Because, like George Bernard Shaw, I enjoy quoting myself — it, um, adds spice to my conversation — here's the opening to Vent #658, written just before Christmas 2009:

The long-running game show Jeopardy! has used "unreal estate" as a category ever since the bottom row was $50 and Don Pardo was the announcer. In this capacity, it refers to fictional places: castles in the air, mountains and valleys of folklore, ancient legendary cities.

Most such locations, it's always seemed to me, were nice places to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. (And the ones that weren't nice places to visit — well, eventually you finish the book or toss it aside, or the equivalent thereof for other media.) If you're sufficiently unhinged, though, you might want to lose yourself entirely in one of these other universes: I remember thinking Verona in the time of Romeo and Juliet might be a perfectly fine place to spend the rest of my days, on the dubious basis that (1) even dorky teenagers got dates and (2) there was only one recorded instance of a resident smartass being skewered. Then again, at the time I was a dorky teenaged smartass with no dates, so the attraction was obvious.

Last week, I encountered an unhappy brony on Yahoo! Answers, asking "How to get to ponyville/equestria?" Now admittedly, some people think all bronies are unhinged, and I'm willing to allow that I spend an amazing amount of time in contemplation of pony matters, but this might be a bit much:

This world is corrupted, whether it be through war, violence, or sheer stupidity that the government cant even help anyone whi needs help. There are disasters happening everyday. People whi rule this country like its a toy for them to play with. And most importantly, judgment. People judge other people like they are a movie, to like or to critisize. They even insult them constantly. But then, i watched my little pony. And all of my thoughts changed. In ponyville, there is one great ruler who is loving, caring, and resposible. The ponies there are all friendly and they all seem so... Happy. When i think of one place i would want to go, it would be ponyville. They dont need politics. They dont need wars. And most importantly... They dont resort to violence or death as an answer.

So please. If there is any way i can get to this place, Tell me. I want to know.

I wanted so badly to blow this question off, but I couldn't. You should know, or maybe you shouldn't, that I'm the guy who tears up at the very mention of "My Little Dashie." (You don't want to know what I did when I heard they were making a film out of it.) For someone who is supposed to be less weepy these days, it's slightly embarrassing. But I borrowed some courage, perhaps from a big cat in a different universe entirely, and worked up a response:

Perhaps some backstory will persuade you otherwise.

Before Equestria was founded, the different types of ponies did not get along at all: there were tenuous agreements among the earth ponies (who produced all the food), the pegasi (who arranged for the weather), and the unicorns (who provided the sun and the moon), but all this unraveled in the wake of a great blizzard, which cut off the food supply. Each group of ponies set off to look for a new home, wound up in basically the same place, and started squabbling again. They were basically forced to cooperate, or else.

(See the "Hearth's Warming Eve" episode, which explains all this in detail.)

Ultimately, if we can't get to Equestria, our best bet is to create something like it here in Dirtville. Pick a pony and be like that pony: you'll be flawed, as all sentient creatures are, but your instincts will likely be sounder, and you'll definitely feel better.

Professor Farnsworth would like to leaveDorky Teenaged Smartass, by contrast, would have thrown Orwell at the poor fellow: "Two legs bad, four legs good. Live with it." This explains more (and yet less) about my subsequent love life than you can possibly imagine.

Then again, I can certainly imagine wanting to get out of this universe altogether; I never quite understood what led Leibniz to state that this was the best of all possible worlds. (Now if you told me that this was the most expensive of all possible worlds, I'd have no snappy comeback at all.) Imagination is a pretty decent vehicle, all things considered; however, if someone should insist on writing himself into Ponyville in a piece of fanfiction, Equestria Daily will almost certainly reject it, if only to thwart potential lapses into Mary Sue-ism. So far as I can tell, which isn't all that far if you think about it, we change universes exactly once, and there's no going back once we do; I'm willing to entertain the theory that at each decision point, we fork off into a new universe, but strictly for entertainment purposes only. (On the other hand, I can think of a lot of people who really should fork off just on general principle.)

The discerning reader will already have discerned that this is dated the first of April, and, I hope, will have also discerned that it means nothing here except for the publication date.

The Vent

#767
  1 April 2012

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