I am a skeptic in every sense of the word. Not just in the traditional sense, scientific skepticism, but in the sense of simply not trusting people at their word, no matter what the context.
Of course that kind of worldview is not easy to maintain. After all, it takes a lot of work to fact check every word said by every politician and public figure. So often, you might not have a choice. You might not have time to run detailed research into, for example, the Bengazi incident, when several american diplomats were killed. You might not have time to look into the death of Aaron Swartz, and find out if the Justice Department pushed him to suicide. So it’s easier to take people at their word.
But sometimes, finding the truth is not that hard. All it requires is two minutes of thinking to get to something close to the truth.
For instance, take the statements made by Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, just last year. Anyone with half a brain knows what he was saying makes absolutely no sense. How could the human body identify the type of situation it finds itself in? And even if it could, why would the human race evolve a method to stop the passing on of our genes? It would be a good thing for the woman, but not humanity at large, and that’s what evolution prefers to benefit.
Then we have another issue: Women in the military. Specifically, front-line combat positions. The counter argument to this is that it damages unit cohesion, or that woman cannot possibly carry their comrades off the battlefield like men can. Think about this for ten seconds and you’ll see how ridiculous this is. First of all, damages unit cohesion? That men and women cannot get along and be just friends? At some point they’re going to have sex? That’s asinine. I’ll tell you this much, some of my best friends have vaginas, and I never banged any of them. It never seemed needed. And as for physical strength, I can tell you from personal experience that’s bullshit. My prom date back in high school was a giant. She would have no problem carrying her comrades off the battlefield, let me tell you.
See, with a bit of thinking, you can arrive at the truth pretty quickly. And it’s this technique that got me to an unsettling realization when the latest news on My Little Pony dropped earlier this week.
You see, it appears that in this season’s final episode Twilight Sparkle will grow wings get coronated as a Princess. And it didn’t take me long to realize that this could be very… very… very racist.
Wow, such an accusation, isn’t it? Accusing someone of racism in this day and age? Or more specifically, accusing a multinational company of racism in this day and age? Ho boy.
Well, I think I should clarify, I don’t think it’s intentional or malicious. In fact, it’s likely, they didn’t see things this way.
What way? You may ask. Well, allow be to start from the top.
Back when the show first premiered, there was a bit of backlash. Specifically from one particular ‘feminist’ who never actually saw the show. One of the criticisms she levelled at the show was a lack of black characters. But considering the cast is composed of purple, yellow, blue, pink, and orange ponies, the argument made absolutely no sense. Thankfully, Lauren Faust, the show’s creator, crystallized this in a rebuttal, where she said, “The only races in My Little Pony are Earth Pony, Pegasus and Unicorn, and they are all treated equally, ruled by a leader who embodies the traits of all three.”
Which is interesting. You see, for humans, we can easily differentiate between the races by the colour of our skin. Of course this is not 100% reliable. After all, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at current US President Barack Obama that he’s half-white. People often state he’s the first black President. Well, they’re half right. But none of that matters, because with humans, the differences between the races are superficial at best.
However, in My Little Pony, races are differentiated by whether they have horns or wings. Though the labelling here is a bit more practical since there is an appreciable difference between them. The pegasi can fly and manipulate clouds and weather patterns, unicorns have finite control over magical forces, and earth ponies… um… they’re really good at growing things. But none have a substantial advantage over the others, for the most part. There’s balance here.
Yep! This is the world of Equestria. There’s really no problem with this set up. True this is also a world where racial discrimination exists, but it’s mostly out of necessity. Earth ponies aren’t hired on the weather team, not because the manager dosen’t think an earth pony can do the job, but because he knows they are physically incapable of flight!
But in spite of the obvious physical differences between them, they still live in harmony. However, humanity can’t, even though there are no real differences.
It feels like a true utopia.
Which is why the latest news shocked me.
I’ll bet you’re still confused. Allow me to take you through this step by step.
Twilight Sparkle is a unicorn, and during this episode she will “ascend to princess-hood.” But, as a part of this, she will also grow wings. Which, in the My Little Pony universe, means she will change her race to alicorn.
Now, why does this happen, exactly? I don’t mean, ‘why does she become a princess?’ That’s irrelevant. I mean, why does she have to grow wings to become a princess?
Apparently, she has to do it, because only alicorns can be princesses. The office is restricted to one race, and I don’t see why.
There is another issue. That one can ‘ascend’ to this race, if they’re worthy enough, like Twilight Sparkle.
…You know, I don’t know what to say. I just don’t know what to say.
Some may wonder how this is a problem, why this is a big deal. Well it just so happens, this idea is not original. The idea was also shared by a particular religious group, until they abandoned that teaching several years back, because it angered too many people. You see the Mormons honestly believed that a black man could, if they were deemed worthy by god, turn white.
I may be reaching here. But I honestly can’t find a hole in this. It’s airtight, and that saddens me.
I did get one rebuttal. Someone pointed out that alicorns aren’t considered a race. I asked him to explain how, and he didn’t really give an answer. Just referred me to the first episode, where Celestia and Luna are referred to as unicorns. But I don’t really think that flies. Since I’m willing to bet the only reason they weren’t called alicorns, was because no one it the primary demographic would understand what that word meant. But they do know what a unicorn is. It’s to simplify it for the masses.
Actually I kinda hate that word: Alicorn. I’ve actually tried to avoid using it in the past. It was never used on the show until Magic Duel, and the word normally refers to the material unicorn horns are made of. But the show’s staff use it, and many of the fans use it, and I’m lazy so I guess I’ll use it now too.
So, yes, Twilight ‘ascending’ to the race of alicorns sends a really bad message.
Some have argued that this is something Twilight deserves. Really? She ‘deserves’ to be told that as a unicorn, she’s not good enough to be a princess? She has to grow some wings, then it’ll happen!? Yeah, I’m gonna call bullshit on that. If anything, she should be offended. I think she’s fine as she is. She doesn’t need to be transformed into an alicorn.
The episode itself is apparently going to involve alternate timelines or something. A spell goes wrong, messing with everyone’s destinies and cutie marks, and Twilight needs to write a new spell to fix it. I don’t see what turning into a princess has to do with that. But whatever, I’m sure the writers know where they’re going with this.
I do have a few theories. Perhaps the reason she changes races is because the spell not only messes with their cutie marks, but their races as well. After all, in the cases of Twilight, Rainbow, and Applejack, their special talent is inherently linked with their race. So if Applejack gains Rainbow’s mark, she’d have to become a pegasus, because her talent is flying now, and she can’t do that without wings.
So in the process, Twilight switches cutie marks with an alicorn. Possibly Cadance or Celestia, and switches races as well.
I think I like it. That could work. One hole in that theory: On the image, we clearly see Twilight’s original cutie mark emblazoned on her regalia. So unfortunately, that’s unlikely.
Now, some have suggested that this is going to be a temporary thing, and by the end of the episode, she’ll be back to being a regular old unicorn. Doesn’t change the fact that suddenly, we learn that one is expected to change races, if they want to be good enough to sit on the throne.
There are a few more ways this could go without making me sick.
Twilight doesn’t change races. It’s a ruse. Applejack makes fake wings, since she now has Rarity’s talent, and Twilight uses them to pose as a visiting dignitary to fool the new ruler of Equestria who doesn’t actually know who she is. Using this, she’s able to get into a top-secret area of the castle library, and is able to get some crucial information she can use to build the repair spell.
But knowing Hasbro, that won’t be good enough.
That’s another thing about this whole concept. It’s not envisioned by the creative team. It’s envisioned by the executives at Hasbro’s head office. They want to sell Princess Twilight toys and are demanding she make the same transition on the show.
Can’t be too upset about this, since the entire show was built to sell toys. But I think they’re going a bit out-of-control here.
In the past, these guys have also demanded that the cast, including extras, be 90% female, which implies that polygamy is prevalent, or there are a lot of lonely girls out there.
They also wanted Celestia to be a Princess, which isn’t really that crazy, it just means Equestria isn’t a kingdom, it’s a principality… a large principality.
There was also the wedding, which gave us hints of nepotism as Twilight’s brother marries a princess. In was actually part of the reason I came up with the character of Moonlight Sonata. He’s Twilight’s younger brother, who’s not personally involved with the royal family in any way. Just to try to balance things. He’s also a struggling filmmaker. So he doesn’t get everything handed to him on a silver platter.
There are a few more ways this could go well. They could say it’s just a dream, which would outrage a lot of people, regardless of what the dream’s about. Unless said dream involves Luna using her Dom Cobb powers to teach Twilight a crucial friendship lesson.
Next, they could have the two events be completely unrelated. Twilight happens to grow wings, in some type of fluke. Twilight explains things like this don’t normally happen. It’s part of the spell going awry, but she remains otherwise unaffected. Then she get’s coronated because… why not?
Finally, she doesn’t change races, she just returns to her original race. She was always an alicorn, but her wings were hidden to protect her from somepony who was trying to kill her. However this particular idea would actually end up being a blatant rip-off of The Empty Room by Wanderer D. So it’s unlikely they’d use anything like that.
But I don’t think that’s where they’re going with this. In the end, time will tell, and the episode will air, and we’ll finally get a taste of what they’re planning. But it doesn’t smell good.
I’m sure the episode will be well written and fun and all that. After all, we have M.A. Larson at the helm, and he has a good history on this show. But that does not mean things’ll go well. There’s only so much polish you can give to a turd.
In fact, there is some precedence for a drastic executive move, like this, destroying a brand, despite the best efforts of an extremely talented writing team.
I’ve never seen Homicide: Life on the Street. But according to my sources, certain decisions made by the executives at NBC, ended up turning the show to shit, and in turn, caused it’s inevitable cancellation. The very talented writing staff tried their hardest to work with what they had, but there was only so much they could do.
It’s funny. All the decisions that have been made by the Hasbro executive. They just happen to be related to the plot points I find the most irritating, and slowly but surely, they’re making me want to stop.
Stop watching, stop buying, stop reading, stop writing. Just stop. It’s getting harder and harder to make the show worth it. It’s getting harder and harder for me to love it. And I don’t want that to happen.
Let’s forget about the racial implications for a second. This Coronation, turning Twilight into a Princess. It’s could mess up the show.
This has nothing to do with change. I like change. I’m glad they’re messing with the characters, and the show’s structure. It can be fun. But making her a princess… It’s a bad idea.
First of all, the show is about friendship, and this rag-tag group of six close-nit friends. Of course they’ll stay friends. Why would that change? But here’s a question: Did you ever have a friend who was much more successful than you? Not for anything in particular. Perhaps their job. They made much more money than you. Or a classmate who was a better drawer or singer than you, or got better grades. They may not have lorded it over you, but to a certain extent, you know… they know… You two are not equals. But you act like it.
Twilight is going to become a princess. This isn’t some arbitrary measurement of wealth or success. She’s a princess, she’s running the country! Or probably just a state. Is she an equal with her friends anymore?
The show’s characters were always pretty balanced. They were all equals. If you had to pick a main character, you’d probably pick Twilight, since she was the one who always wrote to Celestia. But that changed, for the most part, in the second season, and I think for the better. Now, with Twilight being the super alpha of the group, again. It sorta messes things up a bit.
Of course, on the flip-side, there is an opportunity here. Perhaps Twilight can learn in the season four premiere that being a princess doesn’t make her any better than anypony else. And her friends can learn to not treat her any differently because of it.
Then, we have yet another issue. Twilight is going to be a part of the running of a country. Do you really want someone who’s emotionally unstable to have such a role?
Yes, I’m going there. Remember in season two, she ended up causing the entire town of Ponyville to start fighting each other over a doll, all because she thought she would be late for an single assignment, and that was enough to cause a complete mental break. Is this really someone you want in higher office?
I know some might say that perhaps her position as princess will be symbolic, and she won’t have an actual office, she won’t be running anything. Bullshit, for two reasons.
First of all, this is not a constitutional monarchy. This is a real monarchy where royalty actually has power. Well… okay, it’s a diarchy, but whatever.
Also, she’s being Coronated. Coronations are reserved for royalty ascending to an official role, like ruler of the entire land. Not just some leech standing off to the side.
If Celestia decides to give her an official role within the palace, I’m afraid we’ll have to start questioning the Princess’ judgement.
Of course, some will say I should just relax, that I’m making too much of a big deal out of this. Well, I’m sorry I actually care about this show, that I don’t want it to fall apart. My bad. Since Awake and House were cancelled, I don’t have much to work with here! The fact that I’m passionate about the series, and that I want it to be great… Well… I don’t think that makes me a bad person.
It’s easy to just trust in the writers, but that’s not what’s at issue here. They can only work with what they have, and what they have, might be prone to failure.
It is true that ‘you can make a good movie [or TV show] out of anything.’ – MovieBob. But it doesn’t mean everyone will like it.
The truth is, it was almost two years ago, that I fell in love with My Little Pony, starring Twilight Sparkle and her rag tag group of friends. Will I feel the same way about My Little Pony starring Princess Twilight and her loyal subjects? I don’t know. I’m not a fan of royalty, so they’ve already shot themselves in the foot.
Not that I have anything against the Queen, but she doesn’t really do anything does she?
This is a drastic change for the series, and it could end in failure, and even backfire drastically. Heck, it wouldn’t be the first time that happened.
I’ll admit the death of Optimus Prime was a bit before my time. But for those of you who don’t know, in 1986 Optimus Prime was killed off during the events of The Transformers: The Movie, (no, not that one) so Hasbro could make room for the new character, Rodimus Prime, on the toy shelves. But the kids hated that. They loved Optimus, not this new cunt. Many angry letters were sent, and eventually, they brought him back from the dead.
Hasbro wants to kill Twilight Sparkle and replace her with Princess Twilight, and I’m sorry, I’m not sure I want to drink that Kool-aid. I don’t think that makes me a bad fan, I think that makes me a good one. Or at least one with a spine.
The thing is, I’m willing to bet My Little Pony’s biggest demographic, is not their target demographic. It’s us. The 18-35s. If they start trying to alienate us, with moves like this, we will leave. And I can’t speak for the rest of us, but I know I will not come back.
I hope I’m wrong on this. I hope the series doesn’t change for the worse in coming seasons, and I hope M.A. Larson did something to resolve this whole race-changing problem.
But on the bright side, race-shifting fascism wouldn’t be the worst message propagated by My Little Pony.
But I think I’ll save this one for another time.