A Modest Proposal

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


bronies_head“Brony.” It’s a relatively recent coinage, identifying a relatively new and, to many, surprising phenomenon: adult males who are ardent fans of a set of stuffed animals – and a series of TV cartoons and comic books about them – known as “My Little Pony.” The cartoons and comic books, which are intended to appeal to little girls, depict the ponies – who have names like Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Sweetie Belle, and come in a wide variety of colors – as living in an imaginary town called Ponyville. On the TV series, which is called “Friendship Is Magic,” the protagonist is a “unicorn mare” named Twilight Sparkle, who, having been sent to Ponyville by one Princess Celestia “to study the magic of friendship,” discovers that friendship among the ponies is literally magical, able to overcome the powers of evil and restore harmony to the town.

Bronies delight in this. All of it. Articles in Wired, The Guardian, and elsewhere have described how they wear “My Little Pony” t-shirts, chat with one another on “My Little Pony” websites, and fill their bedrooms with the stuffed animals themselves as well as with other “My Little Pony”-related merchandise, from figurines to framed pictures. A recent article in the Toronto Star reported on a group of Bronies who make their way every weekend to a certain Toronto store to buy the latest issue of the “My Little Pony” comic book. “Sometimes,” wrote the Star‘s reporter, “the men are so excited they come dressed as their favourite pony, trotting around the shop” before purchasing the comic. Only last weekend, over 7000 Bronies congregated at the third annual BronyCon, held at the Baltimore Convention Center. “Interest has exploded, and it seems to be growing fast,” one event staffer told the Baltimore Sun.

To all indications, indeed, the “Brony community” has expanded by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. Some observers, to be sure, purport to find it alarming that so many grown men in North America now share such a curious preoccupation. Commentators have wondered aloud what this development tells us about contemporary Western culture and values, and about what it might portend for the future of civilization. For my part, though, I have come to feel that the Bronies represent an incalculable boon to mankind and deserve all the recognition they can get. Upon reflection, moreover, I have decided that no honor would be more appropriate than the Nobel Peace Prize. Being alert to the moral principles that drive the Norwegian Nobel Committee – which, of course, awards the prize every year, after giving the matter the most serious consideration over a period of months – I would respectfully address to that committee’s members the following humble assertion: the Bronies, ladies and gentlemen, are precisely what you’re looking for.

Think of it, committee folks: as high-ranking members of the Norwegian cultural elite, you surely grasp that it’s the male of the species who has brutalized the world, turning what was once a veritable Garden of Eden into a modern masculinist dystopia governed by raw aggression, power, and technology. Women are creators; men are destroyers. Women are born to care and nurture; men, to rape, pillage, and commit violence. While females strive to protect and enjoy nature, men, in their arrogance, are determined to subdue it. And what’s the supreme symbol of the blight inflicted by maleness upon the human race? As you’re well aware, it’s my own profoundly misguided country, the United States of America, which has attained its current powerful status thanks to exactly one thing – testosterone. It was testosterone, that diabolical chemical, that drove my selfish forefathers to wrest the pristine wilderness from its rightful owners; testosterone that erected the satanic mills of Vanderbilt and Carnegie, which polluted America’s once perfectly blue skies; and testosterone that compelled restless busybodies like Thomas Edison to invent newfangled gizmos that led homo sapiens further and further from the paradisiacal purity and goodness of – in a word – Ponyville.

The Bronies are a radical departure from all this. Born to be misogynistic monsters and despicable despoilers of the planet, they’ve been transformed by “My Little Pony” into gentle dreamers who spend their days imagining an ideal, innocent fairyland where cute ponies frolic joyfully. “My Little Pony” has inculcated into these fully grown men the hearts and souls of little girls in sunbonnets and party dresses and melted their dark, demonic minds into fluffy white clouds of love and hope. It’s as if every last drop of testosterone has been drained out of their testicles – indeed, it’s as if their testicles have been completely shorn from their bodies. This, my Nobel Peace Prize-awarding compadres, is the key to a golden future time of peace and brotherhood! You would be doing not just my countrymen but the whole suffering world an extraordinary service by holding up the Bronies as the noblest of role models.

But why should I be lecturing you? Nobody understands better than you (and, needless to say, your fellow members of the Scandinavian cultural elite) just what a glorious sign of progress the Bronies are. Your ancestors were those horrible Vikings, rowing their ships to ports around the globe and vandalizing, ravaging, and murdering everywhere they went. But look at you now! Every last male who holds a top position in the Norwegian government (except, perhaps, for those populist troublemakers in the Progress Party) could very easily be mistaken for a Brony. In fact, it’s hard to fight off the suspicion that they’re all, in fact, secret Bronies, who return home every afternoon from a long (well, not really all that long) day at work to change into pony outfits and clip-clop merrily around the house. Let’s face it: how could they not be Bronies? Think, after all, of the way in which they’ve chosen to deal with groups like Hamas and with the honchos of Norway’s own Islamic community (who, alas, for all their magnificent qualities, haven’t yet entirely shed their full-blooded maleness): Norway’s leaders very obviously appreciate that if they wish to secure true, sublime – and, yes, magical – harmony with these people, they’ve got to consistently project the sweet ingenuousness and docility of Rainbow Dash, Apple Bloom, and Pinkie Pie.

To sum up, then: those of you who have been delegated the solemn responsibility of awarding humanity’s most coveted accolade have it in your power to set us all on a path toward a bright and beautiful future in which men – putting behind them the plague of modernity, the arrogance of the American Way, and, above all, the eternal scourge of malenesswill turn our scorched and tortured earth into a Ponyville-like utopia: a place where men dream not of guns and tanks but of unicorns and rainbows.

Give the Bronies the Nobel Peace Prize!

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  • LolKatzen

    ROTFLMAO! Excellent, Mr Bawer.

  • Besökare

    As a Scandinavian I particularly enjoyed the bit about the males of our cultural ‘elite’ being secret bronies! I can name so many who fit the description perfectly :) Thanks for a laugh this afternoon!

  • herb benty

    If it wasn’t so close to the truth, I would chuckle.

  • DrMantisToboggan

    funny. A very elaborate way of saying that europeans and…sigh “bronies” (i shudder when i say that word…should be called what they are: emotionally stunted men-children who refuse to grow up and join the real world) have no balls.

    • Andy

      Hang on… Europeans are emotionally stunted men-children? Isn’t that a teeny tiny bit broad?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Europeans are emotionally stunted men-children? Isn’t that a teeny tiny bit broad?”

        You’re right.

        Most European men are emotionally stunted men-children.

        That’s better.

        • DrMantisToboggan

          I meant bronies (shudder)

      • DrMantisToboggan

        I only meant that about the bronies, not europeans, although that whole continent seems to be emotionally stunted and immature in the way they handle foreign policy.

    • Zeke Soulis

      I see, the measure of a man is his testicles, a person needs balls, needs to like guns and hatred. Jesus you are EXACTLY WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS MOCKING. You lack this much self awareness? Why can’t people be like, “Hey, I wanna see something that isn’t filled with blood and gore, guns and murder. I watched a lot of Breaking Bad lately, maybe it’s time for a different show for 20 minutes?” Somebody liking something about being loyal to those around you and truly loving diversity is bad but guns and murder are good? It sounds like we want the ideal world to teach that bloodshed is good, and that violence should be the first solution! As much as I wish upon the world a horrid dystopia of murder and moral decay, I would rather have kind individuals who would look out for their brother or sister of the planet than envy what they have and commit acts of violence or betrayal for it. Maybe not bronies but they at least prove some people can step back and say, “You know what, for a little while I just wanna focus on the virtues of mankind, just so it isn’t constant conflict.”

      • DrMantisToboggan

        “Maybe not bronies but they at least prove some people can step back and say, “You know what, for a little while I just wanna focus on the virtues of mankind, just so it isn’t constant conflict.”

        no they dont. they are grown men who enjoy a cartoon and merchandising designed for 8 year old girls. the person you are describing is gandhi. he was a noble man who achieved so much. (he even became a succesful lawyer before being “the mahatma”) he was a productive member of society. not a weirdo whos into little girls cartoons.

  • Much2Much

    Obviously, this author hasn’t spent a lot of time looking at “clop pornography” and any of the numerous sub-genres of that rather LARGE amount of images depicting the MLP in various configurations of friendship and/or depravity.

    • Zeke Soulis

      You mean that thing every fandom ever has had? Oh yeah that stuff. I hate this common misconception. I personally check up with bronies often on multiple websites (neither 4chan or reddit for good reason) and I have never seen MLP porn once. I saw one guy mention it in a positive light once, and then defend his position. He was permanently banned within a few hours though, and that’s the stance of round-abouts 90% of all bronies according to my own observations and mulitple surveys.

  • KatieNorcross

    In the 1980′s my husband knew everything about My Little Pony. Not because he was a “Brony”, but because he was the father of 2 little girls who adored their “Ponies”.

    These boys (I will not call them men.) need to get some serious psychological help.

    • DrMantisToboggan

      Unfortunately we live in times when it’s not ok to not be tolerant of peoples stupidity. Not only can we not slap these jackasses upside the head and tell them to get real jobs, we have to give them the venues for them to “express their feelings”.
      Its like that movie, 21 jump street… What used to be cool is no longer cool, and everybody is so sensitive that if you punch a guy (who came up to you violently) its a hate crime because he happens to be a gay black kid!

      • JamieKilpatrick

        Also you F**k wit brony conventions (E.g. Bronycon, everfree northwest etc) are set up by bronies and are paid for by bronies so don’t go acting like its paid for out of your pocket it’s paid for by people who want to go to them, like I always say do your research so you don’t look like an idiot.

        • DrMantisToboggan

          did I hit a raw nerve? jeez dude…calm down. Im entitled to my opinion, and you just confirmed what I said about being emotionally immature.
          now go play horsie outside.

          • Jamie kilpatrick

            This is the Internet of course you can’t have an opinion

          • DrMantisToboggan

            made me laugh….I like you. (despite our difference of opinions)

    • JamieKilpatrick

      I don’t know who you think you are but bronies have done more good for the world in their first year of existance than you will in your whole life, in the first year (2010-2011) bronies raised over $100,000 for charity, if these bronies are Meir “boys” they must be pretty rich if you ask me. Also bronies have made amazing music (“great to be different”-by forest rain, “Loyalty”-by mandopony and accusticbrony, “between fairytails and happy endings”-by princewhateverer and many more) great art work (check out the “cutie art crusaders” on YouTube for a good showcase). Also there are many celebrities who are “bronies” and have given brony shout outs like Andrew W.K (brony), lady gaga (brony/pegusister your choice), Seth Green (brony), Notch (brony, creator of minecraft), Wierd Al Yankovic (brony), Stephen Colbert (many brony shout outs on air). I’m sorry this sort of turned into a rant but please at least do some research about an amazing phenomenon before saying anyone who enjoys it needs to see a psychologist.

      • FlutterTreesAreAwesome

        Yeah, I totally agree on that! Also, as of last winter, there were over 12 MILLION Bronies and over 25 million people who are over the normal age demographic that enjoy watching the show. There is just so much amazing talent in the Brony community, such as these here:

  • cyberdove

    its pretty obvious for the last decades that the nobel (capital “N” omitted) peace prize is farcical. Who cares who is awarded a tin and lace award by cretins?

  • CtrlAltDeleteMan

    Don’t you guys think this article plays it up a little to much? I mean…Jesus, we’re iust a bunch of guys with an odd hobby. There’s nobody in the fandom who deserves the freaking Nobel Peace Prize.

    And for the record, this article only gave examples of the extremists in our group. Actually very few of us would be caught dead cosplaying as one of the characters. Though many of us would buy like one or two items of merch, mostly t shirts and the aforementioned comics.

    I just felt like putting the truth out there.

    • BEdwards

      Considering the title is “A Modest Proposal,” I would say that hyperbole was exactly the point.

  • johnnywoods

    Makes more sense than awarding the “No-Bull Peace Prize” to Obummer for simply getting elected PODUS:)

  • JamieKilpatrick

    Oh no rule 34 images, it’s not like that exists for every single cartoon that has ever existed not just mlp -_- and besides its one of those things you don’t ask about, you wouldn’t like it if me (a random stranger) walked up to you and say “hey can you tell me what your fetishes are?” You wouldn’t like it would you

  • jewdog

    Some years ago, “Mad” did a spoof on how Americans are becoming softer because they avail themselves of technological conveniences ever more frequently, from electric can openers to riding lawn mowers. The piece ended by showing lean and grinning Red Chinese Army soldiers poking bayonets at some helpless American suburbanites who could only sway on their fat butts like a bunch of dipping ducks.
    The point is as poignant and relevant now as then. After all, how many civilizations have collapsed from decadence?

  • Ei Saa Peitaa

    Only Israel-haters gets the Nobels peace prize.

  • herb benty

    Obama was a Brony, so the NPP has touched My Little Pony.