Pony Thought of the Day: Upset Fans

I’ve discussed this before in my articles on the episodes, but some of the comments on the Pony Thoughts of the Day this week make me think it’s worth reiterating:

There are basically two kinds of fan: People who are fans of something because they like it, and people who are fans of something because it’s important to them.

(Yes, there are people who are both, and other ways to categorize fans, and what I’m doing here is constructing a binary and I’ve already pointed out the problem with binaries. Still, for the discussion we’re about to have, it’s a useful binary.)

When things change in Friendship Is Magic, there are always people who like the change and people who don’t. If someone really strongly dislikes the change, and they belong to the first group, they may stop being fans of Friendship Is Magic. But if they’re in the second group, that’s a problem, because Friendship Is Magic is important to them. They can’t just leave it behind just because it made a change they don’t like, at least not without a lot of thought and emotion and, yes, trauma.

This is the important bit: It is neither right nor wrong to like a show. It is neither right nor wrong for that show to be important to you. And if you feel bad that something you like is no longer likeable, or that something important to you has changed in ways you dislike, you have every right to express that you are upset.

That’s not “being butthurt.” It’s not entitlement or weakness or anything of the sort–as we just covered with “Lesson Zero,” nobody gets to tell anyone else what “should” be important to them or what they “should” feel.

All of us have things that are important to us. And no matter what it is, for every single thing that is important to you, there is someone somewhere who thinks it’s a trivial concern. And for every single thing that you think is trivial, there is someone somewhere who thinks it’s important.

And every single one of them is right, because everything is trivial and everything is the most important thing in the world. It’s all a matter of perspective.

What matters, in the end, isn’t what you feel, it’s what you do with those feelings. Any feeling can be expressed creatively and constructively. Don’t like Equestria Girls, and feel too strongly to do nothing? Write an essay on why you don’t like it, or draw some fanart of humanized ponies done right, or post to your Facebook wall or Tumblr that you don’t like Equestria Girls. But don’t go around attacking people who think Equestria Girls is a great idea or people who work on the show. (Same goes for people who don’t like that other people don’t like Equestria Girls–feel that way all you like, but express it creatively and constructively!)

tl;dr: The problem isn’t that some people care about something too much, or that some people care about the wrong things, or that some people have the wrong opinions. The problem is that a small number of people are choosing to express their feelings destructively instead of creatively.

0 thoughts on “Pony Thought of the Day: Upset Fans

  1. I think you're really onto something with characterizing some fans as because-it's-important-to-them types. I've been reading the backlog and I really appreciate the blog.

  2. Thanks, glad you're enjoying it!

    In my personal, idiosyncratic terminology, that's my line between fans and geeks: fans like a thing, geeks make that thing a part of their identity, because without that thing they could not be who they are. Both are neutral terms; you can express fandom or geekery well or you can express either of them badly.

Leave a Reply