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Sprocket Doggingsworth


I write horse words.

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Sep
29th
2021

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony - Sunny's Activism · 9:37pm September 29th

REFLECTIONS ON SUNNY'S ACTIVISM
{CAUTION SPOILERS BELOW}

When I was younger, I used to think that speeches were what changed the world - that appeals to people's better (or worse) nature were ultimately what pushed the gears of history into motion. At the beginning of the film, Sunny Starscout thinks the same. After years of failed attempts, she finally succeeds in breaking into the Canterlogic Expo. The entirety of her plan? To give a speech.

A few automated robotic hijinks later, Sunny actually *has* everypony's attention. She tries her speech, but fails on the spot. She does not sway hearts or minds, (aside from a few moments of hope from some fillies in the audience).

In her moment of heartbreak and disappointment, Hitch asks, "did you think you could just get up there, say a few words, and everything would change?" And, frankly, he's right to criticize her naivete.

This film does an excellent job of illustrating to a younger generation what every successful activist already knows - that action is what changes the world. In order to embrace Sunny's ideas, earth ponies of Maretime Bay would have to unlearn their entire history, and change their entire way of life to accommodate this new way of thinking. Nopony embraces that kind of radical social change based on a mere intellectual construct.

The speeches that do move the world are successful because they galvanize folks around issues already affecting them.

Izzy Moonbow's arrival forces the issue. A. Real. Live. Unicorn.

This is not a drill.

Their society is not set up to casually embrace that. From the moment Izzy set hoof in Maretime Bay, the town was destined for drastic change.

Sunny had no real base of allies, or an existing movement to mobilize, so Sprout's speeches are successful in mobilizing the town in the opposite direction. His speeches play to ponies' existing fears, and radicalize their existing ideas about how the world works. It's all driven by the urgency that the "unicorn invasion" creates.

Elsewhere, the Mane 5 create a mixture of chaos, upheaval, panic, and hope wherever they go. Hatred and division appear to be foundational mythologies in every pony race. Sunny and Izzy are a destabilizing force. They make an ally out of Zipp because her existing discontent with the status quo, and her existing hope for pony unity.

What I'm getting at is: if your words are going to change the world, ponies, (like people), need to be ready to hear them. They need to offer a practical solution to an existing problem.

When cornered in Bridlewood, both the unicorns who live there, and the royal guard of Zephyr Heights, are willing to let Sunny try unifying the crystals. They may be skeptical, but you can still see the hope in everypony's eyes - even Alphabittle's.

Ponies want their magic back. They want change.

Ultimately, it's the destruction of Sunny's lighthouse that gives urgency to that change. It is basic, common decency that bring the races together, which is in and of itself a reaction to the horrors of Emperor Sprout's reign.

Sunny, who has suffered more loss than any of them because of this hate, has an ear now - ponies willing to listen not only to her words, but her ideas.

Her message of unity - of love - has tangible meaning to them now. A sort of real world urgency.

"It's up to us."

I think the lesson to be taken here - at least politically - is that every movement is a reaction to existing conditions. That the speeches that change the world are successful precisely because they address people's existing problems. To make the world a better place - to effectively challenge the status quo - you need to make your cause relevant, and you need to mobilize with real alternatives.

I have hope for the children who grow up with role models like Sunny and worlds like Equestria to foster their dreams for the future.

-Sprocket

If you enjoy essays like these, please consider supporting my work on Patreon. You can also follow Heart Full of Pony on Tumblr

Comments ( 14 )

I did really think it was remarkable how political the new movie was. Sure, it kind of simplifies racism (racism, after all, is not merely a cultural attitude, but a product of colonialism), but as "Baby's First Anti-Racism" messages in childrens' films go, it soared terrifically over the bar. We've talked about how it depicted fascist power being centered on existing corporate structures, and how it effectively works as a call for internationalism, friendship extending beyond borders and walls, and indeed helping to break them down. And, like you're saying here, i think it's interesting that they center action as the mechanism of change, as opposed to speechcraft. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the new series' grows in the fertile soil laid down by the film.

"out of Zipp because her existing"
"out of Zipp because of her existing"?

Thank you, as usual, for your thoughts. :)

And yes, at the beginning of the film, she's putting up stickers and making speeches and such... and this does absolutely nothing, it seems, other than make ponies think of her as a weirdo who lives out past the edge of town and who's probably harmless but you don't want to leave your foals alone with in case they get Ideas (I'm guessing). And why would we expect otherwise? She's never met, even seen in person, a unicorn or pegasus either; she's going against their entire established body of knowledge with little more than some foals' bedtime stories from her eccentric father. It's when they see unicorns and pegasi there, with her, working peacefully alongside her for common goals, and in her defence, even, that they start to think that maybe she was onto something after all, and then, once that seed is planted, her speech can water and nurture it.

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The speeches that do move the world are successful because they galvanize folks around issues already affecting them.

...

5593171
...I don't think I understand what you mean by linking the video, sorry.

5594274
They're calling me a communist.

I briefly considered responding, but decided not to feed the trolls. This line of thinking is just really really sad.

5594423

They're calling me a communist.

No, I wasn't. Just noting one should be careful what banner one marches under is all

5594274
Again, I was merely noting I wasn't labeling our good OP one way or the other. I don't know anything about them or their politics and frankly the shit show that is the current modern manner of discourse makes me want to fucking spit.

I should note that activism is a wonderful thing, and indeed ones civic duty, but one should be careful because the road to hell is paved with good intention, and such things have a habit of being co opted by our Glorious Overlords (see the Tea Party) or by people who simply want to watch the world burn and use it towards their own ends (BLM)

5594423
Thanks for the attempted explanation, though it does look like neither of us understood the intended meaning.

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And thank you for the explanation! Though, um, you might want to try to be clearer in the future, with this sort of thing? Sorry.

...I think Sprocket did already cover that, though, in the blog post? They specifically mention Sprout being able to rally the people of Maretime Bay to his banner, after all.

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And thank you for the explanation!

You're welcome:twilightsmile:

Though, um, you might want to try to be clearer in the future, with this sort of thing? Sorry.

Eh... probably.

...I think Sprocket did already cover that, though, in the blog post? They specifically mention Sprout being able to rally the people of Maretime Bay to his banner, after all.

Fair enough, but one must remember: unity in ire is no unity at all. Yes, its destructive (as in the case of Sunny), but eventually cooler heads prevail and the whole lot of them give that simpering spineless mama's colt the heave ho. Thats something the movie fails to address in my opinion: it never really addresses why things went bad. Or maybe it does and I missed it. Yes, we see the cultural divide there, but not the reason of it. Their cultural landmark seem to have no real rhyme or reason, and its made worse by the fact the three tribes seem to have existed in relative peace for centuries before the Sisters.

But never fear! Its a bird! Its a pegasus carriage! No, literally! And its carrying the Grand High Fuck All! Because racism works! Seriously, thats what Sunny's Ascension left me with. One could quibble its poorly earned, but my bigger issue is it seems these twits can't keep societal cohesion without a Ruling Class of genetic superiors:twilightoops:

But that was kind of my issue with the movie overall: I think it went a little to heavy with the lol random and overt desire not to upset kids. Yes, I know, kiddies first activist and all, but the subject should be held with a bit more severity. Zootopia did that... okay, I guess. Of course I would have liked it more if they went full tilt like they wanted

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"Fair enough, but one must remember: unity in ire is no unity at all. Yes, its destructive (as in the case of Sunny), but eventually cooler heads prevail and the whole lot of them give that simpering spineless mama's colt the heave ho."
I mean, I suppose that depends on how one defines "unity" here, and how long it needs to last, or how durable it needs to be, before it no longer counts.
(Also, I'm assuming that "as in the case of Sunny" either referred to her house being destroyed or was a typo with "Sprout" meant as the name instead. I don't recall Sunny ever using unity in ire in the film, herself.)

"Thats something the movie fails to address in my opinion: it never really addresses why things went bad."
...How is this connected to the topic of the previous line? I mean, I gather from later text that this sentence is actually talking about how the tribes were separated?

"Or maybe it does and I missed it."
If my understanding of what you're talking about here is correct, no, I believe that that is currently a mystery.

"Their cultural landmark seem to have no real rhyme or reason"
I have no idea what you mean by "Their cultural landmark", sorry.

...And we do seem to have taken different things from the movie. Um. Sorry, if you didn't enjoy it, or found it bad, or the like?

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I was talking about Sprout, yes.

...How is this connected to the topic of the previous line? I mean, I gather from later text that this sentence is actually talking about how the tribes were separated?

Yup

If my understanding of what you're talking about here is correct, no, I believe that that is currently a mystery.

Maybe they'll cover it more in the series overall

I have no idea what you mean by "Their cultural landmark", sorry.

Tribalism, societal segregation, pissing themselves in terrors because new Pinkie stuck her cute little muzzle out

...And we do seem to have taken different things from the movie. Um. Sorry, if you didn't enjoy it, or found it bad, or the like?

Ehhh... yes and no. When taken on its own merits, sure. But we have to also take into account its legacy. It was never going to be gen 4, which was lightning in a bottle, and to its credit its not trying to be.

Again it leans a little to heavy on the target demographic thing and comes a bit to close to the vapid girl shows of the past, you see. Gen 4 was built from the ground up, while geared towards girls in general, to be a show for them and their families. It had endearing characters, great storylines (in general, the Crusaders cutie marks sucked scab covered cooch through a bendy straw and horked up what it slurped down all over the series) and endearing morals. Lets face it, gen 5 will never top that,

But it doesn't have to. It can be a great show in its own right, but I'm not to sure it has much staying power is all I'm saying. And while I do find much of the nonsense around it exhausting, you can hardly blame folks for being a bit leary considering the willingness of others to destroy things like video games and comics for the sake of their own insecurities and the loathsome idea of it being fine so long as they can rule over the ashes.

Luckily we still have manga... but might I also dare suggest we return home to Pulp?

5595741
Thank you for the clarifications.

"Maybe they'll cover it more in the series overall"
I mean, there was only so much they could fit in the movie, after all, and it does seem a fairly obvious question. An important one, too, for people who'd like to know how to make it less likely the whatever-it-was will happen again any time soon.

And I'm glad you got at least some enjoyment from the movie. :)
As for G5's staying power, I'd say it's much too early to tell. After all, how much of G4's success could have been predicted from just the opening two-parter? So, yes, it could still end up being mediocre, or actively bad, even -- but I think, at least from what I've seen so far of it (I don't seem to have seen as much leaning on the target demographic in it as you did, or the bit-too-close approach to vapidity, among other things), things look relatively auspicious, at the very least still keeping predictions of the longer-term prospects in the realm of "Insufficient Data".

...Also, looking at the length of that video, I hope you don't mind if I don't watch all of it?
...Also, from the bit I did watch, um. "Hundreds-of-years-old Marxist critical theory" (transcribed manually, might not be exact quote)? But... [checks Wikipedia] Yeah, Marx wasn't born until 1818, and the video appears to be from 2021. So that's only hundreds of years if he came up with the theory before his third birthday or so. I mean, the person in the video could just be speaking particularly figuratively, but... well, I also don't care for the presentation style I've seen so far, in the first fifty seconds or so, so I'm quite disinclined to watch/listen to over half an hour of this, sorry.

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...Also, looking at the length of that video, I hope you don't mind if I don't watch all of it?

You should be more open to others ideas. But as you will

...Also, from the bit I did watch, um. "Hundreds-of-years-old Marxist critical theory" (transcribed manually, might not be exact quote)? But... [checks Wikipedia] Yeah, Marx wasn't born until 1818, and the video appears to be from 2021.

It was exaggeration, but the idea in Common Ownership that would be made into communism has been around for quite some time

I mean, the person in the video could just be speaking particularly figuratively, but... well, I also don't care for the presentation style I've seen so far, in the first fifty seconds or so, so I'm quite disinclined to watch/listen to over half an hour of this, sorry.

Fair enough.


But yeah, go check out Solomon Kane and The Shadow mate. You'll be glad you did. And do try to do so before the book burnings start to rid us of the of that most insidious evils.

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I mean, it wasn't the ideas that were the issue for me, there? I'm not saying it might not have ended up being them, admittedly, but at the time of the bit you're quoting there, I was just looking at the runtime. And I still don't know about the ideas; I am curious about them, but the presentation, again, ended up being pretty offputting to me, and I'm not, apparently, curious enough to watch it despite that. Thanks, though!

Well, right, but ideas behind Marxism are not themselves Marxist. I suppose ideas folded into Marxism might be debatable, though; perhaps it could be said they gained "Marxist" as an additional descriptor, alongside what they already had, but I'm skeptical of that line of thinking given that, well, if one were to say "Yes, people have been saying that breathing air is good for a while, but Al-Qaeda also said that breathing air was good, therefore we should remember that "breathing air is good" is an idea of violent terrorists", I don't think one would get much traction.
That said, though, it could certainly be argued that Marxism's roots stretch a ways back; I've in fact encountered a school of thought proposing that Marxism is basically a Christian heresy.

Yeah, I guess that sort of presentation appeals to some people, and others can just ignore it... but it annoys me too much. Not only do I not expect I'd have much in the way of fun continuing through the video, I expect the presentation would actively hurt my perception of whatever arguments they were trying to make.

The name "Solomon Kane" only very vaguely rings a bell for me, but if by "The Shadow" you mean the old superhero, aye, I've listen to and enjoyed some of the radio show, though not for a while.
Ah, and I have just wikied Solomon Kane; I'm not sure I'll look for more on him, but thanks.
Oh! Also, it occurs to me -- while I'm not sure, especially given how little of the video I got through -- that you might enjoy the works of Decoder Ring Theatre, particularly the Red Panda. I thought I'd at least link them so you could give them a look/listen. (I'm guessing that more famous and classic radio heroes you likely already have heard of, and from the sound of it may well know more than me.)

...And the video relates to the rest by... being about something like/in that style of heroism?

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