Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

My little... Satan

About a year ago, I got into a fairly surreal conversation with a friend of mine over the phenomenon of "Bronies."

A "Brony," for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is an adult, usually male, fan of the television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  At first my friend didn't believe that there was such a thing, and she accused me of trying to convince her of something ridiculous so that I would have ammunition for teasing her later when she found out that it wasn't true.

This forced me to dig up an article in Wired from all the way back in 2011 that proved to her that, unlikely as it may seem, the Brony phenomenon is real.

The Bronies are pretty serious about their obsession, too.  They have conventions, and dress up as characters like Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, complete with wigs and costumes that are colors not found in nature.

BronyCon. [Image licensed under the Creative Commons Keith Survell from USA, Bronycon summer 2012 cosplay session, CC BY-SA 2.0]

They collect action figures.  They have online discussion groups wherein they discuss the events in recent episodes with the same gravitas you would expect if the scripts had been penned by Shakespeare, or at the very least, George R. R. Martin.  They make fan art (as of the writing of the Wired article, the site DeviantArt had over 90,000 pieces of My Little Pony-inspired art; heaven alone knows how many there are now).  They went so apeshit when My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ended its run in 2019 that EntertainmentOne and Boulder Media teamed up with Paramount Pictures to produce a full-length movie called, I kid you not, My Little Pony: A New Generation, which is scheduled to be released this September.

There is also a subgroup which apparently like to dress up as My Little Ponies and then have sex with each other.  Which I guess is harmless enough if everyone involved is a consenting adult, but open-minded as I am, I really didn't want to investigate further.

Being an author, my internet search history is already fucked up enough as it is.

Anyhow, after discussing the whole phenomenon with my friend, I got to thinking about it, and I decided that I had to see if I could figure out why this show had gained so much popularity amongst adults.  And fortunately, the article linked above has a short clip from one of the shows.  "Who knows?" I thought.  "I'm an open-minded guy, and confident in my own masculinity.  Maybe I'll be charmed.  Maybe I'll understand how some dude could get taken in by the innocent delight of entering a pastel-colored world where stories always end well."

So I watched the clip.  And "delight" is not what I experienced.  All I can say is, the voices of the My Little Pony characters reach a level of Annoying Whine previously achieved only by the actors who voiced the little dinosaurs in The Land Before Time.  After watching ten seconds of the clip, I wanted to remove my ears, with a cheese grater if need be.  I not only cannot understand how anyone could become a Brony, I felt like I needed to chug a six-pack of Bud Light after watching the clip just to restore order to the universe.

But all of this is backstory.  Because just yesterday I found out, through a different YouTube clip that you all must watch, that there is a reason that otherwise normal guys become Bronies.  And after watching the clip, I realized what a narrow escape I had.

Because My Little Pony is rife with symbolism of Satan and the Illuminati.

From Princess Celestia, who watches the world with the Eye of Horus and is actually a pagan sun goddess; to Applejack, whose apple symbol represents the Apple of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; to Twilight Sparkle's six-pointed star.  All symbols of evil magic and the occult.

And don't even get me started about "Pinkie Pie."

All through the video, which is eight minutes long, there is eerie, atmospheric music playing, sort of like the soundtrack to The Exorcist only less cheerful.  I watched the whole thing through twice, because it's just that wonderful.  There are all sorts of references to the Masons and the Satanists and the Illuminati and the Pagans.  An especially great part is where the subtitles tell us that there are six Pony characters, and each one has her own "magic element" and her own color, and 6+6+6 = 666.

I always thought that 6+6+6 = 18.  Maybe it's special Illuminati math or something.

Be that as it may, I guess that this explains the whole "Brony" phenomenon.  Adult guys are getting sucked in by the evil magic of My Little Pony, and through the wicked influence of characters like "Rainbow Dash" they are being induced to dedicate their lives to worshiping Satan.

So it's a truly awesome video, and very educational, although I would caution you against drinking anything while watching it unless you really want to buy a new computer monitor.

Anyway, there you have it.  Why guys become Bronies.  Me, I'm still not likely to watch, even now that I know that the show has a darker side.  Those voices are just beyond anything I could tolerate.  Not that this will convince my friend, who still thinks I'm covering up a secret obsession, to the point that she got me a "Pinkie Pie" mug for my last birthday.

But it could be worse.  She could have gotten me a plush toy with a voice box.  And then I might have made a deal with Satan just to get even with her.


One of the most devastating psychological diagnoses is schizophrenia.  United by the common characteristic of "loss of touch with reality," this phrase belies how horrible the various kinds of schizophrenia are, both for the sufferers and their families.  Immersed in a pseudo-reality where the voices, hallucinations, and perceptions created by their minds seem as vivid as the actual reality around them, schizophrenics live in a terrifying world where they literally can't tell their own imaginings from what they're really seeing and hearing.

The origins of schizophrenia are still poorly understood, and largely because of a lack of knowledge of its causes, treatment and prognosis are iffy at best.  But much of what we know about this horrible disorder comes from families where it seems to be common -- where, apparently, there is a genetic predisposition for the psychosis that is schizophrenia's most frightening characteristic.

One of the first studies of this kind was of the Galvin family of Colorado, who had ten children born between 1945 and 1965 of whom six eventually were diagnosed as schizophrenic.  This tragic situation is the subject of the riveting book Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker.  Kolker looks at the study done by the National Institute of Health of the Galvin family, which provided the first insight into the genetic basis of schizophrenia, but along the way gives us a touching and compassionate view of a family devastated by this mysterious disease.  It's brilliant reading, and leaves you with a greater understanding of the impact of psychiatric illness -- and hope for a future where this diagnosis has better options for treatment.

[Note: if you purchase this book from the image/link below, part of the proceeds goes to support Skeptophilia!]


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