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Friday, January 27, 2012

Derpy Hooves’s Canon Party

By microgrid

When the seminal scene in The Last Rounderp stirred so much controversy among fans, many wrote detailed, careful, and honest commentaries about their concerns, but some individuals also decided that the most prudent course of action was for them to send spiteful emails to the artists at Studio B. Luckily, in anticipation or reaction, other fans opted to offset those with kind thank-you emails of their own.

For lack of time, I posted the following on my Miscellanea page several hours ago, shortly after Derpy Hooves News reported on it. One of the fans of the latter group, Kelven486, received an answer from Tabitha St. Germain (who, as we know thanks to iStricer’s tweet and Jayson Thiessen’s answer, voiced Derpy in the episode):

A small sidenote: I didn’t know Derpy was female. (No one said ‘she.’ I never saw a drawing.) I started this character with a neigbor’s son in mind. Kid grew a foot in a year, and was constantly sleeping and clutzy, and he spoke at the speed of a tree. Far from mocking him, I found it very dear. – that you can pass on to your Bronies.
all my love, sweetness,

Rarity, Granny Smith, Nightmare Moon, Princess Luna, Photo Finish, Mrs. Cake, Pound Cake, now Derpy Hooves, and the one with the cookies, you rock!

Some boring opinion foo after the break.

For one, if Tabitha made her male, then let her be male (inb4 pun). I very much welcome the inclusion of what I think must be the first non-cisgender pony into the canon! (Derpy, please tell me what pronoun you prefer.)

Otherwise, well, touchy topic is touchy, obviously. When I watched the scene for the first time I was much too ecstatic to do more than just squee. Now I can see how some ponies came to see ableist vibes in it. However, Derpy’s status as an ascended fandom character means to me that the Derpy portrayed in the show is in fact the Derpy we created—the mailmare, the strong-minded pegasus with an ocular disease, the time traveler, the loving and courageous mother, the mother of the year—and thus a pony not only endearing but also deserving of the utmost respect.

Even given the contentious interpretation according to which Derpy does suffer from a mental disability, this context makes her a beacon of self-determination and even heroism. In conjunction with the facts that no ableism was ever intended and the author, Amy Keating Rogers, is even the mother of a child with disabilities, I hope this perspective helps those who would like to love the show without reservation to find their peace of mind.

Update 2012-01-27 13:56Z: Nayuki said on Allspark that he is “pretty sure that they adjusted the voice a bit in post production” to make it sound higher. (He is Studio B layout artist.)

Update 2012-01-31 12:45Z: See this Equestria Daily post (referencing this one) for a reaction by DHX Media to the controversy. The hate mail seems to have been rather minimal after all. It’s probably just that those particular individuals are, ipso facto, particularly, uhm, vocal. We are more likely to notice them, and they linger in our consciousness longer because we worry about their targets and about the broader repercussions of their actions. It should also be pointed out that FlyleaF, a screenshot of whose Ponychan post has often been referenced, most likely did not write any inconsiderate emails themselves. They just summarized what others had written and the reactions those ponies reportedly received. According to many ponies on Ponychan—who did not agree with FlyleaF’s critical views on Derpy—FlyleaF has long been a kind and well-respected member of the community.

Update 2012-02-02 21:15Z: Derpy Hooves News reports that We Love Fine is being pressured by Hasbro to remove some or all Derpy-related merchandise. This is bad. Please sign this petition to show your love.

Update 2012-02-02 22:08Z: Now Phoe of Equestria Daily also urges you to sign the petition. Do eet!

Update 2012-02-03 05:34Z: According to Equestria Daily, The Last Roundup was taken off iTunes “specifically,” whatever that means, but a few other rumors are, to their knowledge, not accurate.

Update 2012-02-03 15:08Z: Yep, there are two bigger petitions. Just sign both of them for good measure: “Hasbro Studios/The Hub: Do not change Derpy's name” and “Hasbro: Keep Derpy Named Derpy!

Update 2012-02-06 17:45Z: About an hour ago, Rory Kenney posted an email from Hasbro on the Bronies Facebook wall in which they confirm that they are not going to change Derpy’s name. (Via Derpy Hooves News)

Update 2012-02-07 15:00Z: For more background (that I was not previously at liberty to reveal) on who initiated the Save Derpy campaign in cooperation with Derpy Hooves News, listen to the latest Bronyville podcast.

Update 2012-02-28 15:38Z: I saw fit to make a new dedicated article to cover the newest developments.

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