59 posts in this topic

Has anyone noticed that many of the top posters in the community seem to have MLP pictures?

 

I fail to understand why this is. Personally, (and I get the feeling that this post might hate me for this) I find MLP to be simply uninteresting and childish. I was forced to endure a few episodes when taking care of a friend's daughter, and found it the most dull experience of my life. Pictures of kittens and puppies can be cute. Pictures of babies (so long as you don't go near the baby itself) can be adorable. But endless hours of ponies frolicking around talking about the power of friendship?

 

In case you don't see my point, I bring to you Exhibit A.

 

People with top reputation points in the 17th Shard:

 

1 - Kobold King. A steampunk themed pony image.

2 - TwiLyghtSansSparkles. A MLP image.

3 - Brandon Sanderson himself. (Thankfully, with a distinct lack of ponies)

4/5 - Both MLP images.

8 - MLP image

10/13 - MLP images.

 

OK. Maybe I'm going overboard with the title. I like melodrama. So shoot me. But still, I find it strange that the same people who are some of Brandon's biggest fans, reading 1000 page long epic fantasies, can then just sit there and listen to what in my opinion is mindless drivel.

 

If you are an MLP fan, feel free to comment on why you think differently. But personally, from my little experience with it, I find it has a lack of a decent plot structure, no development in characters, lots of deux ex machina, (that one, I can forgive. Doctor Who cheats on this one a lot, too.) and next to nothing by way of complications.

 

Questions? Comments?

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Well, I think a lot of the reputation comes from the Oregon board, where ponifying epics is kind of a 'thing'. 

 

Anyway, I like the show, but I'll admit; some of your complaints are valid. It might be strange to see why someone who likes reading ASOIAF and Stormlight Archive would then put aside political intrigues and badchull action scenes for "the magic of friendship". Part of it is that the show really just hits a very different emotional pitch for me; as much as I enjoy the epic high-fantasy stuff, I think the best episodes of MLP are the slice of life stories which focus on the characters. It's always interesting when the show tries it's adventure arcs; Discord and Tirek were great villains, and Chrysallis is nightmareish... but those are the episodes where most of your complainst are most evident.

 

In the context of the greater series, the "adventure arcs" usually only serve to introduce a  MacGuffin for the series, one which usually won't be activated until the last episode (if ever); there is some character development, but it's minimal since most of the actual change and development comes as a result of the Slice of Life episodes (and through subtlety); and pretty much every adventure arc has been finished in the last three minutes of the episode with out-of-nowhere lazer powers.

 

...But as I say, it's not the adventure arcs which interest me. It's the characters, and the episodes in between the adventures where the characters shine. Some episodes are hilarious; some develop the characters more than others. But honestly, the reason I like them is because it's a fun show. 

Lets face it, there's a serious push in... everything these days that something can only be "Real" and "Serious" if it's dark and gritty. Look at the last decade of Marvel and DC comics if you want proof; gratuituous, empty violence, shock deaths and horror. In that climate, a show which is so blatantly hopeful and opoptimistic about the future and about humanity is actually a breath of fresh air.

 

"Violence isn't the only solution; in fact, it usually isn't the solution at all."

That's the pilots ethos summed up in a sentence. I will admit, the pilot is very weak, in many area's; the second half is too rushed, it's too formulaic, it's obvious whats going to happen once Twilight finds the EoH guidebook and the bells signify who each element is, with the rest of the episode just going through the motions. But Luna's sympathetic backstory, and her arcs resolution, elevates that beyond silly kiddy comedy for me.

 

And as for what fans of epic fantasy might get out of it... see the MLP fandom. While the show is often inconsistent with it's concepts, or never really explores things fully, the fandom does a lot to fill in the gaps. There are quite a few MLP fanfictions which really go straight for the "epic" part of epic fantasy. 

Way of Kings is (according to sources) 387,000 words long.

Fallout Equestria is a popular story, set in an atomic-blasted Equestria. It's 607K.

Background Pony is a philosophical examination about insignificance and relevance. It's 432K

Past Sins is a story about redemption, about choice and destiny, and clocks in at between 179K and 202K, depending on the version you're reading.

 

I realize Word count isn't a signifier of quality; and I want to add that the stories I mention aren't necessarily better than Way of Kings. But I think the fact that so many people have wrote so many words on the subjects indicates that there is something of value that people enjoy about the series.

 

...Of coruse, I also realise that some people just don't like the pony thing, which is totally understandable. To use an example relevant to this board... as much as I like the Stormlight Archive, it's actually one of my least favorite series of Brandon's books right now. And that's an opinion which I'm totally entitled to, and which is valid to hold.

 

The pony thing might be a little obnoxious (since it's so clearly a visible thing and in your face, whereas other opinions are private)... but I see it as much the same thing. People like what they like.

(Of course, as I've said before, if my stuff ever bothers anyone, then let me know and I'll happily change stuff).

 

In summary...I guess MLP is so popular because it inspires creativity. Fan fiction, fan art, head canons... it taps into what fantasy means, about imagining places and how things work, it inspires other works and thoughts. The canon might be kind of dumb soemtimes- but then, Superman is a story about a man who can do everything, always, and he's one of the most powerful cultural figures in human history. 

Edited by Quiver
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As one of the people mentioned by name in the OP, allow me to opine on this conversation.

I've struggled with depression since I was a teen, and one thing that helps is optimistic entertainment. Pixar's movies are some of my all-time favorites for this reason (and also because they tell better stories than some more adult-oriented films and TV shows). I love MLP because of it's optimism, the way just about any conflict can be resolved with a little creativity. I love the way it shows different people coming together as friends because of their differences, not in spite of them, and the way the show prioritizes friendship over romantic entanglements.

I also love Brandon Sanderson's books. The Reckoners trilogy is definitely my favorite. I love his take on superpowers, the way he deconstructs comic book tropes and makes what could be a typical comic book universe into something dark and terrifying.

In the Reckoners RPG, we combine the two. It all started when Kobold used General Zoi's Pony Creator to visualize one of his characters. The rest of us followed suit. I'm not sure why the two things--Reckoners and ponies--combine so well, but they do.

I know MLP seems like mindless drivel to you. It's your opinion, and mine is that the show is an optimistic breath of fresh air in a market dominated by the dark and gritty. It's also my opinion that Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy writers in the world today. And I see no reason why the same person can't enjoy both in equal measure.

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Huh... well, I'm specifically tagged in a thread about the invasion of the 17th Shard, so I suppose I'd better weigh in before the lynch mobs start showing up.

 

Be warned: opinions follow. Opinions can be a mortal allergen to a high percentage of the population--or at least, I'm assuming they can be, considering how rabidly some people react to them. ;) So let me meet your opinions with some of my own.

 

 

As Quiver said, most of the ponies in the upper tier of the rep list belong to the Reckoners RPG, colloquially known as "What Happened in Oregon" or "WHIO." In the eyes of many members, WHIO and My Little Pony have become synonymous. Why?  One is a gritty role-playing game about the destruction of an entire state, the other is an optimistic cartoon about the power of friendship. How did the two ever become associated?

 

I don't have the answer, but I do have a hypothesis. You see... at its core, What Happened in Oregon is a very dark game. The characters are almost universally terrible people. The setting is a twisted dystopia. The plot revolves around horrible slaughters, massacres, and battles that lead to thousands becoming dead or homeless. The average Oregon character is a darker and more gruesome villain than the antagonists of most Sanderson novels. 

 

I believe that the ponies are a way of coping with that. Most players on the Reckoners RPG board are silly, fun-loving people. We make constant jokes about what's going on in the RP. We relentlessly make fun of any trait that's even remotely laughable about characters, and we write silly non-canon shorts about our characters acting in wildly out-of-character ways. Creating ponified versions of the characters fits in with everything else--it adds some levity to what would otherwise be a depressingly gritty RPG. The fact that several high-profile players, including myself, are also fans of the show only further cements ponies as the preferred way of visually representing the characters, to the point that it's become a sort of initiation ritual for new players to either ponify their characters or allow them to be ponified.

 

It's no secret that the combined grittiness and silliness of the Reckoners RPG creates an upvote-earning environment ripe for the taking, resulting in most of the major players there skyrocketing in reputation. If it weren't for the astronomical reputation levels boasted by many Oregon RPers, it's probable no one would pay much mind to the pony phenomenon on the 17th Shard--at least, I don't remember anyone making a particularly big deal out of it back when the noble Quiver was the only pony in sight. So that explains why so many notable members have pony profile pictures, YoungBard.

 

 

 

Now... for the show. You used the phrase "mindless drivel" to describe it, which needless to say as a fan of the show, I think is a bit harsh.

 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is not a perfect show. It has flaws, and not every writer to have penned an episode has been a literary genius. In terms of quality, I would not presume to argue that even my favorite episode is as brilliant and well-orchestrated as The Way of Kings or Warbreaker. Nonetheless, I feel the show has value, and I adore it.

 

I adore it for two reasons: it makes me smile, and it makes me think.

 

In a world so bombarded with darkness, on both the news and in our entertainment, My Little Pony is a breath of fresh air. The characters may be stereotypes at times, but they're good stereotypes. While the characters of many children's shows these days are bratty, obnoxious, or even cruel, the protagonists of MLP are never presented as such without good reason. If a character does something rotten, you can bet that either she's due for a friendship lesson at the end of the episode, or she's been corrupted by the malevolent spirit of chaos that broke free of its millennium-long imprisonment. Either way, it's an aberration from the status quo. The six main characters are six good friends, and are also inherently good people. In a literary world filled with murderous and otherwise immoral anti-heroes, it's fun to sit down and watch some truly virtuous characters settle their problems through the power of their friendship.

 

Not only the virtue, but the humor of the show appeals to me. Despite dipping its hooves into epic fantasy, the show never seems to forget that it it's heart it is a cartoon about brightly colored, anatomically improbable ponies, and it acts accordingly. It's goofy. It's silly. It makes light of serious situations for the sake of a cheap laugh, and I can't get enough of it. Even the aforementioned malevolent spirit of chaos is one of the most hilarious characters on the show, injecting humor into the narrative even when he's literally driving the characters insane and rewriting the laws of physics into his own twisted image.

 

tumblr_mdq17cf4S61rvqp08.gif

 

When I see nothing but pain and hardship all around me, My Little Pony gives me something beautiful to look at. It gives me characters not only to laugh at or enjoy the adventures of, but to emulate. It makes me smile.

 

 

Now for the second reason I like watching and discussing the show: it makes me think. I like to think of myself as a somewhat creative person, and this show pushes my theorizing buttons like nothing else on the market--including the great Sanderson's works. Why is that?

 

Again, I can't tell you the answer, but I can give you a hypothesis. You see, I feel one of the failings Quiver mentioned is actually one of its strengths: it doesn't always develop the one-off characters or setting details it creates. While the main characters and the central setting are very well-developed, the program is scattered with hints about there being more to the world of Equestria than meets the eye.

 

Take the Everfree Forest for example. In the main setting of the show, all of the world's natural forces are controlled by ponies. Plants and animals don't grow without ponies to take care of them. Weather doesn't happen if the pegasi don't push the clouds into the right positions. Not even the sun and moon will rise without one of the two monarchs telekinetically hauling them over the horizon.

 

In the Everfree Forest, the laws of physics flow like our world. Plants and animals take care of themselves. Clouds move and rain all on their own. It runs autonomously, without the slightest need for pony intervention... and the main characters find it terrifying. No explanation for its behavior is ever given on the show, nor is one ever likely to be given. This puts my brain into high-gear like nothing else.

 

You see, while in a Sanderson novel we'd be guaranteed an in-depth explanation by the end of the series, fans are left to come to their own conclusions about the Everfree Forest. Was the entire pony world once as natural as their own? Was the entire world once autonomous, with the Everfree the result of some strange accident? Is the Everfree Forest a threat to pony society? Will it ever expand, or shrink?

 

The show is riddled with enigmas like the Everfree. If you throw a stone in Equestria, you're likely to hit some sort of ancient evil or unresolved magical mystery (and probably have to learn a friendship lesson about not blindly throwing rocks at ponies.) While many settings would suffer from such a lack of setting resolution, somehow MLP manages to benefit from it. Equestria is a setting of magic and wonder, and sometimes there's nothing more fun than to be mystified by questions you'll never hear a straight answer to.

 

 

 

So that, dearest YoungBard, is why this Sanderfan can enjoy The Way of Kings and then flip on a show about cartoon ponies. They make me smile, they make me think, and they can put much-needed cheer into a gloomy situation. You're entitled to your opinion, and no one will ever try to pressure you into liking or even appreciating what we watch... but hopefully by now you've gotten a better idea about why we harbor the opinions we do. :)

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Twilight, Kobold you have just inspired me. That was actually beautiful.

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As someone who just overtook Brandon to make now the top 3 rep positions filled with ponies let me just say that I still have yet to actually watch an episode :P

That said I'm sure when I finish the other 1000 or so episodes of various tv shows I'll get around to it and I do see why some people might like it, I enjoy reading 1000 page tomes and dissecting the magic systems, 800 page thrillers where I try to pick apart the plot, 500 page textbooks on calculus. After all of that, sometimes I just want to watch something that's not particularly high-brow or intellectually stimulating. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for some cartoon animals having a good time.

This has been a post by a non-brony who for reasons unknown even to him has a pony picture for his profile. (Although to be fair I did photoshop spikes into the eyes of my original pony-dp to maintain my Dark Alley cred)

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FYI guys, I just wanted to pop in here and give everyone a reminder to keep it civil. We pride ourselves here at 17th shard with maintaining a community of a higher standard by being comprised of rational, understanding folk.

 

No one is being singled out here, and I'm not here to punish anyone, I just recognize that this topic has the potential to spiral out of control into a flame war and figured I outta do my job as a moderator. :)

 

Just wanted to let you guys know that I will be paying attention to this topic as a precautionary step.

 

 

 

As for the prevalance of MLP fans, we have no plans to moderate what our community is allowed to express interest in, and the explosion of fans of said series is a relatively new event for our community (within the past year or so). To an extent, I believe a number of members had no showing/incliniation towards the series until other members starting cropping up as fans. Never watched the show myself, and don't really have any interest, but people are allowed to like whatever they want regardless of my opinions.

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FYI guys, I just wanted to pop in here and give everyone a reminder to keep it civil. We pride ourselves here at 17th shard with maintaining a community of a higher standard by being comprised of rational, understanding folk.

 

No one is being singled out here, and I'm not here to punish anyone, I just recognize that this topic has the potential to spiral out of control into a flame war and figured I outta do my job as a moderator. :)

 

Just wanted to let you guys know that I will be paying attention to this topic as a precautionary step.

 

 

 

As for the prevalance of MLP fans, we have no plans to moderate what our community is allowed to express interest in, and the explosion of fans of said series is a relatively new event for our community (within the past year or so). To an extent, I believe a number of members had no showing/incliniation towards the series until other members starting cropping up as fans. Never watched the show myself, and don't really have any interest, but people are allowed to like whatever they want regardless of my opinions.

 

Er... sorry if I sounded... confrontational. I have a bad habit of slipping into that when trying to sound authoritative. Sorry!

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Er... sorry if I sounded... confrontational. I have a bad habit of slipping into that when trying to sound authoritative. Sorry!

 

 

No, no, you're fine! Like I said above, I'm not here to single out or punish anyone. So far, the responses have been perfectly fine and civil. I just wanted to be pre-emptive in case things start to get out of control. I know the subject of MLP can be controversial in other places on the internet, and I didn't want anyone to get the same feeling from here.

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FYI guys, I just wanted to pop in here and give everyone a reminder to keep it civil. We pride ourselves here at 17th shard with maintaining a community of a higher standard by being comprised of rational, understanding folk.

 

Message received and understood!

 

110704-derpy-usa.jpg

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Ponies are cool. Deal with it! :)

 

Do you like The Music Man? Watch this: 

 

Do you have fond memories of Don Music on Sesame Street? Watch this:

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Ponies are cool. Deal with it! :)

Do you like The Music Man? Watch this: 

 

Do you have fond memories of Don Music on Sesame Street? Watch this:

 

And that's not even getting into the fan works!

 

 

 

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I'm probably the Newest Brony on the Forums, so I figured I'd weigh in on this.

 

I originally watched the first Couple of episodes of My Little Pony because I was irritated at the other roleplayers who kept making references I didn't understand. I never expected to like the show, I went in expecting to be bored out of my mind. But I didn't. I like My Little Pony because, as Kobold said, It's a breath of fresh air. It never fails to cheer me up. I always feel better after watching MLP. It's well-written (Most of the Time), It's characters are all fully fleshed out and relatable, It constantly tries new things, it turns old tropes on their Head and it has Wonderful Fans.

 

Honestly, the Other Bronies and their Creativity is why I've remained a Brony. One of my favorite Horror Games is Twilight Escape, a free, hour long game made by a wonderful Brony who's currently working on the Sequel, Flutttershift. Another Brony has been teaching me how to draw, to the point where I can actually Draw Fan Pictures and Other people can easily Identify what they are. As I write this post, I'm listening to my all time favorite Song, The Fear of Flight, a song about conquering your fears. Last night I stayed up until Two Reading Friendship is Dragons, a Hilarious Screencap Webcomic about MLP being a DND Adventure, like Darths and Droids or DM of the RIngs before it.

 

Yes, the Show is definitely Childish, but so are Disney and Pixar, and Like D&P, there are so many things in it that for the adult viewers. MLP References every Show under the Sun Moon. GoT was referenced in one of the most recent episodes, as was Mission Impossible. Batman, the Avengers, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Every single Western ever written and Star Trek have all had their shout outs as well.

 

So, in conclusion, I became a Brony because of the excellent writing of the show, and I stayed a Brony because of the Wonderful artwork of the Fans.

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I really like this discussion, because its one that comes up in Arts classes all the time, which essentially boils down to the distinction between high and low brow works of art.  

 

Can top 40 pop music be considered legitimate artistic expression?  Can genre fiction (which includes Fantasy like Brandon Sanderson's) be considred 'true' literature?  Is the enjoyment of a show apparently funded by Hasbro for the purpose of selling pony figurines legitimate?  Personally, I think the answer to all of these questions is a resounding 'yes'.  But, there have been numerous times in the Academic world where my choice to write about Fantasy novels was questioned, or my subject matter was seen as a 'lesser' art form due to its inherently escapist nature, and not worthy of academic study.  My partner, who loves pop music and has studied it extensively, has had similar troubles in his classes as he tries to explain to people why music that listened to regularly on any radio station is worthy of study and respect.  Here, we are dealing with an interesting perceived sub-division within fantasy, between Brandon Sanderson's works, which are seen by some as more weighty and legitimate, and MLP, which is seems to have a reputation for being silly and frivolous (which it definitely is at times :)).  

 

At the end of the day, the number of people who enjoy something, how much time went into making it, the number of collaborators responsible for creating it, or the overall objective value society perceives something as having is largely irrelevant.  Art is subjective, meaning each person can decide for themselves the value something holds.  Just because one person loves Brandon Sanderson and detest MLP, does not mean another person cannot enjoy both.  

 

Personally, I just started watching MLP this year, but it has intrigued me for much longer than that.  Since getting involved with WHIO, I quickly realized that if I was going to get ANY of the inside jokes, watching the show was a must, and so after checking out a few clips on youtube and deciding it was worth my time, I dove in.  

 

What do I like about My Little Pony?   Why do I enjoy it more than some of the 'High-Brow' literature I took during my English Degree?  I can certainly come up with some reasons, but at the end of the day, the justification doesn't matter.  I like it because I do, and someone else taking stabs at its legitimacy as an enjoyable artistic expression is not going to change that.  

 

I recently (as in yesterday) had some friends randomly decide to show up at my house while my partner and I were watching My Little Pony, and I admit I was embarrassed.  They all wanted to hang out together, but after a weekend full of socializing, I was ready to just relax with some television.  When I said I'd rather watch MLP with my partner in my room than eat Hummus and watch Friends, my roommate (who is also a MLP fan) said we could all watch MLP together instead.  This made me cringe, and the experience was not enjoyable.  As we started watching the first episode, my roommate repeatedly laughed too hard at the jokes, pointing out 'how funny' it was to our guests, who were clearly not enjoying themselves.  I realized that for me, there was no need for my friends to see my enjoyment of the show as legitimate.  I was fine with the fact that they saw it as silly, as long as they could respect the fact that I saw it differently.  While I was flattered that they gave it a chance, it was stressful for me to watch someone try to defend a show that I feel needs no defense.  My Little Pony has something that some fans respond to, and some don't.  The fact that people have different opinions on something does not make it bad or good.  I was happy to watch MLP alone with my partner, since I know both of us enjoy it for what it is, flaws and all, but I'm not going to go around forcing others to acknowledge how great it is, because they are entitled to their opinion.  

 

Sorry if that was off topic.  I just found it interesting that I had a recent personal experience that I felt was relevant.  

 

Anyways, that's my two cents!  I'm glad to continue the discussion though.  The perception of legitimacy in different art forms is a fascinating topic for me, so I'm always happy to discuss further.  

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The first couple seasons were also less homogenized.  The best episodes involve characters utterly losing their minds or being pushed to some breaking point.

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I really like this discussion, because its one that comes up in Arts classes all the time, which essentially boils down to the distinction between high and low brow works of art.

Can top 40 pop music be considered legitimate artistic expression? Can genre fiction (which includes Fantasy like Brandon Sanderson's) be considred 'true' literature? Is the enjoyment of a show apparently funded by Hasbro for the purpose of selling pony figurines legitimate? Personally, I think the answer to all of these questions is a resounding 'yes'. But, there have been numerous times in the Academic world where my choice to write about Fantasy novels was questioned, or my subject matter was seen as a 'lesser' art form due to its inherently escapist nature, and not worthy of academic study. My partner, who loves pop music and has studied it extensively, has had similar troubles in his classes as he tries to explain to people why music that listened to regularly on any radio station is worthy of study and respect. Here, we are dealing with an interesting perceived sub-division within fantasy, between Brandon Sanderson's works, which are seen by some as more weighty and legitimate, and MLP, which is seems to have a reputation for being silly and frivolous (which it definitely is at times :)).

At the end of the day, the number of people who enjoy something, how much time went into making it, the number of collaborators responsible for creating it, or the overall objective value society perceives something as having is largely irrelevant. Art is subjective, meaning each person can decide for themselves the value something holds. Just because one person loves Brandon Sanderson and detest MLP, does not mean another person cannot enjoy both.

Personally, I just started watching MLP this year, but it has intrigued me for much longer than that. Since getting involved with WHIO, I quickly realized that if I was going to get ANY of the inside jokes, watching the show was a must, and so after checking out a few clips on youtube and deciding it was worth my time, I dove in.

What do I like about My Little Pony? Why do I enjoy it more than some of the 'High-Brow' literature I took during my English Degree? I can certainly come up with some reasons, but at the end of the day, the justification doesn't matter. I like it because I do, and someone else taking stabs at its legitimacy as an enjoyable artistic expression is not going to change that.

I recently (as in yesterday) had some friends randomly decide to show up at my house while my partner and I were watching My Little Pony, and I admit I was embarrassed. They all wanted to hang out together, but after a weekend full of socializing, I was ready to just relax with some television. When I said I'd rather watch MLP with my partner in my room than eat Hummus and watch Friends, my roommate (who is also a MLP fan) said we could all watch MLP together instead. This made me cringe, and the experience was not enjoyable. As we started watching the first episode, my roommate repeatedly laughed too hard at the jokes, pointing out 'how funny' it was to our guests, who were clearly not enjoying themselves. I realized that for me, there was no need for my friends to see my enjoyment of the show as legitimate. I was fine with the fact that they saw it as silly, as long as they could respect the fact that I saw it differently. While I was flattered that they gave it a chance, it was stressful for me to watch someone try to defend a show that I feel needs no defense. My Little Pony has something that some fans respond to, and some don't. The fact that people have different opinions on something does not make it bad or good. I was happy to watch MLP alone with my partner, since I know both of us enjoy it for what it is, flaws and all, but I'm not going to go around forcing others to acknowledge how great it is, because they are entitled to their opinion.

Sorry if that was off topic. I just found it interesting that I had a recent personal experience that I felt was relevant.

Anyways, that's my two cents! I'm glad to continue the discussion though. The perception of legitimacy in different art forms is a fascinating topic for me, so I'm always happy to discuss further.

In many ways, I've found the distinction between what critics consider "art" and "not art" to be arbitrary at best. Take WALL-E as and example. It is, objectively speaking, a beautifully animated movie. The level of thought and detail put into the world and the characters is nothing short of masterful. It delivers its message in a way that I and others found intentionally hyperbolic but not preachy, developing its two romantic leads by having them speak only a handful of words to one another. Yet one review said it "descends from art into kiddie-flick fare when the humans appear onscreen." Another said it would have been "more artistic" if the dialogue had consisted only of the words "WALL-E" and "Eva."

I freely admit I'm no movie critic, but that distinction seems more than a bit random to me. How does a presence or lack of dialogue make a film more or less artistic? It gives the animators an interesting challenge to work with, sure, but how does that increase a movie's level of artistry? Would The Happening be elevated to High Art status if it contained no dialogue whatsoever? (I'll be the last to say it would be less watchable.)

In other corners, we see the distinction between Art and Entertainment drawn along the lines of what is uplifting and what is not. Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses is intentionally depressing with a downer ending and characters who seem designed to embody the worst traits of humanity. It also contains a passage eulogizing a horse's bowel movements, and another that attempts to make a hangover appear deep and dramatic when all the characters do is vomit in the woods. Yet this is considered Literature. I had to read it in high school. Why? Who decided it was art, and why do they have more authority than the average Joe or Jane?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But I do think that art is something each person, to an extent, must decide for themselves.

Edited by TwiLyghtSansSparkles
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I'm going to come at this from another angle, one that may sound condescending to begin with but I do not intend and hope will be clear by the end of the post.

 

I try to make it clear that I consider myself a pretentious reader. I love the modernists (Ford Maddox Ford, T. S. Elliot, Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce) Nobel Prize winners (Mario Vargas Llosa, Golding, Steinbeck) and just "high art" in general as a previous poster called it (such as Salman Rushdie, Anthony Powell, Dante, Milton, Keats, Tretheway, etc.). From the perspective of just those works, even the most "critically acclaimed" Fantasies (such as Lord of the Rings and Malazan in particular) and all of science fiction tends to appear to be childish drivel. 

 

But it is not just about enjoying works of high aesthetic. One who limits themselves to just that is just as bad as those who limit themselves to just works of epic fantasy (or just as good... the main point is that it severely limits your perceptions). 

 

The ultimate point? William Golding's Pincher Martin is a completely different work/form then Sanderson's Warbreaker which is different from MLP:FiM. If forced into a corner, I would have to say that Golding's work has the greatest "artistic value", but <insert blasphemous appeal to deity to condemn something in general along with some other choice swears here> after the ending of that work, you kinda need a colorful show about the innocent exploits of techno-colored ponies. 

 

And that's the point. Everything serves a purpose and meets a need/want. Not everything has to be serious, aesthetically constructed, reflective of the grim existential world we live in, etc. We also need the excitement from just an exciting story. Doesn't matter that it would never happen, it's good for the soul. Having a varied interest, or being open, or just being able to shrug and say "can't account for tastes, sometimes" makes us more emphatic and better capable of interacting with the rest of humanity.

 

And this is accomplished with a spectrum of works from The Satanic Verses to My Little Pony. 

Edited by Orlion
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To start things off Orlion, I would like to say this is more of a reaction to your post, than an argument against it.  I'm not assuming you disagree with any of my points.  I found your post very interesting, and these are simply the thoughts it brought up.  

 

EDIT:  And for the record, I didn't find your post condescending at all, and that you were very self aware of your own bias, so great work!

 

I agree with most of your argument, especially your point that different things serve different purposes, and the importance of having varied interests.   I also acknowledge that from a strict craft perspective, it is possible to compare two works and determine which is more finely crafted, though I would clarify that this is only possible on an aspect by aspect analysis.  I can say that the prose in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is more beautiful than anything Brandon has written, but that neglects the many other aspects of story-telling.  Brandon is not going for beautiful prose, he prefers transparent prose that let's the reader directly into the story, an effect that has a beauty of its own in my opinion.  He's also excellent at pacing, for example, so that would have to be a separate comparison.  There are many things that literary classics do better than genre fiction or brightly colored cartoons, but there are many things they cannot do (as you pointed out).  I just think it is problematic to privilege one form of excellence over others.  I've read many finely crafted novels that haven't created the emotional resonance that Avatar: The Last Airbender has managed to create.  Part of that is medium of course, television and music are generally better and connecting with people's emotions than prose, but the other part, like you said, is explaining that they do different things.  

 

If you really want to hear a rant on this topic, ask me about how it feels when my Dad, who watches sports all day, says I'm wasting my time watching a 'silly cartoon,' like Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Nothing against watching sports, like you point out, it's good to have varied interests, but its troubling when someone who has little knowledge or familiarity with an area disparages it, especially when they are not questioning the narrow scope of their own interest base.  

 

Basically I'm just agreeing with you from a slightly different angle, haha.  The one point where diverge I think is in your use of the word "childish".  I know it has been used elsewhere in the thread, and that you likely weren't intending to disparage children, but it kind of bothers me when people assume that something is made for children is automatically of lesser value, and that the consumption of something that is childish by adults is something shameful that needs to be legitimized by other criteria.  Why is being child-like a bad thing?  Further more, if our assumption is that children's content is of lesser quality, where are the efforts to provide better quality programming for our children?  One thing I like about MLP actually, is that it usually shies away from dumbing down its content or talking down to its audience.  The highly educated Twilight Sparkle has the same vocabulary she would if she was in an adult television show.  Instead of dumbing her down to the level adults think children should be understanding, the creators have characters with less refined vocabularies (such as Spike) ask Twilight to rephrase.  As someone who believes children are smarter than adults give them credit for, I love when shows and books bring their audiences up with them, instead of dumbing things down.  

 

Another good example I enjoyed was the short novel, Everything on a Waffle.  It's a middle readers book, but it's probably one of the most well put together pieces of fiction I have ever read.  It's definitely silly, but during the book the author takes her readers through many different forms of grief and emotional trauma, without sheltering her potentially young readers from the sting of these powerful emotions.  It works on more thematic and constructive levels than many literary texts I have read.  

 

When I have kids, I want to find content we can watch together.  Don't get me wrong, it's good for kids to develop their own interest, and I'm certain that there will be shows they want to watch that I could care less for or will perceive to be of a lesser quality than what I choose to watch myself, but I do think our society as a whole needs to seriously re-frame how we talk about youth and childishness, especially when attaching a negative connotation or equating "childish" with "simple" or "uncomplicated."  

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As Erongal nicely pointed out, this thread has (had?) the potential to spiral out of control. The way that this community interacts is why I love being a 17th Sharder. So far, none of our Brony brethren have taken offense at YoungBard's OP. YoungBard hasn't responded yet, but I would gather that whatever their response is also won't be in a poor light.

 

I have never ventured into the WHIO (or any RP) forum to see what happens there (though as a former Oregon resident...I am curious), but I am glad that our Brony friends are here because they contribute outside of their Reckoners RP as well. I haven't watched MLP yet, but after how you all talk about it, I'm willing to give it a go. 

 

Thanks, everyone, for making this a fun place on the Internet.

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You understood me perfectly, Comatose. I'm also glad I didn't appear condescending... it's a character flaw I'm working on :)

 

And the point you made with the use of the word "childish" is valid and a necessary clarification. One of my favorite novels of all time is The Wind in the Willows, one that I return to often and reference when dealing with various aspects of life. 

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I have never ventured into the WHIO (or any RP) forum to see what happens there (though as a former Oregon resident...I am curious), but I am glad that our Brony friends are here because they contribute outside of their Reckoners RP as well. I haven't watched MLP yet, but after how you all talk about it, I'm willing to give it a go. 

 

[off topic]

 

Let me describe it this way for you: you know how in superhero movies, the heroes and the villains end up causing extensive property damage in their battles?

 

What Happened in Oregon's campaign goal is the destruction of the entire state of Oregon solely through battles between rival demigods. As a member, allow me to say that it's pretty awesome. B)

 

[/off topic]

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[off topic]

Let me describe it this way for you: you know how in superhero movies, the heroes and the villains end up causing extensive property damage in their battles?

What Happened in Oregon's campaign goal is the destruction of the entire state of Oregon solely through battles between rival demigods. As a member, allow me to say that it's pretty awesome. B)

[/off topic]

Also, allow me to add that it is one of the few RPGs I've been involved in where adopting an undead dinosaur or a super intelligent pug as a viewpoint character was a valid option. :P

So far as the childish vs. for children debate goes, I think some children's books are actually deeper than some adult books. Tuck Everlasting, for instance, examines immortality and family with far more grace and depth than many other books I've read on that topic. It's beautiful and gentle, and written at a level sixth-grade me had no trouble comprehending. Of course, some children's books are garbage, but this one is exceptional.

Edited by TwiLyghtSansSparkles
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I have never ventured into the WHIO (or any RP) forum to see what happens there (though as a former Oregon resident...I am curious), but I am glad that our Brony friends are here because they contribute outside of their Reckoners RP as well. I haven't watched MLP yet, but after how you all talk about it, I'm willing to give it a go. 

Well, if you'd like to see the rampant destruction of your state, go for it! :P 

 

As "Member 13" mentioned in the OP, I'd like to share my opinion here too. 

 

First off, let me explain my profile picture. It's a picture of a pony's head on Chuck Norris's body. It came about as the result of one of our jokes in the Question planning threads for WHiO and the pony is the representation of one of TwiLyght's RP characters. 

 

That leads me into my next topic. Kobold originally used an online pony creator to represent RP characters. Most of us loved the idea, as(at least as far as I know) none of us are exceptional artists. This allowed us to create art for our work and use it to create comics and such. It's just a fun way to represent our characters aside from the writing. 

 

I've never seen MLP, but I enjoy the ponification for the reasons I stated above. I may watch it in the future, but a few of the ponies you see around are just part of the WHiO community and the things that have come about from that.

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Well, if you'd like to see the rampant destruction of your state, go for it! :P

 

I may venture over to WHIO and find out then! Also, in the vein of the OPs question:

 

kkqd9.jpg

 

But this isn't a problem. They're welcome here!

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I may venture over to WHIO and find out then! Also, in the vein of the OPs question:

 

kkqd9.jpg

 

But this isn't a problem. They're welcome here!

Prepare for much reading. :P We have four locations: Portland, The Dalles, Astoria, and Corvallis.

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