Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Video commercial for Equestria Daily

I am playing absurd amounts of GT Legends at the moment. The discovery that Steam – Steam! – had it free of the hideous Starforce DRM that renders it unplayable on modern machines, and also for £0.00 as I have a boxed retail copy with the requisite code, was too much to ignore. Also, you can change the driver names. Last time out in a Lotus Cortina race at Thruxton, Fluttershy held off Scootaloo for the win. The biggest hooligan out there, incidentally, is Carrot Top: she's fast, but she's also wild; CT has repeatedly punted me off the track.


This has been trailed on EQD for a while, and here it is. Made by WeimTime, most known to me for their musical stuff, and voiced by Caitbug, it's not at all bad. It's nothing spectacular in terms of content, and I can't help noticing that fanfic is as usual way down the list (joke! Mostly), but I should think it'll do a job in terms of being seen by people who wouldn't normally see it. Mind you, that's bound to include some who just want to be pains, so I suspect we'll have to get used to a little more unwanted attention for a while as well as (hopefully) more actual recruits to our ridiculous, wonderful fandom.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Brony Thank You Fund poster stolen: have you seen it?

Poster stolen from (the American) Ponycon, January 2017
Image comes from EQD, so I'm afraid I can't help the flash
As reported on EQD yesterday, the Brony Thank You Fund's multiply signed poster, which was going to be the star of the charity auction at Ponycon (the American one), has been stolen. Given what it is, this would not sell to anyone who didn't know what they were getting. As such, it may have been stolen by the person who wants it, or even specifically to order.

The Brony Thank You Fund have asked that anyone who sees the poster, or who may be able to shed light on its whereabouts, get in touch with them. The phone number they give is 603-513-2383 – obviously this is a US number, so you'll have to add the appropriate prefix if you're calling internationally. Let's hope that, one way or another, this poster can be returned intact.

On a personal note? I'm saddened and disgusted by this despicable act. It really is a low act to stoop to. But please don't let it destroy your faith in our fandom. It doesn't mean the fandom is rotten, just that (like any other large community) it contains a certain number of rotten apples. I hope that the far larger number of good people we have will end up giving this story a happier ending.

Edit: according to Graem in an EQD comment, this is the BronyCon 2012 poster – though obviously most of them aren't signed!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Comic mini-review: Friends Forever #36: Rainbow Dash and Soarin

Obselescence has called it a day – not just from his moderating role, but from Fimfiction as a whole, due to lack of time. A shame, but Real Life is increasingly poking its ugly muzzle into the ponyfic community. I'm glad I got round to reviewing Twilight Eats a Peach before Obs disappeared, though. :P

MLP Friends Forever #36 RI cover showing Fluttershy tucking Angel into bed
I rarely go for RI covers, but Low Zi Rong's was unmissable!
Now that we know that the Friends Forever series is coming to an end, I'm hoping for some nice comics for it to go out with. This one, despite its apparently fanservicey pairing, isn't at all a bad start. Rainbow and Soarin work well together (and no, things don't go all shippy) and Soarin in particular gets some good extra depth to his character. Christina Rice provides a solid, interesting story that fits in with canon, and Tony Fleecs' art is colourful and varied. There's some good (albeit not that epic) adventure and Spitfire's background/supporting role is fine. If you wanted to nitpick, you could say that Derpy's cameo was a bit forced, but still – a comic I'm happy I bought. ★★★★

Note: thanks to IDW's continual messing around with schedules, this, and not main-series no. 50, is the first comic to use the new white MLP logo.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Looks like the Smyths monopoly is over!

I don't post much about merch on here, but I would like to record my pleasure at starting to see Guardians of Harmony sets turn up in supermarkets. I was in my local big Tesco yesterday and they had several, including the Cheese Sandwich cannon, Chrysalis/Spike and Twilight/changeling. What I'd really like, of course, would be a Fluttershy GoH set – a regular one, at regular prices, not just that not-exactly-cheap SDCC set with her and Discord. I don't think Rarity has a GoH set at the moment, either. Boo.

At least some of the Fan Series figures would be nice as well, given the usual silly import prices.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 142: Carrot Top Edition

"More cheese is being eaten in the United States today than twenty-five years ago" – Avram Davidson, "The Sources of the Nile" (1960)

The above has nothing to do with today's post. I just found it an amusing thing to quote out of context. Right; let's get to the real business of the day.

Read it Later story count: 484 (nc)

The Amethyst Star edition of PR a while back was quite fun to do, so let's look at another of Ponyville's background heroes this week. Carrot Top (Golden Harvest in the merch world) has been rather hard done by in the show, having been robbed of the power of speech since Season Two. There aren't that many stories about her, especially as I'm not into the Lunaverse, but thanks in part to some recommendations from Chris (much appreciated!) I've put together what I hope is a decent selection to look at.

Talking of Chris, clearly one of his own Carrot Top stories had to be featured here, but two of the most obvious choices were out. I've already reviewed the very good Going Up (PR 36), while The Purloined Pony's highly unusual format makes it somewhat awkward to deal with in a conventional review. Fortunately, Even in Dreams fitted the bill, so that's what I chose. Observation: for the canon universe at least, established writers seem considerably more likely to write Carrot Top fics than less experienced authors.

Happy Ending by plumander
All in the Presentation by Pineta
Practical Nightmares Only by Impossible Numbers
Even in Dreams by Chris
Bitter Harvest by Esle Ynopemos

Adventures in Cake Making by TwilightFlopple
The Weed by PaulAsaran
Shoots and Roots by Bachiavellian
Monarchy of Carrots by Seventh Heaven
A Generous Hearts and Hooves Day by GrassAndClouds2

★: 0 | ★★: 3 | ★★★: 4 | ★★★★: 3 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Pony Music Library 38: "Swing! Tavi Swing!"

Another old-school classic gets inducted into the PML today!


What? "Swing! Tavi Swing!"

Who? Joaftheloaf

Which? Original song

When? August 2012

Why? You really don't hear a lot of swing music in this fandom, and I'm a sucker for piano, so I was interested as soon as I heard the intro to this piece. Although the lyrics maybe aren't quite perfectly fitted to the rhythm, they're pretty close, and the song does have that vital quality of getting stuck in your head. Well, my head anyway. I also really like the instrumental version – perhaps even more, actually.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Non-ponyfic book reviews

I don't intend to make this into a general-purpose blog, but I thought some people might find it interesting occasionally to know what I've been reading away from Pony. While for ponyfic I read one story at a time, generally I have several books on the go at once and bounce between them. That's the case now. So, here are a few of my recent reads, complete with Amazon links and – just for the hay of it – star ratings too:

The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden by Robert Winder
As a cricket fan, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is an essential read, especially now the quality of its writing is higher than it was 20 years ago. Winder is an amiable enough guide, and there are plenty of good anecdotes, but he does have a tendency to ramble; I do feel that the book would have benefited from some slightly sharper editing and about a 10% reduction in  length. ★★★

The Giver by Lois Lowry
This isn't nearly as famous in the UK as it is in America, and I hadn't read it at all until a friend gave me a copy a while back. Reading it again, I'd class it as "pretty good and haunting in places, but also slightly unsatisfying". I don't want to spoil things, though probably everyone reading this knows the twist, but let's say that certain aspects of the world depicted stretch my suspension of disbelief a bit. ★★★

Made in America: An Informal History of American English by Bill Bryson
Not a new book to me by any means, but it's still an enjoyable one to dip in and out of. It's not one to treat as a textbook, as I'm not sure everything in it is accurate, but for informal entertainment it's well worth a look. One thing it isn't, despite the quote on the back of my edition, is funny. Mildly amusing occasionally, but not even close to Bryson's best travel books in that respect. ★★★

Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
If you ask me, you can't beat mid-period Pratchett. The early books are a bit hit-and-miss, the later ones are a tad too serious-minded for my liking, and Raising Steam is simply rather sad. Men at Arms, however, is fantastic: the Watch characters are now established, the wordplay is brilliant, Ankh-Morpork is still at its pre-moveable type best and the plot is solid. This is my latest "pure relaxation" read. ★★★★★

Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles
This has generally excellent reviews, but in spite of my long-term interest in all things Roman I just couldn't get into it. It's frustrating, since seeing the Romans from outside is always interesting, but I found this much denser than I'd hoped. It's not quite at textbook levels, but it's close, with a huge references section. (Endnotes, as usual. Footnotes are so much easier to refer to!) Possibly it just caught me at a bad time, but I'm disappointed. ★★

Sunday, 22 January 2017

UK of Equestria's favourite episodes revealed!

Over on UK of E, Eunos the Fool (I'm not being rude, that's his username!) has been running a feature for the last few weeks in which he gradually reveals the overall tallies for a vote he ran asking people to list their top 20 FiM episodes of all time. Only ten people (including me) took part, which was a bit of a shame, but it provided us with heaps to talk about as the numbers were gradually revealed.

Here's the overall top 20 (well, actually the top 22), with my own ranking for each episode in brackets:
1. The Return of Harmony (6)
2. Crusaders of the Lost Mark (4)
3= Twilight's Kingdom (11)
3= Magical Mystery Cure (18)

5. The Cutie Mark Chronicles (5)
6. Amending Fences (2)
7. Filli Vanilli (19)
8. A Canterlot Wedding (–)
9. Pinkie Pride (3)
10. Sleepless in Ponyville (7)

11. Friendship is Magic (–)
12. Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 (–)
13. Winter Wrap Up (–)
14. Maud Pie (14)
15. A Hearth's Warming Tail (8)
16. Hurricane Fluttershy (1)
17. Rarity Investigates! (–)
18. Luna Eclipsed (–)
19. Stranger Than Fan Fiction (12)
20= Lesson Zero (13)
20= Suited for Success (16)
20= To Where and Back Again (10)
For what it's worth, the episodes I had in my top 20 which didn't make the list above were, using the same format as above:
23. Slice of Life (15)
24. The Saddle Row Review (20)
40. The Cutie Map (9)
69= Buckball Season (17)
I'll admit to being a little startled that "The Return of Harmony" won overall; right from the start I'd confidently expected "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" to take home the crown. For my own part, I feel I gave slight disservice to "Filli Vanilli", and that I really ought to have placed it on the fringes of the top ten. Still, it was a fun exercise, and if it happens again in the future I'll take part again.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

UK PonyCon 2017 begins to show signs of stirring!

Yesterday, UK PonyCon unveiled the 2017 Committee. (Not literally: they hadn't been covered in sheets until now. I think.) Only a few changes, although since I now know the treasurer I shall have to be very careful not to go off on too many rants. Such as the one I had planned about £1.89 being horribly expensive for the sixteen-week con at Buckingham Palace we all expect to be getting this time round. ;)

If past years are any guide, it'll still be quite a while until the really major announcement, ie where UKPC17 will be held. That's obviously the crucial factor for a lot of us in deciding whether or not we can make it. I'll certainly do my best, since I absolutely loved last year's convention, but until the time comes I can't promise I'll be there. Well, not unless a major custard manufacturer would like to sponsor me...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 141: At Your Every Turn a Scandal

Read it Later story count: 484 (+5)

And... breathe. Always. After a couple of themed editions of PR, it's time for me to catch up with one of my mixed bags of short fics. A fair number of middling-to-good stories this week, but that's just how it goes sometimes. First, let's give the fics a little respect with the usual list. Stay with me:

Life, Love, and Jupiter's Moon Europa by Vertigo22
The Easy Way Out by Mysterious Stranger
I AM an Adult! by Summer Dancer
No Longer the Greatest by Rambling Writer
Pros and Cons by Steel Resolve
Rainbow Dash and the Pie Sisters by KingMoriarty
My Little Pony: Corrupted Fandoms by Matthais Unidostres
Remember by Prince Conjure
Magical by bigbear

★: 2 | ★★: 2 | ★★★: 4 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 16 January 2017

Word cloud!

There'll be a lot going on in Real Life over the next few days, so apologies if Louder Yay is a little quieter than usual when it comes to updates. Ponyfic Roundup will be up on Wednesday as usual, though, and today I have something a little different.

Over on Fimfiction, hawthornbunny has posted about a little Javascript thing he wrote to generate word clouds from a few authors' published fics. One of the people he selected was me, and here's what my cloud looks like. (The colours have no particular significance.)

Word cloud for Loganberry's Fimfiction stories
It seems that I write about ponies a fair bit

One thing that Hawthorn noted was that, of the authors he's looked at so far (admittedly a small sample), I was the only person not to have Twilight in first or second place. I surmised – correctly as it turned out – that the reason was Where They Understand You. This story, which centres on FlutterDash friendshipping, is much longer than any of my others – and because it's set before the start of the show, Twilight doesn't figure in it at all. Incidentally, it's also a story in which the difference between, say, "Rainbow" and "Rainbow Dash" is actually significant.

After I mentioned this to Hawthorn, he was kind enough to generate a second word cloud from which Where They Understand You was excluded. Here's what that looks like:

Word cloud not including Where They Understand You
Interesting that "stallion" isn't much less prominent than "mare"
This time around, Twilight took centre stage, as indeed she does in nearly everyone's clouds. (The Albinocorn was an unsurprising exception, but even there Twi was second behind Sunset.) My second cloud gives considerable prominence to Pinkie Pie, unsurprising as my first Fimfiction publication, The 20 Percent Solution, which is also my second-longest story, is a Pinkie fic. I'm not sure there are any particular shocks, though.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Pony Music Library 37: "Summer Sun Celebration"

Time we had another one of these. This week's entry may not be on everyone's list of favourites, but it is on mine, so here it is.


What? "Summer Sun Celebration"

Who? Chief Doggingfood

Which? YTPMV, I suppose, but I just listen to the music

When? August 2013

Why? Because it's quite stupidly catchy. That's about the size of it! Okay, the second half of the song isn't quite as good as the first half, but it's still one that gets stuck in my head for extended periods of time. In spite of its release date, this is entirely based on S1, indeed mostly on the very first episode. It's originally a YTPMV, and the glitchy bits will put off some people – but I've come to enjoy it very much simply to listen to in its own right, so in it goes.

Note: through my own stupidity, I accidentally deleted the comments to this entry. They were: 1) Oilyvalves pointing out I'd got the wrong video embedded to start with (fixed now) and 2) xjuggernaughtx saying he loved the song, though thought it could really have done with a second verse. Apologies to both!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Shout-out to a new (well, less new by now as I'm so pathetically slow) ponyfic reviewer

A relatively recent addition to the ranks of those who do Celestia's work in reviewing ponyfic is MLPMatthewl419. The guy with the slightly unwieldy name has only been registered since November, yet has already clocked up over 100 reviews in his Fimfiction blogs. As you might imagine, these are mostly short, and indeed are mostly reviews of short stories. His scoring method takes a little bit of getting used to (there's a score out of ten and a recommendation, which don't always match) but anyone who's willing to interact with his commenters is a good egg in my book.

(What?)

As it happens, MLPMatthewl419 has been kind enough to review one of my fics: in his Reviews #39 post you can read what he thought of Starlight Repeatedly Teleports into Custard. The summary? "8.5/10 Recommended." I'll certainly take that, thank you! Mind you, I do have to report that my reviewer may not be quite in possession of all his critical faculties, given that the following is an extract from said review:
"It has very few errors in it, which is a thing Loganberry does."
Given that, while writing this post, I misspelt the name of my own fic – twice in one mention – I'm not sure how accurate the above actually is. Nevertheless, I intend to use the line every time someone points out a stupid typo in one of my stories! :D

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Dave Polsky has left the building

 

If you don't count Meghan McCarthy, who is working on the movie, the very last Season One writer has departed. Dave Polsky was never my favourite writer, though he did come up with some fine episodes such as "Rarity Takes Manehattan". What I'll mostly remember him for, though, is the fantastic panel presentation he did at BUCK 2014 – the whole thing was filmed by the con and can be seen above. It was far and away the best panel I've attended at any convention, and was one of those "I was there" moments that cons can have.

As I said in the comments on EQD, this is sad in a way as the severing of a (nearly) final writing link with the early days. But I don't mind new writers if – if – they get the show. That means appreciating that it's not simply a "wacky cartoon". Corey Powell's first episode was "Sleepless in Ponyville". Jennifer Skelly's debut was "Buckball Season". New writers who can come up with stuff like that are all right with me.

Dave Polsky is moving over to Hasbro's Hanazuki, which makes its debut today. I'll keep an eye on it, but until I actually see an episode it's hard to know how much it'll appeal to me. For now, I'll simply wish Mr Polsky the very best in his new role, thank him for all the work he put into MLP and remain optimistic that those who take up the slack in S7 will do a fine job.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 140: Best Filly Edition

Read it Later story count: 479 (-9)

Time for a Roundup dealing solely in stories (eight of them) featuring my second-favourite pony. It seems she didn't have a tag of her own here – that has now been changed! One omission I haven't been able to fix (yet) is the absence from PR of ocalhoun's Scootafic One in a Million. I wanted to include it in this edition, but I simply ran out of reading time. It remains high on my to-read list and will certainly be reviewed in the next few months. Here's what I did manage:

Foundations by PaulAsaran
A Taste of the Good Life by Eakin
Autumn's End by Martian
Best Young Flyer by bookplayer
Scooterloo by PonyManne215
My Only Sunshine by Queen of Everything
Mothers by KnightMysterio
One Awesome Mom by moguera

★: 2 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 4 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Talking of pony names...

Screenshot of Derpy figure on HasbroToyShop.com
I wish we could find her at $12.99 over here!
...here's something spotted by Fabulous Rarity on EQD yesterday. The official HasbroToyShop.com website has a listing for a Funko Derpy. I know she's Derpy because she's called Derpy in the listing. Multiple times. The blurb even begins "Believe your derpy eyes!" – though that aspect makes me wonder how much Hasbro themselves actually know about this listing, and how long it's going to remain. Here's the shop link.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #49

Main cover by Andy Price of MLP main-series comic #49
It must be a really strange reality if Pinkie is folding
I was impressed by the first instalment in the "Accord" arc, and awarded it four stars. This second comic in the three-parter doesn't quite match up to that, but it's still a very good effort. Ted Anderson's writing takes us to some interesting places, both figuratively and literally. Andy Price and Heather Breckel are as reliable as always and give the issue a nicely consistent (and rather blue) feel. The ending is one I probably should have seen coming, but didn't. A top-end three for this, but I'm really hoping the big finish – in issue #50! – will be better than the conclusions of certain other comic arcs I could name. ★★★

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Coming up on Ponyfic Roundup

You're right: I don't have anything interesting to say today. So you're getting this. You already know that the next issue's Roundup (no. 140) will be a Scootaloo special, but here's a quick look at what's coming after that. Note that these are not set in stone, so don't be surprised if the order ends up changing a bit. This is what I'm currently planning, though:

PR 141: Mixed bag, mostly short one-shots
PR 142: Carrot Top Edition (yes, it's happening!)
PR 143: Semi-random Edition (RiL fics only)
PR 144: Royal Canterlot Library Edition II
PR 145: Another mixed bag, since I like doing those
PR 146: Horsewords

Nothing much has been decided beyond that, though I expect there'll be another Spotlight in the not-too-distant future, as well as more character-themed editions. I'm also just beginning to consider what to do for PR 150, though I really don't have a clue at this point what I'll plump for in the end.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The end of The End of Ponies

Another story I will probably never read: shortskirtsandexplosions' 527,000-word unfinished epic The End of Ponies has been marked Cancelled, more than three years after it was last updated. SS&E has also cancelled several others, while setting a number more to "On Hiatus" – see his blog for a post "about failure" that semi-obliquely talks about this while also giving some worthwhile writing advice.

For what it's worth, the Austraeoh saga (on SS&E's Imploding Colon account) remains set to "Incomplete", with the most recent chapter being – oh, ha ha – Utaan's "Waiting is the Hardest Part". I doubt I'll ever go back to it, since I just didn't like it enough to commit to several million words, but it does look as though it may not suffer TEoP's fate.

Friday, 6 January 2017

A cryptic tweet from Meghan McCarthy! (Update: false alarm)

Meghan McCarthy tweet saying "One more week."
Shouldn't that be "One more plush!"?
This tweet, posted last night by Meghan McCarthy, is certainly interesting! Now, it is of course possible that she's just talking about when she's next going to go to the library, but I think not; I think it's Pony-related. Most speculation has revolved around it being something to do with the MLP movie, and I think that's a fair bet. It may be a little early for a full-on trailer, but perhaps a very brief teaser might be in the works. Still, we'll find out soon!

Curses. According to Meghan McCarthy herself, the tweet was not MLP-related.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Pony Music Library 36: "The Magic Inside"

In preparation for next week's Best Filly Edition of Ponyfic Roundup, I've finally read bookplayer's Best Young Flyer. It's a story that's really divided opinion over the years, but you'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out which side of that divide I come down on! For now, it's time for the first PML post of 2017. This song's induction here was another case of when, rather than whether...

What? "The Magic Inside"

Who? Daniel Ingram (music and lyrics), Amy Keating Rogers (lyrics)

Which? Show song

When? November 2015

Why? While Season Five's "The Mane Attraction" was a decent episode all round, there's no doubt that its highlight was the performance of Lena Hall as Countess Coloratura. She was fine in her talking parts, and good in the other songs she was given – but this one was something very special. Hall belted out her ballad with fantastic assurance and belief, matching up with Rara's journey in the episode. I was especially happy that they kept in the odd slightly rough note, giving it a "live" feel and providing a contrast with the deliberately autotuney "The Spectacle". It'll never happen, I know, but I'd love to hear Hall sing this live in a big concert venue. I've chosen this particular video (from Hasbro's own account) as it's the best quality version freely available, without any show sound effects. If you prefer it with those, there's BronyDE's clip from the episode itself.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 139: Spotlight on Ptolemy

The "favourite episodes ever" countdown that Eunos the Fool is running on UK of Equestria has thrown up its first big shock: "Party of One" has come in 60th. That's right: sixtieth. Admittedly only ten people (including me) submitted their top 20s... but only one (not me) voted for that episode. It just missed the cut for my personal top 20, but I was confidently expecting it to make the overall top 30.

Read it Later story count: 488 (+4)

Today's story was the longest-standing fic on my RiL list – it had languished there for three years. This was largely because the author advertised in 2013 that a "remastered version" was coming soon. As that still hasn't happened, though, I think I've waited long enough. These, then, are my thoughts on what I could read at the time of review. A couple of Wellspring's later works have been very favourably reviewed elsewhere, so I was hoping for a good time with this fic.

Post-review note: I have only now noticed that English is Wellspring's third language. I'll let my review stand, but it's only fair that I mention the fact now.

Ptolemy by Wellspring
Twilight, Pinkie Pie [sort of], Other and Mane Six
Dark/Tragedy; 63k words; Sep 2012; Teen
Twilight Sparkle resorts to Black Magic in an attempt to bring back Surprise.
Surprise was dead, to begin with. She still is. She was also part of the Mane Six instead of Pinkie Pie (so this is in fact unmarked [Alternate Universe]), and reading this story we find early on that Twilight killed her – though her full motivation takes a while to become apparent. Now Twi is desperate to bring Surprise back. Note that this was written before dark magic was canon, so don't expect any reference to that. Even Cadance only gets a very brief mention. There's serious violence, though the gore is kept to strong [Teen] levels. Characterisation is a real problem – though the story's resolution gives a bit of an out. The writing is iffy, with lots of tense shifting and "canary pegasus" stuff. As this story stands, it's a moderate two. Fixing the technical issues would make it a higher two, but I just don't like the whole premise so that's probably its limit for me. ★★

If you'd like to read some more detailed thoughts, with spoilers, then please follow me past the break.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

State of the Unicorn, January 2017

I can't actually remember whether I've ever done one of these things before, but as everyone else seems to be doing it I thought I might as well join in the fun... also, given my choice of pony type, the pun in the subject line was entirely irresistible! If you're interested in me rambling semi-randomly on about stuff (and if you're not, why are you here in the first place?) then please follow me past the break.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Ponyisms – and why they're a good thing

There is a slice of this community that really, really dislikes the use of ponyisms outside a strictly Equestrian context. By this I mean things like saying "everypony" or "on the other hoof" when talking to other fans. I'll nail my colours to the mast right now and say that I don't really understand what the fuss is about. Actually, I'd go further: I think it's an actively good thing for people to use these terms – provided they keep them within the fandom.

A while back, former IDW comic artist Ben Bates posted in the EQD comments. He started his post with "Hello, everypony!" and was almost instantly shot down by another commenter with "Please don't do that." Why on earth not? The chances of people taking part in an EQD discussion, many of whom use pony avatars, usernames and so on, not understanding the term are pretty much zero. What harm does it do anyone if Mr Bates wants to be a little silly to a brony audience?

I used the word "brony" just now, and that's a term a large chunk of fans don't use, for a variety of reasons. I don't, much, although I don't have a problem with making exceptions when it's simply a convenient shorthand, such as in the blog description down there. Mind you, it doesn't get the vitriol poured over it that does "pegasister" – a very silly word, sure, but one that some female fans even now prefer. And why shouldn't they?

Another, much smaller, fandom of mine is that for Watership Down. One of the Lapine words invented by Richard Adams is "hraka", meaning "droppings" and used by rabbits as a moderate swearword. Guess what? I use it myself. In real life. Not in front of people who I'd have to explain it to, but when I'm on my own and drop something on my foot? Sure. It's actually quite a satisfying word to growl out in those circumstances.

There are a few ponyisms that I can't really see being used in the way that they are on the show. The infamous "flying feather" (though a term with only a single canon appearance) is one: its clear meaning is too strong to be used casually, yet the term is clearly too silly to be used in a genuinely heated argument. If someone did so, I'd probably suspect they were winding me up and that they weren't really that angry at all.

Nor am I really too keen on "bucking" being used to curse in public, since it just sounds too close to the word it rhymes with. On the other hoof, I'm really not sure why the very sight of the word in a story winds some people up to an almost hilarious degree. I don't use it myself, but I can take it in some kinds of fic. Sure, it's silly, but really: is it any sillier than "everypony" or indeed some of the canon ponies' actual names? Nope.

Silliness in the fandom is fundamentally good. Look: we are (mostly) adult fans of a kids' cartoon which exists to sell plastic toys and which centres on a bunch of multicoloured talking horses. There is no way to be such a thing and not be silly. I would suggest that it's far better to embrace the silliness than to try to somehow stand above the fray, and that being too irritated about it is actually worse than overdoing it a little...

...with one important caveat. I don't like it when people carry this sort of thing outside the fandom and start using these terms to non-fans. That's just impolite, and risks making it sound as though you're affecting an air of superiority just because you're a brony. This is not really any better than when furries refer to non-furries as "mundanes". Keep the fandom vocabulary within the fandom, people.

But for Celestia's sake, let's not get het up about people sprinkling a few ponyisms into their conversation when simply chatting to other MLP fans. It's not only harmless, it's actually a good thing. If you can't deal with someone saying "Morning, fillies and gentlecolts" without getting annoyed, then maybe the one taking the fandom too seriously isn't the speaker. Maybe it's you.