It’s been a while since I’ve done a reaction/review-ish piece for an MLP episode. While there have been episodes of MLP I’ve thought good, I never really got the same sort of spark for wanting to say something about them as I’ve done in the past.
Part of it is burnout for sure, and of course graduate school isn’t exactly known for giving you free time. But a lot of it was honestly just didn’t feel like the show or was offering much that I could work with as someone whose main interest is getting at it from a background in political science and ethics/political theory perspective. Sure, the return of the best background character ever, Trixie, in “No Second Prances”, got me excited, but didn’t exactly give me room to ramble on about introductory Marxist theory like Starlight Glimmer’s first episodes or the countless articles I’ve done on utilitarianism.
But seriously though, this episode alone would have been enough to make the season for me.
Fortunately for me then it appears the somewhat contentious season finale –at least from some initial reactions I’ve seen – finally gives me a chance to dig out the old MLP analysist in me. Because if there is anything that gets the urge to ramble on about something, it’s controversy. So let’s dig in to “To Where and Back Again”, and what the conclusion of the two-parter says about the nature of the MLP Universe.
Is it possible that the episode “Rose’s Room” of Steven Universe may be able to help us determine what it is that we find worth living for? In this article, I compare Steven’s experience in Rose’s Room with the famous ethical thought experiment of Robert Nozick’s “experience machine” to explore this question.
In Part II of my “The Reformation of Discord: A Utilitarian Story”, I made a mention of the episode “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” as showing the lesson of the importance of rational benevolence to Fluttershy. In this article I’ll explore this concept a little further, returning once again to our good friend Henry Sidgwick and his The Methods of Ethics. By doing so, we can further understand what Fluttershy’s Element of Kindness truly means. Continue reading
It’s been over a year or so since Equestria Girls came out and I wrote my first review of it. And yet here we are yet again with the sequel to the film, Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks. As someone who generally liked the first film, I was rather excited about the prospect of a sequel. Did the film meet my excitement? Find out after the break where I review Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks.
In this article I discuss the similarities between the mental crisis of John Stuart Mill in his young adulthood with that of the identity crisis that Pinkie Pie suffers in the episode “Too Many Pinkie Pie’s.” This is done through the use of Mill’s concept on “moral freedom”, which is the state of having a multiple desires capable of trumping others as needed. The Mirror Pool incident, I argue, causes Pinkie Pie to reflect on her own state of moral unfreedom before eventually restoring herself to a state of moral freedom when she shows she can put aside her desire for fun for the desire of keeping her friends.
I’ve decided to come back to the topic of Pinkie Pie and Utilitarianism by discussing an episode that showed Pinkie acting in a manner that is problematic: “Luna Eclipsed”. Her behavior is discussed using the concepts of Impartiality, Egalitarianism, and the Hedonistic Calculus.
Before going further, I might recommend watching this video to get some basic understanding of some concepts I’ll be talking about in the rest of the video:
Is Pinkie Pie an Ethical Hedonist?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-RtJEaWD7A
Applejack: [clears throat] Dear Princess Celestia,
We’re writin’ to you because today we all learned a little somethin’ about friendship.
Fluttershy: We learned that you should take your friends’ worries seriously.
Rainbow Dash: Even if you don’t think that she has anything to worry about.
This part of the “Letter to Celestia” from “Lesson Zero” is, with no doubt, my favorite moral in the entirety of the series. It’s message is not only, in my view, the fundamental lesson behind most of the other major lessons of the show, but it is also probably the one with the most widespread applicability. What exactly about this lesson, however, has me giving it such praise? The reason is because, in a sense, it is advocating for placing sympathy and empathy in a central role in friendship.