BronyCon is back, and this year it’s bigger than ever. DHN was there to get an impression on the biggest pony convention in the United States. Find out what this reporter thinks of the event after the break! Read more →
“The Kindness Game” is a revised version of an essay I posted to the Real Men Watch My Little Pony Facebook group in June of 2012.
Today, because of rain, what should have been an easy commute lasted two hours. It involved a lot of standing in crunched up awkward positions that wreaked havoc on my lousy back. The bus ride was crowded, painful, and pretty much impossible to walk away from without feeling like utter garbage.
However, somewhere along the journey, I whipped out my phone, and I happened to look at a piece of Fluttershy fan art. It dawned on me that there was another way. I came up with something I call The Kindness Game.
It sounds lame, but hear me out. Ordinarily, your natural impulse in a situation like that is to get mad. You can’t help that. But why let an uncomfortable situation rob you of all the ponyjoy you’ve built up in your heart?
Anger is about power, and it rises up when you feel powerless. Your physical well-being is depleted, and your sense of the way it ought to befeels violated. Then, to top it off, when it’s all over, you end up feeling regret because you didn’t act according to your best nature when you were angry. Anger, bio-chemically speaking, makes you act like a great big jerk.
That’s why you turn it into a game. Here’s how you play. If something frustrates you, you turn around and be positive anyway. You smile at the bus driver, you drop a buck in a homeless guy’s cup, you give up your seat to someone significantly more infirm than you. Then you say to yourself, “Score! I totally didn’t let that situation defeat me!”
I’m not saying you turn your anger inward. I’m not saying you let it bottle up inside. I’m saying attack the problem at its source. In a situation that there’s no way to pragmatically fix, rather than feel powerless and get angry, can totally own the day. You do it by realizing that kindness is still an option left open to you.
The way to defeat a bad situation like that is to refuse to let it bring you down. Today, on the bus, I found little excuses to do something nice for other people. It was totally like playing a game, and once I looked at it like that, I played it aggressively.
I actually got the biological impulse for rage to translate into physical acts of kindness. Pretty soon I was acting like Pinkie Pie, and aiming to win me some smiles, but I felt more like Snowflake (Yeahhhhhh!).
Then, just like that, I wasn’t angry anymore. I no longer felt powerless. It had been that simple all along. Sure, at the end of the commute, my back still hurt, (and it would have regardless), but I came out, for the most part, feeling pretty fantastic, because the situation sucked, and I got to say to myself “I played the Kindness Game, and I bucking won” (Snowflake: “Yeeeeaahhhh!”).
Anger of course, has its place. As a parent, I bring it with me to every single school meeting to ensure that I’m the best advocate I can be for my child. Anger also fuels action against social injustice. However, in most day-to-day situations, it just consumes us – gives us ulcers. Those are the situations where you whip out the Kindness Game.
NOTE: I am not sharing this to brag of my minor victories. I’m sharing this to thank the fandom for being the inspiration for this game, (after all, it was a piece of brony-made fan art that pulled me out of the gutter in the first place), and to encourage you to try it. It sounds silly. It sounds stupid and Self Help Book-ish, but I swear, it actually works, especially if you think about pony while you play. Anyway, on a personal note, this fandom taught me how to make kindness a lifestyle. Thanks. I hope that, in return, my game will be of some use to you.
You can follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! on Tumblr.
“Children of the Night” is a fan animation project that has been in the works for over a year now by the two animators, Richard Sirois and Jordana G. A number of teasers and previews later, we now have the finished project uploaded on YouTube. While the original sketches and vocals have convinced us that an excellent animation was in the works, does the final product live up to that expectation? Check out after the page break for my full review on the animation.
Tumblr PonCast Special Edition: Sweet Apple Acres Con
Everything you want to know about Sweet Apples Acre Con is now up on our raw livestreamed video with the biggest players behind the SAAC drama, including 6 hours of continuous interviews with Obsidian Winter, Final Draft, Silver Eagle, Snowden Pony and more.
Equestria has its own history – its own mythos, its own culture.
One thing I’ve always loved about brony culture is that we embrace Equestrian traditions and make them our own.
Today is the fandom’s third Summer Sun Celebration. Two years ago, we rejoiced at the opportunity to emulate pony culture – to further develop a cultural identity of our own, to find fun small little ways to remake our fandom in Equestria’s image.
(Admittedly, it was really just one more excuse to be silly and post ponies, but it was still a joyous thing!)
On a personal level, that Summer Sun Celebration inspired me to stop hiding, to give back to the community – to stop putting my music on a private playlist no one would ever know about, and start writing songs about ponies – to start participating even more in the ever-addictive online brony community.
On a fandom level, it begs the question: What do? How do we celebrate?
Reflection is a good place to start.
The Summer Sun Celebration is about beginnings. The beginning of the show, the beginning of Twilight’s studies on the magic of friendship, the beginning of Luna’s new life outside of her lunar prison and outside of Nightmare Moon, the return of the Elements of Harmony, and the beginning of a new era for the Mane Six and for all of Equestria.
We might not all be able to fill our homes with bronies, put lampshades on our heads and party while we wait for the Sun to come up, but we can still think about our beginnings. We can still reflect on who we are, where we came from, and what made us fall in love with a show about talking ponies in the first place.
We can reflect on the awesomeness of Luna’s release, her plea for forgiveness, Celestia’s joy and compassion, and the sheer beauty of that tearful and loving embrace. We all need as much of that kind of love and positivity in our lives as we can get.
When the Sun comes up (if it hasn’t for you already), even if you don’t do anything particularly wild or remarkable, you can still celebrate with spirit – with pride.
…And with cake. Celestia likes cake.
Now you can also follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! at http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com
Love and Tolerance. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some look at it as a “stupid meme” that went too far; others see it as a value system—a way of life. Regardless of where you fall on that particular spectrum, one thing is undeniably certain—love and tolerance is a highly effective stratagem for dealing with trolls.
After all, our ability to face haters with a smile—to fight fire with cupcakes—that phenomenon was the very thing that inspired the “stupid meme” in the first place, and what allowed the brony fandom to blossom into such a positive and supportive environment.
So where does it fit in now?
These days, we far outnumber the trolls and the haters. We are even part of a somewhat mainstream cultural entity. We have our own established institutions, our own conventions, and our own forums (which, for the most part, enjoy a relative level of peace nowadays).
Here is the thing. There is one very big and rather unfortunate problem that seems to have grown out of our fandom’s beautiful sense of solidarity—one thing we never learned to do very well:
We don’t know how to disagree with one another.
The redemption of Discord, the alicornization of Twilight Sparkle, the upcoming Equestria Girls movie—no pony can seem to agree whether these things are the best or worst things ever to happen to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
And that’s fine!
The problem isn’t these events themselves, but the effect they have had on civilized discourse within the fandom.
Over the years, we got so used to sticking together no matter what, that when the show went and made decisions that not all of us liked, we completely came apart.
It’s not the fault of the people who believe the show is in the process of jumping the shark, nor is it the fault of the people who think the show is better than ever. It’s not about which side is right. It’s about expressing those opinions maturely, and accepting disagreement in a spirit of friendship.
“If you don’t like Magical Mystery Cure, you’re not a true brony and never were.”
“If you like Equestria Girls, you’re a traitor to everything MLP stands for.”
Everypony seems to agree that this sort of dialogue is making the fandom a much more unpleasant place. So here’s what we do.
We stop. We listen to what others have to say, and if we see others jumping in, getting aggressive about these particular subjects, we don’t compound the argument with more arguing.
We jump in and fight fire with cupcakes once again. We post something joyful in response. We find a common ground. We go out of our way to tell folks with whom we disagree that even though we don’t see eye-to-eye, that we still respect and value them. Only love can conquer hate, (and that doesn’t mean expecting everypony to love the same exact things that you love).
Fillies and Gentlecolts, it’s time to do it all over again. The fandom has come full circle. We need to learn to Love and Tolerate the Shit Out of each other.
We can do it.
(Curse word not asterisked out of faithfulness to the original meme.)
Now you can follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony on Tumblr: heartfullofpony.tumblr.com.