The S4 Diary: “For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils”

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My new OC is designed by Hanna:
The original design was by Mizuki Takashima:

Background music:
1. ADHD (Inst.) – Kendrick Lamar
2. Acid Rain (Inst.) – Chance the Rapper
3. Bless Bless (digirap ver.) – Cherax Destructor

You’re probably expecting me to tell a story about how I stole the thunder from one of my little brothers in some creative endeavor in the past. I had the same train of thought, and I asked them both if it had ever happened, but neither one could remember any instance of it happening. My brother Iconcolt thought it was more likely that he’d stolen my thunder at some point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

Maybe it’s just that he and I have always collaborated so we aren’t terribly competitive for individuality. The other day he had me edit a screenplay he wrote, and if anything he was as thankful for my ability to make it read better as I was impressed that he’d written something so creative. But this is all beside the point.

While I don’t relate to the sibling conflict, I can relate to Sweetie Belle’s pain just fine. In fact, I think many artists have had the experience of people responding to their work in what they perceive as the ‘wrong’ ways, even when the audience enjoys the work. Hell on this very channel I’ve had that experience.

Back when I covered Rarity Takes Manehattan, I was really intrigued by and proud of the analytical points that I raised early in the video–but then I ended up throwing in some lines about how I was upset by Twilight not catching a cab. That scene honestly wasn’t a big deal, and I felt bad about mentioning it at all when I realized that most of the commenters latched onto that point for discussion, when it was easily the least interesting part of my video.

And besides that, while I haven’t had this experience myself, the episode made me think about what it must be like to work on a large-personel project like Friendship Is Magic, and to see the reactions of the audience. Imagine, for instance, being one of the show’s foley artists–putting together a plethora of unique and creative sound effects that make the show that much more special–and then finding that even the hardcore audience only knows who the writers and voice actors are. I imagine that it’s a little bit demoralizing.

I also relate well to Rarity’s position as a go-to for anyone in need of her expertise. Rarity makes dresses for money, but also for passion, meaning that she’d make dresses even if she weren’t being paid for it–which is why she ends up doing so much work on the side for family and friends. She can’t just let ponies go by with poorly-made dresses because it’s too important to her that this one thing be done right.

Similarly, I make money off of my writing at this point, but I’d be writing all the same if I got paid or not. And likewise, I have family and friends come to me often looking for proofreading, advice, and corrections; and because it’s hard for me to leave well enough alone, I usually lend a hand. I’m only lucky that I don’t have deadlines like Rarity, so if a video comes out a day late because I was helping my brother edit a screenplay, I’m not going to be in much trouble.

For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils teaches one really great lesson, and unfortunately stops just short of teaching a second one, which I’ll explain momentarily. The more important lesson is that context is everything. It’s never a good idea to make assumptions about someone’s intent when you don’t know all of the details of their situation or state of mind.

I can’t stress how important this lesson is to me. I get bothered to no end when people are quick to make assumptions or respond to situations that they don’t really understand. This is especially true when it comes to news stories, which people tend to watch and comment on at face value, despite the fact that the reporters rarely have much context, nor do they even present all of the context that they have. Taking anything at face value without doing your own research into the subject can be incredibly dangerous.

For just one example, I recommend checking out a documentary called Fathead. It’s a film whose primary function is to debunk the popular and largely fraudulent documentary Supersize Me, which shaped a lot of modern America’s opinions on diet in the last decade in a flawed way. Of course, you shouldn’t take Fathead at face value either, and you should do your own research, but it will show you just how easy it is for people respond to things which they think are true based on extremely limited knowledge from less-than-trustworthy sources. You know, like American public schools.

The point which the episode stops short of making though, is that everyone deserves the cautious benefit of a doubt. Princess Luna shows Sweetie Belle how she misinterpreted Rarity’s actions based on a lack of context, and now that Sweetie knows the context, she forgives Rarity. However, Luna doesn’t make it clear that these are not exceptional instances. Sweetie Belle only comes around because she knows the real context of the situation, but will this really teach her not to make assumptions in the future?

What we need to take away from this episode is that trusting other people is important. Never jump to conclusions or believe that you know what’s really going on if you haven’t looked into it. Sweetie’s actions aren’t only wrong because the reality is that Rarity’s intentions were good, Sweetie’s actions would be wrong even if she didn’t know what was really happening. Sweetie should’ve trusted her sister and taken a step back to consider the possibilities before jumping to conclusions. Maybe Sweetie does take away this lesson, but I just felt it was important to restate.

Anyways, to make one last point, I love that Sapphire Shores’ dancing seems to involve ass shaking, just because it feels like a realistic translation of pop star dancing to pony pop star dancing. So much of the dancing in this show is corny and restrained, so it’s nice to see a moment where a pop star actually seems to have some of the fashion and sex appeal that would actually make her the pony Beyonce or Lady Gaga. Just a cool touch.

Also, apologies for the lack of videos lately. I got sucked really hard into /mu/ and spent all my time on a heavy music binge. I’ll be sure and get back on track soon!

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