Taking Out the Trash: The Existential Crisis of the Brony Fandom - OP-ED by @SilverEagleDev


Editor's Note: This article is an OP ED fan submitted counter argument by Silver Eagle, in response to the previous OP ED on the same topic.


Man, remember 2012? Those were simpler times. Pony was a paradise back then, when we all bopped along to Avast Fluttershy’s Ass and did the Gangnam Style dance in unison at cons. There was no politics, no factions, no drama, no callouts. We were all one happy family, loving and tolerating each other.

I hate to break it to you, but it was doomed from the start.


Have you ever moved in with new roommates and felt that excitement when you all liked the same nerdy stuff and watched the same shows, but as time went on, the cracks began to show? Maybe one cooked but never cleaned. Maybe one was a little too racist for your tastes, but nobody else in the house seemed to have a problem with it. Nobody’s changed, and everyone is who they were from the start, but your time together has made you realize you’re just not compatible to be under the same roof together, no matter how much you have in common.

That’s what’s been happening in the Brony fandom. Nothing more, nothing less.

There is no “epidemic” of outrage and social justice in the fandom. The people you see today on Twitter were always the kind who cared more than you about not offending other people, who were more sensitive to issues of race or LGBTQ+ issues or whatever other marginalized group. They aren’t new, you’re just seeing them more because those pearly veneers of “love and tolerance” are finally falling off and more people are comfortable vocally drawing the lines about who they’re willing to share a fandom with.

Likewise, there is probably no “epidemic” of white nationalism and transphobia in the fandom. The people you hear today spouting those things have been there all along, though maybe before 2016 or so they were a lot more anonymous. Something emboldened them, though what loud, orange thing that was is left as an exercise to the reader. They were perfectly fine with the status quo of the fandom because it let them have their cake and eat it too, making shitpost after shitpost taking potshots at vulnerable people while coexisting in the same convention halls as those same people.

Any fandom that brought these two groups together was tenuous at best from the start. All we’re seeing now is the roommates packing their bags and saying their parting words to each other. “You’re too sensitive”, says one, to which the other replies, “you’re nowhere near sensitive enough.”

The catalyst of all of this discussion flaring up once again was a piece of art that was very clearly intended to push a lot of the same lulzy buttons that have been pushed time and again within the fandom, whether in the form of Aryanne or Princess Molestia or something else.

I don’t need to post the image here, because A) you’ve probably already seen it, and B) a previous anonymous article right here on HN talked about it already.

Speaking of HN, I really don’t envy the position they have in the midst of all of this. They’re a tiny cross-section of the fandom itself, born partly from 4chan culture and partly as an escape from the persecution of the kinds of people who hang out on 4chan. I don’t think HN is made up of bad people, though I must admit it gets very hard to tell the difference between throwing your hands up and letting yourself be used as a platform for bigotry in the name of free speech and idly (or actively) consenting to being used that way.

In my reading of that previous article, it seems like it parrots many of the popular talking points of what you’d today call the “alt-right”: humor is meant to evoke emotions, but a joke is a joke, and people are screaming their lungs out in blind rage over it because they have no sense of humor, and that’s what’s really wrong with society these days.

Buddy, I’m here to tell you, there’s a lot wrong with society these days, but I’d put your ability to tell a joke about black people being slaves without consequences really, really, really low on that list.

The problem with these things is the context in which they’re happening. We aren’t living in a happy sing-song world of “love and tolerance”. Brown kids are dying in cages. Cops are shooting black kids like it’s for sport. Life for trans people is improving in some places, but they still get treated like absolute shit for no damn good reason.

When you joke about those people’s suffering, you’re not joking about their past, you’re joking about their present. It isn’t us sharing a laugh about how silly humans were in the past, it’s us remembering how painful and cruel and uncaring humans can still be today, and knowing that the people inflicting that pain might be right here, in a place that, in our younger naiveté, we considered safe. That straight up sucks.

What sucks even worse is looking back and realizing that for some of those people, what started as jokes made to like-minded company turned into memes shared with greater audiences, and for some of those people, those memes became their beliefs. We really do have white nationalist Bronies, as completely ass-backwards as that sounds, and a lot of what they still share today looks exactly like these shitposts that form the hill of golden comedy that you are somehow willing to die on. It’s incredibly hard to tell the difference.

So a lot of us are looking at our fandom, our great big roommate situation, and deciding that our ceaseless push for civility has not created better people, but instead allowed us to be a breeding ground for hate. We’ve decided not to be the person MLK described, a “white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.

We don’t want to live under the same roof as the bigots, and we refuse to be the kind of people who do nothing because our happy coexistence is more important than talking about the real issues that have been simmering under the surface of this fandom since its opening day.

Can you really blame us?

Comments (25)

  1. ITT: some whiny loser forgets the fandom originated on 4chan, edgy jokes and "bigotry" has existed in both ironic and legit forms since the beginning, and that furfags and "white people bad' types need to fuck off back to their own containment zones.

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  2. well someone mentioned shitposts about this in the other article and here they are. First we blame everything on Trump, then go on to talk about how threats to free expression arent that bad, then go on to made up shit about "kids in cages", no You ARE too sensitive. you cant see that a joke is a joke. you need to pretend that joking or acknowledging something means you support it. you live in a delusional fantasy world.

    Yes there are "undesireable" bronies. thats part and parcel with freedom and acceptance... you have to deal with people you don't agree with. best part is, when you let them talk, you can know who to avoid or congregate with. You dont want them under your roof, fine. dont let them into your house. out here, in the real world, isnt your roof. its public. its an open space for literally everyone. people you dont care for, and idiots like you alike.

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    1. I may disagree with what you say but I'll fight to the death to make sure you can say it.

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  3. Assuming OP is right, what now? Like, the roommates analogy doesn't work. There is exactly one Internet, and leaving it, or kicking insensitive people off it, is not a realistic proposition. We are doomed to suffer each other's company until our deaths.

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    1. I don't think the analogy breaks down the way you're thinking. Yeah, the Internet's one "place", but so is Earth, but we still divide it into countries and cities and neighborhoods.

      Not "living together" just means we don't occupy the same Internet spaces any more. There can be a place for folks who value the ability to make racist jokes (maybe HN's that place!), and then another place for everyone else.

      Maybe even extend that metaphor to conventions, meetups, etc...you can have one where you can yell the N word as loud as you want, and then we can have all the others where we don't have to sit in the same room with people who maybe aren't terrible people themselves, but sure like jokes told by terrible people at our expense.

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  4. Freedom, at its core, is the ability for me to offend you without fear. Likewise, you to me. You don't appreciate the idea of freedom because you don't understand what it is. You take it for granted, as evidenced by you saying it's low on your priority list that people be allowed to make jokes. Look into the "red scare" some time to realize just how little humans have changed. You're more right than you intended, but you seem to have confused yourself for the good guy. You're not. You're the neighbor that calls the feds to come arrest the communist sympathizer next door because he mowed his lawn too early one morning. You're the coward that's happy to hold the leash under the assumption the beast will never turn on you.

    You don't have the foresight to figure out where you'd stand if it was _your_ ideas that weren't allowed to be spoken without being fired and ostracized from society. Considering your take on the situation, I imagine your immediate thought to that would be "Good, if they're being ostracized they deserve it. They were a bigot." When you remove the most fringe groups, you create a new fringe as a result that was slightly further inside your circle of acceptance that will inevitably be attacked. This continues forever; IE the left eating itself.

    Inevitably it's your turn to be eaten, no matter how perfect you think your positions are. You will have an idea that doesn't perfectly match someone else's, and they will destroy you for it, and it will be a beast you fed and called a good boy.


    I'll be blunt. You're not seeing people become "emboldened by orange man" and "attack marginalized groups." The only thing that changed is their special treatment is fading. The fact that you think an absence of special care and consideration is an attack shows just how privileged you are. Like a female in a video game who's gotten so used to being handed free shit that she thinks you hate her when you tell her she can't have something of yours. Get over yourself.

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    1. You were never, are not now, and will never be free to offend anyone you like without social consequences.

      The only reason that back in the "good ol' days" you might have been able to is because the people you were hurting didn't have the power or influence to hold you accountable. That's changed, and I know it bothers you and everyone like you.

      Every time you conflate someone saying "if you do this, I'll think you're a shitty person" and someone saying "I think the government should directly intervene and censor viewpoints I don't like", you're doing the exact thing you so frequently accuse the left of doing: turning a perfectly rational response into a cause for outrage with no evidence to support that escalation other than your own hysteria.

      You are right, freedom is a beautiful thing. The same freedom that lets you say whatever offensive shit you like is the freedom I have to distance myself from you, to say you don't represent me or what I stand for, and to build a community around people who I don't perceive as either being assholes or asshole-adjacent.

      I don't intend to deny you the freedom of saying what you do, but I absolutely will deny this illusion you and so many others live in that says that such speech should be completely absolved of the reasonable social consequences that happen when you piss off other human beings.

      You are not being rounded up and sent to ideological conversion camps to be made more "woke" for the betterment of our society. You are being called an asshole on the Internet by other people who are just as free as you are to think that way.

      Yes, the left is plagued with a chronic inability to know its enemies from its allies, and this often results in them "misfiring" on their own people. That's valid. They put themselves in everyone else's shoes and it leads to them seeing possible ways that lots of things could upset about anyone.

      But this group you're in, which I'd call the alt-right (maybe you wouldn't want me to)...you have the opposite problem. When it comes to the issues plaguing our society, you can't see past your own nose. You like to make racist or transphobic or homophobic jokes, and within your circle of friends you can do it infinitely without consequences, so your beliefs morph to say that THIS freedom must surely be chief among all, the freedom to keep making the jokes I already liked making without pissing anyone off. Which, again, is never a freedom you actually had, because everyone's free to get pissed off, too.

      If the left is putting themselves in too many people's shoes, you can't put yourself in ANYONE's shoes. It doesn't bother you, so you can't see how it does (or should) bother anyone, and the moment it does, your first thought is "First they came for the racists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a racist..."

      You've probably spent your whole life facing the quiet social consequences of the more vulnerable people in your life not fully opening up to you because they know you're this type of person, and unless you learn to do better this will keep happening forever.

      It's not some big conspiracy to lock you up, it's just that being a bigot isn't on most people's "turn-ons" lists, that's all.

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    2. "Social consequences" are mob rule. Call it what it is. It's a fear tactic used to scare people into line. You're not changing hearts and minds, you're attempting to silence them through force. I'd go so far as to call it murder by proxy, as your goal is to have them removed from society but you're too much of a coward to pull the trigger yourself. After all, you have to maintain that pristine conscience and that becomes difficult once you understand you're ending someone's life.

      Your idea of reasonable mob justice is ridiculous. There is no reasonable mob justice. They are all mutually exclusive ideas. The only way you justify it to yourself is the same thing I hear every time. It's social consequences when you do it, and harassment/violence when other people do it to you. You are more than happy to inflict it on others, but if it visited your house you'd change your tune. Hypocrisy. Exactly like Antifa looking to start fights and then being the first to call the cops when their teeth start getting kicked in as a "social consequence" of their actions.

      The statement about enemies and allies is why your ideology is a dangerous cancer. You are either our enemy, or our ally. An ally will do anything we dictate them to do, and enemies will be crushed by any means necessary. You don't see other people with opinions of their own. You see enemies that need conquering. Which is exactly why it makes no difference what someone thought yesterday if they're an enemy today, and why the left happily eats its own. It's not a "misfiring" any more than dropping a ball and it falling to the ground is a misfiring. It's the only possible outcome.

      I couldn't care less what group you label me as, it will almost certainly be inaccurate and serves no purpose other than granting you an easy out. If I'm a nazi, then you can simply dismiss anything I have to say outright and your ideas don't have to be contested. There is no halfway freedom point. Your rights end where others' rights begin. That's the concept you fail to grasp about freedom. To put it simply, it's the difference in thinking "I don't like what that person has to say, so I'm not going to listen" and "I don't like what that person has to say, so I'm going to stop him from speaking ever again." You can't have it both ways. One is freedom, one is dictatorship. Ever heard the phrase I don't agree with what you're saying, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. That's freedom. It's rich hearing someone who would happily silence people talk about how they can't see past their own nose when the only thing you care about is yourself. You'll notice there's only one side saying everyone (even people they disagree with) should have a voice, and it's not on the left.

      The left doesn't attempt to put themselves in anyone's shoes. Stop rewriting history. The right typically seeks out alternative viewpoints to attempt to understand why people think the way they do. The left, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite: They silence alternative viewpoints. Here's a fun experiment you can try to exemplify my point. Wear a Bernie t-shirt to a Trump rally and record the results. Next wear a MAGA hat to a Bernie rally and record the results. If you're being honest with yourself you already know the MAGA hat will get your face beaten in while the Bernie shirt won't result in anything. But those are just "social consequences" are they not.

      1/2

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    3. Kek, feel free to try to project onto my life. I'll play too: You're weak, both in mind and spirit, so you let yourself get pushed around. You try to see yourself as a victim for this, but the truth is if the tables were turned you'd do the same to them and more. So when you do gain any amount of power over someone else, you make sure they know it. You control things they can and can't do in petty ways just to exercise this power. It makes you feel like you're not weak. At the same time you tell the world you're actually empathetic and stand up for the weak, but this is just an excuse you seek to ease your guilty mind that knows you simply like hurting other people.

      Your weakness causes you to latch onto others. It's why when you discuss an opinion you use "we" and "us" as if you need a group to justify your thoughts and actions. You see yourself as this unknown group's de facto leader which gives you an illusion of authority and power. Your opinion is their opinion, and their opinion is right because it's the majority opinion. Mob rule.

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    4. Dude.

      Someone posted something, ON TWITTER, that was meant to be lulzy and poke the hornet's nest...

      ...and then the hornets got mad.

      You guys are losing your absolute minds about how this is the end of freedom as we know it, as if I'm marching you into the gulags myself.

      You were never free to poke the hornet's nest and not get stung.

      What the hell did you expect?

      Delete
    5. What kind of girl gamers do you know that act that way? Wow. That's the one thing that stands out the most for me, weirdly, is your last sentence.

      The amount of entitlement from those bitches must be unbelievable!

      Delete
  5. I didn't realize this hyperbolic white trash looser was still around.

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  6. F A T W H I N E R
    A
    T
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    R

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  7. BRONIES WERE NEVER GOOD OR KIND! PURPLE TRANNY MAY BE A TRANNY BUT HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT YOU DICKLESS CUCKS FROM 2012 ONWARD

    P
    U
    R
    P
    L
    E


    T
    R
    A
    N
    N
    Y

    W
    A
    S

    R
    I
    G
    H
    T


    F
    O
    R

    O
    N
    C
    E
    !

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  8. I'm glad I left this fandom years ago. Fuck you cucks and fuck the people who thought that one meme needed three op-eds.

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  9. I'm glad I've left the fandom too, and also am glad to hear from an ex-brony analyst that the fandom is increasingly shrinking (correct me if I am wrong though).

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    1. In my experience, it's the long tail effect but new young blood joins it everyday. Why should we let adults ruin all their fun?

      Delete
  10. This is a great article and a credit to the author. We need more hard-hitting opinions pieces like this on the cesspit of a hellsite.

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