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Friendship is Horses

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Since LostSanity has been maintaining his own blog (and FITE ME HATERS argument arena) as a thread here for a while, I figure I'll start one too! Blog, that is, not an inflammatory opinion hole. I'm hoping that other people will feel moved to jump in with their own perspectives on whatever I happen to be talking about, and we can get some good discussions out of it. Right, let's get started then.

ART GUILT

One thing I struggle with is my own prodigious lack of output when it comes to drawing pretty pony pictures. I've wanted to do creative work as a profession since I was seven years old; it's what I get passionate about on the rare occasion that I feel passionately about anything. First it was writing, then it became art. In ten years maybe I'll be a musician, who knows? But artists don't make money. You can be a mediocre anything-else and make more money than you would as an excellent artist, with a few lucky, talented, and business-savvy exceptions. So as I entered adulthood, it slowly became clear that I was going to have to get a "real job" if I wanted to support my art habit.

And I'm okay with that! If I were an artist by profession, I'd be drawing other people's ideas, instead of having the freedom to illustrate whatever inane bullshit pops into my head. Having a day job is great. It takes care of the bills and leaves my free time totally free to do anything I want. But it does eat up the better part of my week. And when I get off work, I'm tired and my hands are sore and I just want to collapse into a chair and stare at the internet for a while. Which leaves the weekends for drawing. But of course I have errands to run, household chores to attend to, and video games to play, and somehow months will go by without my doing anything more than doodles and sketches.

It's hard to commit to drawing something involved when you know it's *the* thing you're going to accomplish for that week. When I'm doodling on my work breaks I have no trouble coming up with ideas. I have fun, and about half the time I get a picture finished that I'm proud of. But when I sit down on weekends to finally make a serious drawing, I get paralyzed. I can't settle on an idea, I'm unhappy with my sketches, and I'm inevitably distracted by the siren call of 1,001 other things I could be doing.

The solution is pretty obvious: clear out some time for myself to do art every week, and don't let thoughts of failure psych me out. As easily done as said, right?

Right????

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I think alcoholism stems from a preoccupation with micromanaging your own happiness. You try it in college, have some fun, find yourself less inhibited and able to relax and enjoy yourself, and then forever after your brain is constantly nagging you with the thought "you could be happier right now if you drank a beer". Which makes you unable to be happy at all, because of the bombardment of subconscious messages you're getting from yourself that remind you you aren't happy enough. Sure, playing a video game right now would be okay, but what if I did that while I was buzzed? How much better would that be? And until I drink that first beer, I can't shake the idea that I'm sub-optimally content. I can't have fun if I'm checking my internal drunk-o-meter every five seconds and seeing a depressing zero.

And then once I start drinking, it can go two ways. If I'm tired or something and a few beers don't make me feel automatically livelier, then obviously I haven't had enough and I need to keep doing it until it kicks in. If I loosen up a little and become less self-conscious, it's "see how much fun you're having now? You know what would make this even better? MORE BEER! Hey, if you stop now, all you have to look forward to is slowly coming down and maybe a mild headache. Let's keep that sobriety at bay, shall we?" And I'll keep going until I hit a point where I know I've had a little too much, and man, I better not stop then because coming down from that is going to be a real bitch. At that point, I better just keep drinking until I fall asleep, so my body can deal with the worst of the hangover while I'm too unconscious to regret it.

Lately I've been experimenting with techniques for "mindfulness". You know, clearing my mind of all thoughts and just experiencing the passive sensations of sitting quietly for a while, or being conscious of a desire without judging it or acting on it, just waiting until it passes. It seems to help, but it's still more work than consuming a beverage.

Damn, all this writing is making me thirsty. Pro tip: if you want to avoid thinking about something, don't sit down to write a goddamn short essay about that thing. Actually, that's not a very pro tip. More like a common sense thing.

Shit, this feels way too personal to post, but if I was struggling with something I'd want to hear about other people's experiences with it and hopefully gain some insight into myself, so I'm DOING IT ANYWAY

 

 

 

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JUST OKAY

I've been reading reviews of the MLP movie while I wait for my local theater to start showing it, and most critics seem to think that it's, you know, decent. Okay. It's fine, if you're into that sort of thing. It's sitting at 58% right now on Rottentomatoes, which means it gets the dreaded Green Splat.

I can't judge it for myself until I've seen it, but, if I do, and it's just "okay"... then why the hell am I walking around with Rainbow Dash's face plastered on my shirt? As time goes on, I think this whole brony thing has less to do with the unmatched spectacular quality of the show and more because there's a community around it. Everybody wants to find their tribe. And that's fine; I like the community. I like watching Greg's Mentally Advanced videos (and maybe these new Nepotism ones will be good too), and DWK's episode recaps, and reading Dilarus's comics and looking at Tsitra's amazing art, and that's just scratching the surface of all the pony-themed content floating around the web. And the show itself -- it's an above-average children's cartoon. But it's still a kids' show, a little girls' show even, and when it's an internet phenomenon and all the people in your "community" are scattered thinly across the globe, I can't help but feel like a right tool taking out my pony wallet in the grocery store.

It's like, the other day I saw this guy at the gas station and he was wearing a shirt made to look like the Confederate flag. And I think, "there's someone I most definitely don't want to talk to. Also we're hundreds of miles from the South." But what that shirt means to me (look, a racist bigot!) is probably not what he's thinking when he puts it on. He's probably from the South, and conservative, and really hyped about the whole, um, being Southern thing... look I don't actually know a whole lot about why people still display the Confederate flag over a hundred years after they lost the war but I'm sure they could go on about it, and to them it's not some anti-blacks-and-gays symbol. It's a tribal identifier. It looks ridiculous to everyone else, but they see it as a group pride thing. They're from Alabama and goddamn, it's just the best. Have you been? Friendliest state in the country. You should totally watch -- er, visit Alabama.

See what I'm getting at?

 

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6 hours ago, Friendship is Horses said:

look I don't actually know a whole lot about why people still display the Confederate flag over a hundred years after they lost the war but I'm sure they could go on about it, and to them it's not some anti-blacks-and-gays symbol. It's a tribal identifier. It looks ridiculous to everyone else, but they see it as a group pride thing.

 

I'm from the south and I see people like this on a daily basis.  You're correct in thinking that the Confederate flag is symbolic to many people who choose to display it.  What is it symbolic of though?  Let me give you a brief explanation:

 

The Confederate flag is a symbol of "Southern Pride", the dominant culture in many parts of the south, specifically centered around whites.  It involves pastimes such as eating barbecue, watching Nascar, hunting/fishing, owning as many firearms as you can afford, going to church on Sunday, etc.  Basically it's a way of life here in the south.  

 

Sadly there's also a lot of racial tension associated with the Confederate flag as well.  It's been embraced by various hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Skinheads and the Neo-Nazis as one of their own symbols due to its associating with the enslavement of blacks.  But this in no way means that every single white person who displays the Confederate flag is a racist or bigot.  

 

That's the gist of it. 

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Regarding tribal identifiers, I own exactly one piece of wearable merch. A T-shirt I won in a contest, and the design is general enough that it's not obviously pony. And to be honest, I mostly wanted the shirt because I was between jobs and holes were appearing in my other shirts.

I was never really one for dressing to be part of a group. I could have gone full Goth in high school because I was definitely into that stuff, but even at that age it felt too much like a Halloween costume to me. I guess wearing certain clothes to identify the people you associate with never appealed to me. Then again I didn't associate with a lot of people either, and if we had a "clique" then it would have been Those Nerds That Regurgitate Saturday Night Live At Lunch Hour Every Monday. We were an eclectic mix of NJROTC, drama geeks, band geeks, Star Trek geeks, whatever the hell I was, and whatever the hell else we felt like at the time.

I don't have Star Wars wallets or Star Trek cufflinks. Probably the biggest and mostly openly "fandom" items I have of anything are metal band T-shirts, and I would buy those at concerts "to support the artists."

Other than clothing, I suppose the only other tribal identifier about me is hair down to my lower back. But nowadays that's so non-specific it wouldn't do much to differentiate me from anybody that isn't active duty.

Do I still buy pony merch? Heck yeah! Most of it's media to consume, though: DVDs, books, comics. I finally splurged on a set of Guardians of Harmony Fan Favorite statue-figures a while back. Would I get another pony shirt? Probably, but with a similar aesthetic to the one linked already. Because I'd feel self-conscious about wearing show-accurate rainbow ponies? If I'm honest, yeah I would be. But also because I'm not really into clothing as a statement of something about myself. Like the Goth thing, it seems like a costume more than clothes.

 

I could expand the Confederate Flag thing a bit but between the two you've mostly got it. Having read some slave narratives of the era, I wish I could set things on fire with my mind whenever I see those ignorant chumps with the CBF plastered over their trucks. In reality all the Confederacy stood for was a tremendously petty pseudo-aristocracy, legalized murder, torture, and such a strong rejection of our founding ideals* that they were willing to kill friends, neighbors, and family to get out from under them. All of it for the sake of slavery, the profits thereof, and nothing else.

What it means to most rural hicks today is "I'm part of this group and we don't like other people tellin' us what to do! YEEHAW REBEL YELL Y'ALL!"

I blame most of this on our national cowardice when it comes to addressing this dark period of American history, where we mostly portrayed the leaders of the Slaver Rebellion as honorable men fighting a futile, but noble, battle for a misguided cause. It would be healthier to our society to deal with it for what it was, along with a few other horrific practices and depravities Americans have engaged in at various points in history.

 

 

*Not founding facts, but what we were supposed to strive towards as a country. Not only was the originally established United States supremely racist and slave-bound, it also even divided white people by land ownership into voting and non-voting populations, to say nothing of sexism. Still, the phrase "All mean are created equal" was something the founders wanted us to work towards even knowing full well that they themselves fell well short of it.

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On 10/9/2017 at 7:31 AM, Friendship is Horses said:

JUST OKAY

I've been reading reviews of the MLP movie while I wait for my local theater to start showing it, and most critics seem to think that it's, you know, decent. Okay. It's fine, if you're into that sort of thing. It's sitting at 58% right now on Rottentomatoes, which means it gets the dreaded Green Splat.

I can't judge it for myself until I've seen it, but, if I do, and it's just "okay"... then why the hell am I walking around with Rainbow Dash's face plastered on my shirt? As time goes on, I think this whole brony thing has less to do with the unmatched spectacular quality of the show and more because there's a community around it. Everybody wants to find their tribe. And that's fine; I like the community. I like watching Greg's Mentally Advanced videos (and maybe these new Nepotism ones will be good too), and DWK's episode recaps, and reading Dilarus's comics and looking at Tsitra's amazing art, and that's just scratching the surface of all the pony-themed content floating around the web. And the show itself -- it's an above-average children's cartoon. But it's still a kids' show, a little girls' show even, and when it's an internet phenomenon and all the people in your "community" are scattered thinly across the globe, I can't help but feel like a right tool taking out my pony wallet in the grocery store.

 

In the case of the movie being okay from the standpoint of someone who has seen the movie and pretty much agrees with that consensus, I don't find the movie to be a good stand in for the show and for the most part, it's not even a good intro into the show. The reason the fandom still exists is because the show does a better job at what the movie couldn't really do (either because of not having enough time to do it, wanting to appeal to a more general audience, or potential Hasbro interference with the making of said movie), and that's character development. It fleshes out the characters much better than the movie can because they have the time to do it using multiple episodes to their advantage. Plus, the show still does a good job with some of it's more emotion-heavy story premises (The Perfect Pear is a perfect example, pun not intended). While the movie does a decent job with this portion, it's definitely not as strong as the show has been able to do in 1/3rd of the runtime across 7 seasons, partly because it was hard for the movie to keep focus with so many new characters they had to introduce on top of keeping the story going. In answer to why you walk around with a Rainbow Dash shirt, it's because the show is what got you interested in the fandom to begin with, not the movie. While I feel the movie works on its own merits and is a pretty enjoyable watch when all is said and done, the show is still better when it comes to storytelling and character development than the movie was and the show is what keeps me going with the fandom more than anything else (at least right now while the show is still airing). The movie is an example of a movie for the fans and remains something that has potential to be enjoyed by those who don't know anything about the fandom that helped create it, but will rarely get people interested into the show enough to give it a shot nor will it have enough to make some people understand what it was that made the show popular in the first place. Fact of the matter is, while the movie works and is enjoyable (particularly for fans), the show is still better.

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Hmm.

The pony craze seems to have died down a bit from its hey-day. This party's winding down. I think I'll "leave the fandom".

Peace out, motherbuckers. I'm turning in my Brony Card.

There. Done. Decision reached, announcement made, no milking it for drama. I hope you're taking notes, @LostSanity.

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NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDE

Well, this is disappointing. "Leaving the fandom" failed to make me any more conventionally attractive, and I didn't spontaneously lose weight, either. I think I got a little better at social interaction, but that might just be in my head. Maybe I was supposed to stop drawing the little fuckers, too? Or unfollow all my favorite artists if they mostly do pony content? Or, like, delete my forum account and stop coming here? Actually I don't know why I still come here. It's pretty quiet. Not much to talk about between seasons.

 

 

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Okay I'm back in the fandom again but only for Seasons 1-3. The show ended when Twilight became a princess. Character arc complete, roll credits. Everything else is post-canon fanfiction with really good production quality. Seriously, the animation is amazing.

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Done! Five zero zero. A cool half-thousand posts, signed, sealed and delivered.

I don't believe in the Oxford comma. Maybe it's my general impatience to be moving along with things? I did sort of artificially accelerate the milestone thing.

So, what's new? How've you been? I've been good. Moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment, yay! There are boxes all over the place still. I bought a bookcase, then I filled it, and I still have MORE BOOKS so it looks like I'll need a second one. How do I have so many books? I used to read a lot when I was in middle and high school and didn't have a computer and the nearest real store was an hour's drive away holy hell how did I even survive? But since I discovered the Internet in college, the reading thing has been replaced by cheaper sources of entertainment that provide small, quick bursts of dopamine, like webcomics and deviantart and tumblr. Now that I've been going through all these books though, many of which I haven't even read... I should try to get back in the habit. A novel can take you on a fantastic adventure where the only limits are yours and the author's imaginations. A fusing of minds! A story is like training wheels for your imagination. You get the blueprints, but you render the imagery yourself. A nice little low-budget means of experiencing fantasy on a grand scale, and I mean fantasy in the broad sense. In a novel, you can have, like, a pirate ship the size of Manhattan just by writing it! Even if you made it in CG, that would take a lot of money for a movie to pull off convincingly.

It is hard to choose slow-burn activities that are personally enriching when the internet is right there with 76 different kinds of instant gratification vying for one's attention. It's like, I know I'll feel better mentally and physically after a balanced meal of minimally processed food, but it's more enjoyable to eat a Big Mac. Self-control is learning to be less short-sighted in your decision-making. Wow, that's a lot of hyphenated words.

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On 6/1/2018 at 1:09 PM, Friendship is Horses said:

I don't believe in the Oxford comma. Maybe it's my general impatience to be moving along with things? I did sort of artificially accelerate the milestone thing.

:anger:

Oxford-Comma.jpg

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