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October 10, 2012
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#76) What are your thoughts about the little mini issue within the fandom regarding Lil Miss Jay - the artist who works on the grimdark version of Rarity? Sure, he might draw something people don't like. But on the other end of the argument he's received death threats from both haters and bronies (I mean yeah it's the internet but some arrests were actually made). Any specific thoughts?

Answer: This one was quite difficult to answer, as I tend to avoid Tumblr, and thus had to perform some genuine research before answering. Being friends with a variety of Tumblr-fluent people, I receive information every now and then, and I have heard about the person in question, although what I've been told has been mostly negative. That said, I've never personally been involved in a situation with this user, and I can't even say that I've seen much of their work, and so I'm afraid that the next few points will be based on what I've heard from other people.

Sending genuine death threats – if arrests were actually made that would imply that they were quite serious – is a really stupid thing in this case. I can sort of understand people sending death threats to, for example, a convicted paedophile, or a rapist or a murderer, but when it's to a guy who draws  distasteful stuff it's really dumb. I'm highly critical of a lot of things, but I wouldn't ever condone doing something like that. You don't have to like things, and you have the freedom to express what you dislike about something in a structured and reasonable way.

Death threats aren't reasonable, and seem to be the extremist response to something distasteful. I can't really argue that grimdark work of Rarity is 'good' from an ethical point of view, but I can say that the guy drawing it doesn't deserve to die. Do people like Rarity that much that they'd defend her character by slaughtering those who would hurt her? People are taking their knightly fantasies to crazy levels. She's a cartoon character; if you don't like what someone is doing with her, feel free to rant about it and gain support from like-minded people, but don't outwardly attack someone. It's not the smart thing to do.

However, when all that is said and done, I hear through the grapevine whispers that the user was banned from Tumblr because they were drawing [humanised] porn of the Cutie Mark Crusaders designed to be illustrating them as children. I've also been made aware that they practically trace art from other people for commissions and generally have a poor attitude towards other artists; one example saw them using a portion of an image by another user, and when asked to remove it, they refused with an audacious claim that they had every right to use other people's images if they want to.

The user seems to take enormous pride in their art, but I hear that it's at the detriment of other artists. In addition, I've been linked to images of some pretty messed up stuff coming from this user (with some pretty messed up anatomy on top of that). There are also rumours that the user has made a new account where he hates on his own art in order to get pity from people. Conspiracy theory? Quite possibly.

I have no connection to this artist whatsoever, but as you asked for my opinion, I have to say that while the death threats are ridiculous and can't possibly be condoned, the artist in question seems to be held in a fairly low regard by many. As a result, there's probably a good reason for why people don't like the user, but, of course, that doesn't justify wishing the person dead. It's a difficult issue, but I have to say that, given the amount of bad things I've heard about the user that can be backed up by evidence, I won't be inviting them over to my house for tea and scones.



#77) I have a friend whom I converted to enjoying the show. He was not a fan of the community or some of the terms ("Somepony", "Brohoof", "Brony") but he agreed that the show is good. While Season 2 was airing, me, him and a few other friends of mine (also bronies) would discuss the new episode. My friend in question saw this as us "talking about ponies all the time" and got sick of it to the point of leaving our group even though we don't talk about it much at all (now that Season 2 has ended). Over time he has become bitter, to the point of outright making fun of us and others for liking the show or partaking in fan related activities. He is also very reluctant to join our friend group again because he doesn't want to talk about the show. The problem I'm having is that when it comes to anything non-pony, he's a great friend and I want to stay his friend. But he doesn't want our group or myself to talk about the show at all. I want to stay his friend but I don't want to give up something I like to stay a friend. Can you give me any guidance? And the answer cannot be, "just don't talk about the show when he is around" because he assumes that's what we are talking about all the time anyways, and won't believe me when I say otherwise.

Answer: There's that word again - 'converted'. Blah. So the guy thinks that you're always talking about ponies, and detests you for that fact? Sounds like the friendship is dead in the water already, unless you're exaggerating, which I assume you must be given that you've stated that he's a good friend when talking about things outside of ponies.  

Friendship groups are difficult things to manage. Everyone involved is expected to have the same mutual interests, and if you aren't part of a current fad that sweeps through the group, you risk feeling alienated, and the chance of growing resentful towards it is high. It's interesting that the person in question seemed to go for the show for a while and then changed his mind; perhaps he was merely trying to enjoy it because he wanted to fit in with you guys?

Now that he's written you off as pony-talkers, there's not a lot that you can really do. If he doesn't want to be your friend, despite you mentioning that it's not always about ponies, then you'll just have to accept that you're growing apart. Very few of the friends I have now are the friends I had three years ago; people change and certain people drift apart. It's just how things work. Talking about ponies with your friends is fine, but you should never let it dominate the flow of conversation, especially if there are people in the chat who aren't as into it as you are. It's important to represent everyone's interests in an equal way and distribute the topics of conversation evenly. It sounds as if that wasn't happening, and that's why he left your group.

The fact that he's making fun of you for it means that he's unlikely to change his stance. Your options are: completely forsake the show and choose your friend instead; keep doing what you're doing and hope that your friend comes back; or forget your friend and stick with the ones that have a mutual interest in ponies. It's hard to recommend that you go where the big pony fans are, but if this friend can't adapt to your new interests, then maybe it's time that he stops being your friend altogether. It's unreasonable for him to ask that you stop talking about ponies completely: you're allowed your own interests and he has to respect them. If he would make such high demands of you, he can't be a very good friend.



#78) [Answered by my good friend pap64] One of the reasons I love "Friendship is Magic" so much is because it is so bright, colorful and genuinely cheerful and that it makes me forget about the problems of the world and escape to a better place. Yet, I have seen many people online turn the series into something more sinister, darker, violent and cruel. Why does that happen?

Answer: One of the things pop culture loves to do a lot of is to take a very well known franchise, stories or sets of characters and completely reverse them for a broad comedic effect. So if something is genuinely sweet, then the parody has it be darker than it really is. Stuff like Sesame Street, Disney and yes, My Little Pony, are easy targets because these series were created on the basis of humanity's brighter trains of thoughts, like hope, faith, kindness and love.

As to why it happens so much in the Pony fandom, well part of it is because people do get a huge kick out of seeing these characters presented in such a disturbing manner. Sometimes, it is because it is funny. There is a reason why stuff like the .Mov flash cartoon series are very popular with Bronies: shock humor is something that is very easy to do when presenting a parody of said series.

The other reason these dark interpretations of the characters and their world are so popular with Bronies could also be that some people believe in darker forces ruling our world, and thus they want the things they love to reflect that mentality. We live in an era in which the ills of the world are easier to know about. From corrupt politicians to war in far away places, these things can often corrupt our views of the world, making it harder for us to accept a better view on life.

Like I said before, "Friendship is Magic" is a prime target for such re-imaginings because it is a show that promotes a lighter, more charming side of life. So whenever it actually decides to "go there" (like when Pinkie Pie drove herself to madness in "Party of One"), people are quick to embrace that aspect because to them at least it is a far more truthful to the world around us, and thus they celebrate it in that manner.

However, you shouldn't let those fans destroy how you view the series. If your view on the series is that "Friendship is Magic" should always be magical, whimsical and charming, that's fine. The beauty of fictional media is that you may be telling the same story to a hundred people, yet you walk out with a hundred different points of views and interpretations of the same story. Celebrate the show in the manner that makes sense to YOU, and try to avoid any places that create conflicts with that mentality.
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Brony Advice is both an active collaboration with artists and an advice column, in the simplest of terms: I want you to send me notes if you have any problems, secrets or comments on the pony fandom of any nature. It doesn't matter how embarrassing, offensive or vicious they might be - if you want someone to comment on them in an unbiased way, send them over. Maybe there's something within the fandom that you particularly despise, or perhaps you're feeling sad and need to hear some friendly advice? Whatever the motive, send me a note with your comment or question.

I'll then respond with advice and commentary and post the answers up in future installments. Users will remain anonymous, so you don't need to worry about your feelings and thoughts getting out onto DeviantArt. You may find that some of the things that you've personally been feeling will be addressed.

Feel free to note me if you would like your questions and observations to be answered in an upcoming edition. Every edition will be engaging with three issues. The above three featured today were submitted by anonymous deviants.

In this issue, my friend ~pap64 contributed an answer. As Brony Advice is collaborative, I thought it fair to get some answers from other people connected to the fandom, to give some other interesting perspectives on issues. Many thanks to him for his contribution!

Artwork by the wonderful *Noxx-ious. Go check out her stuff!
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:iconpap64:
pap64 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012
Sorry for the late response, but thanks for the warm comments regarding my answer! It was fun writing an answer for the question given.
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:iconmillenniumfalsehood:
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
#76 I had never heard of this person before now, but from what I understand I would never support them or pay tribute to their art. I've had my art stolen before, and from what I read it sounds like this person is not above doing so, for commissions no less! And this person actually drew the CMCs in sexually implicit and explicit poses? I have no words . . . That's just . . . Yeah I have no words.

That being said, death threats are unacceptable behavior in any case, no matter who they're targeted toward (though there are exceptions). Even the lowest scum of humanity has the capability of changing, if they can create a strong enough belief in themselves and the desire to change. Humanity itself may not forgive them for what they did or believe that true change occurred, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Jeffrey Dahmer did unspeakable things to people. He murdered, raped, and dismembered 17 people without mercy and without pause. He was tried and convicted, and spent two years in prison, where he was met and converted by a Christian preacher, and claimed for the rest of his life to be a Christian. He claimed to be ashamed and remorseful for what he'd done, and that he wished he were dead.

Whether any of that's true, I can't say. The cynic in me says he was appealing to whatever sympathizers might exist for such terrible behavior, but I'm an optimist, so I tend to think he was genuinely remorseful.

Did he deserve to die? Sure. Nobody who did what he did should escape punishment. But it should be at the hands of the state, not the hands of some prisoner in such a brutal fashion.

Now, this 'artist', to use the term in its loosest possible sense, hasn't done anything approaching what Dahmer did. Does he deserve death threats? In that context, I'd hope most would say no. And if you believe like me that every human has the capacity for change (baring mental disease), then I'm sure you'd agree with me in thinking that this person should be approached with calm and logic, for those are good weapons to use against people like that.

#77 I already replied directly to this person, but nevertheless I believe it's worth repeating, albeit in condensed form. True friends will stand by their friends no matter what and accept them for who they are, not some preconceived notion of who they should be. My friends mostly know that I'm a brony, though usually be accident as I'm not about to shove it in their faces. Every one of them has no problem with it, and while they'll give me a hard time sometimes it's quite clear they're just messing with me and not trying to be hurtful toward me or my brony friends. If they were being hurtful, I would gently explain that they are hurting my feelings, and they will stop.

The person who is described in that letter doesn't sound like this type of friend. In fact, calling on my limited psychological studies, his behavior indicates that he's being extremely possessive of his friend. I would sit down and have a face-to-face with him and explain that his behavior is unacceptable. It will be tough, but it's got to be done because true friends do not behave this way toward one another.

#78 This I think is part of the nature of unbalanced systems, to put a scientific spin on it as I am wont to do.

Nature abhors a vacuum. When you evacuate the air from a chamber, air from its surroundings tries to fill the space created by this. Water will flow into a basin. Gas flows into your tank. etc., etc., etc . . . .

MLP is a lot like this. It has a cheery look, funny humor, and bright and colorful characters. They have problems, but they're resolved in 20 minutes every episode no matter what. There's no cussing, no murder, no rape, no rap (did I say that? ;) ), no serious problems with the population of Equestria. It's all outside attackers and monsters who bear no allegiance to Equestria or its rulers.

This creates a vacuum, one which some people are anxious to fill.

They want that itch scratched, because it restores balance and order in their subconscious mind. They have a "need" to fill this void with darkness in order to appease their sense of balance.

Now, a lot of people don't need that, because the balance actually comes from other sources, like other cartoons, movies, books, games, even real life. The reason this is so is because I didn't mention that people who create grimdark oftentimes fill their lives with other grimdark material, like Cthulu and Slenderman, to name but two. This alters their subconscious sense of balance and artificially raises the "good-factor" of the cheery nature of MLP, thus creating a stronger need for dark material in the same vein to fill the void. It may not even be media that causes this. It could be an unhappy childhood, less-than-supportive parents, or any combination of things.

The point is, these people are not just drawing grimdark to be drawing grimdark (though some just experiment with it for the fun of it anyway). It's a deep-seated psychological desire to create balance in an unbalanced system which is more "out of whack" that the average person.
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:iconender1200:
ender1200 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
#78 on the flip side many pop colture simbols wich represent the darker sides of humanity are sometimes decipted as cute.
Look at zombies for examle, they are a horror staple that is very popular at the momet. Works like the walking dead, or john romero's movies use zombies as a simbol to the darker and wost part of humanity bringing the end of civilization. On the other hand in Plants Vs. Zombis they are goofy and cartoonish, meant to draw laughts and lood unharmfull. Vampire are even more extreem in this regard, modern works show them as heroes mor ofthen then not.
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:iconmillenniumfalsehood:
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
And let's not forget the plush Zombie from ThinkGeek. ;)
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:icondavidbillups:
davidbillups Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
good advice.
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:iconclassicteam:
ClassicTeam Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Alright, so question number 77 was mine.

I guess I should start by apologizing for using the term "converted". it was not that I converted him and more just that I introduced him to the show and after a while he warmed up to it. It was just easier to type one word then spell it all out. :P

The friendship is not necessarily "dead in the water", When he initiates a conversation then there's no problem, but when I or my other friends do it becomes more about "so were you want me to join your stupid pony discussion again?".

I'm under the same assumption as you. I think he only said he liked it so that he felt as if he was "part of the group" which (something I should have mentioned before) is a group of friends we call came to know in real life, not via the internet. We just all just happened to find out one day that we were all in mutual agreement that a show about multi-colored ponies was good; and we started geeking out about yet another thing we liked. Before it we would talk about film and video games... and even now, we talk about the same thing, only now there is sometimes a pony discussion involved as well.

It used to be that he'd hang out with us all the time...but now it seems he only wants to hang out with us if it is within his interest. In other words, there is no give take scenario. He expects us to hang out with him whenever it's something he's into but if he's not into it he makes fun of it and leaves the discussion. I've tried to be fair with him by asking my friends to keep the Pony discussion to a minimum while he is around - I don't say a thing about the show when he's around out of respect for his opinion. But this doesn't change the uneasiness of the situation, or his insults.

I donno. Your last paragraph is really convincing towards where my personal opinions on the matter have been going. I still love to hang out with the guy, but it bugs me that he has to insult me and the others for liking something he does not. I'm also really bad at ending friendships - I've never had a friendship end outside of having my friends move on from me.

Anyways, thanks a lot for taking the time out to write for me. Fell free to write back if you wish. :)
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:iconmillenniumfalsehood:
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
From my experience, friends who are truly friends work around each others' differences. It's common courtesy, and something that must take place for any social group of any size to function.

My friends are not interested in everything I am, and one of them is an outright pony-hater, but we always find things to talk about and generally have a good time when we're together.

The way you're describing the situation, it sounds to me like your friend is being extremely possessive of you, because he is deliberately trying to make you feel uncomfortable around people that you are friends with which are invading his 'territory', so to speak. There are a lot of people who are like this, so it's not uncommon. This is not the type of person who should be catered to, though. In fact, psychologically speaking, the fact that he tries hard to be cool in every other instance is a strong sign that he's being possessive, because he's attempting to use bribes in the form of coolness in other areas in order to make you choose between him and your new friends. It's a powerful weapon, because it plays toward the roots of your old friendship and artificially inflates his value to you.

You need to be objective in this, and firm. Objectively, look at what he provides: is his cool-factor really worth the insults he hurls at you and your new friends? Does his charisma outweigh human decency and logic? If you can't answer yes in less than a second or two, then you have your answer.

Ending friendships is a hard thing to do. Most are comfortable just letting them die, but as I've observed possessive tendencies in your old friend this may not be possible. If this is the case, I'd ask to sit down with him face to face, then explain that his behavior is not acceptable. This won't be easy; he's a friend, and nobody likes to tell a friend they're being an @$$hole. But it must be done, because true friendships do NOT work the way you describe, and he's being extremely unfair to both you and your new friends. If he can justify his behavior, you might stay friends, but on the condition that he respect yourself and your new friends for who and what they are. He needs to be mature in this, and if he can't be, then he has no business being your friend.

If you need to, look at "Griffon the Brush Off" as an example of how the rest of us most likely see your relationship, with Rainbow Dash representing you, Gilda, representing your old friend, and Pinkie Pie representing your new friends. If you handle it like Dash did, you will be fine.
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:iconwhisperer-of-winds:
Whisperer-of-Winds Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Professional Writer
Do excuse me for the interruption...
Insults? mockery? those are no signs of a friend... These are the signs of some one who only stays with you until he finds something "better".

Did it ever occur to you that you might just be too good for some one's company?
Well, you might consider that because if he resorts to insults, then you are indeed better without such bitterness in your life.

You like something. something pulls your attention. Its that he accepts it or he is outta the picture just like zat *snaps fingers*
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:iconclassicteam:
ClassicTeam Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Something I must admit is that it is hard for me to understand communication with him. I would call him a troll if it weren't for the fact that he has limits and does so within reason. So I really can't tell if he's sincere about his name-calling or if he's just toying with us. And if I try to approach him about his actual feelings he is tight-lipped.

I also must admit I have a bit of an insecurity when it comes to social interaction with others. I would describe myself as one who was raised as a social outcast due to my interests and creativity being a bit beyond what most of the other children would consider normal in the place I lived. So the idea of losing a friend - something I value very highly is something of a tough situation for me. For that reason I asked the "Brony Advice" for... well, advice. In my mind, to lose a friend is like to lose one of my most valuable assets. The last thing I want to do is simply tell a person 'no' and end it. I feel like there is a friendship to still be had. I would rather fight to keep my friends before we just come to the conclusion of 'giving up' or ending the relationship in bad taste.

Thank you for your words of advice though. You have made my insecurity more apparent to me. Either I need to resolve this friendship issue or my insecurity - or both.
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:iconwhisperer-of-winds:
Whisperer-of-Winds Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Professional Writer
Dear ClassicTeam,

I can understand your predicament....because it was mine when I was but a wee lad. What is more, from the similarities, I would say that you take pride in your friends. That they are not many but you deem them of qualities that are rarely found. Am I correct?

Then again, we are who we are and we cannot deny that or dispel it or else...we lose the essence of what we are.

I know exactly of the insecurity you describe... even at the age of 26 I still get them. It's your heart!!!

Yes, that's what aches you. You can offer the kind feelings and are disappointed when it is not offered back to you, even in a small measure. To tell you the truth, I never truly figured a solution to this kind of dilemma... except that I now guard my heart and rarely do I reveal it to any...let alone one that would make mockery of it.

Taking a stand is needed at 75% of all issues, though wisdom must temper your thoughts and actions or else your heart might turn bitter like mine did many years ago. I now acquired the ...wisdom, to heal mine so care for yours ;D
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