that AlsoMike may be trying to raise a sociopath, in which case I recommend Sweet and Elite.

I love Rarity, but sheesh!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know if he's a brony, but the Dude abides.
posted by elgilito at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If someone actually has come up to you with his exciting explicit diagrams for pony sex, then A. your experience is idiosyncratic and not representive of brony culture as a whole, and B. you need to hang out with better people. There is much less of this going on in the pony fandom than (I hear) the furries. There is some of it, but it's of small enough quantities that it's difficult to distinguish from the background radiation (that is to say, trolls).

Yes, it has happened, in weird places. For example, it's come up on MMO-Champ, Oracle support forums and my student's coursework discussion website. These were either explicit pictures or stories in inappropriate places. Anecdotal, but I don't see WWE or Twilight fanfiction cropping up in those places.

If I'm browsing Deviantart or 4Chan I expect to find some things I don't agree with, but people are free to do what they want and I have no argument.
posted by synthetik at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


So Hasbro, since this is all about pushing that plastic, edited the show and made the character pink to match the toys that were selling so well oh wait that is the exact opposite of what happened.

XQUZYPHYR is referring to the infamous "Pinklestia" situation. And I generally agree with his points on this show, and that Hasbro is mostly hands-off concerning it (which I wouldn't be surprised if it was one of Faust's conditions for working on it). The show is influenced by the toys a bit though - that's probably why Candance is an alicorn, and it's also been said that Hasbro likes it when the studio makes backgrounds that resemble playsets. I wish the manufacturing guys would take more from the show. I'm not really a collector of anything but I'd love to have an actual, offical Lyra figure.

Of course, that would fly in the face of vending-machine anti-corporate screeds so I guess we'll have to weigh the decision over your opinions on a show you have almost definitely never even watched and, you know, facts independently.

I am one of the people most likely to make those screeds, and I support his statement that MLP:FiM is a lot less influenced by this kind of thing than you'd expect. It's not immune to it, but the show would be worth watching even if there was no toy line. This is an exception in kids' television, not the rule, but it is a pretty big exception. (I've ranted before about the evils of Hasbro before, regarding their handling of Dungeons & Dragons, their flogging of crappy board games, and their literally hundreds of versions of Monopoly. I can't shake the feeling that, when the pony thing finally crashes down, it'll be the direct result of some hamfisted thing they do. I'm almost counting the seconds.)
posted by JHarris at 1:18 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


These were either explicit pictures or stories in inappropriate places. Anecdotal, but I don't see WWE or Twilight fanfiction cropping up in those places.

The key word there is anecdotal. It is worth reviewing why that kind of evidence is bad.

And "it has happened" is a far cry from "it is a common thing." It's nearly entirely absent from Equestria Daily for example, the foremost pony site out there. This might be a function of editorial policy, but if the fanbase-at-large disagreed with it then EQD wouldn't be the foremost pony site.
posted by JHarris at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2012


You know what, P-B-Z-M, et al., I'll accept having to take a reasonable amount of crap for being an adult who enjoys a magical pony show for little kids because it ever so minutely helps me be a little less of a cynical, jaded, bitter asshole over whatever program it is that the kids that made that old lady on the bus cry watch. Yes there are people out there who are into—well this [NSFW-ish]—and they are making it harder and harder for people who just want to enjoy the earnestness of the show to say they like it without coming off as a giant perv.

XQUZYPHYR said most of the rest of what I wanted to say, so "Right on!" to him.

Except that Twilight Sparkle is best pony.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


It occurs that AlsoMike may be trying to raise a sociopath…

I guess so. I have a friend who is more on the introverted and serious side, and she has a job where she sometimes interacts with customers. Occasionally, men will tell her things like "You'd be so much prettier if you smiled!" which I find appalling. But maybe she's a sociopath for not being emotionally available to strange men?

My Little Pony is not that far from this expectation. "But it teaches good values!" We aren't teaching boys those values. The Sweet and Elite story is exactly what I mean, you'd never see a storyline like that if the lead character was male. The message is don't try to improve yourself, because people will feel bad about themselves and think you're stuck up. To me, the show is limiting for girls because it says no matter what you try to do, your first responsibility is to take care of other people's emotions.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


To me, the show is limiting for girls because it says no matter what you try to do, your first responsibility is to take care of other people's emotions

Awww man I suddenly have a great idea for a MLP: Objectivism Is Magic re-edit!
posted by Theta States at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The message is don't try to improve yourself, because people will feel bad about themselves and think you're stuck up.

*blink*

Yes, that's it exactly.

Except that Twilight Sparkle is best pony.

That is not how you spell Fluttershy.

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2012


(oh god now I can't stop thinking of MLP sex toy products...)

Now you have become the moral of this thread. There are some things that MeFites were not meant to know.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


XQUZYPHYR is referring to the infamous "Pinklestia" situation.

See the contrast between the toy and the picture on the box here. Personally, on seeing these toys, I was far more upset that the Rainbow Dash wasn't a pegasus. It's pretty core to her personality. WHY IS SHE IN A PLANE?!
posted by maryr at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2012


C.F. AJ's much reviled pink pickup.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2012


AlsoMike: Occasionally, men will tell her things like "You'd be so much prettier if you smiled!" which I find appalling. But maybe she's a sociopath for not being emotionally available to strange men?

Yeah, she shouldn't have to smile because it makes her prettier. That's not being a sociopath, that's being normal, and you're right for feeling that way. But that's not the Message of Pony. Only one character really cares to a great extent about being pretty, but it's not because she's expected to be, but because it's her job. She's got plenty of other things going on that balance that. And Rainbow Dash is it's opposite.

The Sweet and Elite story is exactly what I mean, you'd never see a storyline like that if the lead character was male.

I don't know, I could easily imagine a story about a male character moving from a rural town to the big city and losing touch with his friends and himself in the excitement of experiencing high society. I think the point of the episode is, actually, you don't have to be socially important to be important. The show generally presents that kind of glamorous lifestyle as being somewhat shallow, although this may be more evident in Best Night Ever.
posted by JHarris at 2:52 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


maryr:Personally, on seeing these toys, I was far more upset that the Rainbow Dash wasn't a pegasus. It's pretty core to her personality. WHY IS SHE IN A PLANE?!"

Because that's G3 backstock? You can tell by the difference in logo, and the lack of Hub Network stickers plastered on the box. That's from the era when "Rainbow Dash always dresses in style." I don't think it's fair to fault Hasbro for not predicting the future.

And while the truck is mostly lame, it does have its moments of greatness.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, on seeing these toys, I was far more upset that the Rainbow Dash wasn't a pegasus.

Ah, that's an earlier generation of MLP toy, which you can still find on store shelves in some places. The tip-offs are the logo font and the illustration on the package -- that's not the R.D. we know. The Friendship Is Magic generation is G4, which is really the only version of the show or toys that bronies care about.

The characters tend to be reimagined and redesigned between generations, changing completely in all ways other than name and (to a degree) color scheme. G3 Rainbow Dash vs G4.
posted by JHarris at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


No pony hate, but in a world where there is an Adventure Time? Fools, please. It is all about some Adventure Time.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2012


It is all about some Adventure Time.

Adventure Time makes me sympathetic to the folks who don't get ponies.

I know there's a there there--hell, Lev Grossman likes himself some Adventure Time--but I just don't see it.

I like to think Twilight would understand.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:43 PM on June 21, 2012


Adventure Time and Pony are not mutually exclusive, guys. And Adventure Time has done an actual Kate Beaton reference, so both are about even on pony awesomeness.
posted by JHarris at 6:47 PM on June 21, 2012


In the documentary (!?) Crumb Robert Crumb claims his sexual priming initiating experience was seeing Bugs Bunny cross-dressed in a dress in a Warner Brothers cartoon. This says more to me about Crumb than the show because I have watched a million Bugs Bunny cartoons and always have considered the persona to be a hermaphrodite ever since the time I became aware of such classifications.
posted by bukvich at 6:52 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trickster spirits, always up to that kind of crap.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on June 21, 2012


Guys, GUYS! I need to find a trombone!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:56 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The child and I watched Adventure Time once. She basically insisted that it never again be screened in this house. TBH I think it's a bit too much aimed at older kids and hipsters and lacks the awesome all-ages appeal of MLP.

The five-nearly-six year old has spoken!
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Though in fairness now it's all about Clone Wars and MLP barely gets a look in.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on June 21, 2012


Though in fairness now it's all about Clone Wars and MLP barely gets a look in.

These kids these days...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:16 PM on June 21, 2012


Okay, fine: MLP:FIM fanfic writer here. I recommend "Tonight I Shall Be Laughter" for newcomers.
posted by SPrintF at 7:46 PM on June 21, 2012


That's a good one, yes. It's not written by a MeFite (that I know) but I particularly like Pinkie Watches Paint Dry.
posted by JHarris at 10:26 PM on June 21, 2012


I still have a ton of G1 Ponies~! I loved my ponies. They and my barbies had amazing adventures fighting the bad guys and traveling from place to place in The Kingdom Of My Bedroom. I was a unicorn and pegasus kind of girl, so I was really disappointed when G2 went ugly and all ponies and didn't buy any. G3 was back in hog heaven, but too much damn pink! What's a girl gotta do to get a Surprise Pony, huh??? White and neon yellow - hello!

I never liked the older shows (for shows I was more a He-man, She-ra, Jem, and GI Joe kind of girl) for My Little Pony because they were boring. I ADORE the new ones. Adore it. They go on adventures, and solve problems, and fight evil not by killing things but by containing it or turning it to their side! And there are all kinds of ponies, and even though they're friends they fight, and they make a lot of mistakes but they all love and support each other.

Also, all the ponies are the best. I need to complete my collections; I only have Rainbow Dash (I have a practice of always buying the rainbow ponies because I love them).
posted by Deoridhe at 12:15 AM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]



Except that Twilight Sparkle is best pony.

That is not how you spell Fluttershy.


Five very distinct types, Stu. Not two, like you and Bernard Manning think.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:41 AM on June 22, 2012


OK what the hell is up with that brony video where he's firing guns and setting shit on fire. WHAT.
posted by Theta States at 6:56 AM on June 22, 2012


SF/F publisher Tor recently posted an article on their website: In Defense of Bronies — The Quest For Gender Equality in Fandom.

(Don't know where they got the term "Fillies" for female fans, instead of the more common Pegasister, first I've ever heard it used in that context. It'll probably annoy my girlfriend just as much though, she hates any attempt to split the fandom along gender lines, preferring the existing label to be applied universally.)
posted by radwolf76 at 9:33 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm too quaker for grody schadenfreude or gawkposting and I ain't give a shit about dirty pictures but you know what really ticks me off is what the fuck Problem Solverz only gets one season

someone dropped the fucking ball here
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:53 AM on June 22, 2012


"Pegasister" has only recently gained traction in the wider fandom. "Fillies and Gentlecolts" were the preferred gender specific terms for Bronies.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:56 AM on June 22, 2012


ChurchHatesTucker: ""Pegasister" has only recently gained traction in the wider fandom. "Fillies and Gentlecolts" were the preferred gender specific terms for Bronies."

News to me, and I've been following the show since somewhere near the end of season 1. I remember Pegasister in use back then (with my girlfriend's rants against the term, how could I forget), but I never took "Fillies and Gentlecolts" to be anything other than ponified "Ladies and Gentlemen", not actual terms for segments of the fandom. Learned something new.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:05 AM on June 22, 2012


"Pegasister" has been around a while, but was resisted by a lot of fans (male and female) who felt "Brony" should be inclusive. I think it was the more recent, positive, media coverage that wanted an equivalent term for the female fans that tipped it over into general acceptance. Currently, it seems that men and women are "Bronies," but women are also "Pegasisters." So, it works kinda like gender in Latin languages.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:19 AM on June 22, 2012


Five very distinct types, Stu. Not two, like you and Bernard Manning think.

OK, I had to google that one.

There are six types. Plus the CMC. And Spike
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:40 AM on June 22, 2012


People who hate it have a list of things that is wrong with the show, and people who love it have a list of what is awesome about it. And here is the thing: I think they are both wrong, but for the same reason.

What is right with the show: 98% of the characters are female. More than that: these female characters have independence and agency.

There are characters who are traditionally girly, and there are characters who are tomboys. There are characters who solve problems by looking up the answer in books, and characters who solve problems by being athletic. And there is no judgment given as to which of these qualities is better and/or more appropriately feminine.

I can think of no better message for young girls. And as a feminist female grown-up, this aspect of the show is like a balm for my brain.

One of the main characters is an athletic tomboy whose particular arena of athletic prowess is her physical strength. (As opposed to something more traditionally dainty and feminine, like ballet or gymnastics.) Also, she is a savvy businesswoman who harvests apples in order to sell apple-based products at a booth which she staffs herself. OH GOD SO GREAT.

As an artist, I also appreciate the fact that the show has incredible artwork, direction, and animation. It's a top-quality production, and they do it on a shoestring budget. This is a miraculous feat. It's the kind of thing that only happens because the people involved with creating the show truly love it, and love what they do.

What is wrong with the show: it's just so message-y. Every time an episode ends with a character saying "Dear Princess Celestia..." I hear Stan saying "You know, I learned something today..." and I cringe.

"What I learned today" is a convention of children's entertainment that South Park has been mocking for thirteen years. The fact that MLP:FiM embraces it in earnest is to me - a grown-ass adult - a complete deal-killer.

I'm halfway through the second season, and the "Dear Princess Celestia..." thing has already been dropped in a few episodes. I hope the show moves away from it entirely. Until then, I cannot call myself a fan, because it's so grating that it ruins the entire show for me.

How pony-haters and pony-lovers are alike in this respect: Neither group seems to be critiquing the actual show. Both groups are engaging with a version of the show that exists only in their minds.
posted by ErikaB at 12:57 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


a convention of children's entertainment

It's childrens entertainment. Sorry hipsters.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on June 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


ErikaB, while those are great things about the show, they're not why I—a middle-aged guy without kids—watch it. People can like the same thing for different reasons.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:15 PM on June 23, 2012


South Park isn't always mocking being preachy...it IS a preachy show a lot of the time.

Applejack: I'm sorry you had to see us being such poor sports, Princess.
Princess Celestia: *chuckles* That's all right, Applejack. Anypony can get swept up in the excitement of competition.
Twilight Sparkle: It's important to remember that the friendship is always more important than the competition.


1x2 - Weight Gain 4000
You see, I've learned something today. You can't win all the time. And if you don't win, you certainly can't hold it against the person who did, because that's the only way you ever really lose.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:57 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's just so message-y. Every time an episode ends with a character saying "Dear Princess Celestia..." I hear Stan saying "You know, I learned something today..." and I cringe.

Yeah, this is because of its rating in the first season. The second season has a different rating, and while it keeps to it somewhat, you can see the reins have been loosened a bit. (One episode, "The Super-Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000," makes fun of it: "I didn't learn nothin!")

furiousxgeorge is right, South Park can be just as preachy as anything else, sometimes even more so because it tells us, and seems somehow to believe, that it's not being so, and instead of saying directly what it thinks is good or bad it just assigns distasteful attributes or idiotic habits to thinks it doesn't like, like the whole Al Gore Man-Bear-Pig that makes me want to STRANGLE people when they spout it. Yeah, way to do future generations a favor there assholes.
posted by JHarris at 4:51 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Manbearpig is especially annoying since Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow aired a season earlier and was actually a decent satire of over the top global warming rhetoric.

OTOH, I do find Manbearpig amusing, but since I knew when it aired and knew now people would take it as a serious critcism it just pisses me off so much.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:03 PM on June 23, 2012


It's not like Al Gore, like most celebrities or public figures the show targets, isn't a legitimate source of fun in many ways. But the ManBearPig thing takes real harm that is being perpetrated on our world right now by powerful interests and will last for generations and gives it a stupid catchphrase that idiots will use to dismiss it without a second thought.

Anyway, back on the subject: Pinkie Pie is so best pony.
posted by JHarris at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Absolutely correct.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:15 PM on June 23, 2012


Brony should be an all-inclusive term the same way that female members of a co-ed fraternity are still brothers.
posted by maryr at 10:18 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a top-quality production, and they do it on a shoestring budget. This is a miraculous feat.

I'm sure the show creators would tell you, it's an easy feat! And magic makes it all complete!
posted by Gordafarin at 4:39 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




(Although a couple of them are questionable. It is, after all, the internet.)
posted by JHarris at 9:14 PM on June 24, 2012


The pony thread is still open! Here you go: a comic in which the ponies watch movies:

[...]"And the sky will fall and Tartarus will freeze over and and the sun that Your Highness raises every morn will burn out before we EVER indulge Pinkie Pie's bizarrely earnest love for Ed Wood." (Read the description below for the context for the 'villain song.') It deserves additional props for linking to TV Tropes' page for the (wholly fictional) Derring Do books.
posted by JHarris at 10:51 PM on June 27, 2012


(Er, Daring-Do.)
posted by JHarris at 10:53 PM on June 27, 2012




Ala Calvin and Hobbes: Twilight & Smarty Pants. Note perfect!
posted by JHarris at 12:19 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anyone's still reading this....

Some news just broke from ComicCon that there might be a duet between Fluttershy and Octavia in Season 3, which is rather interesting I think.

For those who don't know, Octavia is almost entirely a fan pony. She has appeared exactly twice in the show (she was the cellist at the Gala in Best Night Ever), with no lines either time. This seems like more than just a shout-out, and it could be great, but it's also possible they get the fan character wrong, or that they handle it in a tonedeaf (har har) way.

This has come up here before, when some user said, in response to Derpy, that it was never a good idea for the show to cater to the fanbase to that extent. I disagree with that, but I also recognize that there is a danger in using fan-made characters and concepts, not just because there might be some lurking inappropriateness (as in the case with Derpy), but also because they might not be true to the fandom's expectations. And there's even the possibility of them using too much fan content, and drowning out the mane main cast and the great stories that made the show what it is. And let's not forget about the possible legal issues involved.

This all produces a tendency to not rock the boat, and I don't think many people would object of the show remained what it is, with only the slight occasional nod to the huge amount of fan-made content. But there is also great potential here. The best example of this was Luna, who was greatly obsessed over before she showed up in season 2, and was even more obsessed over after.

I think there is great potential to essentially work with the fanbase on this one. A solution has to be found to the legal issues. I would suggest something along the lines of Creative Commons concerning the show's characters -- technically the fandom's use of the characters is copyright infringement, but Hasbro has turned a blind eye to it (which to my understanding has been traditional with the MLP characters from long before the current iteration, in cases like people making custom figures). They could explicitly legalize all that, but with the condition that they themselves are free to reference of fan works in the show. I'm not a lawyer, and that could certainly be seen by some in the community as Hasbro trying to profit off of the fandom and that could be damaging. I'm blueskying here, and I admit the idea requires some work, but I think most in the fandom love the show so much that they would be thrilled with the potential to have their stuff referenced in the show. Maybe in the cases of big crossovers Hasbro could write individual creators a check in exchange for use, although fan works cross-polinate so often that I'd expect that it's not always easy to tell where a given idea originated.

My fear here is that Hasbro will let the lawyers take control, maybe looking at things like the situation that arose around Dungeons & Dragons with the visionary (I'm sure they would say now too visionary) OGL, which since then they've come to regret, and err on the side of control to the detriment of the fanbase's fun. Hasbro could inadvertently clamp down on the pony fandom and severely damage it instantly if they're not careful.

Anyway, to surface from all the doom, I think the occasional appearance of a fan character, and an inhouse-derived consistent "bible" for those characters based on the fandom, could potentially go over really big if done with care. The Derpy situation was regretable, but ultimately understandable as no show had ever really done anything like it before, and it'd be a shame if the producers used that as an excuse to shy away from the fandom.

Well, that's my opinion. I'm sure some of you disagree with me. What say you?
posted by JHarris at 12:13 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hasbro is in a weird place right now where it has, mostly, turned a blind eye to all the fan content going around, but every once in a while they realize they 'have' to defend their IP and take some stuff down. So they're catering to and taking inspiration from the ideas of fans, and at the same time sending out takedowns of videos and plushies.

Of course creative and legal are two very different departments which probably have vastly different feelings regarding fan content (in the plushie example linked above, Jayson Thiessen even bought one of said plushies). If the Octavia rumor is true (and even if it isn't, other instances like Derpy's scene and the DJ PON3 toy), I think MLP is pretty unique in terms of fan influence on the show and merchandizing. Since the fanbase is so important to the show, one would think it's in Hasbro's best interests not to alienate them. Hasbo isn't as DMCA-happy as some other companies but they've still been happening.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:26 AM on July 15, 2012


Hasbro is in a weird place right now where it has, mostly, turned a blind eye to all the fan content going around, but every once in a while they realize they 'have' to defend their IP and take some stuff down.

I'm not sure where they "have" to "defend" their IP or not. I am not aware of copyrights being diluted by infringing uses, where someone is forced to prosecute in order just to retain the copyright. Trademarks are different, but isn't trademark law more concerned with something entering the public sphere, like when Xerox or Kleenex became generic words?

Unfortunately, as an episode of Bronyville made clear a few weeks back, bronies don't generally have a good grasp of the nuances of IP law. I have this lurking fear that it's going to end badly for the show or the fans. I am not aware off Hasbro being really all that enlightened a company when it comes to fan works when there's even a slight chance they could be losing a sliver of profit, regardless of good will or long-term brand health. When they published D&D 3E they did something awesome when they released it under the OGL, but that awesomeness seems to have left them with the feeling like they left a lot of money on a table somewhere because 4E's license is nowhere near as permissive. I hope they don't draw from that example in dealing with pony fandom.

There is a slim chance, I think, that this could be an eye-opener for folks concerning the sorry state of IP law in the US. Bronies are smart, committed, and extremely creative; you could wish for worse allies in the copyfight battle. Maybe pastel ponies could be a force for positive change where political parties have failed?
posted by JHarris at 6:00 AM on July 15, 2012


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