General Leia speaking

The ponyverse owes more to Princess Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher) than you might have thought:

Princess Leia is the direct ancestor of Princess Twilight Sparkle, by way of Disney’s 1990’s renaissance. She was the first wildly popular “princess” who spent the whole story doing decidedly non-princessy things. Sure, she was still getting rescued by some guys, and she didn’t fly a star fighter herself, but she was tough enough to withstand torture, she was smart and tactical, and she wasn’t taking any bullshit.

It’s not fair to say that this was a drastic change from the idea of a princess. At least as far back as Sara Crewe in the 19th century, “being a princess” has implied being made of tougher stuff than a lot of people give them credit for. And for adults, Eowyn beat Leia to the scene by a couple of decades. But as far as active, competent princesses that could be successfully marketed to little girls, in the 1980s Leia was the proof of concept.

From there, Disney (the world’s largest producer of princesses and princess related accessories) picked up the torch and gave us Belle and Mulan and Tiana and made approximately ALL the money off of them. Which is why Hasbro always wants more pony princesses.

And, not entirely unrelated, we have M. A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses are too busy saving the world to spend any time as distressed damsels.

Girls in the MLP:FiM demographic seem naturally attracted to the idea of being princess-y; we have Leia (and Twi, and others) to thank for the idea that being princess-y doesn’t at all preclude being a badass.

Still seriously stuck

The next chapter refuses to come to me. (See this post from two months ago.) I have no idea where to go with it.

Parallel lines

Much was made this week about Billy Bob Thornton having an opinion on MLP:FiM, specifically The Cutie Map two-parter that pushed Season 4 into Season 5; you can almost see Sethisto’s glee as he published two paragraphs from a GQ interview with Billy Bob on EQD.

What EQD didn’t print was this summation by GQ correspondent Taffy Brodesser-Akner:

The Starlight Glimmers of the world have won. They have created a society in which everyone is equal and everyone is the same and everyone watches superhero movies, the same ones with different actors. And because we were all exposed to one thing, we became one thing and we wanted one thing. We are all Starlight Glimmer now, fucking missionary like a metronome, back and forth, back and forth, feeling nothing new and wanting nothing scary. We have lost our right to have art.

Which tells me that the world needs the same sort of hard-core attitude adjustment that Twilight Sparkle more or less inadvertently visited upon Starlight Glimmer; I suspect the world’s self-justifications are probably just as lame as the Glimster’s.

It’s probably my fault

Nothing I hate worse than seeing Twilight Sparkle cry.

I hate to see her cry

(Here’s the original by Pillonchou.)

Why MLP matters

Six years into Generation Four, and it’s not done yet. I’d like to think it’s because it deals with timeless issues:

[T]he show celebrated things I thought of as virtues. And things I thought were all too rare in our culture today — stuff like being true to yourself, dealing graciously with mean people (which I have seen more crudely phrased as “dealing with a b*tch without becoming one yourself”), supporting your friends, and so on, and so forth. There have been anti-bullying episodes, episodes about how former mean-girls can reform, episodes about how you don’t have to do things that scare you just because the rest of your friends enjoy them, episodes about how what motivates one person might not motivate another … and on, and on. The overarching themes seem to be “treat other people with love and kindness” and also “be true to who you are” which are both morals a lot of us need to be reminded of.

I figure, if you can pull off something like that and still sell merchandise, you’ve earned your place in history.

Seriously stuck

It’s been almost a year since I had anything to say in The Life That Late He Led; it’s almost like Brush up and died on me before I’d finished his story.

Which was, I admit, at least part of the plan. But he deserves a better sendoff than this. I suppose I’ll puzzle over the matter a little longer.

Looking for Pinkameaning

Now and then, somepony asks if there’s a story segment of which I’m particularly proud. I deny it, of course. But now and then something I wrote strikes me as Not That Terrible, and this, from late in Chapter 2 of The way she used to be, might even make it up to Not Bad At All:

“You miss her that much?” Pinkie asked.

He nodded. No sense trying to hide it. “I miss her that much.”

“I can see it in your eyes,” said Pinkie. “When you say anything about her they light up like they were catching reflections off the stars. And that’s pretty hard to do when you’re inside.”

Writing Pinkie Pie does not come naturally to me. Headcanon tells me that she’s only silly in comparison to somepony else, that she almost always knows what she’s talking about — of the Mane Six, she’s the smartest pony who isn’t purple — and that she’s almost lyrical sometimes. Working within these guidelines, I can come up with proper Pinkieisms. Sort of.

Not that there’s a pattern or anything

I do appreciate the visitors here, though I must admit I have no idea what they’re looking for; it’s very seldom that anyone starts on a story and goes straight through.

It’s not a problem. Really, it’s not.

Sort of a facelift

After four years of this artificially generated ponysona on the sidebar, I decided to go for something new; on an impulse, I asked LeekFish to sketch the character, and the results, I thought, were delightful. (Now and then she takes commissions; I happened to catch her during “then.”)

It’s always there somehow

During my recent confinement, I was at least somewhat amused by what appeared to be slight interest in my pony stories, exhibited by members of hospital staff.

By far, the most popular was The way she used to be, which makes sense to me: it’s probably the least supernatural-ish tale I wrote.