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Pineta


Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

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Sep
28th
2021

‘My Little Pony: A New Generation’ Analysis: Are the ponies getting political? · 5:53pm September 28th

Or is it just our politicians are behaving like cartoon villains?

I saw the New York Times article on my feed: ‘My Little Pony: A New Generation’ Review: The Ponies Get Political and decided I would bite that bait—after I had watched the film. The idea that it was political was intriguing. The promised theme—the quest to bring the three divided pony tribes back together—could be a metaphor for contemporary issues across our world. However, I would not have expected it to be labelled as political. We look to ponies to rise above politics and tell us that we should all be friends. It’s made to sell toys, which have a market that crosses political divisions. Getting political would seem to risk alienating some potential customers.

This was going to be interesting. I watched it with an eye out for political messages. And wow—there’s a lot to talk about. This post is just touching the surface.


If Sunny Starscout as a little filly wasn’t adorable enough, then Sunny as a roller-skating Pony Unity activist is out to win us over like Greta Thunberg. A simple clear message. Not afraid to stand up on her own with a home made sign. And a cute hair braid.

Peace with Pegasi. Unity with Unicorns. I love Sunny sticking :heart: stickers on street furniture. Has anyone else been there? Maybe better not report how many bylaws were violated. I still have a roll of ❤🇪🇺 Bollocks to Brexit stickers in a draw somewhere. Sigh.

I know just how you feel Sunny. You put your heart and soul, all your energy, and countless hours, into a campaign. You're driven on by the optimism that you can change things. Then it all falls apart and it feels like you haven't achieved anything at all.

Sunny has won my heart by now, but I was also touched by Zipp. A brilliant smart young mare, who yearns to spread her wings and soar, but finds herself stuck in an utterly ridiculous position in the dysfunctional pegasus royal family. Deeply frustrated but she keeps her cool. I was disappointed we didn’t get a chance to learn more about her and her interest in science.

Meanwhile I have questions about the Zephyr Heights constitution. Queen Haven is literally a puppet ruler, but we don’t really see who is pulling the strings. The speed with which she was arrested suggests the royal guard elite, or whoever controls the city state, had foreseen that she would be exposed some day, and had a plan to ditch her ready and waiting.

Earth ponies are kept in line by fear, and pegasi by distracting them with celebrity culture, technology, and public performances. And the unicorns? We don’t see much about Bridlewood politics. The dominant political philosophy seems to be apathy. They remind me of the old hippies you meet in left-wing groups who give the vague impression of having done something radical in 1968, but are now like—yeah, whatever.

Back to earth ponies. Our little demagogue, Sprout’s rise to power by pandering to prejudice and whipping up fear among the pony masses was not subtle. His bouffant blond mane, narcissism, incompetence, and willingness to raise a mob, did make me think of a certain ex-world leader. That was probably inevitable. Sprout takes inspiration from a range of an autocrats, culminating in an image that looks like something from Muammar Gaddafi’s wardrobe.

Finally, a brief look at Canterlogic. At first, this did seem a bit over the top. The largest company in Maretime Bay is based on a business model of selling dangerous and unnecessary kit to protect ponies against non-existent threats. Really? That’s as if the firearms industry were able to stoke fear of jihadist terrorists and exaggerate other threats to boost gun ownership in a country to the point that there were more guns in circulation than the total population. To be scared is to be prepared. The reports that Americans are more likely to be shot dead by a toddler than killed by a terrorist did come to mind when we reached the point where Sprout gets his hooves on the big guns.


So, have the ponies gotten political? There is a clear case to say yes. But imagine what we would have said if this film had come out ten years ago. Sunny’s activism would have been seen as a positive message for kids: stand up for what you believe; don’t judge people you don’t know; friendship and inclusion beat fear and distrust. Depooty-Sheriff-Emperor-Stallion-in-Chief Sprout would have just been a typical over-the-top cartoon villain.

In 2021 the world is a different place. Youth activism has risen. We are much more familiar with words like demagogue. Fascism is not just something from seventy years ago. Now this world of cartoon ponies looks a bit less fairy tale fantasy and a bit more like our own.

My verdict: Love it. 5 Stars. Great characters, story, animation. And in line with my political prejudices.

Comments ( 12 )

This is a nicely balanced analysis. With cute pics. :rainbowkiss:

The royals being literal puppet rulers with the wires gives me a huge tickle.

But imagine what we would have said if this film had come out ten years ago.

It would have been lumped in with most of Futurama as "things that aged well and we really wish they didn't".

I think you are right on the spot.

One interesting read I’ve seen is that unicorns falling back on superstition could be a family-friendly take on religious communities. Possibly ones where economics have marched on, but the locals lack the opportunities to adapt.

But yeah, if ponies are getting political, that’s more an indictment of politics.

Interesting points all around. I admit none of them occurred to me as I was watching the movie, but I blame that on being up in Canada and also not thinking politically when I watch kids media.

I'm glad you do though. It makes for good food for thought.:twilightsmile:

Honestly, if you want to think from a political standpoint, there’s certainly a few G4 episodes that relate to politics. And now that a recent story of mine has demonstrated in the comments section that advising people to not eat horse paste is a political statement, well.

I haven’t seen the movie yet (maybe soon, I hope), but even before I had any idea that Sprout was the villain I saw one pic of him in his military outfit and thought “it’s pony Gaddafi.”

5588718 Blaming Canada is good. I saw it on TV, so it must be so. :pinkiehappy:

5588824
But we can only blame Canada for G4. We must blame Ireland for G5.

Comment posted by iisaw deleted September 29th

I too thought that Sprout's outfit looked like Ghadaffi's and I loved the movie as well.

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