Love and Tolerance. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some look at it as a “stupid meme” that went too far; others see it as a value system—a way of life. Regardless of where you fall on that particular spectrum, one thing is undeniably certain—love and tolerance is a highly effective stratagem for dealing with trolls.
After all, our ability to face haters with a smile—to fight fire with cupcakes—that phenomenon was the very thing that inspired the “stupid meme” in the first place, and what allowed the brony fandom to blossom into such a positive and supportive environment.
So where does it fit in now?
These days, we far outnumber the trolls and the haters. We are even part of a somewhat mainstream cultural entity. We have our own established institutions, our own conventions, and our own forums (which, for the most part, enjoy a relative level of peace nowadays).
Here is the thing. There is one very big and rather unfortunate problem that seems to have grown out of our fandom’s beautiful sense of solidarity—one thing we never learned to do very well:
We don’t know how to disagree with one another.
The redemption of Discord, the alicornization of Twilight Sparkle, the upcoming Equestria Girls movie—no pony can seem to agree whether these things are the best or worst things ever to happen to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
And that’s fine!
The problem isn’t these events themselves, but the effect they have had on civilized discourse within the fandom.
Over the years, we got so used to sticking together no matter what, that when the show went and made decisions that not all of us liked, we completely came apart.
It’s not the fault of the people who believe the show is in the process of jumping the shark, nor is it the fault of the people who think the show is better than ever. It’s not about which side is right. It’s about expressing those opinions maturely, and accepting disagreement in a spirit of friendship.
“If you don’t like Magical Mystery Cure, you’re not a true brony and never were.”
“If you like Equestria Girls, you’re a traitor to everything MLP stands for.”
Everypony seems to agree that this sort of dialogue is making the fandom a much more unpleasant place. So here’s what we do.
We stop. We listen to what others have to say, and if we see others jumping in, getting aggressive about these particular subjects, we don’t compound the argument with more arguing.
We jump in and fight fire with cupcakes once again. We post something joyful in response. We find a common ground. We go out of our way to tell folks with whom we disagree that even though we don’t see eye-to-eye, that we still respect and value them. Only love can conquer hate, (and that doesn’t mean expecting everypony to love the same exact things that you love).
Fillies and Gentlecolts, it’s time to do it all over again. The fandom has come full circle. We need to learn to Love and Tolerate the Shit Out of each other.
We can do it.
(Curse word not asterisked out of faithfulness to the original meme.)
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