Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm a Princess Now! (MLP: FiM Twilight Alicorn Spoilers!)

I know everypony already heard the big news from Entertainment Weekly that Twilight Sparkle will become an Alicorn princess in the season finale. But I overslept when the announcement came and I figured now that I'm up I'd put in my two cents.

First, the big spoilerific pictures:

HT: The HUB FB page

Interesting that Alicorn Twilight doesn't seem to have the supermodel figure like the three other princesses.

“I love when you comb my hair!”

Now to the nitty, gritty details:

First,  the head writer Meghan McCarthy had this to say in the EW article:

“[Twilight] was set up from the very beginning to be on an important journey,” explains MLP head writer Meghan McCarthy. “It’s really about her earning this new status by combining all the things that we’ve seen her learn over the course of the series.”

But don’t worry, Pony fans — though Twilight will undergo a physical transformation, her personality will remain the same. “What we didn’t want to do was change who she is as a character, because she’s certainly someone that everyone’s proud to know and love,” McCarthy says. “I don’t think becoming a princess really changes her; I think it’s going to introduce some new challenges for her.”

Those challenges will include living up to that  lofty new title. In MLP‘s Equestria, “princess” is a designation that’s earned, not freely given — and though princesses have specific leadership roles in pony society, being one really means “being a good pony who shares the gifts that they have been given with others,” according to McCarthy. “We’re building a very unique mythology around being a princess,” she continues. “Every little girl wants to be a princess, and not everybody can get to be a princess — but you can live up to the ideals that should come along with being a princess.”


1. The writers were dropping hints in the first two seasons that Celestia was grooming Twilight for something big, a doozy.

2. Twilight will end up becoming an Alicorn Princess in the season finale, as some of us suspected.

3. Although Twilight will sprout wings and presumably receive a massive magical power boost, her personality will remained unchanged. She'll still be the same eggheaded, OCD Twilight we all know and love.

4. With great power comes great responsibility. Becoming an alicorn princess is no minor promotion; Twilight is now in the same class as Celestia, Luna, and Cadence. How Twilight's relationship to the  Mane Six stands is now an interesting question.  On that topic, Tara Strong, Twilight's VA, posted this tweet:

Assuming Tara's right, wherever Twilight goes, her friends will follow. Also, Morgan Freeman voicing Twilight?!? It sounds like we have some awesome exposition ahead!

Lauren Faust also gave her reaction on her Twitter, though the second line mysteriously disappeared a little while later:


As for what I think of this news, well, I'm going to play it safe and wait until February 16, when the season finale airs, to give my final say. If the writers can't handle this big change, then I think it's safe to freak out and consider my future as a Brony:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas

Today is the feast day of St.Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (Doctor Angelicus) and the most prominent medieval Scholastic philosopher and theologian.

While so many men were trying to base philosophy on theological foundations, a very simple and modest man was putting everything in its place. His name was Thomas Aquinas, and he was saying things so obviously true that, from his time down to our own day, very few people have been sufficiently self-forgetful to accept them. There is an ethical problem at the root of our philosophical difficulties; for men are most anxious to find truth, but very reluctant to accept it. We do not like to be cornered by rational evidence, and even when truth is there, in its impersonal and commanding objectivity, our greatest difficulty still remains; it is for me to bow to it in spite of the fact that it is not exclusively mine, for you to accept it though it cannot be exclusively yours. In short, finding out truth is not so hard; what is hard is not to run away from truth once we have found it. When it is not a "yes but," our "yes" is often enough a "yes, and..."; it applies much less to what we have just been told than to we are about to say. The greatest among philosophers are those who do not flinch in the presence of truth, but welcome it with the simple words: yes, Amen.

St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the latter, clear-sighted enough to know truth when he saw it, humble enough to bow to it in its presence. -- Etienne Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience, 49

There are many interesting links available across the net:

Recommended reading on Aquinas:

- New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia page, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy page, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Aquinas Metaphysics page.

-G.K. Chesterton, St Thomas Aquinas (free online version)

-Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (Brandon: "Still the best introduction to Aquinas you can get your hands on.")

-Brian Davies, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Ed Feser: "Probably the best single volume in print for anyone looking for an overview of the whole range of Aquinas’s philosophical and theological thinking.")

-Edward Feser, Aquinas

For peeping Thomists like me who've just discovered the Angelic Doctor, a good place to start is:

Timothy Mcdermott, ed., Summa Theologiae: The Concise Translation

Ralph McInerny, ed, Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings

For the full Summa, there are a few choices: hardback/paperbackKindle, and online.

For Aquinas's entire works online.

Just for fun, a Thomas Aquinas music video:

- Father Robert Barron on St. Thomas Aquinas:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Ora Pro Nobis!

Friday, January 25, 2013

J.J. Abrams Set to Direct New Star Wars Film

The news articles started popping up yesterday announcing J.J. Abrams as director for the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII. Today, Disney made it official. Abrams, of course, is the current director for the Star Trek reboot, with the second film, Star Trek into Darkness, set to release soon.

A good choice? Well, personally, I did enjoy Star Trek and if Abrams can bring some of that same style to Star Wars then perhaps he can breathe some new life into this sagging franchise:

         I hope Abrams can also make Star Wars a "fun and watchable action-packed thrill ride."

       J.J. Abrams directing both Star Trek and Star Wars? Mr. Plinkett predicted it. Well, sorta...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. King and St. Thomas Aquinas on Just and Unjust Laws

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. -- Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail


Brandon has several interesting posts on Dr.King:  here, here, here, and here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Could the Rumors Be True? MLP: FiM Princess Coronation Preview

Somepony is going to be crowned as a new princess of Equestria on the MLP: FiM season 3 finale on February 16, probably Twilight Sparkle. But will she turn into an alicorn? I have no idea, as this HUB preview doesn't give away much information other than Twilight finally achieving her destiny, whether or not that involves suddenly sprouting wings... (HT: Equestria Daily)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MLP: FiM Season 3 Preview: Last Four Episodes + Keep Calm and Flutter On Clip

There's only four more episodes to go in Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Unless I'm mistaken, we'll see the return of Discord, an episode focused on the pets and Spike, and the culmination of Twilight's magical training (I keep hearing rumors about alicorn princess Twilight, but that's just brony speculation at this point).  Oh, and the most recent preview from the HUB assures us of two more things: 1) Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy will hoof bump and 2) The Mane Six will use The Elements of Harmony to defeat the final episode villain, whoever that happens to be. (HT: Equestria Daily)


Entertainment Weekly has a short preview clip from this Saturday's episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On," featuring the return of Discord, voiced by John de Lancie, who played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation. (HT: Equestria Daily)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On Love and Tolerance: Part 2

I usually like to keep this a family-friendly blog, but this image macro represents the origin of the Brony slogan "Love and Tolerance." (More info here.)

This is a very interesting article critiquing the Brony slogan "Love and Tolerance." I offer a few thoughts below. By no means do they constitute a full response. Perhaps I'll write one in the near future.

I'm in agreement with the author in his critique of the formulation of "love and tolerance" that sees tolerance as "live and let live" or being indifferent to what others say or do. This kind of tolerance doesn't fit with an understanding of love as "willing" or "doing" good by another.

However, I'm thinking the author is limiting his understanding of love to a purely "natural" friendship (philia), as opposed to charity (caritas) as Christians tend to understand love. Philosophers (or at least those following Aristotle) usually understand friendship to be conditional, that is, friendship is exclusive and mutual (we reciprocate our love). If you don't meet the high standards of virtue, then you can't join the club, so to speak. I think C.S. Lewis made this point in his The Four Loves. So eventually, if Gilda or Trixie aren't willing to change their bad habits of being disagreeable and prideful, then they just can't be friends with the Mane Six.

Charity, on the other hand, loves another person for simply existing, however lovable or unlovable their character, even if they are actively opposed to us as enemies. The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show mostly deals with friendship and the struggles needed to attain and maintain that kind of relationship, so there isn't much room for charity, though I imagine the forgiveness of Celestia for Luna and Twilight for Trixie are among the few examples.

I tend to think of tolerance as an allowance for human weakness and error (1). That is, we aren't perfect in being virtuous, in doing the right thing, so we have to coexist in the hopes that people might change.

If you consider love as simply an emotion and not a relationship requiring action (2), then conjoining this diminished understanding of love with a common reading of tolerance as indifference or non-interference reduces L & T to "doing nothing whilst having warm, fuzzy feelings." You might even say it means approving the disagreeable behavior of others.

But, once you understand the nature of both love and tolerance, then you can see that tolerance serves the ends of love, which is wiling the good of another.


1. Edward Feser, "Cardinal Virtues and Counterfeit Virtues," considers whether tolerance is a virtue.

2. David S. Oderberg, Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach, 52-53

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mike Flynn and John C.Wright Interview

It's not every day when the well-known Catholic writers Michael Flynn and John C. Wright get together to talk Catholicism and Science Fiction. The interviewer and medievalist Sandra Miesel also includes an article on the subject of Catholic Science Fiction. Be sure to give both a read!  (HT: Mark Shea).

I should also mention the Catholic Writer's Guild, which includes many sci-fi writers.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Hobbit is Here Part 2

I posted a few reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey before, but here are a few more I wanted to share (HT: Mrs. Darwin):

- Ilana Teitelbaum, "Has Hollywood ruined Tolkien?" Salon

- Anthony Lane, "Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' Review," The New Yorker

- J. Hoberman, "Tolkien vs. Technology," The New York Review of Books 

- Mr. Darwin, "This is Your Hobbit on Steroids," Darwin Catholic

I finally saw the movie a week ago. I'm not sure if I'll add my own review, as my thoughts on the movie are mostly in line with the mixed response by most of the critics to whom I've linked.  But if I can figure out a unique way to give my spin, I'll reconsider...