2014-09-01-learning-through-osmosis

Learning Through Osmosis

2014-09-01-learning-through-osmosis

 This is such a true story, it is MULTIPLE true stories. With an S. The first time this happened I was in Toronto and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls toys were being debuted at the show. Kiddo was obsessed with the movie and I was missing her first day of 1st grade to be at this particular convention, so I wanted to get her a cool gift. I went up to the booth and browsed what was in the case. There was a mother with her young daughter, 8 or 9 years old (American years… no idea what the Canadian metric conversion age is.), and it quickly became clear that we were looking at the same things. I feared her mother had warned her about the “grown men who like to play with ponies,” of which I was not one, but CLEARLY appeared to be one at that moment. I almost said aloud, “I’m shopping for my DAUGHTER,” but I thought better of uttering what is likely the shameful battle cry of the self-hating adult pony enthusiast.

My Patrons can see the original last panel to the previous comic which spawned the writing process for THIS comic [HERE]. 

becomepatron

A more subtle approach would be to ask, “How old is your daughter? Mine is 6 and she LOVES this stuff.” But as I thought the words they immediately became twisted and creepy. “HoWwWwww OLLLLLD izzzz yoURRR DAWWWWWWTERRRRRR?!?!? [pant pant hisssssssss]” Better to just smile as un-creepily as possible and wait for the booth worker to come over. She arrived and addressed the little girl first. “I want Twilight!” she belted enthusiastically. “OK, just let me get one from the back, eh? [aboot soory]” the associate replied. I had already been away from my booth for longer than I intended, so I just raised my hand and said, “Make that two.” I might as well have said, “I’ll have what she’s having,” then given the mom a wink and a pair of finger guns. Then I could just hold my wrists together and wait for security to put them in handcuffs. A more direct approach would have been, “I’LL HAVE THE SAME PONY THAT THE CHILD IS HAVING! I’LL HAVE IT FOR MY OWNNNNN!”

Anyway, I felt goofy buying it at a convention, but Kiddo loved it and that was the point. A year or so later at SDCC I had the exact same experience, only more so humiliating. My con-wife, David, had procured through man-child sorcery a special VIP pass to the Hasbro booth, which let you skip the massive line of other man-children and purchase whatever they were offering that reminded you of when you were young and alive and so much further away from an inevitable death. David and I made the death march from the webcomics area of the floor to the Hasbro booth which, while only being about 10 rows away, took a good 30 minutes to reach in SDCC time. The cases were full of robots and ponies and maybe some robot ponies, but definitely NO pony robots. I flashed my VIP (Very Impressive Pony) badge and was ushered to the front of an impossible long line.

To my chagrin, I learned that all of the stuff in the cases was not, in fact, for sale and was, in fact, for filling space in cases. The only thing they sold at this booth was convention exclusive toys, most of which cost upwards of $50-$100. I usually spend about $20 on Kiddo’s convention gift and maybe another $10 on comics for her. The cheapest thing they had, that would be of any interest to her at all was $35. It was a limited edition pony who was based on a character from an episode that she had seen, but who only actually appeared in the comics, which she had not read. I had come all of this way, and no booth was going to have shorter line than this. Maybe she would think the “con exclusive” aspect of it was cool. Whatever. “I’ll take a… Mane-iac Mayhem Equestria Girl.” The booth worker looked at me like, “Of course you will, Beardo,” and wrapped it up.

I wiki’d the character once I got back to the booth, so I could at least know what I was presenting to my child. That’s how it happens. That’s how you get THE KNOWING. Not, necessarily by being interested in your kid’s toys and shows themselves, but by being interested in your kid. Granted, there are lots of things she’s into that I am GENUINELY into. Adventure Time, Minecraft, Ninja Turtles… Our Venn Diagram of interests has plenty of legitimate overlap. MLP: FiMOMGLOL just isn’t my bag, and so I feel like a goofus when I have to display my uncharacteristically extensive knowledge of the subject matter.

My daughter lives in a world where everything she likes is the universally adored, coolest stuff ever. “How could anyone NOT like Littlest Pet Shop?! [I could list 1000 reasons] It’s the COOLEST! [It is not]” But, rather than be the dad who “doesn’t get it, doesn’t WANT to get it,” I want to be the dad who begrudgingly watches the overly bubbly, hyper manic, highest possible pitched shouting matches that are her favorite shows, so that when she wants to talk about them (which is always), I will have more to say than, “That’s nice, Kiddo.”

The problems occur when I actually start to have opinions about this stuff. Like how, in a world with three distinct evolutionary offshoots of the dominant species, where one of the subsets is so much more powerful than the other two as to make them appear crippled, does a caste system not naturally develop? Here’s how a real world Equestria would break down: Unicorns on top, ruling the Pegasi and Earth Ponies with an iron hoof. Just dominating every aspect of pony life and taking what they want, when they want, from whomever they want. They are telekinetic magic users in a community where everyone else can’t even get a book off the shelf without gnawing at it with their teeth! The pegasi are their enforcers. They are still subjugated by the unicorns, but they are awarded special privileges for keeping the Earth ponies in line. The Earth ponies are garbage. Just pure, fucking nonsense garbage. They dig trenches, and break rocks, and pull shit around in carts and probably serve as a food source for the upper classes.

Bare minimum, this shit is all going down 5 minutes after the unicorns figure out magic. Extrapolate a bit further, probably after an uprising or two, and the unicorns have completely wiped out the other two classes and enslaved… I don’t know… whatever species Strawberry Shortcake is.

Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Sonic Screwdriver earrings my wife made! 

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/200762224/doctor-who-inspired-sonic-screwdriver

comic-2011-10-19-otherwise-occupied.jpg

Otherwise Occupied

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“George Hurt You” shirts are in the store!!!

Show Us On The Trilogy Where George Hurt You - funny star wars t-shirt, george lucas shirt, star wars parody

First and foremost, I AM NOT casting judgement. I am merely expressing my confusion at the fandom of teenage to adult males surrounding My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, a cartoon made for little girls. I’ve heard all the arguments. It’s well animated, well voice acted, well written, etc. I agree on all accounts. I still just don’t get it. That said, I have always been of the “Fan and let fan” mindset.

This comic is inspired by (and guest stars) my friend Lar, who I spent last weekend with at New York Comic Con. He was expressing an honest desire to understand the Bronies and what makes them tick (I suspect rainbows and sparkles are involved). Later he tweeted most of what I have portrayed him saying panel 1 and I couldn’t help but think he could have just as easily been talking about Occupy Wallstreet. I think he might have been offering himself as defacto leader if there was no other claim to the throne.

I talked to one of the guys at Hasbro (a Hasbrony?) about the Brony phenomenon. He said their official policy is “we don’t get it, but we love it.” He confirmed my suspicion that they are careful NOT to cater to Bronies with the production of the show or the official merchandise, because it would probably have the opposite effect and drive them away. What they are obsessed with is the show which Hasbro thought it was making for little girls. To alter course now, would likely alienate both core audiences. It was a very enlightening conversation that got me thinking about what happens when you create something and put it out there for mass consumption. The audience you get isn’t always the one you want, but rather the one you deserve.

COMMENTERS: Other than MLP:FiM, are there any shows, movies, or other entertainment products that you’ve enjoyed despite being out of the target demographic (age, gender, etc)? Speaking of Hasbro, when I was a kid I LOVED Jem. I was always too embarrassed to ask for the toys for my birthday. Eventually I got up the nerve and came up with this thing about how I wanted the guy (whatever Jem’s boyfriend’s name was) and I “might as well get the girl to go along with him.” The ruse didn’t work and I remained Jemless.