Das Leben ist ein Rätsel

How do I learn Kanji

Since I picked up my Japanese studies again I feel the need to talk about my Kanji experiences, in the past as well as present.
When I was in Japan I had, as some might remember, two Language courses in the university, and with it quiet some Kanji practise! Every week there were two tests! So you should think I learned many Kanji right?
WRONG! Even while learning them in Japan I would for get them, in fact the Kanji courses were my worst and also my most depressing ones!
So how did learning them work back then? „Easy“ you get a sheet with a fewKanji, let’s say 日 is the first. Then you get the stroke order, the Onyomi and Kunyomi (which I always mix up..) he for example にち (nichi)、じつ (jitsu) for Onyomi and ひ(hi)、か(ka) for kunyomi and then you‘
d get 2-4 words that have the kanji in them like 月曜日(getsuyoubi = Monday)、毎日(mainichi= every day) and 日本 (nihon= Japan). The would be some squares after the Kanji for practise, of course not nearly enough to actually learn it.
So then each week I’d get some papers, I think it was like 5 or so per course, with 3-4 Kanji per page + the words that have the Kanji in it and have to drill it into my skull by pure repetition.
Now I’m not much of a visual learner, nor is my memory exceptionally well or anything so you can imagine how hard it was to learn them for the tests. I got really depressed because I seemingly could not get them at all! It was not the first time this happened either, after all I tried teaching Japanese myself before with little success in the Kanji (except for a few very easy ones). Since I seemed to always for get the Kanji and feel more and more depressed at some point I just gave up, thinking I would never be able to learn this.

So what changed, you might ask?
Well I found a new method, a method introduced by James W. Heisig, a professor at some university in Nagoya who developed a very different learning method for Kanji.
In the preface of his book „Remembering Kanji I“ he explains (and I won’t quote because it’s a long passage you have to deal with me paraphrasing it) that we usually learn a writing system by linking a sound to a character, but with Kanji it is different. As I showed above one Kanji has clearly more than one reading.Yet, Heisig explains, traditional methods (as described above) are used to teach and learn Kanji by drilling their appearance into our mind. But the more efficient method is not linking the Kanji to a sound, but to a picture or story of some sort, since it is the nature of the Kanji (after all it originates from pictures!).
He gives a nice metaphor to explain exactly what happened to me:

„Picture yourself holding a kaleidoscope up to the light as still as possible, trying to fix in memory the particular pattern (…). Chances are you have such an untrained memory for such things that it will take some time; but let us suppose that you succeed after then or fifteen minutes. You close your eyes, trace the pattern in you head, an then check you image against the original pattern until you are sure you have it remembered. Then someone passes by and jars your elbow. The pattern is lost, and in its place a new jumble appears. Immediately you memory begins to scramble. You set the Kaleidoscope aside, sit down, and try to draw what you had just memorized, but no avail. There is simply nothing left in memory to grab hold of. The Kanji are like that. One can sit on one’s desk and drill half dozen Characters for an hour or two, only to discover on the morrow that when something similar is seen, the former memory is erased or hopelessly confused with the new information“

This is EXACTLY how I felt learning Kanji!
There was just no system for learning it. Although of course after a while you realize some parts reappear in different Kanji, the way and order you learn them in doesn’t help you to work with it, then you need to memorize words with Kanji you don’t even know yet and how to pronounce all that.
Of course if you exercise a lot, read a lot in Japanese at some point you might get accustomed to it, after all: All Japanese students (I mean Students in Japan as well as those who learn Japanese) are taught like this. But many, like me fairly horribly at this and just get too depressed to study on.
So what Heisig suggests is a totally different learning method, one actually many Japanese students might know already to some extent: Using the repeating parts of Kanji and get a bridge to remember it. But often Students will think this a silly way of learning and not admit it, also its only at a few instances they might get the idea to associate certain picture or story with a character and there is no real system behind this.
This is what Heisig does. He went through many Kanji and filtered out certain „primitives“, components that keep reappearing. Sometimes they themselves are Kanji (like the one for sun I showed before) sometimes they only appear within a Kanji (like little dots on the side, or one stroke down) which he also gives a meaning. This way you can create stories to remember Kanji for example: 兄 (あに = ani) which means „big brother“. It consists of the primitive for mouth (the square at the top) and human legs. The „story“ is that the older brother always is a loud-mouth, commanding his smaller siblings, you you can picture him as a mouth on legs.
This, I can guarantee, although it feels very weird and odd at the beginning, helps not only to memorize Kanji and their meaning, but makes you see clear patterns in Kanji, which is especially helpful as you learn more and more complicated Kanji.
What this method also does, in contrast to traditional ones, is dividing the job: You learn one Kanji and one core meaning. Not many different meanings (日 for example can mean sun as well as day) not pronunciations (they are left out for the time being) nor words that have one Kanji as compound.
This gives your brain the advantage to having to deal with only two things at a time, which simplifys thing a LOT!Of course it also mean learning the 2000ich Kanji from the book one is far from actually reading Kanji, but at least a core understanding is possible at least and if one just reads enough with Furigana and learns Vocabulary, you will automatically learn the different meanings and pronunciations of the Kanji in question naturally, without as much drilling or anything.
Personally I use „Anki“ together with the book and at the moment make a deck with Japanese sentences using Kanji as much as possible to be later able to learn meanings and pronunciations from it.
I can warmly recommend this this book to anyone who feels as frustrated with Kanji as I was! Although some stories seem weird it doesn’t really matter, after all you can just change the story to your liking! It rather gives you a tool for learning then a fixed story you have to use 😉 I would also recommend looking at this blog of someone who clearly has more experience with this and gives really great tips! So you want to give Kanji another try this is somewhere to start.

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What is it with Discord

Ok I just HAVE to write this after seeing the reactions on the recent Discord Episode of MLP (Three’s a crowd) by for example digibrony or tommy olliver on youtube!
They exclaim how unsatisfied they are with the character, with his reasoning and presentation, comparing him to the Dschinni in Aladin.
To be fair I see their point and their reading as one possibility of reading his performance here but I’d like to offer a very different one in this point.

So first I need to elaborate my reading of Discord up to this point.
Discord is a nearly omnipotent being. He can do anything he wishes, at least that is the impression we get in „the return of harmony“. But also we learn he is a prankster, what does he use his power for? For chocolate rain, for popcorn in a corn field, for messing with ponies.
He does not threaten anyone’s life or physical well being and simply doesn’t care about anyone’s emotions except his owns. When he is bored he will do anything to get rid of his boredom.
In „Keep calm and flutter on“ I would think that for the first time anyone makes an effort to befriend him. He never learned to think about anyone’s feelings, everybody was just for him to play with and Flutter Shy is the first one who asks him questions and gives him pointers to how to behave. Sure she has the ‚I’ll turn you to stone‘ argument as a last resort but she even gives that up just to get through to him.

Ok now what do I think of (in real life terms) when I look at this description: Someone with much power, that gets anything they want, with no appreciation for anone else?
The spoiled brat of a rich family!
Parents are never around, every wish is read from his eyes and they never learns about real friendship or care because he can just pay people to do his bidding whenever they get bored. The Parents are usually away and won’t give him any real affection or scold him when he does something wrong so he never learned empathy or stuff like that. Yet the spoiled brat is by no means evil, they just don’t know better. Often they are very smart because they were educated by private tutors…

So for me Discord is kind of like this huge spoiled child that has no idea about real life and others and empathy because he never had to care and no one ever actually cared about him. He never knew how good it can feel to have someone who shows an interest in you, someone to share your happiness with or confide in. That is until „Keep calm and Flutter on“ where, for the first time in his life (my guess at least, of course I can’t know for sure) Flutter Shy does, more I think like a mother or maybe nanny that a friend, shows him what it can feel like. So I totally buy this transformation when he is on the ice, alone and realized that now he might be free to do what he wishes but it just doesn’t satisfy him as much as he’d thought it would.
Without him realizing he made a connection to this pony and just doing tricks will no satisfy him any longer. So he decides to go along with it, saying Friendship is magic, but without actually knowing about friendship. He doesn’t understand the whole concept yet, that you have to earn trust to be called a friend, that you have to work hard for a friendship to work out, and that you need to give as well. He just knows: I want this friendship thing so I’m satisfied again.

So the next time we see him is in the „Princess Twilight Sparkle“ two parter of season 4, he doesn’t seem too reformed but also not quiet as out of control as before. He does help the mane six a little, when asked but keeps messing with them, which makes sense for his character but we also don’t see too much development here.
Next is the last weeks episode „Three’s a crowd“
In this episode we first see him interact with Pinkie, AJ, RD and Rarity and are made aware very well how little the others care about him (except I guess for Pinky Pie, but he has little interest in her it seems) and pretend to be a friend just to have him of their backs or something. Especially RD makes it very clear how little he cares for him and Discord of course knows about Twilights dislike of him.
He is not dumb, he knows this very well.
So my guess why he went all troll on Twilight was to make her aware of their relationship, on him being interested in a relationship (not in the meaning of love relation but naturally I mean friendship) but as I pointed out: he has no Idea how. His character is that of an arrogant, all mighty brat that is used to getting what he wants (which is why is that much more annoyed when the lesson learned is not about him but about Twilight and Cadence) and what to little boys do to get a girls attention when they don’t really know how else? They bully them! They call them names, throw stuff and tease them.
This is exactly what Discord does in this episode 😉 Especially his reaction when Cadence says she still enjoyed her visit makes me think so.
Yeah so, here you have it ^^

In my little Pony now and again episodes sporn great diskussions among the brony fandom. One of the biggest is the 15th episode of the first Seasonwith the title „feeling Pinky Keen“. But I, after watching it again and thinking about it found it to be hugely misunderstood which is why I do this post.

1. What is the episode about?
In this episode the ever so scientific Twilight Sparkle gets to know Pinkies „Pinky sense“, a kind of vague looking into the future done through reactions on her body. Twitchy tail mean something fall down, a twitchy nose mean bes are near and there are even combos that can foretell the weirdest occasions like rainbows or opening doors.
This sounds beyond reason, and that is exactly what Twilight thinks. She refuses to believe the pinky sense actually does exist and tries to scientifically find out what happens in reality. Is it just weird coincidences or what?
But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t find any explanation for this until, after a big adventure involving running from a wild hydra, she finally accepts that the pinky sense is real,even if she can’t find any explanation.

2. What is the discussion about?
The moral of it all is: Even if there is stuff in the world I can’t explain doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Sometimes you just have to choose to believe it is.
This was widely received as a religious statement, that you have to believe in god and wonders as an explantion for the unexplainable… Some loved it others hated it I say: that is bullshit! That is NOT the message of the show, Twilight NEVER says a god is doing this or anything other supernatural is involved. she just admits: it is real, and I can’t explain it

3. So what is my arguement?
What is displayed in this episode is rather positivsm.
So now most will probably wonder: What is positivsm?
Positivsm is a branch of scientific philosophy and is based on the believe that everything follows certain laws and those can be perceived through empirical evidence. So what is there is there, whether you cans explain it of not.
Famous example is gravity. Until this very day we ALL believe in gravity, but where does it come from? How does it work and why? We don’t know!
Still no one would say gravity does not exist. We can even calculate what it does, we can scientifically predict gravity but still we can’t answer those basic questions.
The same happens to Twilight. She does her scientific research, is most of the time the one receiving the consequences of the twitchy tails or what not and finally has to say: Yes I believe it“ she scientifically did an empirical research (given it was for about a day and not years, but we know other ponies started believing after some time and this is a 22min kids show so I OK this) and comes to this conclusion. Just like she has to believe in gravity she has to believe in the pinky sense.

4. Still I got critique
So what I am still missing is the question when to stop looking for an answer? Just think about all the want to be fortune tellers in our world, people who sell pyramids that „energize“ your water or other frauds. how long are you supposed to look before starting to believe? You can’t just accept everything coming your way as a given because often enough there actually is a real explanation for things that are seemingly supernatural.
But in the other hand Twilight is seen to put up a fight, she does not just accept it and probably when something like that happens again she will once more try to get to the bottom of it (I hope).

Feminism is the believe that women and men should be equal.

That’s it. And that is not a bad principle now is it?
Many women fought and still fight for male and female to be on same terms but for some reason, especially in western countries this word „Feminism“ is some totally outrageous, something no woman want to be connected with.
People pretend in our „civilized“ society women and men were on same terms already which actually is BULL SHIT!
Seriously that is not true! Women are still under-represented in almost every facet of live, well except the we traditionally were allowed to enter few spots like child caring, education, or nursing.
In Germany 38% of all representatives in the Bundestag are female, which is quiet a record but really does not represent the amount of women in Germany which is about 50%.
In the UK it’s about 22% in America mere 17% and that is only for the lower or single houses. Most states don’t even have women in higher governmental positions at all (For example Spain) (source: http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm)
So much about the great equality of men and women is so called 1st world countries.
But this is Not because of laws that prohibit women in anyway. No it is culture and after more than 2000 years of oppression of women we can’t expect it to fade away in a few decades. But for it to eventually disappear we can’t just sit back and say „oh we are all equal I don’t care anymore“.

How did I get to do this post. Well due to a video by the gaming idea channel on a woman called Anita Sarkeesia who has a youtube channel called „Feminist Frequency“ where she takes a look at popular culture and talk about it in a feminist way.
Recently she did a Kickstarter Project raising a lot of money for a series called „Damsel in Distress“ where she took a look at the cliche in video games.
Apparently this made it into news and blogs and a lot of people hated her, she got death threads insults, and what not. She has no Comment section on her videos anymore.
Aside for Trolls and haters there are actually a lot valid critiques on her videos (I won’t go into the ‚where did the money go‘ or ‚it’s from Wikepedia‘ discussion here) in forms of blogs and video replies, I even watched a few of those and agree with them in a few point.
I did a few comments about how I though Anita had some valid point even if her way of phasing and even her arguments might not be wholly correct or at least debatable and immediately got into a discussion on how stupid Feminists are and that stating how women are under or misrepresented in popular culture is just nitpicking.
So that is why I write this post.

I don’t want to say what anita said in her videos if you are interested:

But quickly her main point is this: In mainstream video game franchises like Mario women are often reduced to a price for the hero. They don’t develop character have no power and are acted upon. Her main example for this is Princess Peach.

Although this is not wrong if you what the whole series there is much room for justified critique.
She does not simply state an opinion but says it as if it’s a general truth, she gives statistics without any source. She even denies strong female characters like Zelda to be a good character.
So yeah, she is not perfect, who is?
What is most annoying is that she deactivated the comments so you can’t even discuss with her and thus it feels like a statement of hers rather than something to discuss upon, making her seem like a small child drying to want something without listening to anyone.

Still She accomplished something amazing: She was heard! Proabably BECAUSE of this flaws, because people disagreed and hated it she managed to get into the news and opened a media wide argument about womens representation in media and this in itself is something great!
Too many women take what we have got for granted and just overlook how from birth on boys as well as girls are forced into specific gender roles which hinder both to actually be who they are.
Why are less women into maths and science? Not because they are biologically different, but because from birth on they are driven onto a different direction. For all who say that is nonsense just take a look at Children ads for example these two for Lego:

Kids a drilled toward the believe that girls and boys play different stuff and don’t have anything in common funnily enough in the 60s it wasn’t necessarily so:

This is the next step of feminism, we built up a land where it’s technically possible that anyone can be anything whether it’s a stay at home dad or the female physicist, so now culture needs to change accordingly and sadly since the 90s progress as come to a stand still.
So feminists like Anita are actually needed, even if one does not agree with everything, think that she overdoes it at some point e.t.c. it is worth it because it gets the discussion going and people thinking again.

For what is the goal of feminism?
Well it basically would be that gender roles all together seize to exist. that there are as many heroic action women as damsels, and as many princess in distress, as heroes because the pre-existing role models do not exist anymore.
Is that ever going to happen? Who knows? I don’t, if it’s no where soon, but don’t you always need an over the top goal to change anything at all?

Ok as most know I watched MLP and though I for my self don’t see me as a brony I also watched the Equestrian Girls Movie that came in early summer into American theatres. I watched it on youtube though.
And although the brony community is surprisingly happy with the movie and it is actually enjoyable if you can overlook some major plot holes I want to outline how this already quiet OK movie (because of good music, protagonists, fanservice and animation, and a few good plot elements) an actually good one:

The film begins with Twilight and her friends going to the crystal Empire to celebrate Twilights coronation again. Coincidentally that very day Sunset Shimmer returns through the mirror, planning to make up with Celestia, feeling a little remorse and maybe even homesick. But than she learns of Twilight existence, how Celestia simply replaced her. Twilight on the other hand learns about the portal and it 7 days (!) time frame which it is open, and it would take 30 moons (whatever that exactly means) until it opens again.
She pretends to be nice and forgiving first and learns about how Twilight and her friends regained the Elements of Harmony, that’s when she decides to steal the crown, as an act of revenge against Celestia and Twilight who stole her place as a pupil.
Twilight wakes up in the night, as Sunset Shimmer steals her crown, chasing her to the mirror Twilight fights her of, resulting in the crown falling through the mirror, which she, because of SS already knows is connected to another world. Sunset takes the first opportunity to follow the crown and Twilight,without much thought followed by Spike who came along, follows her, arriving infront of a school building.
It is early in the morning, school is just about to start, but Twilight naturally is very confused by her looks and everything. She finds out that Fluttershy found the crown, which looked exactly like the crown for fall formal, and gave it to the headmistress Celestia.
But of course Sunset Shimmer realizes and even expected Twilight to follow her. She challenges her, of course both could just try to steal the crown but that wouldn’t be as satisfying as defeating Twilight, showing her that she is a failure. So who ever gets to be fall formal princess will get the crown.
Sunset Shimmer is kind of the school Diva, popular an feared with her clique consisting of her as the leader, Trxie, as her best friend and Diamond Tiara and silver spoon, two freshmen who basically would do everything for them they are.
Twilight on the other hand for the moment only has Fluttershy, whom she helped out against Sunset Shimmer before. She learns that her other „friends“ are fighting, but manages to reconcile them and bonding them against the common enemy: Sunset Shimmer.
While Twilight is still busy managing to reconcile her friends Sunset Shimmer and Trixie already start running an anti-Twilight campaign including embarrassing photos made during Twilights first day at the school. Twilight and her friends try to save the day by digging up the old „Wondercolt“ uniforms to again unify the whole school, but Sunset Shimmer & Co try to undermine this new found unity by spreading rumours and secrets, basically telling the leaders of each group if they didn’t vote for them, everyone would get to know their secret (stuff like that the jock also likes dolls etc).
Soon the mane six realize the change of heart and fear in the other students, puzzled what to do next. Meanwhile Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon got an Idea they think will impress Sunset Shimmer, they trash the auditorium where everything is already decorated for the dance in a few days. They feign evidence to frame Twilight for it so that she would be taken of the competition but that is exactly not what Sunset Shimmer wants! Angry with the two, she is the one who saves Twilight, she wants to have this competition to crush Twilight and show, she is more worthy of the crown!
In the end the trashing of the auditorium was great for Twilight because while she and her friends tidy everything up, other students she this and join, because of some confessions triggered by the mane six the thread of secrets being revealed vanishes because the students realize friends will like you even if you have a hobby they might not share.
The last days Sunset Shimmer and her clique try to discredit Twilight any way possible (this could well be done in a song) but somehow it always turn all right for her.
Finally the night of Fall Formal arrives and Twilight wins by a landslide. While Trxie and the others are a bit annoyed they admit Twilight just deserved it, but Sunset shimmer is enraged by her defeat. She storms up and takes the crown for herself saying Twilight cheated and she should have been the princess! And even offences her friends saying it was all their fault she lost.
Than something no one had forseen happens, the crown reacts to Sunset Shimmer and transforms her. Consumed by her rage she enslaves the students planning a march to Equestria to take revenge on Celestia and become Princess instead.
But Twlight and the mane six together with Trixie, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon who want their old Sunset Shimmer back, fight her by activating the magic of friendship. It is Trixie who manages to get through to her friend, saying how much she liked her even with her flaws and temper and that she didn’t need to be a princess or anything, just her self.
With the power of rage weakened because of her friends words, Twilight manages to regain the crown, Sunset Shimmer turns back to normal and the student are freed from the ban as well.
Since Sunset Shimmer now for the first time in her life really saw what friendship could do she feels redemption of her actions, and is grateful to Trixie as well as Twilight and the mane six. She admits her wrong doings and explains just how hurt she felt when she saw how she simply had been replaced. But she decides to stay in the human world, since here she found friends.
So after a nice Fall Formal dance Twilight can return home where her friends, who of course realized her absence by now and counted two and two together, await her anxiously.

The End.

What is it with Magical Girls

This will be a less „scientific“ approach and more of a personal thing so I won’t go into theories and what not.
It’s just that since I took a look into MLP (yeah I know its not magical girl genre, bear with me for a moment) and I realized there are a lot of feminist mothers who love to take any girl-oriented show and tell why it is an embaressment for any sophisticated woman and that girls will only learn how to be cute and obedient…
And thouh some aspects might be true I started thinking about it.

Now comes the personally part:
My neices (4 and 6 years old) are classical girls. They want everything in pink, love princesses, play with Barbies wear cute dresses,… and their favourite show is Winx Club.

For all who don’t know it a picture and you will I think understand the shows basics…

winx-enchantix-the-winx-club-30825307-1772-1265

In the course of the Show (basically every season) the girls get new cute companions like Pixies, Pets or little mermaids. Also they get new transformations with new cute outfits.

And now I managed to draw the circle to the title: Magical girls!
Although Winx is an Italian Show and the concept came from Japan it is still very much comparable to older Magical girl Shows like Sailor Moon to which I will come later.
These shows are heavily criticised and I must say I wasn’t actually happy to hear my nieces loved Winx of all shows, the best. It is pink, they look way too thin, its all about looking cute and having make up…
Than I realised I loved Sailor Moon with 6 and it puzzeled me: Why did I like Sailor Moon?
And not only Sailor Moon, Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, Card Captor Sakura, when it first came out even Wedding peach!
Most readers might say „well its a show for girl, you were a girl… that’s what they like right?“
But those who know me know I NEVER was a typical girl. Till this day I hate pink, I never wanted to be a princess, in Kindergarten I played with the boys Power Rangers (though I always insisted on not being the pink ranger) for Karneval I dressed up a a Squa or Pirate…
So why did I become so interested in such a girl show, one that is so much criticised at that. My mother still tells me how she hated that show, because of the short skirts the needy attitude of the protagonist and the shrill voices. But still, although I was a tomboy, a girl any feminist mother could wish for, I fell for magical girls.

So after thinking about it and watching the whole Winx series, which I like to call the new Sailor Moon, I came to an answer:

They are not at all that anti feminist.
Yes you can criticise the dresses and length of skirts and personality aspects of characters and probably bring MANY points against Magical girl series.
But I claim there are many points that can be highlighted that show a good gender approach for small girls!
I liked Sailor Moon because she kicked ass! Yes she was a cry baby and a glutton and naive but that made her all the more appealing because it actually is a realistic character. Maybe not the type of character feminist mothers want to have their child to look up to, but still a realistic one. I would cry for help if I saw some monsters attack someone and than turning towards me! What’s so wrong about that?
Sailor Moon just like Winx and many other magical girl series give normal girls a special feature, they are not passive, but they have to act, be it defeating enemies as in Sailor Moon or Winx, or be it breasking a witches curse, as in DoReMi or collecting magical cards, like Sakura.
And the best is: They can remain girls doing this! They don’t have to become some kind of boy, or even dress like a boy. Even as a girl, wearing a cute dress, maybe even heels, you can kick ass!
Now what’s so wrong about that?
Also since usually these shows have very different characters. It’s not like they say „you have to be a dumb Blonde like Usagi to be happy“ but they show different characters, usually one more sportif and less girly in between (for example tecna in Winx or Haruka in Sailor m
Moon, hell they even say it’s Ok to be homosexual, how much more open can you get?)

So to all hard core feminist mothers: it is easy to spot the mistakes producers did, considering you point of view and surely there are some things that just shouldn’t be, but also try to see what some show and movies actually do right.
You can talk with you kids about the shows to strengthen their understanding on it and the depiction of women to prevent a band influence. 😉

Those who know me in person know that I have a fable for mirrors in Literature and especially movies and TV shows. My first term paper was about the mirror in Dracula and Jekyll and hyde and I kept doing it (for Bloody Mary in Supernatural and Ghostwhisperer, and in my bachelor Thesis in Snow White) so of course I had to take a look at the MLP episode of „Too many PinkyPies“ and the mirror-lake she uses to duplicate herself.
This again goes also into Doppelganger theory, for that topic please take a look at my last article „What about Cadence and Queen Chrysalis“

So thinking about mirrors and theory on mirrors:

First of all: You wouldn’t believe how much there is to say about mirrors! I my BA thesis I have like 10 Pages solely dedicated to them and their different real, cultural and psychological values so I can’t simply copy my thesis here and I can’t explain everything in detail. I’ll try my hardest to put things in a nutshell as well as I can and stick only to the stuff I need for the analysis. Still this will be a rather long article.

Observations on the real mirror (I talk about the plain, not bended mirror here!):
1. The mirror works as a prosthesis in the way that they broaden our field of vision (which is the origin of many believes linked to the mirror I will come to later)
2. The mirror is expected to show us the ‚truth‘ (Umberto eco „Über Spiegel“), meaning we trust in what they show us.
3. When talking about mirrors we use a language that makes it seem as if there was another reality in the reflection (the term ‚mirror inverted‘ or saying the ‚left becomes right and right becomes left‘ for example) (again from Umberto Ecos „Über Spiegel“)

Mirrors and Culture (all infos from:Hildenbrock in „Das andere Ich“) :
1. The mirror shows the true self/soul of a person
2. A soul of a dead person can be trapped in a mirror
3. The reflections the should thus destroying the reflection equals destroying the soul
4. Show deformities in the nature of a person

Lacans Mirror-Stage Theory (Book used: Lacan, Jacques. Das Spiegelstadium als Bildner der Ichfunktion, wie sie
uns in der psychoanalytischen Erfahrung erscheint, in: Schriften I.):
The theory basically and very easily said states that children from 6 months onwards start recognizing themselves in a mirror. Children then see themselves for the first time as a whole, single being, not connected to the mother and also not only fragments of itself.
This helps building the social self (Lacan describes as „je“), the child realizes others see it like it can see itself in the mirror and so it starts recognizing that its actions have a social impact on others (Children cry to get the attention from their mothers or to get what they want). In contrast to that would be the ego, so my personal view on my self with me wanting and doing what I do without taking others into account.

Mirroring:

Very simply put it means someone or something ‚mirrors‘ something else. Just what it sais basically. In her essay „Magic Mirror in Snow White“ Nancy Van den Berg-Cook explains how important mirroring is for children but on a smaller scale for adults. Parents need to mirror their children’s actions that they can learn what is right and what’s wrong. So when a child smiles, and the mother smiles the child will understand that it’s smiling can make others smile and it’s a good thing. If a child is neglected in this aspect it is likely to form a narcissistic personality disorder.

Ok I hope that was enough for mirrors and not too much either ^^

but let’s also check out mirrors and doppelganger ^^

1. Mirrors, like doppelgangers show the true nature of the protagonist, or rather is dark desires, which they try to hide but cannot suppress.

2. Since the reflection is the soul and the doppelganger is the reflection he represents a part of the soul.

3. Doppelganger helps in identity crisis and character growth, just like the mirror helps fixing external flaws and according to superstitions also show flaws of the soul.

4. That the soul gets a body in a mirror includes that as a reflection it has a body and can be hurt, this means smashing of the mirror will in fact attack the other self.

5. Lacans Theory: ego and Je, are now divided into first and second self. (usually the mirror is the ego and the first self the Je)

6. Additionally the moral deficiencies like the First Selfs fear to be unaccepted by society the doppelgänger are shown by mirrors. This way it works as a mirror on how others see them, or might see them if they knew about these character traits.

-> The mirror becomes a tool to help the first self to overcome anxieties and to unite the ego and the Je

Ok now let’s take a look at „Too many Pinky pies“
Sadly I couldn’t find single clips from the episode that would be helpful to re watch it if it has been some time ^^

So basically the story is about how PinkyPie figures she can’t have fun with everyone at the same time since ponies do stuff in different locations. Not being able to decide what to do she remembers a nursery rhyme from her Nana to a „mirror pond“ where she can clone herself.
The clone is all about fun but has no memory of anything, and it runs into the same problem PinkyPie ran into, not being unable to decide between two fun things. So real Pinky brings her clone to the pool and now there is 4 and 3 of those then clone again without Pinkie wanting them to do so.
In the end the Fun-Zombie Pinkies drive Ponyville crazy only the real Pinky gets all depressed because she herself has become unsure about her identity as PinkyPie. She suggests to Twilight who found a spell to send the clones back but has the problem she could accidentily send back the wrong Pinky as well a test so boring only the real Pinky could pass it. This test is watching Paint dry, and in the end all clones get send back, Pinky realizes its Ok to have to choose and sometimes even to just relax alone.

Analysis:

Ok now let’s take a look on what we can deduce from that!
First Pinky is in a state of crisis because she wants to have Fun (her Je talking) with all her friends but can’t do that, she needs more of herself.
Her clone is shown as a look-alike, so it’s a doppelganger and a very clearly only ego, it has not social knowledge what soever. And apparently they don’t care, all they want is to have fun.

Pinky has to teach her clones about her friends

Pinky has to teach her clones about her friends

Pinky on the other hand is in this episode described as Pony who does care about her friends well being (she is extra careful to let RD have some peace and quiet at the lake) and in „A friend in Deed“ we get to know how dependably she can be and how great her memory is. She is very much a social Pony, but in this episode her ego is about to overpower her.
The clones are her reflection so it is part of her soul… this is kind of disturbing thinking about the scene where all the clones are sent back into the Pond…but I would interpret their returning to the pool rather as the reunion of ego and Je for Pinky, her learning the lesson and solving her identity problem.
So back to the mirror: The mirror very clearly works as for Pinky as a prothesis, at least that is her initial goal. She wants to see and experience stuff she otherwise couldn’t, having Mirror-Pinky go to AJs Barn-Raise and experiencing the fun. As we see this does not work out the way it was planned but that’s at least the original goal.
The mirror also seem to hold a kind of reality, since the reflection of Pinky can just walk out of the water, like that. Also the other Pinkies are ’sent back‘ which also makes it sound like there is some actual space in the reflection of the Pond which your soul, at least the ego Part of it, enters and than can exit after saying the right words.
Now I want to come to the mirroring because this is what happens to PinkyPie when things get out of hand. In „A Friend in Deed“ we get to know how annoying Pinky can be, to Cranky Doodle she probable first felt like one of her clones, some mindless thing that just annoys everyone. Also in „Too many PinkyPies“ we start of with Twilight being very annoyed by Pinky time and again. Although she is not as over the top as the other Pinkies, sometimes, to some Ponies the real one feel probably the same (we remember in „Griffon the Brush-of“ RD’s reaction to seeing Pinky…) which Pinky hardly recognises or cares about.
Seeing her clones go on rampage in the Village that much over the top mirrors her own behaviour and she can realize how this is not always good, that there is something more important than fun. Until now her ‚having-fun-trips‘ always ended well, unlike in this scenario. She also sees the limits of mindlessly going on a fun rampage for the first time observing everyponies reactions as a bystander.
We see this realization in the very end where she, instead of trying hard to have fun with everyone simply goes to sleep.
Worst thing happening is her loosing faith in her identity

she is not sure she is herself...

she is not sure she is herself…

She was not really in an identity crisis before but her clones actually brought one upon her. Although to the viewer it is clear she is the real one, since she has memories of her friends and actually something else on the mind than fun, but even in the image of herself she seems to think she is nothing but a fun-zomby which is why she can’t identify herself anymore.
The Test is a way to acertain herself, and it works. Seeing how her clones are only her „Je“ which is not interested in social relatrions they have no reason to stay focused like the real PinkyPie has, wanting to keep her bonds she made with her friends.

the clones watch paint dry

the clones watch paint dry

So yeah interesting concept ^^ I LOVED the episode it’s one of my favourites (next to „Party of One“ 😉
Hope it was interesting for you guys ^^

Works cited:

Drydan, Linda. The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles. Palgrave Macmillam. Basingstoke. 2003. Print

Eco, Umberto. Über Spiegel und andere Phänomene. trans. Burkhart Kroe ber. Hanser. München. 1988 . print

Hildenbrock, Aglaja. Das andere Ich. Stauffenburg Colloquium, Tübingen. 1986. Print

van den Berg-Cook, Nancy. “The Magic Mirror in Snow White” cgjung- vereniging.nl. C.G. Jung Vereinigung Nederland. 2006

von Franz, Marie-Louise. Spiegelungen der Seele. Kösel-Verlag. München.