Given the chance, Nazis can and will ruin anything. Case in point: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Today’s essential read is this piece from The Atlantic’s Kaitlyn Tiffany, which details the upheaval in the community of adult and mostly male fans of the series, known as bronies. It is both very specific and broadly applicable to the state of the world at the moment, folding in issues of free speech and “free speech,” moderation, as well as complicity, hypocrisy, and much more.
There’s enough going on here that it’s difficult to neatly summarize or break down to one important point, but we can’t resist highlighting this little section here:
What’s clearest from talking with those on either side of the argument is that the My Little Pony fandom has developed a totally nonsensical hodgepodge of values. Many fans who specifically support Black Lives Matter, for example, are also fans of Aryanne, a fan-invented Nazi pony with a pink swastika on her hip. They do not acknowledge a contradiction. “I love Aryanne,” a 25-year-old My Little Pony fan named Sam told me. “It’s just cute, funny, sexy art.” Then he added, “Black Lives Matter art is great. I welcome it.” (Sam asked to go only by his first name to avoid harassment.)
When Acesential posted a drawing of a pony holding an “I Can’t Breathe” flag, and when Henry posted art containing the initialism “ACAB,” for “All Cops Are Bastards,” commenters spat back that ponies shouldn’t be used as a “mouthpiece” for politics, even though some of those same commenters have loved it when ponies wear “Make America Great Again” hats. This idea of what counts as political and what doesn’t is another thing the fandom took from 4chan—where racial slurs are just jokes but anti-racism makes you a “social justice warrior.”
If you want some more information or context about (oh god this is so messed up) ARYANNE THE NAZI PONY, the link above is totally safe to click and will not send you into a nightmarish Nazi-pony rabbit hole. Instead you’ll find yourself at a Medium story by Mackenzie Rudd titled “My Little Nazi: The Curious Link Between the Alt-Right and the My Little Pony Fandom.” As The Atlantic story underlines quite a few times, the name of the show is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which would seem to be pretty much the opposite of My Little Pony: Racism And Oh I Don’t Know Hate In General, but like we said, Nazis can ruin pretty much anything.
Once again, the piece is worth reading in full. And if you’re reading this and thinking “that person is right, it’s just cute, funny, sexy art,” please for the love of god see a therapist.
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