Freedom Of Speech:
... y'know those little packets of silica gel that come in shoeboxes? The ones that say 'Do Not Eat' all over them? WHY does it always feel like it's a personal challenge?
I mean, with the current vibe I've gotten from this generation, it almost feels as if I'm kindly being MOCKED for my own stupidity - like the whole 'Caution: Coffee Will Be HOT' thing; do I really need some fancy-pants corporate big-wig telling me that the HOT coffee that was ordered HOT, when handed to me HOT, will STILL BE HOT if I splash it lightly across my face and chest to wake myself up in the morning? I mean, seriously... I never DRINK the stuff, but it most certainly CAN wake a person the hell up on a cold, crisp morning.
It's kinda like that with the silica gel; I mean, seriously - this stuff came in a box of factory-manufactured footwear, which has been sitting in a porous little baggie on a store shelf for NO TELLING how long... and they HAVE to tell me not to EAT it? Really? I mean, okay, sure - there are times I should probably be told not to put things in my mouth (cigarettes, floor gum, that one guy's left big toe), but there are standards, y'all! I seriously doubt that the world's levels of common sense are THAT far gone.
WHY do thy put those warnings on there? Well... because the world has become SO litigious, that anything CAN and WILL be misinterpreted to be taken advantage of... so in response, us folks who actually aren't looking to make a fast buck off of anyone we can have to suffer with THIS cockamamie crapola. Seriously, is there anyone out there who DOESN'T feel a little dumber every time they read those little warnings?
Well, all I know is... next time I see one of those little packets? I'mma EAT that bastard.
... *facepalm* Sometimes, I'm too weird even for ME.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, simply put, is nowhere near as good as everyone is raving about. While this game does have a lot of positive points and good amount of content, it has so many issues that pile on quickly and ruin a lot of the fun atmosphere this game is supposed to have. First and foremost are the horrendous spirits. This incredibly stupid addition replaces the trophies of past games and it is garbage. Rather than being about collecting things and it being fun in that sense, it is all about getting spirits for bonuses and stats. That's the main reason they are there, for numbers. Without overpowered spirits you stand no chance in the harder fights in the TERRIBLE spirit board, which hosts fights ranging in difficulty from brain dead easy to impossible without the right spirits. The spirit board is a disaster and usually throws any semblance of skill out the window and into a fire. The spirit board really feels like a really crappy free to play mobile game concept that was built for microtransactions, it just doesn't have the microtransactions. Even still, it is just a boring, endless grind and most of what is available to you is out of your control.
The fighting is still as fun as ever, but there are obviously character balance problems and the A.I. is insanely inconsistent. One match they can barely put up a fight, the next it reacts to your every move and doesn't let you do anything, doing combos endlessly and destroying you and I have no idea why this is the case.
This game also showcases just how lackluster the joy cons are. These being the default playing method of every Switch, it is sad to see them be so unfavorable in a game as intense as this. You basically have to pick up something else if you want full enjoyment and full enjoyment will only be obtained if you avoid the spirit modes like the plague that they are.
Honestly, I am just disappointed. This game really can be fun at times, but the hideously inconsistent A.I. the terrible addition of spirits and this stupid meta game that nobody asked for, while the game is missing other old modes that were a better distraction than trying to get spirits all the time. Things like Classic Mode feel tacked on and half baked. Classic Mode does have some character specific boss battles, which would be cool if all of them weren't terrible except for Ganon. Haven't even touched the online, but I have heard that it is pretty terrible, so of course, Nintendo is simply fumbling in all the usual places. I've read opinions of others that this game really feels like it was made purely for tournament players and the casual fun has been diminished heavily and I highly agree with that statement. I am already getting sick of this game and I haven't even unlocked all the characters yet. I don't really have any friends to play this game locally with, so I have to rely on what is here for a solo experience and it is just never ending, bitter disappointment. I don't know why I bother with gaming anymore. I can't enjoy any of it these days.
Oh wait I forgot everything Nintendo does is absolute perfection 10/10 best game ever
I have recently been working on mu very first fully fledged OC! As i am sure some of you have seen I have been asking around some RP images and i cannot wait for everyone to hear about my new OC Sugar Snap!
While i still need to work out all the kinks and get a full character sheet sorted out I cannot wait to get started and show everyone this pony I've come to love!
The main characters:
Allura would be the black paladin, and instead of being a teenager would be an adult around the same age as Shiro, the way the Voltron fandom initially thought she was. Which would make her and Shiro around 23 years old.
Lance would stay the blue paladin
Keith would stay the red paladin
Keith and Lance would be childhood rivals turned friends who would become a couple over the course of the series.
Hunk would be the yellow paladin
Pidge would be the green paladin and would be a child prodigy being the youngest of the paladins at the age of 16, while Lance, Hunk and Keith would be 18 years old.
Shiro would be Keith's biological brother, and would get to marry Adam who wouldn't die in this version. His role in this reboot would be similar to the role he played as the captain of the Atlas during the last two season of VLD and the role Allura had during the first two seasons of VLD.
Abortion: I am completely in favor or abortion. Especially when a mission looks like a failure. If you don't abort lives could be lost. There was this one time I tried to abort a launch to Mars and I was told no. I lost my entire crew and am still floating in space. Abortion could have saved their lives. I also stink in this space suit. Send Axe please.
Death Penalty/Prison: If you take one ... I mean ONE ... of my pistachios you go to jail. The jail will be located in an undisclosed penal colony where there are a whole bunch of penals running around singing Justin Bieber songs. If you take more than one ... I snap my damn fingers. Bye you.
Freedom of Speech: I am a huge proponent of free speech, unless speech stole my nuts. Then screw speech .... it can rot.
Guns: Nerf, Lazor Tag, and Supersoaker should be required by everyone. I am also against people calling their muscles ‘guns’. The F*ck is up with that 80's bullshit?
Economy: Economy is great. Unless you are flying internationally. Then economy sucks.
Gay marriage: My views on this have changed. I was once married to a girl named Jess and therefore only supported Jess Marriage. Now, I suppose it is possible I would marry someone named Gay. Though it is unlikely because not that many people are Gay.
Immigration: I firmly oppose Antarctican Immigration. Fucking penguins everywhere? Hell no. Also Oompa Loompa immigration is dangerous. Everytime you see them a child nearly dies. They are a threat to our families.
Religious Liberty: I will only say this. I once got into a debate over religion with this guy who claimed that there were like hundreds of religions. I had my Pistachio God strike him down then and there. There shall no other nuts before me! Though I am fair. These complaints about the Ten Duel Commandments being in front of state houses is absurd. I mean, it is our civic right to carry Nerf you damn hippie loompa jerks. Also Hamilton!
Transgenderism: I'm sick of this. I went to Germany once and I couldn't learn their language because each thing had a specific gender! WHAT???? A trashcan isn't a boy or a girl ... its a damned trashcan. Same with the French. The hell is wrong with your language. When I get back on Earth ... WAR. I declare WAR. Stupid Pistachio hating Oopmpa Loompa loving barbarians! Une or Un ... pick one!
Saw some other users doing this, so I figured I might aswell have a go for myself.
Abortion: When it comes to Abortion I am a little iffy on it. I support it being used in places with overpopulation, such as China and India for example. I know it is considered cruel, but what is more cruel is the overpopulation issues in those areas of the world, and bringing lives up to suffer in them. I also support it in uses of Rape, and such but no more than that.
Death Penalty/Prison: The death Penalty should be used in the most serious of crimes, like murderers, terrorists and the like. If it is not used for people like that, they should do hard labor for the rest of their lives to better the state. Prisoners should be used as volunteer forces to help put out fires and the like, and a labor force to help improve infrastructure for the state. Prisoners should try to better their lives and society in some way shape or form, or else they are dead weight which is a monetary loss. I do believe prison conditions should be improved, and those involved in gangs and such, should just be locked up all the time so there is no issues. Minimize the risks, before anything happens.
People who are released from Jail shall be re-accompanied on their re-insertion into society, and if they mess up again there should be no sympathy involved, just jail time. I believe that sentences in jail should be lengthened for serious offenders, so they can really suffer the loss of what they have done.
Freedom of Speech: I may not like what people have to say, though they have the right to say it, it is in cases where people are bullied and the like, is where I have issues with it. Bullying should be considered a hate crime and should have strict consequences, regardless. Protesting, and then protesters not cleaning up after themselves and littering shouldn't be allowed.
Guns: I am not a gun person, nor will I ever be though I believe controlling guns to some extent. Guns should have a fair amount of restrictions, and that strict background checks should be put in place of banning guns outright, since people need to defend themselves, and if a gun is all they have, so be it.
Economy: I have always mistrusted large corporations in general. In my view they should be regulated and should pay their fair share of taxes for the enviroment, the state and the people. Maybe 10-20% of their revenue would go to the government, to be distributed to what needs money at the current time. Health, science, infrastructure, and the people's lives are paramount. Large corporations should be investigated from time to time for corruption, and if any corruption is detected it shall be removed swiftly. Businesses that mislead the public should be shut down by the government and have all monetary assets seized for the time being, while those who propose misleading the public should have jail time. Reducing poverty and improving people's lives, all across the world needs to be done, quicker than it is today.
Communism in the past has never worked and it never will, and I do not support such an archaic ideology, though certain aspects of it I certainly find appealing such as the de-powering of the rich elite, which is something I support to the max. Rich people should pay high taxes to help the economy.
Gay marriage: I am not gay myself and I never will be, however I support the right of people doing what they want as long as it doesn't harm themselves and others to a certain extent. However, I am not too fond of gay 'pride' and all that. Nobody should be proud of their sexuality or anything like that, it is just a sexuality and that is that.
Immigration: Illegal immigration is a serious issue. If you want to come in the United States, come in legally, if you won't come in legally, then get out. Simple as that. Family separation at the border is a sad thing, but people who are coming in illegally should know the consequences. If you are here to come in, support the nation that is fine, but if you are here to cause issues that shouldn't be accepted in the least. Caravans coming into this country, wave after wave is something that shouldn't be accepted and I am glad Trump is doing his best to stop them.
Building a wall won't really work properly, but if it is built, then I would be glad to see it.
Religious Liberty: People can believe whatever they want, though as long as that doesn't harm themselves and others. I myself am agnostic, and I don't care what people believe in as long as they don't try forcing it over me or others. Those who do are bigots which do not deserve respect.
Transgenderism: People can do whatever it is they want to their bodies as long as it isn't harmful to themselves or others, It's not my concern about people's genders, so people can do themselves and I will do me. Don't shove it in my face, I am not transgender and I never will be.
Outside of the paladins and Shiro, here are the other major characters I would want to play a role in my idea for a Voltron reboot:
Former emperor Zarkon
Resistance Leader Kolivan
Allura's cousin Romelle
Royal Adviser Merla
Since I saw another user do this, I figure I'll do it as well.
Abortion: I am 100% pro choice. Mainly because I'm my life philosophy, and scientifically, at least in my opinion, a fertilized egg cell isn't a person. Not to mention I support the right to choose in general.
Death Penalty: I'm not against it, but I'm not for it, either. Although I do consider it cruel and unusual punishment for crimes that aren't murder, I can sympathize with people who support in cases of murder, because if some bastard murdered my wife, I'd make them pay.
Economy: I'm less familiar with economics than I am with social issues, but I support Democratic Socialism. (I know, I'm a friggin' communist. )
Freedom of Speech: I fully support it, as most people should. People should be allowed to make certain speeches even if it upsets people. And if those upset people try to use violence against people who are expressing their freedom of speech, put them in jail. (I'm talking to you, anti-flag burners.)
Guns: I love guns. A lot. Though I am very supportive of gun control. (There's a difference between gun control and gun bans.) I think there should be some form of background check, because I think it's a REALLY bad idea to just let any butt-wipe with money have a gun.
Gay marriage: I 100% support gay rights.
Immigration: I might get a lot of flak for this, but I think that we should allow Mexicans who cross the border illegally to stay in America, because I'm sure they wouldn't do it illegally unless they had a good reason. Mexico is a dangerous place, and when the pressure's on, the luxury of choice tends to disappear. As for banning Muslims, I am highly against that. Even though I despise Islam, I think it's unfair to condemn an entire group of people just because there are some radicals and extremists. I will admit that if you look at opinion polls about the Muslim world, there are a concerning number of Muslims who are a BIT more comfortable with violence than they should be. But that doesn't mean that they themselves are terrorists, and there are millions of Muslims who COMPLETELY condemn terrorism and violence.
Religious Liberty: I fully support religious liberty, even though I'm very anti-religion. But if you start imposing your religious beliefs on other people, I'm gonna have a problem with you. (That's not religious liberty, by the way.)
Transgenderism: I think that people who get sex-change surgery deserve rights just as much as anyone else. I personally don't believe in that "unlimited genders" Tumblr nonsense. But if other people do, who cares? They aren't hurting anyone!
I might edit this in the future to include some other political beliefs I have but forgot about. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
I have a present for you this Christmas evening: A little glimpse on how MLP:FiM is promoted in China.
As its many knock-offs show, MLP:FiM is very popular in China, with small shops selling everything from off-color clay figurines of Princesses Celestia and Luna to almost official-looking play sets of tea parties with Rainbow Dash and Rarity. This fandom does not hesitate to share the knock-offs of the toy line, and to wonder why Hasbro does not crack down on the peddlers more. I have taken many photos of the merchandise on my trip, but very likely others have found these a hundred times over.
Surprisingly, I have found that comparatively little of MLP:FiM merchandise other than toys from China gets shared, especially the books. (This seems to be true of other countries and languages too, but of course, this is an American/Canadian (and therefore English) production.) For a show that emphasizes values and therefore a concept of culture, the lack of analysis of books in other languages is rather surprising. Many of us love the show for both the morals and the way it presents the morals, and while the values it presents are very universal, it is still informed by a Western philosophical tradition (and perhaps even an Anglo-Saxon one, as language does shape thought). To see how the East (or China more specifically) treats the morals of the show and their presentations would be quite enlightening.
I first bought the second book in the series “MLP: Presenting You 18 Good Habits” to help me learn Chinese using stories I was already familiar with, but soon became interested in the way it presented the stories in themselves. I eventually got the whole series.
The covers are elegant and simple: A floral pattern dominated by one color, based off the member of the Mane Six that graces the center.
The series is published by the Tongqu (lit. “childlike”) Publishing Company Ltd., a joint venture of the People’s Post and Telecommunications Publishing House and the Danish publisher Egmont, and apparently only has offices in Beijing. So far as I can tell, this company only has a Chinese distribution. It specializes in children’s books, with IP licenses not only for MLP:FiM but Thomas and Friends, Astro Boy, and various Disney properties, as well as publishing their own original material.
Each book is 120 pages long, containing adaptations of three episodes from the show with a common theme of a class of good habits.
The first one, “Good Habits of Learning,” which appropriately shows Twilight Sparkle in thought, contains “Read It and Weep” (loving to read ardently), “Rarity Investigates!” (observing and reflecting), and “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3” (having right study methods). Second has Pinkie Pie delivering “Good Habits of Living,” and features “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000” (eating a healthy diet), “Hurricane Fluttershy” (exercising), and “Flutter Brutter” (taking care of oneself). The third one, with Rainbow Dash reclining casually on a cloud, is (rather ironically) titled “Good Habits of Working,” and comprises “Somepony to Watch Over Me” (working independently), “Sonic Rainboom” (being earnest and down-to-earth), and “Newbie Dash” (developing team awareness). Fourth has the soft-spoken Fluttershy presenting “Good Habits of Speaking,” through the stories of “Luna Eclipsed” (speaking politely), “Putting Your Hoof Down” (learning to say no), and “Crusaders of the Lost Mark” (not taunting others). In the fifth, Rarity dresses three episodes as “Good Habits of Relationships”—“Amending Fences” (valuing friends), “Make New Friends But Keep Discord” (not monopolizing friendship), and “The Gift of the Maud Pie” (empathizing with others). Finally, Applejack brings us “Good Habits of Safety,” gathering “Appleloosa’s Most Wanted” (staying away from dangerous places), “Viva Las Pegasus” (not falling for sweet talk), and “A Friend in Deed” (not doing dangerous games).
The books start with a preface, “Good Habits for Achieving a Good Future,” written by Xue Lei, a National Psychological Consultant, Learning Competency Instructor, and Early Childhood Education Instructor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Psychological Institute (among other things). (I have not been able to find her listed on the CAS website, perhaps because of her status as an instructor.) She is associated with the Faber and Mazlich series of parenting lectures and workshops based on “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk,” which both explains quite a few features about these books and gives it somewhat less of a Chinese slant than I hoped. In the preface, Xue notes that the key to good behavior for “the long prop-up” is not changing bad habits but developing good habits, and that stern lectures tend to backfire. She then goes on to explain the set-up of the book, and concludes with two quotes about cultivating good habits, one from the American psychologist William James, and the other from the Chinese journalist and author of children’s books Ye Shengtao. Curiously, though she describes the stories that follow as “vivid and interesting,” she doesn’t give any explanation of why she chose the stories from MLP:FiM in particular as her vehicle of cultivating good habits. So far as I can tell, however, she has not drawn from other franchises for similar series of books.
Each story, after a title page, begins with an introduction of the major characters in the story. Remarkably, the series often varies the description for the same character, highlighting facts about the character that are relevant for the story that follows. For example, in “Read it and Weep,” Twilight Sparkle is noted as often encouraging other ponies to read more books, because “she knows most ponies do not know the historical legends.” For “Amending Fences,” however, her introduction focuses on her not caring much about friendship before coming to Ponyville, and even “Hurricane Fluttershy” describes her as “able to make all sorts of precision instruments.” At times, especially if it involves one-shot characters like Zephyr Breeze or Gladmane, the introductions end up giving away the story that follows, but not enough to completely spoil it.
The stories are written in a colloquial, brisk style, using plenty of common Chinese idioms to add spice and informality. (They editors are particularly fond of using the phrase “bugan-shiruo,” meaning “not to be outdone.”) As one might expect, the stories follow the events in the episodes, but there are some exceptions. These likely are to keep each book at their 120-page limits, but perhaps also is a matter of style. Notably, the cold open from “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3” is mostly omitted, despite its great characterization of Twilight and RD, instead going straight into reading the Wonderbolts history book. The reader does not really understand the significance of the test until RD fails Twilight’s pop quiz. In the adaptation of “Sonic Rainboom,” Twilight does not warn Rarity about the fragility of her wings, and their melting in the sun comes as a genuine surprise to the reader. Foreshadowing and other hints at possible futures thus do not appear to be favored devices. The hyperbole gets toned down too: A few of AJ’s protective measures from “Somepony to Watch Over Me” are skipped, as is Fluttershy’s encounter with the tourist in “Putting Your Hoof Down.” At times, the stories assume the reader is familiar with the show, despite the character descriptions at the beginnings of each—“Viva Las Pegasus” begins with “The Map once again called out…” even though it is the only Map episode to be featured in this series.
The changes are not just limited to omissions. In “Read it and Weep,” Rainbow Dash actually invites Fluttershy and Twilight in when they come to visit her at the hospital, instead of the two knocking and entering themselves. This of course softens the interruption, so the reader is not as attached to RD’s annoyance at being stopped from reading the Daring Do book. The changes and additions are particularly common when necessary to fit the intended good habit. Sometimes these additions and changes are fairly creative and fitting: When, in “Crusaders of the Lost Mark,” Diamond Tiara announces her about-face and gets her father to pay for the playground, she explains that her cutie mark talent is not only about getting other ponies to do what she wants, but even makes a point of the fact that it is a tiara, that she thought it meant she could “dictate to everyone without regard to [their] feelings, even speaking meanly.” This rendition thus emphasizes the flaw of arrogance because of social status more than the actual episode does. (I almost suspect, because it is published by People’s Post and Telecommunications, that it’s Communist Party meddling.) Others are completely shoehorned: For “A Friend in Deed,” the lesson that Pinkie Pie takes from her antics with Cranky is not that everyone has their own way of expressing friendship, but “[to] never do a dangerous game again!” which she even swears on a Pinkie Promise. Earlier, the editors even interpret the Smile Song at the beginning of the episode as not just that she likes seeing everypony smile, but that as long as she can make everypony smile, her friends will let her do whatever she wants, framing her as more careless than the episode would suggest. One shoehorned, but still fun, addition is in “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000,” where, to make the episode better fit the “healthy eating” theme, the editors add a pony getting a stomachache from drinking the Flim-Flam Brothers’ cider.
The pictures, as expected, come from screenshots of the show, one (sometimes two) per page. More than occasionally, the pictures do not perfectly correspond with the actual text per page, sometimes even omitting key information. Again in “Read it and Weep,” the page where RD starts reading Daring Do in fact has a picture of RD trying to resist reading the book. A picture of RD wearily starting to read does appear on the next page, although the text describes RD’s reactions to be far more exciting. For “Putting Your Hoof Down,” the text mentions Angel Bunny several times, but only one screenshot with him appears, and there the corresponding text doesn’t mention him. Even more puzzling is the omission of Applejack from any screenshot from “Flutter Brutter,” even though she is listed as one of the described characters at the beginning. It seems as though the editors were less concerned about matching the text with the picture and more content to just remind the reader of what she (or he) had seen in the show.
The pictures are largely unedited, but there is at least once instance where something is added: Princess Luna in front of the spider target game in “Luna Eclipsed," using an obvious vector to make clear that she was the one making the spiders real.
With the exception of “Rarity Investigates,” each story has at least one line that summarizes the moral of the story, highlighted in colored text, a direct commentary to the reader put in a heart-shaped blurb in a screenshot, or both. The blurb commentaries do not always serve the same functions. Some summarize the moral, others make a tangential point, and yet others give direct advice. Some are self-aware that the ponies are not perfect role models: For “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3,” in the scene where RD blows spitballs at Twilight during her flashcard lesson, the editors give this warning: “Throwing spitballs [lit. marbles] at other people is very dangerous, kids, you cannot imitate it!” One unusual case, from “The Gift of the Maud Pie,” describes the characters’ own thoughts when Maud retrieves the party cannon.
A few are even addressed to the parents rather than the children, such as in “Somepony to Watch Over Me," where, as a caption to Apple Bloom taking care of the chores before Applejack returns, the editors say “Kids are more capable than we imagine. Give kids a free hand to do what they can for the housework.”
From the stories themselves we turn to the more unique aspects of the books. One of the most interesting is a section called “Pony Voices from the Heart" which summarizes in four frames the story from the perspective of one of the characters, often, but not always, from the one who had to learn something from the events. For a show that emphasizes character development, this approach is quite fitting, to further help the reader empathize with the characters and therefore better internalize the message.
Next is the section called “Pony Classroom," which further explains the good habit that the story is supposed to inspire, with three “tricks” each providing a way to develop the habit, and some lines for the child to write down any additional tricks that she can think of. Here the editors are freer to use screenshots out of context, which is usually not a problem but can result in some awkward deliveries. One of the stranger ones, shown to the left, is in the healthy eating tricks after “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000,” where the second one takes a screenshot from “Spice Up Your Life,” where Rarity and Pinkie are trying the Zesty Gourmand-approved cuisine. The caption that follows reads “Don’t be a picky eater, focus on matching meat and vegetables, and eat vegetables, meat, and fruit of all sorts.” Given that “Spice Up Your Life” was an episode about not eating the same things over and over again, it’s a surprise that it wasn’t used as the story. At the same time, it seems very odd for our vegetarian friends to tell us to eat meat. (It is also interesting in itself that Chinese children also are picky about eating meat, when Western parents would just expect their children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Having tried a lot of authentic Chinese cuisine while in China, I suspect it is because in many meat dishes the bones are chopped up and cooked with the meat.)
After that is a section called “Magic Practice Camp,” which presents the kids with a series of hypothetical situations that they are to judge either right or wrong, based on what they have learned. For the ones that are wrong, it further instructs the kids to discuss with their parents what should be done instead. What is particularly notable about this section is that the editors appear to have made a real effort to make the hypotheticals gender neutral—that is, both male and female characters are presented as virtuous and not-so-virtuous about equally. (I qualify this tally, though, because, especially as a non-native speaker, it is difficult to tell which names are male and female, and many Chinese names can be both.) This is interesting because in previous pony storybook publications from Tongqu, the audience was blatantly gendered—one series from 2015 was called “My Little Pony Teaches You to be a Perfect Girl.” Even more interesting is that there is no answer key in the back to accompany the questions. Though nearly all of the hypotheticals are not morally ambiguous, it still shows that the editors are more concerned with getting the children to think and interact with their parents in a dialogue, rather than to come up with the right answer. (Either that or there wasn’t room in the 120-page limit.)
What Xue considers the most important part of the books is the “Good Habit Cultivation Chart,” to encourage children to “progress a little every day.” In this four-week chart, she instructs the reader to make a small goal for oneself to develop the habit just taught, and to color in the cutie mark each day that the goal is met. Interestingly, these pages never vary per habit, always using RD’s cutie mark. I find it cute, though that Applejack always heads the chart, as a sort of watchful eye over the reader to ensure that she (or he) is honest in filling in the marks. But what is most puzzling to me is the application of such a chart to the negative injunctions in the safety book, as not playing dangerous games, avoiding dangerous places, and not believing sweet talk always require someone or something else to provide the temptation to do otherwise. There is no reason to believe that a child will encounter such situations every day, unless the goal is not to put a fork in every electrical socket one sees.
Each book ends on three notes: First is a reflective send-off of sorts, headed by these sentences: “The cultivation of good habits requires unremitting persistence. The ponies will always be there for you to cheer you on.” These are followed by a blank space next to one of the Mane Six, so the children can draw or paste a picture of themselves next to them.
Next is a gallery called “Pony Fan Artwork Exhibition,” which celebrates the artistry and creativity of those who love the show (and the books). I am not sure if these children send these pieces of artwork to Hasbro’s China offices or to Tongqu, as the book doesn’t invite them to send their own artwork to any particular place. In any case, some of the artwork is quite impressive for those from three to eleven. One six-year old (not pictured here) created a traditional Chinese shadow puppet of Fluttershy with the help of her teacher. She must have had her stage fright in mind, for she comments “Although Fluttershy is timid and shy, I hope that she can be as happy as I am every day.” Many of these young fans also like writing letters to Princess Celestia of the moral lessons they have learned in real life. Unlike the hypothetical characters, all the fans featured are girls, but it’s hard to find a young boy who is into MLP:FiM anyway, so that’s not a huge problem.
Finally each book provides a paper cutout craft of one of the Mane Six, somewhat boxy but still cute.
Although the editors designed each story to be read on their own, there are some indications that the stories also flow from each other. Most obvious is the order of the books: Learning how to learn is of course fundamental to developing good habits, so that is taught first. The basic needs of living are explored in the second book, followed by the habits of good working, which support the basic needs of living. The higher-level ideas of communication with others and forming relationships come next. The only book that completely bucks the Maslow hierarchy of needs is the last book on safety, which should have come in either between the habits of living and the habits of working, or before the habits of speaking. (To its credit, there is a blurb in “Somepony to Watch Over Me” where the editor advises the reader, as Apple Bloom encounters the swamp chimera, that “safety is most important.”) It is also interesting that “Somepony to Watch Over Me,” the story about working independently, directly follows from “Flutter Brutter,” the story about self-care, as a natural expansion of the idea.
I have already hinted my puzzlement at why “Spice Up Your Life” wasn’t used as the “healthy eating” story. I suspect two things: First, the Flim-Flam Brothers, as symbols of capitalist dishonesty, are easier, safer targets than the voice of authority that Zesty Gourmand brings. Further, Saffron Masala and her father are clearly inspired by Indian culture, and because of the border disputes between China and India, the Chinese are more likely to see India unfavorably than favorably, so having a story featuring them might get some backlash. (I did not see a single Indian restaurant when I was in China. At the same time, I do not know how "Spice Up Your Life" was received there.)
What puzzles me even more is why “Wonderbolts Academy” wasn’t used for the “don’t play dangerous games” lesson instead of “A Friend in Deed.” As I have already said, the editors had to really shoehorn that lesson in. Meanwhile in “Wonderbolts Academy,” not only does Lightning Dust purposely take extreme risks, but RD feels overshadowed by Lightning Dust because of all the risks she takes. It’s hard to interpret the fire in “A Friend in Deed” as anything more than an unhappy accident, and certainly that accident wasn’t morally significant the way that the tornado in “Wonderbolts Academy” was. Perhaps, in light of using “Newbie Dash” for the “teamwork awareness” lesson, the editors found themselves debating whether it was a good idea to show RD retrogressing on her implied awareness in “Wonderbolts Academy” on how the Wonderbolts really should operate. Maybe they thought that RD had too many episodes centered around her at that point. Maybe they just saw “A Friend in Deed” as more fun for the kids. Maybe they also thought that the scenes where Pinkie Pie keeps on waiting for mail from RD to be too distracting from the main story. It puzzles me in any case.
(I should further note, however, that this series is not the only set of pony-themed moral development books that Tongqu has recently published; there is one that focuses on making children feel proud of themselves as unique, and another that seeks to impart a more general “wisdom.”)
While far from perfect, “Presenting You 18 Good Habits” manages to capture a lot of what makes MLP:FiM so appealing to many bronies: the engaging stories, the impact of the morals, the empathy we feel with the characters, and the creativity it inspires. And probably because it was made with the parents in mind, it is no wonder it attracts fans like me, more than many English-language pony publications. (Or, at least, those who know at least a little Chinese.)
Happy Hearth's Warming Everypony!
Yes, it's past midnight. No, I don't care.
I oddly feel like crying right now even though I had a pretty good day. I guess I feel stressed with Christmas coming up soon?
Today at school we had another "fire". Some dumb kid put his toast in the microwave for five minutes and BOOM. So that got us out of first period. We also had a half day AND an assembly so our classes were super short.
I also found out that my favorite teacher was leaving after break and never coming back. It's a really sad story because all the kids hated her except for a select few and I don't really know why. She was a great teacher, a great writer, and one of the only people that has taught me something worth while in their class. She had to explain that the students did NOT get her fired and that she found a new job offer. Probably somewhere very far away. It makes me so upset because even the other teachers didn't like her. That is only because all they hear is what the kids say. Half of it isn't even true. When the news got out, people were crying tears of joy. And I hate it. She was so underrated and deserved a lot more credit than she got. I hope she gets respect from her new students.
Whenever I'm feeling lonely or like I don't have anyone to talk to I usually go onto the forums actually. But what if you don't have internet, or being on the forums just makes you feel more alone?
That's when I turn to my trusty YouTube playlist! (If your playlist is filled with depressing songs then find a new one). Once I've set up my super affirmative songs (ex. This Is Me by Demi Lavato) then I do whatever I want. Usually I'll dance super crazily... You can draw, you can write, you can color!
With a lot of free time on your hands you can do a lot of things. This means you can try new things. Maybe you've never baked cookies before! Or maybe you've never made your bed! This is time for you to do all those things without feeling like a piece of crap because your parents get mad at you for not doing them!
Have fun being lonely like me!
And don't hesitate to PM me if you are feeling lonely!!
What?! That poni you confronted was a poni by the name of St. John Allerdyce. He is a nasty poni who have been giving my students and I a hard time for years! Ithought he was in jail but I thought wrong. I am sorry for my ignorance and should have known.
Did you really have a speak prepared? How long was he out and how long did it take you to make and memorize it? Most likely not long, but still, an hour or two is still something that could have been used for much else. I am still glad you were able to deal with him but still sorry you had to.
The Business Poni you got that IOU from is a poni by the name of Filthy Rich. He is one of the biggest and best known in our town. The reason you don't know him is because you have been with me until recent and I have yet to do business with him. I don't know what you can use that IOU for but it can be handy in the future. IOUs are used to signify someone wanting to pay you back for something kind you did. It isn't rare but isn't extremely common either. Just don't be surprized when someone give you one and don't expect it from everyone.
I hope that helps, please write back soon.