The Bus Driver

Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! (If you have not read The Fault in Our Stars or The Magicians they are both quoted, although heavily out of context)

Today I finished rereading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green phenomenal author and nerd activist (I don’t know if that’s what I should really call him that but I’m calling him an activist) who has this amazing knack for bringing nerdy people together and then inspiring them to do great things.  The book ends on a sad note which makes you want to cry both tears of sadness and tears of relief.  One of the ending lines is “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.” – pg. 313.  Immediately I was transported back to one of the defining lines of The Magicians by Lev Grossman where the main character, Quentin, is talking to his girlfriend Alice.  “[Quentin:] ‘You can’t just decide to be happy.’ [Alice] ‘No, you can’t.  But you can sure as hell decide to be miserable.'”  – pg. 325  What do these things have to do with the bus driver? I’ll get to that, just bear with me a bit. Continue reading

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Bigotry Doesn’t Care About Your Intentions

Racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and other forms of discrimination that limit opportunities to people based on some unchangeable fact about themselves don’t care about intentions.

Forms of discrimination have become a very different sort of beast in the current day.  It’s no longer the obvious racism such as the Jim Crow laws.  Racism, sexism, ageism, and much discrimination is now a subtle subconscious mindset that, if one is not paying attention, can be perpetuated unwillingly and unknowingly.  Because of this it is increasingly easy to contribute to these subconscious paradigms unwillingly and accidentally.

There are very obvious sorts of discrimination, but it’s the unconscious reflexive sort of actions that truly contribute to discrimination in our current world.  Actions such as checking one’s wallet when they pass a black person or holding on extra tight to their purse can be the subtle sort of unconscious racism that permeates our culture and constitutes our subconscious racist paradigms.  They are socially constituted and culturally ingrained through stereotypes. Continue reading

On Being a #Brony and How We See Life

Lately there has been a lot of talk about Bronies on game sites.  Mostly because the team behind the video game My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic, a fan game for the My Little Pony community, was handed a cease and desist order from Hasbro.  They were ordered to cease production and release of the game just a week before the game was scheduled to be released.

It’s very magical sort of story where several people, connected through this fandom, wanted to create something meaningful for their community.  This humorous contradictory idea of the My Little Pony characters fighting despite being about love, friendship, and magic united 3 men to create a fighting game.  It was a daunting task.

Lauren Faust, creator of the show’s first two seasons, saw the cease and desist.  She has been quoted remarking that she loved the humorous idea and what they were trying to do. She then offered to create completely new characters, detached from My Little Pony, for a new game.

Then the team was then offered a physics engine from the creators of Skull Fighters to be used for free.

On seeing all of this I decided that being a Brony was clearly nothing to be ashamed of and that there was clearly something bigger to it all other than the humorous idea of grown men like a “little girls show”.  If My Little Pony was about friendship, collaboration, idea sharing, and community – all things that I value greatly – the show was right up my alley.  Just because the show was intended for younger girls did not mean that I could not enjoy it.  Just because I wasn’t the target market didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy it.  And more importantly, being a strong supporter of abolishing gender stereotypes and rules which say what is acceptable and unacceptable for genders, meant that I would be a walking hypocrite if I refused to watch the show purely because of its intended audience.  All signs pointed to at least giving the show a try.  If I didn’t like it because I didn’t find it entertaining or meaningful then I could cite such reasons, I would not be a walking hypocrite, and I could be legitimate in my non-Brony status. Continue reading