New Contributor @LDSomerville covers a lot of bases with this tangent laden diatribe on our collective childhood cultures and engaging them as adults.
By Leslie D. Somerville
Ride The Beat-Beat-Beat Like A Pony
Who hates friendship? No one does, unless you’re a cranky doodle donkey.
My little Pony Friendship is Magic is never misleading in its storytelling and has strong knowledge of its characters and the type of audience it would like to generate. The dialogue isn’t condescending, like so many other kid shows, and promotes logical yet sympathetic solutions, strong friendships, and concepts of basic human decency without preaching it to you.
Hence going to Bronycon was not one long anxiety-therapy session for people who do not get enough hugs. Though lots of dudes were wearing all black, no one was Indy-film-bizarre.
The concepts on majority of the costumes appeared strong, crafted with confidence and represented their knowledge of the show well. They also had classes on how to do it on a budget. The atmosphere was warm, not creepy warm.
During the course of the weekend each time I got close to the entrance of the convention center I would listen as the couples walked by discussing Bronycon, awkwardly, with every conversation concluding on what to judge. It appeared to be the tone used for most of their everyday candor; centered on one sort of judgment or another. Both parties were always confused and then silent. Everyone in the crowd passing by seemed to be reading from the same script.
A lot of people around the internet have been calling the bronies perverts. Screaming perversion without doing your homework is a poor argument when referencing a show that expresses decency as opposed to preaching it. Adults came with their children, and the children proved during the Q&A with Nicole Oliver (the magnificent Princess Celestia) and the rest of the voice panel that they are a competent bunch. They demonstrated this by asking questions articulately and with keen insight into the source material and how it pertains to reality. I see parents in public all day neglect their children and leave them vulnerable to get injured or snatched up all the time. I have watched parents drag their child through traffic, forcing the child to keep up with an adult pace on a busy highway. Bronycon is not a danger to children and no one is doing anything perverse or bizarre (bizarre is relative in any convention setting). Parents came and turned it into a family event by having the whole family dress up. Not one child appeared embarrassed or neglected and left to roam the convention center alone. The pony-swag tables did not feature sex toys.
Anyone is capable of perversion in a wide range of ways, some worse than others. Any venue can be a target. Assuming all individuals who enjoy a show that is sharp for kid’s television is assuming the worst in all the parents who enjoy the show with their child as well. That is an awful lot of non-fact based shame that is being doled out. Five or six years ago I worked at a corporate mega-store doing overnight shelve stocking. I first saw Pinkie Pie while I was stocking the toy aisle. She was slender, long necked and more articulate in shape; as opposed to the squat-dull plastic of the eighties. The brightness of the pink was alarming. I was offended for my childhood because in an instant it had been suddenly-sexualized, what next, He-Man is Magic Mike? Watching it six months ago I realized it was just flash animation and the toys had been styled in kind. I listened to the dialogue while vacuuming the living room. I am a sucker for a song and I was amused.
Are you not watching Game of Thrones as foreplay like I am sure many couples are? Who doesn’t want to admit they are interested in what’s going on? I know lots of gentlemen and ladies who would have never started watching that show and couldn’t really admit to their enjoyment until early season two. I don’t know, I could be wrong in this assumption for I only polled so many. What I do know is they better get those actors together in one town or something for at least one episode next season. Daenerys Targaryen’s free-the-slaves world tour is going on a little too long.
But we’re going to keep watching. You saw her naked, right? Dudes and chicks are going to go to conventions and dress up like these high fantasy characters and then praise one another for it while judging the non-murdeous ponies who also wield magic and armor triumphantly. They protect the Kingdom of Equestria from Dischord, Changelings, and those weak of heart who assume they can wield the power of friendship. All groups judge one another without often doing their homework and then hold onto that assumption as if they discovered the mystery to life. When judgments like that are seen as absolute then they can lead to unnecessary aversions to arbitrary genres because of preconceived notions.
Look, ponies are good. What do you want your kid to watch? Another poorly dubbed collectible card game anime?
There was only supposed to be one hundred and fifty Pokemon. A hundred and fifty!
The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Lab (before the bad animation), Teen Titans; I could go on. You could never say that you aren’t waiting to watch them on NetFlix or share them with your children. Hasbro stepped its game up, so don’t be ashamed to buy your kid a G.I. Joe (the rainbow coalition of road warriors). Don’t be ashamed that you saw Battleship in the theaters. Though I despise those last two transformers movie’s (think Spiderman 3), the current incarnation: Transformers Prime is apparently solid. You know you all cried a little when Optimus Prime died in the Transformers Movie (The real one with adventuring, eighties-leotard-rock and Weird Al. Not the one where Shia LeBouf is the savior of all human and Cybertronian kind. Then they beat Orson Wells with teamwork…and the touch).
You want to watch those kinds of shows and share them because you found them charming, fun and clever. So don’t be a dick because dudes want to get in a room and sing pony songs.
It’s not like it’s a brainwashing cult, though as I write this I did learn the new pony product is a collectible card game, but it does not defeat my previous statement because they cushioned the blow with other genuine products before lying about a set number of creatures and then changing it the minute they get writer’s block or need a summer home. Scallywags!