The question of the ages

The lovely and talented Mindy Kaling served up this semi-zinger last night:

You may remember this from Chapter 5 of The Sparkle Chronicles:

I shrugged. “Why does any couple fight? So they can make up later.”

Her eyes grew wide. “Are we a couple?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “When you came in saying ‘We need to talk,’ I just naturally assumed that we were going to discuss that matter.”

“Very well, then, let’s discuss it.” I was not even slightly surprised to see her produce a pad and a quill. “First question: are we actually dating?”

“No. Well, maybe yes. In the broadest sense of the word,” I said, “perhaps we are. We meet sort of regularly, we don’t have any particular agenda, and we spend a lot of time getting to know one another.”

“Along with everything else,” Twilight noted. “Getting to know one another doesn’t seem to be the major priority.”

True love came later. (A whole chapter later, actually.)

Suddenly it’s 1967

I admit to being somewhat mystified that Natasha Levinger, who wrote “Make Friends but Keep Discord” — worst episode title of the entire series, if you ask me — had come up with a character who was obviously patterned on that most mysterious of humanoids, the hippie chick. Now I’m old enough to have known actual hippie chicks in Real Life, and frankly I couldn’t imagine how one of them would translate into the pony Zeitgeist: she’d have to be far Fluttershyer than Fluttershy ever dreamed of being.

As it happened, Levinger’s positioning Treehugger as Flutters’ almost-bestie worked out exceedingly well: not only would it be clear that they shared some basic values, but Treehugger lived up to the hippie-chick ethos by not becoming frustrated with Discord’s ongoing shenaninganza until she was faced with forcible removal from the dimension. Besides, didn’t Fluttershy once say that she’d like to be a tree?

So I’m okay with Treehugger. It did seem to me that Nicole Oliver transposed her Celestia voice up a half-tone or so to further differentiate it from Treehugger’s, but there’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s always fun to see Discord pitch a hissy fit when things don’t go his way. If you’re not familiar with the hippie chick as an archetype, I suggest Dean Friedman’s 1977 song “Ariel,” which captures her spirit admirably in a mere, um, 4:20.

What goes up, and so forth

On the upside, Somepony New, the third TwiBrush tale (though the second one written), has reached the magical 1000-viewer mark at Fimfiction.

On the downside, the WordPress Jetpack gizmo reports that the most popular search here in recent days was “fimfiction pregnant midsection.” I suspect this is payback for having acted at some point like I actually understood pony anatomy.

Nothing but the dead and dying

About three years ago, I turned out a little one-shot story called Dead Pony Flying, hoping to see if it was possible to do a story about death in the MLP:FiM universe that wasn’t actually sad.

Now the mothership in Vancouver has shoved this premise several degrees out of phase. Tanks for the Memories almost certainly is intended as a treatise on death: Rainbow Dash, confronted with Tank the tortoise’s need to hibernate, goes through, in order, anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. It couldn’t have been more obvious if they’d made a background pony that looked like Elizabeth Kübler-Ross herself. (Bonus points if you can imagine a cutie mark for said pony.) And sure enough, it’s not actually sad, though enough tears are shed by five of the Mane Six — Applejack cries on the inside, doncha know — to fill a small pond.

I’m guessing the target audience won’t get this, at least not right away; maybe when they’re older they’ll remember this episode, and it will help them. I’m pretty sure it’s going to help me, and I’m already old.


Dear Apple Bloom: After six years on Twitter, I can testify that the little buzzing bastards [whoops, sorry about that] are very real indeed, even if few of them are actual insects, if you know what I mean, and I think you will in due time.

And besides, Babs was destined for those scissors.

Cutie Marxism

And that’s the first two episodes of Season Five in a nutshell.

Starlight Glimmer poster by mysticalpha on deviantArt

Starlight Glimmer poster by mysticalpha on deviantArt

Got that, ponies? Now get in line and behave yourselves.

Here’s the original of that poster. Thanks to Mystic Alpha for the picture and to Jared Sealey for the title.

For great silliness

At least part of my spring lethargy is due (and “due” is the operative word) to the Internal Revenue Service, and when I managed to finish all the paperwork, I left a little sub-300-word sketch as a blog post on Fimfic. It occurred to me that it might as well be here as well, so here it is: Meanwhile at a desk not so far away.

Okay, it wasn’t that large a check.

So it’s not actually my fault

Plucked from the tweetstream:

As long as I’m reading Faust, here’s the current version of her Twitter bio:

Helping provide ass-kicking kindergartners, friendly figments, small magical equines, super teenage teams and snake haired freaks for all your animation needs

A high calling indeed.

It was an inspired guess

Various gestures by airlines toward pony fans have been gratifying — I know I was delighted by this one — but Sprocket counsels caution:

It’s fun that all of these airlines are tweeting jokes about a flight to Equestria. However, it is important to stay grounded in reality, and remember that airplanes can’t actually get you there.

The real way to get to Equestria is through a rift in the spacetime continuum that opens approximately 26 times a year, and stays open for 22 minutes per occurrence. The concentrated Equine Radiation that spills out of the rift affects the emotions of those exposed to it, and alters our central nervous systems, expanding our consciousnesses onto the Equestrian plane.

Or, if The Sparkle Chronicles is to be believed, somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes. (In that story, the rift is referred to as “The Breach.”)

I may have been right about something

After reading all 432,377 words of Background Pony by shortskirtsandexplosions, I declared that someday it would appear on college reading lists.

It hasn’t happened yet, but the larger issue — is there a place for pony stories on a formal syllabus? — has been answered in the affirmative. ENG 222 at Princeton is titled Fanfiction: Transformative Works from Shakespeare to Sherlock, and included in the readings for the course are several items currently on Fimfiction, including some I’ve read.

Here’s part of the course description:

What makes “fanfiction” different from Shakespeare basing his plays on sources, or House turning a Victorian detective into a doctor in West Windsor? What can amateur, unauthorized stories about other people’s characters do for readers and writers that paid, official culture can’t or won’t? In this course, we’ll be reading a lot of fanfic as well as looking at other cultural uses of adaptation and appropriation such as TV shows, web series, and avant-garde poetry. We’ll look at the historical tradition of “writing from sources” and examine the co-evolution of fanfiction and mass media from the 1890s to today. We will also welcome visitors (electronic and in-person) ranging from writers on Elementary and House to John/Sherlock slashers, as well as fan studies scholars, intellectual property attorneys, and a panel of fan writers and journalists who will discuss the changing relationship between fans, their creative work, and the media, publishing, and entertainment industries.

Ah, Raphael Holinshed, thou shouldst be living at this hour.