Since the Daughter With One F turned three, I figure I've watched approximately infinity hours of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While I'm pretty sure I would never sit through another episode that I wasn't being forced to by my little Rainbow Dash fan, I can freely admit it's not a bad show at all. Lauren Faust is a brilliant creator, the art is excellent and the writing is surprisingly good.
Along with the intended demographic of my daughter and her father with an incredibly low threshold for entertainment, another kind of fan has arisen to declare his love for My Little Pony -- the grown men who call themselves Bronies.
Now let's be clear, I am not here to make fun of Bronies. I swore an oath to never again do so after I found out how much they piss off neo-Nazis. I spent ten years wearing women's underwear onstage and another five singing a song about how awesome David Arquette is. I have no room to judge anyone.
The Houston Brony Society will be set up at Comicpalooza this weekend to open up the world of their community and My Little Pony in general to Houstonians and visitors. The founder of the society, Jonathan Dean, will be hosting forums such as "What Is a Brony?" "The Philosophical and Sociological Aspects of My Little Pony"and "You Don't Know Applejack." They'll play Pony Jeopardy, sing Pony Karaoke, teach you to draw ponies, screen episodes and invite you into the rapidly growing herd that is the Houston society.
"I honestly have never seen a more supportive group," said Dean via e-mail. "We have had people asking for help on the page. Everyone will pitch in, offer advice and help out. If a Brony needs a ride, people will drive an hour out of the way just to pick them up. The things I've seen here give me hope for humanity."
The Brony community gets the stink-eye from the rest of the world sometimes, and it's not just because it's primarily adult men obsessed with a cartoon meant for little girls. The Internet has unleashed a wave of bizarre and frankly disturbing My Little Pony fandom that boggles the mind with its sheer craziness.
I don't just mean the tetrabytes of
You may have heard about these aspects of the Brony scene online because, let's face it, extremes drive clicks. You could hold these people up as an example of the End Times, but in a way it's actually very positive. It shows just how varied the My Little Pony fandom can be.
"No one in the community is similar," said Read. "In our group we have many people from all different aspects of life with different beliefs, ideals and personalities. Heck, one of my best friends who supports and loves the Brony community served in the army for three years as a bomb technician."
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The Brony community continues to grow. In Houston alone, the Society has swelled from 20 members to nearly a thousand. That is an impressive gathering any way you look at it. It still seems somewhat off-putting, but up until several years ago, every aspect of comic culture and geek convention life seemed that way to the mainstream. Now so much of what was once niche and hidden has become acceptable and celebrated.
And furthermore, any fandom that can be explored for ten minutes with hardcore physics can't be anything but cool.