|A tumblr wet dream.|
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
Now, if you DON'T recognize those lines, you probably should not be debating the message of the upcoming My Little Pony Season 5 premier, at least until you finish 9th grade English class. Unfortunately, the Internet is teeming with people who write but never read, and shout but never listen.
From what we know of the Season 5 premier "Cutie Markless", there is a dystopian society where everyone's special talents and gifts are suppressed in the name of total equality, by a bureaucrat.
This is, if not an homage to, a strong similarity to a short story written over 5 decades ago by American author Kurt Vonnegut, known as "Harrison Bergeron". In the story, the eponymous character Harrison lives in a society in which everyone is made equal - not by lifting those with lesser abilities UP, but by bringing those with skills and gifts DOWN.
Now, what is important to know, and is widely agreed upon, is that Harrison Bergeron is NOT a story about communism, nor is it entirely anti-egalitarianism. It is a work of careful absurdist satire for which Vonnegut is so widely known.
There are no heroes in this story. You are not even meant to feel entirely bad for Harrison, for the moment he frees himself from his hellish restrictions, he declares himself Emperor and gets himself and another person killed. There are only villains and anti-heroes in this short tale.
The entire story is a case against extremism, in which if you follow certain lines of thinking to their absolute limits, efforts to do good, can ultimately do far worse. Which sounds an awful lot like our old friends over at Tumblr.
Now, by now we certainly don't need to tell our readers about the hypocritical, and often counter-productive tendencies of many tumblr users. Ones who rabble for equality, while simultaneously declaring certain groups inferior. Ones who cry for safety, who demand violence to achieve it. Well when you take a complex story such as Harrison Bergeron (by complex we mean, with a higher realm of thinking than it takes to read an average Twilight novel), and condense it into a PREVIEW for a cartoon, and give it to those types, there is sure to be a noticeable effect on the conversation.
And we're off to a poor start.
Tumblr is already triggered by a message they cannot comprehend and are making leaps that would rival those of Harrison himself. (If you read the story, you would understand this reference). It begins with a user freaking out because they hate the message of an episode that hasn't even aired, that seems to reference a story that they likely haven't read.
Our perennial diva DragonDicks engages the user and eventually it gets to this point:
That's right folks. DragonDicks has already made the leap to suggesting that this episode will encourage bronies to be "more aggressive", and specifically mentions "rape" and "death threats".
DD isn't the only one.
There seems to be a major concept that these people are missing. One put it this way:
"There's two definitions of equal at play here, equally competent and equally dignified. Everyone should be the latter and can't ever be the former"
This outlines a very basic truth to our world that many tumblr users reject: total equality is impossible.
Some people are naturally smarter than others. Some people are born with birth defects. Not everyone can be equally competent in every regard. We can do our best to lift others up to make them more equal, but we should never bring others down for the same reason. Equal rights are something that can be granted, but Equal physical attributes is not, not in the way that they suggest. A person's individuality and special talents are to be celebrated, not hidden and shamed away. If anything we would expect all the special snowflakes on tumblr to LOVE this idea. But again, this is the hive of hypocrisy we're talking about.
And we still have no idea how one can reason that spreading a message that individuality should be celebrated is an encouragement to commit rape. But then, this is tumblr.
"Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy," said Hazel.
"You can say that again," said George.
"Gee-" said Hazel, "I could tell that one was a doozy."
Read the entire story here