A lot has happened since I wrote, only last week, about the “controversy” surrounding the speaking part of Ponyville’s favorite ditzy pegasus, Ditzy (Derpy Whooves) Doo. Soon after my article, it seemed Derpy’s fate was to be sent to the moon, as “The Last Roundup” vanished from iTunes, her name was stricken from the websites of those affiliated with the show, and Welovefine, the official merchandise outlet for “adult” pony stuff, renamed items emblazoned with her image.
However, as quickly as it had vanished, her name reappeared, and the offending episode appeared smack-dab in the center of the official My Little Pony Page. Now, rumor has it, Hasbro officials have said Derpy won’t be sent to the moon after all.
What da hell?
As for me; I’m not so sure why I’m so interested in what happens to her, or why I was so upset when I heard about the initial “controversy”. I think it has less to do with the show, and more about my displeasure at having a small, but vocal, minority ruining things for everybody else because of what they think they see, and what they think they are doing to help the rest of us see.
Especially when I don’t think their claims are reasonable. I’m a pretty sensitive guy when it comes to other people’s concerns; sometimes to my detriment. However, in this case, I honestly don’t see what the problem is with Derpy. Maybe the name is a bit suspect. I don’t know the entomology of the word “derp”, but I am just as likely to think of a stupid facial expression, square-jawed henchmen everywhere , or Goofy the Friggin’ Dog as I am somebody with a mental condition when I hear it. Yes, she’s a flying disaster, but again, that is no way a trait confined to any group of people, let alone people with an eye condition. I don’t see how her voice is offensive either. She talks like half of the people I work with; slowly. So did Treebeard. Nobody ever accused him of representing a plant with Down ‘s syndrom.
Besides, I didn’t hear anybody complain about Ed from Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy.
I don’t know much about the people who complained about Derpy, but I’m guessing more than a few of them were part of some sort of advocacy or watchdog group. I’ll hazard a guess; probably 85% of the people who complained were part of some organization or network specifically designed to protest characters perceived as making fun at the expense of mentally handicapped people (or whatever the proper term is these days). I’ll take a further guess, a conservative estimate, that only 50% of these folks even thought about it or watched the episode before they “penned” their letter.
My problem with advocacy groups is that one of their objectives is to find problems where none exist. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, they can pick out what might be prejudiced, or stereotypical material in the media which most people take for granted as being “normal”. On the other hand, they are often have a “zero tolerance” policy, or are looking so hard, they find prejudiced or stereotypical material everywhere.
At one point, I think advocacy groups did a great thing with that first part. However, anymore, I think most of them, have fallen into the trap of, as put by this fellow blogger (on the same subject, no less), “built to make trouble”, scrutinizing everything with a zeal far beyond their original purpose. It is as if these groups have become cults now, all looking to make others see the world they want them to, and are more than happy to reshape things in the image they feel appropriate, whether or not that image is grounded in reality, or principle.
While I believe everybody should have the chance to have their voice heard, I don’t think it is in everybody’s best interests to always listen to that voice, and do what they want. Unfortunately, it has almost become a canned response, in industries across the board, to acquiesce to any sort of noise, before, or without even attempting, to find out if said voice has a valid claim.
As for Derps, I would understand Hasbro’s position of they did, in fact, decided to banish the klutzy mailmare. After all, fans will still be fans. They’ll still help the ratings and spend money on merchandise. Appeasing angry viewers might only salvage a few points and a couple of bucks, but it is still a few points and a couple of bucks.
The only losers would be Derpy, her fans, and the good people at Studio B, who were right in thinking they were doing something awesome by giving their fans a chance to see a character which they essentially created; not something you often see.
I love the paper cut-out look. Also, from now on, when I use fan-made images, I’m linking the image to the creator’s site. These men/women work hard to make cool things like this, and if somebody likes the picture well enough to click, they should know who made it.