For her series “Saturday sketch,” Zoe Williams visited the UK PonyCon 2012 in Nottingham, the ninth incarnation of the long-standing My Little Pony convention. Even though she carefully chose her words to make her outside perspective unequivocal, she recognized a clear dichotomy of collectors and bronies, something that a collector friend of mine also observed at the MLP Convention in Hamburg, Germany. Let’s mingle more, OK?
Despite some preconceptions she probably had prior to her visit—which show in insinuated but almost aposiopetic juxtapositions (sorry) like “I am OK with that,” or “On paper, …”—she strove to portray the event in an objective and appreciative tone. For the collectors, she even went so far as to look beyond the apparent superficiality of liking “anything that’s happy and colourful,” to explore the complexities of which it is (may be) born: “Many of the collectors are art students, or illustrators, or into craft in such an extreme, determined, psychedelic way that it amounts to a sort of anti-domesticity.” She seems to be if not taken, then at least fascinated with the multi-layered motivations (or pretense) she suspects behind these artists: “But it’s so vaudeville. She’s like a girl pretending to be Grayson Perry, pretending to be a girl. The more they say it’s about uncomplicated happiness, the more complicated it sounds.”
The abrupt switch to bronies surprises the reader on multiple levels. There is no typographic indication, no paragraph break, accompanying it; the (alleged) complexity of masks upon masks, reminiscent of Gene Wolfe’s hierodules and of the article itself, suddenly gives way to a taxonomy of those who like World of Warcraft and those who don’t, presented as if it were exhaustive and comprehensive; and the author, at first so eager to theorize, now hides behind quotations. (“Cameron Stalker (apparently, yes) ….” Sorry?)
Finally, however, the piece segues into the question of whether bronies are “deliberately trying to subvert preconceptions about masculinity.” The answer to it is again given in quotations and can be epitomized as “it depends.” I’m OK with that, to use her words.
Read the full article here, and good luck with your exegesis.
… or carry a “plushy” (a blanket with a pony’s head) …
Ew. Reminds me of those pelt rugs with taxidermied heads…