Source: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 2, Episode 15. Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. Original Airdate: 1/28/2012
The latest episode has provoked a mixed reaction to say the least. However, that’s not what’s concerning. It’s only natural that people have a diverse range of opinions about any episode, especially a controversial one. It’s the reactions-to-the-reactions that are worrisome (if that makes any sense).
I see people turning on each other over it. A sentiment I hear again and again is that if you didn’t like the latest episode, then you’re “butthurt” or that “you’re not a true brony and you never were.” (Actual quote).
Now I know that “Love and Tolerance” is not universally embraced as an ethos across the fandom, and far be it from me to tell others that it is a necessary component to their personal bronydom. However, it is still part of our culture, and right now, it only magnifies and sharpens the focus around this particular problem, because it’s a truly sad state of affairs when we can’t even seem to love and tolerate one another anymore, let alone troubles from without.
The virtue of any community is not defined by how they agree, but how well they behave when they disagree.
So walk around in other people’s horseshoes for a while before acting. If, for example, an episode of the show that you hold so very dear took a turn for the worse in your eyes, would you really want people flippantly invalidating your opinion when you expressed it? Would that kind of atmosphere give you much incentive to stick around? How would it leave you feeling about the very fandom that prides itself on its sense of community? If you were, on the other hoof, elated at the quality of an episode or season, would you really want people tearing it down in unnecessarily harsh, angry, and fatalistic language?
Think about how other people feel. Isn’t that the core message behind almost every friendship lesson in the show?
The good news is that the solution is very simple. In fact, we can fix this problem right now. Go to one of your brony haunts – a forum, a a chat room, a Facebook page – anywhere. Find somepony you disagree with (about Twalicorn, reformed Discord, Season 3 in general, anything). Give them brohooves; give them hugs; start up a conversation with them. Offer them your friendship. Even if the problem isn’t you; even if you were never in a vehement argument to begin with, the judgmental ones still need to be drowned out by messages of friendship. That’s how we handled trolls back in the day when they were still a serious problem. It worked then, and it can work now that the strife is happening from within. We can’t stop people from being jerks about this, but we can create an environment where people feel accepted even if they happen to run into the occasional jerk. The jerks, after all, are a teeny tiny minority in this fandom.
We are better than what we would appear to have become, and we can do better than we have been doing. It all starts with a brohoof.