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Twilight floated a second fritter up to her mouth when she realized the first was gone. “What is in these things?” “Mostly love. Love ‘n about three sticks of butter.”

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Aug
29th
2018

An article by one of our own, and some thoughts on "what's wrong with those people." · 3:35am Aug 29th, 2018

Dubs Rewatcher wrote an interesting article for Polygon magazine about BronyCon ending and the series (potentially) being rebooted next year. It’s very well reported and fair, and I don’t say that just because I ended up quoted in it. :ajsmug:

Then I read the comments, which I don’t recommend, and there’s a lot about how there’s something wrong with those people… and I didn’t plan to mention it at all, I just frowned on rolled my eyes because internet people.

But as I was totally not imagining scathing replies that I’d never post, it reminded me of something I read a few days ago, and almost wrote a blog about. So, I went ahead and wrote about blog about it, which is below the cut.

The thing I read was a news article about a woman who was kicked out of a public park for breastfeeding her two-year-old, in a town where breastfeeding in public is totally legal. One of the commenters on the article generally agreed that it wasn’t right to kick her out, but started with something along the lines of “There’s something wrong with a two-year-old who’s still being breastfed, most kids that age are eating regular foods, but…”

Now, for those of you who might have missed the backstory, my daughter Trixie has a number of issues that contribute to some developmental delays, which can sometimes lead to immature behavior or not having appropriate skills for her age. So, without opening the whole neurodiversity can of worms, let’s say there’s something wrong with her. (If you’re on the neurodiversity train you can put “wrong” in quotes for this essay.)

So?

Sure, there’s something not-normal about her, and sometimes it leads to her, say, chewing on sand. In that case, what’s wrong with her is hyposensitivity (she craves interesting sensations in order to have normal levels of stimulation, and doesn’t notice weird tastes.) Eating sand is not what’s wrong with her, it’s actually her way of dealing with what’s wrong with her. It’s not something I encourage, I try to find other things to distract her or give her the sensations she needs, but getting her to not eat sand has zero effect on her hyposensitivity.  If there’s something wrong with her, it’s still going to be wrong with her whether she’s eating sand or not.

And if there’s something wrong with the two-year-old breastfeeding, or with his mother, it’s still going to be wrong if she doesn’t breastfeed him in the park. All that will do is make for a cranky two-year-old, or a family dealing with something (whatever it may be) who can’t enjoy the park.

If we look honestly at this, there are an awful lot of people in our fandom who have something wrong with them. Depression and autism spectrum top the list, with social anxiety probably up there if you combine diagnosed and undiagnosed. We’ve got people recovering from addictions, dealing with chronic illness, and probably a smattering of less popular neuroses and personality disorders. If there’s not something wrong with all of us, it’s fair to say there’s something wrong with a lot of us.

And so I conclude: SO?

While I’m sure we all appreciate the armchair diagnosis, when there is something wrong with us it is not that we watch or write or make art for My Little Pony. And it’s very unlikely that doing any of those things is contributing to it or making it worse; in many cases it’s helping us deal with whatever is wrong with us, providing a cheerful escape or supportive community that keeps the wrong at bay. In some cases, it’s even helping us to improve: demonstrating a different mindset for interacting with people and the world, or teaching us skills in our craft that we can be proud of and translate to other successes.

I say all of this not to cheerlead the fandom; I do love our fandom, but I suspect we’re all used to the way we’re sometimes viewed and it’s not really noteworthy.

But I want this to be a warning against kneejerk judgement against people who are being whatever you consider weird.

Maybe there is something wrong with those people, but before you feel the need to tell them, or the world at large, ask yourself: So, what if there is? Is their behavior hurting anyone? Could it be helping them? If your biggest problem with it is that you might be forced to consider or explain to your kids that some people do weird things, that is probably not the top priority for the person with something wrong with them.

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Comments ( 23 )

My response when people tell me I'm weird is to say "Thank you!"

It confuses the bejebers out of them.

The other way to take the old adage "nobody's perfect" is "everyone's got stuff wrong with them," to which I'd add "and that's okay!"

Well said!

I would like to add that this is one reason I hope the Pony fandom carries on after the show ends. It has helped countless people, and continues to do so. It was what inspired me to face, and eventually defeat, my anger problem. My problem was solvable, but others are not so lucky. What becomes of them if all this goes away?

I've lately asked the question, what if we were more like the Furry fandom, and kept ourselves going based on our own creations? To answer my own question, we could keep the ride going for a very long time.

I found MLP (or rather, a good friend of mine shoved it in my face until I watched it) when I was in a really bad place for a long time. Minor organ failure on my part, got it mostly sorted now, but I was really depressed to the point of being nearly catatonic on the worst days. Ponies, and some damned patient friends, are why I'm still alive.

4927598
I've long that that we, as a fandom, are at least partially self-perpetuating. Things crank up when new episodes air, but we also spin off entire genres and worlds unto ourselves, which spin off art and music, and so on and so forth. It'll slow down eventually, obviously, but I think we'll be fine for a while yet.

The question is always "What's wrong with these people, that they watch a kid's show?"

And hardly ever "What's different about this show, that adults are watching it?"

This is a really clever analogy. I'm going to have to remember it.

4927598

I've lately asked the question, what if we were more like the Furry fandom, and kept ourselves going based on our own creations? To answer my own question, we could keep the ride going for a very long time.

The brony fandom is ultimately to a large extent a subset of the furry fandom. I suppose one could argue that there's a certain aesthetic, and we've seen that invoked in a few other things (Them's Fightin Herds), but the furry fandom has the advantage that it is quite broad in scope and no one actually owns furries, while My Little Ponies belong to Hasbro.

Not that that has ever stopped the Trekkies, who still exist, possibly because of the fact that that show not only has a certain aesthetic, but a certain sort of idealism to it, that perhaps My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic could be said to have as well.

We can always create more content, but without the show feeding us, we may gradually lose people as more people leave than enter, until we reach some point at which the fan materials suck in as many people as who leave.

Huh. I hadn't really considered "something being wrong with someone" from that angle before. Thanks.

As an aside, the WHO recommends breast feeding for two years, if possible, or a little longer, alongside solid food.

Weird is thinking natural human behaviours are weird.

4927692
Much - by no means all, but much - of the business of psychiatry over the 20th century has consisted of spreading propaganda about how natural human behaviors are weird (or inefficient, or disharmonious) and need to be trained and/or medicated out of ever-growing broad swathes of people. We live in the shadow of that history, long after the above pathologizing ideology has become part of the ruling ideology.

4927653
It's very nice to think of the MLP fandom as potentially latter day Trekkies. Now there's a fandom that thrived in the wilderness beyond all expectation.

4927740
It's also exceptionally optimistic. There are any number of products that can provide people with what they liked about FiM (which to a great degree begins and ends with "a well-made and not child-exclusive cartoon"); Star Trek was inimitable in its time, in large part due to the very different TV production landscape.

4927824
I'm not sure I agree with that. As TD noted, MLP shares with Star Trek a strain of optimistic humanism that seems rare in mass media, and when it comes along in a reasonably well produced work it does tend to attract a passionate following.

(That is, many shows ask "can't we all just get along?" but shows like MLP and Star Trek say "Yes, we can.")

Of the good kids shows and movies suitable for adults, and there are a number I've heard good things about, Steven Universe is the only one during the run of MLP that seems to be harnessing something similar.

Ostracism has been a part of social structures since before there were humans. Deliniating who is "us" and who is "them" is written into our genes.

(Which is not to say that we shouldn't strive to rise above unexamined servitude to our instinctive natures.)

Comment posted by TheJediMasterEd deleted Aug 30th, 2018

4928084

Self-care is not a substitute for therapy, and can make the condition worse if you don't get professional help.

Which has long been an issue for pedophiles, with the stigmatization so great that it makes studying the situation, let alone treating it, nearly impossible. Obviously it should be stigmatized, possibly as much as people can muster, but professionals across the board seem to agree that this is shooting ourselves in the foot.

...I'm not a professional, nor a lawmaker, and neither is anyone I know here, so there's not much I can do.

And even if like your horse-sex to involve only consenting, adult magical talking ponies--isn't the whole idea of sexualizing kids' cartoon characters a little creepy?

I'm honestly not sure. People certainly say it is, but there are an awful lot of Furries, and people looking at adult Sailor Moon and Pokemon art, and Sexy <Red Riding Hood/Alice/Transformers> Halloween coustumes, so one starts to get the feeling that this is something like BDSM, that people find creepy because they know they're supposed to find it creepy while turning their heads to see the back of that college girl cosplaying as Misty from Pokemon in hot pants.

And most people, let's face it, do not want to spend their free time around sick people. They will care for them in a medical setting, whether as professionals or volunteers, and put up with them in a work environment, and most will do the duty of sitting by a dying family member's bedside. But not everybody can be Mother Theresa (there is now some debate over whether even she was all she was cracked up to be).

So let's take this to its logical conclusion: should my Trixie, a 4-year-old girl who is, by your description, unwell, be someone who should avoid MLP? I mean, we can't expect the other children to be Mother Teresa and be forced to be around her...

That... doesn't seem in the spirit of the show we're watching, does it?

Comment posted by TheJediMasterEd deleted Aug 30th, 2018

4928146
No, but in discussing people who use the show in therapy, you're discussing her as well. What is the difference between "adults want to avoid other adults who are unwell" and "children want to avoid other children who are unwell?"

Comment posted by TheJediMasterEd deleted Aug 30th, 2018

4928153
Dude, you're getting pretty worked up over nothing. I'm not accusing you of hating my daughter either way.

First, I literally used my daughter as an example in the post you're responding to. It's part of my original argument that yes, children and adults who have something "wrong" with them act strangly, and that is no one's business if the only problem with it is that "it looks like there's something wrong with them."

What I'm accusing you of is romanticizing disability (and humanity) in children while being cynical about it in adults (who have probably been more annoying to you personally.) You'd be the first person to insist that a show that was helping children with disabilities was wonderful, and if normal children also loved it they should share it with disabled kids. But when it's adults with the exact same problems... well, who wants to be around them?

If you have a reason for that, cool. If you have no reason for that, but it's how you feel, well, cool but there's a hole there. If you think other kids should be encouraged (or expected) to treat my kid that way (which I assume you don't) then we have a problem.

4928139
I find pornography that involves actual people creepy. Like, actual pornography with actual human beings seems creepy to me.

I find furry porn (and other forms of artistic pornography) a lot less creepy because it doesn't involve actual people showing their bodies for cash. It's all make-believe. Someone lusting after Twilight Sparkle or Gadget Hacketwrench or Haruhi Suzimiya is harmless, because they don't exist. But I feel a little uncomfortable when people lust after porn stars or look at porn of actual humans.

I had a friend back in high school who believed that all sex work was intrinsically rapey due to the economic factors involved, and I have to admit that I myself find most of it to be inherently creepy.

People have a broad diversity of opinions about what people find creepy, and I think it depends on their internal conceptualization of it. Someone who sees cartoons = children will see furry porn and MLP porn as creepy. Someone who sees children's cartoon = only for children will see porn of such characters as creepy but will see pornography of anime characters as more normal. Someone who sees cartoons = fictional characters probably won't find it creepy, but may see it as odd.

It's very easy to assume that your particular point of view on such things is the point of view, which I suspect is the source of about three quarters of the conflict about such things, as people assume that their conceptualization of it is the same that others have, and therefore, those people must be creepy deviants.

Quoted twice, as you wrote one of the Hoof Of Argon fics :ajsmug:

I'm judgemental, just in different ways. I find it weird when grown-up men with kids of their own spend hours in front of the TV watching men half their age play football.

'Course, I don't say that, because they're still my friends and family. :twilightsmile:

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