Politics And Bronies
Before we begin I’d like to make it known that I disagree with the vast majority of Wootmaster’s economic views, however, when a man is right you cannot deny it.
As a political commentator, nothing drives me more insane then seeing “politics” basically used as an insult. On 6/25/2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said of Florida Governor Ron Desantis:
You played politics with [COVID-19] and you lost.
Of course, Cuomo has been the Governor of New York since 2011, before that he spent four years as New York’s Attorney General, and spent eight years in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including four years as director, under Bill Clinton. Oh, and the only reason anyone knows who the hell he is is because his dad, Mario Cuomo, spent twelve years as Governor of New York. But guys, Andrew Cuomo is totally above politics.
“Politics” is treated as a dirty word in our society. You would never see the CEO of Exxon Mobil say he’s above energy — or at least, if he did he’d be fired the next day. Yet, it’s common for our politicians, including ones who have done nothing apolitical in their entire lives, to say that they’re just above the concept of politics.
This wraps people’s views on what does and does not count as political — and this is where bronies come in. Yes, if you did not know, I am a brony.
One example of this weird hypocrisy comes from a Twitter user named JamesBoone — who I have nothing against, for the record. On 6/25/2020, he tweeted the following:
I don’t want to see any politics, even the ones I agree with. Pone is for pone only.
Just before, he had retweeted a picture of a Pony OC flying a Slovenian flag in honor of the anniversary of Slovenia gaining independence from Yugoslavia. The person who pointed out this hypocrisy, Vyletpony, later had to say the following:
A lot of people are interpreting this post from me to be anti-Slovenian but that’s absolutely not the case. I fully stand with Slovenia and every other former Yugoslavian country.
Wait — what, nobody could be saying this, right? Well, here are some replies:
There is nothing political about this. Its just a flag of someone’s country. That has NOTHING to do with politics. — SapphireDeNoir
But should someone celebrating the day their country gained independence from another really be classified as political? — OwenSnow9
I’m sorry.. what?? He just retweeted a picture of a friend’s oc holding the flag of his country. So, showing nationalism is now “too political”? — RaulixEvergreen
fam, I like you a lot, but that’s just an image celebrating Slovenian independence day. What the heck is political about that? I’m just trying to understand your logic. — RemixRaveAD
Now I’m not here to tell you my opinion on Slovenian independence from Yugoslavia. I’m sure it’s a great topic, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not what this article is about. However, the fact is, such a claim is political.
Imagine if someone insisted that Brexit, the movement which got Britain out of the European Union, was not political. Imagine if someone told you supporting Scottish Independence was not political. Imagine if someone told you that being a neo-Confederate was not political. These claims would obviously appear ridiculous, yet the more distant the event was to us, rather it be through length since it happened or space between them and us, the less “political” the event somehow becomes.
Compare that to an image called Not Just Words uploaded to Deviantart by Dilarus on 6/5/2020. This image contains:
- Trixie with a sign that says “Trans rights are human rights.”
- Applejack saying “They ain’t jus’ words, sugarcube!”
- A sign that says “Black Lives Matter.”
- Rainbow Dash holding up a sign that says “Love and tolerate.”
- Fluttershy with a sign that says “Love means love.”
- Derpy with an upside down piece of paper that says “This way up.”
This image was blasted by members of the community for being “too political.” However, how is it anymore political than the image mentioned above?
I could sit here and play ignorant for an hour if I wanted to. I could ask how “Love means love,” is political considering, by definition, love has to mean love. I could ask what love means if it does not mean love — like this is some kind of weird math equation. However, the point I’m trying to make should be obvious.
The two images I mentioned are equally as political — and nothing is wrong with that. As someone who does political commentary, I can promise you that talking about politics won’t turn you into a monster.
I simply cannot help but notice that one form of politics is always allowed — politics that agrees with the status quo. When The Cutie Map first premiered, many in the fandom argued that town Starlight Glimmer ran was a metaphor for communism. None of these people were criticized as “too political,” because communism is seen by the vast majority of Americans as bad, and Starlight was seen as the villain of the episode.
I imagine if I were to make fan-art of the mane six standing for the national anthem, despite the fact that such an act has been the center of controversy, I would not be seen as making political art. However, agreeing with your country is, in many ways, very political. Nationalism, considering it is considered a political philosophy, is, by definition, political.
I’m not here to argue that all media is political, I do not believe that is the case. With that said, I do believe that more pieces of media than are political than most realize. Dr. Seuss basically made his career through writing children’s books, many of which have very political themes. (After all, he did spent a large amount of the 1940’s making anti-fascist political cartoons for local newspapers.)
Recently, The New York Post ran an article called “Go Figure: ‘My Little Pony’ Is Popular With Nazis.” (Unlike many of the ideas of Sohrab Ahmari and Josh Hammer — both of which are leading editors of The New York Post?)
Now, fair is fair, and this article does note:
Certainly, not all Bronies are white supremacists. The best of them have gone on to form organizations that fund-raise and advocate for various charitable interests, including Bronies for Good and the Brony Thank You Fund.
However, both this and a sister article in The Atlantic make note of a similar issue:
Emboldened by a perversion of the First Amendment, Derpibooru is now host to over 900 pieces of Brony fan art that have been filed under the “racist” tag — an apparently acceptable genre of content on their site. — The New York Post
Derpibooru even lists “racist” as a searchable category, and more than 900 pieces of art are tagged as such. — The Atlantic
(I should note, again, I do not take The New York Post’s opinion on the first amendment all that seriously. Maybe it’s because their editors spent all of last December obsessively trying to find as many legal loopholes as possible that allowed them to ban pornography. Maybe it isn’t. Who knows?)
For the record, at time of writing Derpibooru had 1,664,465 images. Racist images make up 0.05% (roughly one in every two thousand images on the website) of the images on Derpibooru.
With that said, this does show one of the main issues with trying to stay apolitical. The worst forms of humanity, the authoritarians, will always be political — their drive for political power demands it. Edmund Burke famously said:
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
This is commonly misquoted as:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Martin Luther King Jr. famously said in his Letter From Bellingham Jail:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.
In 1941, George Orwell wrote:
Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi.
Basically, everyone agrees, ignoring the bad people does not make the bad people go away.
This is the same issue the fandom had with sexual predators a few years back. When ToonKriticY2K was exposed as a pedophile and sexual predator, another thing that was exposed what his friend’s and the wider community knowing about the actions, and not doing anything to stop it. Some were even mad at those who tried to stop such a thing from happening again — because they want to keep pretending ignoring the bad people makes the bad people go away.
Oh, by the way, the guy is still out their — thanks for that brony community. Yeah, that’s what happened the last time we were too soft on our worst aspects, and while racists in the fandom are not as big of a deal as sexual predators in the fandom — they are still not a group that should be swept under the rug.
To end this article, I should make it clear what I’m not saying. In The Open Society And It’s Enemies Karl Popper talked about what has since been called the paradox of tolerance. Basically, it’s paradoxical to be tolerate of views that are not tolerant.
Advocates for censorship has since used this as a reason to ban hateful groups, but that’s not what Popper meant. Popper was talking about defeating them by using more speech, not by limiting free speech.
I mention this because my friend Dinkledash (who, I would like to state, I do not believe racist) asked me in response to the premise of this article:
But let’s be real; saying racism has no place in the fandom is fine and dandy, but what is racism? Who gets to decide who the Nazis are? Who has the power and authority to dictate the standards?
In truth, under what I’m proposing, it does not matter who defines racism, and the only people who have to identify what a Nazi is are those who call themselves such and those who call others such.
I am simply calling for members of the fandom who hold the idea of “getting political” in a low regard, as if that will turn them into King Sombra, to re-examine what it is doing to fandom, and if they truly hold that standard in practice.