February 14, 2014

I’ll never stop making fun of wimps, metrosexuals, beardists, dogmatic fatsos, Gawker fags, Daily Kos beta males, MSNBC bitches, transgendered whiners, Clay Aiken, commies, yoga, plushies, infantilists, maskers, and cuddle parties, but the autistic fan base of a social-interaction cartoon is different. Bullies still rule, literally, but Bronies are the exception that proves that rule.

Deriding them isn’t just cruel; it’s a bad investment. Can you recite pi to over 22,000 decimal places? We need socially inept nerds. They are the weirdoes behind all our best inventions. They have the patience to try the same impossible experiment again and again. They can imagine the physical world in ways nobody else has. Without the innovators of technology, science, and manufacturing, we’re back before the Industrial Revolution darning our socks by the coal fire. This mockery is also dangerous. I think the anti-bullying campaigns have gone too far, but humiliating the mentally ill goes beyond bullying; it drifts awfully close to sadism. Michael Morones is an 11-year-old Brony who recently attempted suicide after being harassed at school. The group Real Husbands of Autism have begun a campaign called Bronies for Michael Morones.

Teasing a buddy for being a wimp is funny, but it doesn’t work on autistic children. Medication doesn’t seem to work, either. Autism is a curse that can have dire consequences. Adam Lanza had Asperger’s and his family didn’t know what to do with him. After the Sandy Hook massacre, authorities found the books Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s and Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant in his home.

In Bronies, we see academics ignore the obvious and overanalyze the Brony phenomenon to death. Marsha H. Redden, Ph.D. comes to the bizarre conclusion that it’s all linked to trauma from a post-9/11 world. As usual, the academics are too high up in their ivory towers to see what’s happening down where the Bronies roam. Is Stuttgart, Germany’s Benjamin Meyer still reeling from the horrors of September 11? He looks more like he’s still reeling from the fact that he found a girlfriend. What about Pieterjan Ruysch, the infinitely shy laser-show expert from Amsterdam who makes light shows of My Little Pony episodes? Yoav Landau, who comes from Israel and does remixes of My Little Pony songs, seems more scared of shaking hands than of planes crashing into New York City. Lyle Gilpatrick looks like he was born around when 9/11 happened. The most traumatic event in his life seems to be giving up his toy aircraft carrier. His explanation sums up the Bronies: “€œI have to get over it,”€ he says. “€œI can”€™t be 50 years old all alone in my room holding my toy aircraft carrier.”€

They all appear to be the nerdiest nerds you”€™ve ever seen. They are guarded and awkward and come across as out of touch with the rest of the world. They also act like they want to get over it.

This is especially evident when the documentary depicts Bronies from all over the world traveling to the 2012 BronyCon in Secaucus, New Jersey. For many of them, this was the first time they”€™d taken a trip anywhere, and they seemed just as terrified of getting lost as they were thrilled to go.

Seeing them all get together and cheer like a sea of robots that figured out what jokes are is heart-wrenching. They asked directions, got to the convention, and clumsily shook hands and exchanged numbers. It wasn”€™t Studio 54, and Mick Jagger wasn”€™t doing coke off of Stevie Nicks’s tits, but it was a start. We need nerds and they need us. Sure, it looks retarded and it goes against pretty much everything I believe in, but these are not normal guys. They”€™re valuable assets to our society trying to undo the one thing that separates them from us.



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