I sat down to catch up on chronicling life in Podunk — the latest with the Cold Muthas, thoughts on Groundhog Day, maybe a police blotter or two — when Odd Number approached me with a look of concern in his eyes.
“Guess what’s going around Salmon … well, really around the world?”
My sidekick Lucy’s mom is a public health nurse in Boise, so we usually keep pretty good tabs on outbreaks. I hoped Odd and I wouldn’t have to have a heart to heart about syphilis.
“Bronies,” he told me. I searched the little used creases and recesses of my brain for word recognition. This new epidemic had to have something to do with bronchitis, I guessed.
Odd helped me out. “No, it’s guys my age who play with My Little Ponies and watch the shows and stuff. They’re called Bronies.”
He went on to tell me a couple of guys on his hockey team were counted among their ranks. I resisted. “Well, one of those boys has a baby sister,” I countered. “Maybe he just ended up with one of the hairy ponies in his pocket because he was carrying one for her.”
Odd deadpanned. “Nope. They’ve watched every episode and they quiz each other on the trivia … all… the … time. They collect the ponies, and some of them sell on eBay for hundreds of dollars.”
Podunk doesn’t tend to be on the cutting edge of trends, but I couldn’t imagine that Bronies were operating worldwide without my knowledge.
“Horse shit,” I argued.
At this point, Odd decided to cash in on some of his expensive iPhone data plan. “The show, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, was well received by parents, but found another unexpected target audience through the Internet photo-board, 4chan, primarily adult males from 13 to 35 years old. Blah, blah, blah…An informal statistical census suggests within 95% confidence that as of September 2012, there are between 7 and 12.4 million people in the United States that would identify themselves as bronies. Some bronies are enlisted personnel in various United States Armed Forces, who have included the various “cutie marks” symbols from the show as insignia on their uniforms or equipment, despite not being appropriate practice for most branches, or worn only during training operations. One contributor to “The Brony Study”, Dr. Marsha Redden said that the adult fans are “a reaction to the US having been engrossed in terrorism for past ten years” in a manner similar to the Cold War, and are “tired of being afraid, tired of angst and animosity”; the show and its fandom are outlets from those strifes.”
Bronies have a documentary about them, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony; they have lots of conventions; and while Podunk Meets Paradise LLC has 7 followers, Equestria Daily, offering My Little Pony episode analysis and a crapload of sponsors, is being followed by no less than the FREE WORLD.