Editors Note: NewsieLicious is a
loose cannon Horse News Member that offers in-depth analysis on fandom culture. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his.
|We pledge allegiance to the Faust...|
Yet, when asked about how the bronies felt about her, she sighed, saying it felt like we had forgotten her. That "all the work she did was for nothing".
The audience couldn't disagree more, and neither could I. Faust's name has attracted such clout and influence in our fan base that, despite her departure from the show itself, there's a cult of personality surrounding her name that won't soon disappear. Anything she supports, you can bet that thousands of Bronies will toss their hard-earned shekels at it with little, if any, critical thought.
In fact, I hear a few people are betting on that, to the tune of almost half a million dollars.
First, let's go back to this year's EQLA. Lauren was announced at the 11th hour, just over a week before the convention itself started. Nobody who saw the outburst of publicity from the fandom surrounding this announcement could argue that the fandom had "forgotten" Faust; it is arguable that her presence turned EQLA from "just another convention" to the most hotly discussed topic of the weeks surrounding the con.
Also announced at the very last minute was the convention's charity, which conveniently happened to be the Wildlife Learning Center just outside Los Angeles. This has been Lauren's "pet" charity for over a year now. This spring, she held an Indiegogo fundraiser for the center, catering specifically to fans of My Little Pony, raising $43,386 overall. The top tier perk, a $3,000-per-seat "MLP Writers Party" featuring Faust and friends, was claimed by 6 people. Bronies were breaking out their wallets in record numbers to support Faust and her cause.
A convention has lots of choices when it comes to charities, and many of those choices can affect the lives of the very fans who attend their convention. As young adults, the statistics show that the most dangerous thing in our lives is ourselves; that's where the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention comes in. Or maybe you want to speak up for LGBT rights by supporting the Human Rights Campaign. Hell, there's even Autism Speaks for the rest of us. Any of these have the very real potential to make a noticeable impact right here in our own fandom.
Never mind all those causes, though. For whatever reason, the convention went with the cute animals, and with Faust's help, they raised just over $9,000.
Was EQLA's charity choice a condition of Lauren's attendance? Did she urge a convention to change their charity at the last minute to serve her own personal interests? We may never know; after our last article, the convention staff has been "directed...not to respond" to any further questions we may have. With no other alternative, all we have left is rampant speculation!
|See? I told you. Just over $9,000. No idea why they did that.|
If over $50,000 worth of Brony support isn't enough to convince you that this fandom will gladly sacrifice themselves at the Altar of Faust, how about her status as a "Hero of the People"?
Bronies new and old know that Faust didn't exactly leave Hasbro on the best of terms. She has made her disdain for the company and the reasons for her departure fairly public, and in the process has become a folk hero for everyone with an axe to grind against big evil corporation Hasbro.
Just a few days ago, she rehashed this role in a letter to a little girl whose fan mail was shredded by Hasbro Studios:
|The Galaxy Quest quote was a nice touch, too.|
Nowhere is Faust's defiance of Hasbro more famous, though, than on February 8, 2013. A few days earlier, the fan project Fighting is Magic was issued a Cease & Desist from Hasbro. The team who created the game, Mane6, vowed to stop development immediately.
Lauren wasn't having any of this, though, and posed a question to the team:
Shortly afterward, the team announced that they would be making a brand new game, with Faust contributing her characters to replace the ponies the game previously featured.
...and here we are, two and a half years later. Not much had been heard from the Mane6 team, so it was assumed that they were hammering away at their new game.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a few weeks ago the Mane6 team went on an all-out marketing offensive to the public and, in particular, the Brony fandom. News sites posted about their upcoming fundraiser, they guest-starred in fandom podcasts, and their social media accounts lit up with back-and-forth commentary.
Thanks to the marketing, only 18 hours into their 30-day campaign, their IndieGogo fundraiser had already surpassed $100,000 in donations.
|Definitely enough to move out of mom's basement...and build another house next door.|
For what it's worth, maybe they're right. After all, they don't have to invoke the name of MLP itself to rake in the dough; instead, all they need to do is repeat after me:
Their IndieGogo page name-drops her no less than 11 times, from the project's tagline to its highest tier of rewards:
|We're not implying anything with this picture; it's just the first result that popped up.|
In light of this, I leave you with some important questions to ask yourselves:
Why would nearly 2,000 people commit over $100,000 to an inexperienced team of developers making a game that is completely unremarkable, save for its origins and the name attached to it?
Is the Mane6 team riding on the coattails of Lauren Faust's name recognition to fund their own project where it would've otherwise flopped in an instant?
Are we, as a fandom, mindlessly following whatever Faust supports, because we feel like we owe it to her for making a show we like, or we feel guilty for what Hasbro did to her?
Is this really the wisest idea for us as a fandom? Are we denying ourselves the chance to do bigger and greater things with our collective money by chasing whatever cause célèbre our idols tell us to?
I can't answer these questions for you. You'd lynch me if you knew how I would answer, and maybe that proves my point even more. Just something to think about.