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A quick edit to Lateral Movement · 4:11pm Aug 13th, 2017

So while I was watching "Fame and Misfortune," – the most recent episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as of the time of this writing – I noticed that one of the minor characters was a reporter from Canterlot. More specifically, he said that he was a reporter for the "Canterlot Chronicle."

As those of you who follow Lateral Movement know, the character of Nosey Newsy is meant to be a reporter for Canterlot's major (and, it's implied, only) newspaper. However, I named it the Canterlot Crier.

Now, I'll readily admit to not being sure if the name "Canterlot Chronicle" was ever used in the show up until now (my suspicion is that it was, and I just didn't remember). Moreover, this is a relatively small discontinuity between my fic and the show, particularly compared to everything else that's happened before and during the events of Lateral Movement. As such, this might seem like a minor thing, and in fact it is. But given that this story is meant to be set in the Equestria of the show prior to the events of David Silver's A Dangerous Sparkle, preexisting things like the name of extant businesses should be the same as they are in the show. Hence, I've elected to go back through and change all instances of "Canterlot Crier" to "Canterlot Chronicle." As of now, the changes should be total, but if anyone finds a remaining use of "Crier" instead of "Chronicle," please let me know so I can edit it.

This isn't the first time I've gone back through and made changes to some part of Lateral Movement (specifically, the secretary to Tall Tale's mayor was briefly named "Loosey Goosey" before I changed that to "Lucy Goosey"), and I suspect it won't be the last. Hopefully, each change makes it a little more enjoyable for you to read. :twilightsmile:

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Comments ( 19 )

Is it really likely that Canterlot has but one newspaper? It is the capital, after all - a lot of news-worthy stuff must happen there.

5331020 I took two things into consideration, there. The first was that I wanted to use the source material as my guide, and insofar as I could find it only ever mentioned a single newspaper in Canterlot. Since I prefer to take affirmative evidence (i.e. a declaration that something is a certain way) over a lack of negative evidence (i.e. a lack of a declaration that something isn't a certain way), I found it to be more compelling to presume that there was only a single Canterlot newspaper that we'd heard of, rather than presuming that there were other Canterlot newspapers that were never seen, mentioned, heard from, etc.

The other consideration was that I'm hesitant to presume that Canterlot (or any other pony town) is necessarily very large, which is the premise underlying the "there simply must be X" assertions. Frankly, while there's some degree of "cartoonism" going on there, the series is somewhat notable for how small a lot of the settlements appear to be. Just look at The Crystal Empire; it's not exactly a little hamlet, but I'm not sure I'd call that any sort of "big city" either.

A fair point - I prefer to read between the lines myself, but there is something to be said for leaning on sources whenever possible. Still, I do think that Canterlot's significance is likely disproportionate to it's size, anyway, which would likely affect the newspaper market..

5331218 The problem, for me I mean, is that "reading between the lines" becomes "making stuff up" too often, which I find counterproductive when trying to understand and interpret canon (which is itself something that is far too often intuited rather than rationally examined, that I've seen).

As for Canterlot's significance, well...that's debatable, if for no other reason than it presumes a greater sociopolitical breakdown of pony society than we have the data to measure with any usefulness, at least if "significance" is presumed to relate to proximity to the alicorn princesses. Even then, most of what we see is them engaging in head of state duties (notwithstanding moving the sun and moon) more than actual governance, i.e. the "Royal Swanifying," from Between Dark and Dawn (season nine, episode thirteen).

Now, exceptions exist, such as receiving foreign dignitaries (shown in Magic Duel, season three, episode five, and Twilight's Kingdom - Part 1, season four, episode twenty-five; I suppose you could add in Luna's protecting ponies from nightmares here, but the show was silent on how everypony seemed to get along just fine without her doing that for a thousand years), but these seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Given how we're also never shown much in the way of civil infrastructure, it's hard to postulate that there'd be any "significance" to being in the same city as the Royal Sisters beyond social status, rather than access to people who actually have an impact on how Equestrian society functions, and "social status" is basically just another term for "popularity."


The problem, for me I mean, is that "reading between the lines" becomes "making stuff up" too often, which I find counterproductive when trying to understand and interpret canon (which is itself something that is far too often intuited rather than rationally examined, that I've seen).

Certainly, scholars aren't supposed to make things up. But writers are not scholars, or not only such - we are creators. "Making stuff up" is a fundamental part of the job.

And if one is too reticent to make stuff up, then it can be quite difficult to make actual use outside of the setting beyond what the show does. Heck, even the show does it, when it's focus changes - before Season 8 required it, would you not have considered the idea that Equestrian schools are certified by a central body rather lacking in evidence?

5331283 Making stuff up is certainly a part of the job when writing fanfiction, to be sure. But insofar as determining the underlying assumptions that are drawn upon - the foundation upon which that fanfiction is built, in other words - I find it helpful to determine what's canon, if for no other reason than to establish a set of commonalities that can be taken as a given barring some sort of declaration that (some of) those assumptions aren't being used, e.g. an "alternate universe" tag.

If there was a better understanding of what canon was and how it's interpreted, for instance, I don't think so many people would have been so upset at the series finale's implication that Twilight would outlive her friends, because everyone would have known that Meghan McCarthy's tweet should never have been taken seriously to begin with since it was just a tweet, regardless of her status on the show staff (even Lauren Faust had some of her ideas overruled during her time on the show's staff).

I'm not suggesting that fanfiction can't introduce new concepts (heck, I've done it in my story here). I'm just saying that I prefer to figure out where the dividing line between canon and fanfiction lies as clearly as possible...though there are certainly instances where it's not possible due to how less-than-seriously the source material takes itself.

Oh yes, clarifying canon is best, even if only for being able to knowingly ignore it. Or, more relevantly, to be able to see the gaps where things can fit, and perhaps even the shadows of things implied there.

And I doubt canon understanding would have helped much in that matter, because canon itself offered no real answer - the tweet just delayed the argument a bit.

5331294 The show itself is relatively (not completely, but mostly) silent on the issue of how long alicorns live, certainly. The problem was that a lot of people took McCarthy's tweet to be ironclad to the point of being canon itself, when a rigorous examination of what constitutes being canon would have made it clear that was never the case, avoiding a lot of pointless drama.

Avoiding or causing? The point of the tweet was to pacify those who opposed Twilight becoming an immortal alicorn - those of us who liked the idea just ignored it.

5331304 Except that came back to bite the fandom when the series finale nodded its head in the opposite direction. If people hadn't taken McCarthy's tweet to be canon, the sense of outraged betrayal that swept through the fandom then wouldn't have happened, since people who thought otherwise wouldn't have believed that their perception was validated.

The storm would have come either way if they ever went with that (which they did) - the tweet just delayed it several years.

5331320 I think it made it worse, though, since it fed an interpretation that was later (very mildly) implied to be wrong. People wouldn't have been as upset as they were if they hadn't felt betrayed, and they wouldn't have felt betrayed if they'd known not to take that tweet so seriously to begin with, which a rigorous interrogation of how canon is formed would have done.

Possibly, but I think people were pretty darn upset at the mere possibility of it at the time.

And I'm really not sure that FIM canon stands up to any real rigorous examination - and that's if you can even figure out what's canon to begin with.

5331331 "At the time" being the end of season three, they absolutely were. But McCarthy's tweet, as conciliatory as she meant it to be, ended up backfiring in the long run.

Now, I'm of the opinion that the methods by which one can interrogate canon are fairly universal; they're mostly just applications of inductive and abductive reasoning, which means accepting that the answer will quite often not be certain, but rather that certain ideas will simply be more plausible than others, with no ironclad answer. Even then, there will still be a lot of issues that are simply not reconcilable; as you noted, the show has a lot of things where the canon simply can't be determined, because of how MLP blithely contradicts itself. That's not really something that can be resolved (and positing elaborate workarounds that create massive new materials to explain away the contradictions are instances of the proverbial cure being worse than the disease, since that leads to more stuff being made up...that's great for fanfiction, but not so great for trying to understand the source material as it is rather than how we'd like it to be).

But is there any especial d=significance to "how it is" beyond providing a common base for discussion? Equestria isn't a real place which can be studied via any discipline of the sciences or humanities. Analysing it can be fun, but expecting people to choose the "facts" you prove over their preferred interpretation is IMO kind of losing sight of the point of entertainment media. Flexibility is a plus, as long as you don't go in expecting all the answers given to you.

5331338 The significance is that greater understanding of the things we like allows us to enjoy them more, and that shared understanding between fans likewise deepens their mutual enjoyment of said media. Likewise, if we presume that "internal logic" is an aspect of a setting (along with "self-consistency") then you can interrogate that via our understanding of what "logic" is, even if the setting rejects physical principles of the real world.

Now, that's absolutely taking it further than a lot of fans do, and it's certainly not necessary to enjoy any entertainment media. It's just something that some people do when they like a show enough that they want to enjoy it beyond the twenty-three minutes of entertainment per week that it otherwise provides.

Sometimes, but other times we can enjoy it more when we substitute out preferred interpretation of events for the "actual" one.

And interrogating internal logic requires consitency.

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