Fact Check

An article on Monday about Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two college students with Asperger syndrome who are navigating the perils of an intimate relationship, misidentified the character from the animated children’s TV show “My Little Pony” that Ms. Lindsmith said she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, the nerdy intellectual, not Fluttershy, the kind animal lover.” – The New York Times, December 30, 2011.

TS: Hello?

CS: Hello. My name is Catherine Stevens, and I’m a fact-checker with The New York Times. Is this Twilight Sparkle?

TS: That’s me! How can I help you?

CS: There was a story in the Times the other day about one of the fans of your show.

TS: That’s great! We love our fans. It’s so wonderful to have so many young people learning about the power of friendship, don’t you think?

CS: Sure. In the article, one of the people interviewed—this is an adult fan—said she visualizes one of the ponies on the show in order to cheer herself up.

TS: Isn’t that sweet! I love helping people cheer themselves… wait, did you say this was an adult fan?

CS: Yes, she’s a…

TS: It’s just that there’s been so many mean and cruel things said about our adult fans lately.

CS: Oh. The bronies.

TS: We love our bronies! I mean, we love all of our fans equally, but the bronies are awesome. They want to share our message of love and friendship, and it’s just so wrong of people to make fun of them. I wish everyone could just realize how special the bronies are!

CS: I’m sure.

TS: You know, on the inside, I mean.

CS: This isn’t about the bronies. What I want to know is…

TS: We try not to be judgmental in Ponytown.

CS: Of course not. What the story said was that this individual visualizes the pony named Fluttershy—and I’m quoting here—who is a “nerdy intellectual.”

TS: Fluttershy? I wouldn’t call her nerdy at all. She’s a little shy, but she’s sweet.

CS: We think our reporter made a mistake, and we want to correct that.

TS: I would hope so!

CS: So, would you consider yourself to be more the “nerdy intellectual” type?

TS: Who told you that?

CS: Well, I just…

TS: Did Fluttershy tell you that? That I’m some kind of nerdy intellectual? Is that what she thinks about me?

CS: Actually…

TS: Just because she has wings, she thinks that gives her the right to call me a nerd. Unbelivable. I mean, you’d expect that from someone like Princess Luna, but I can’t believe Fluttershy would stoop that low.

CS: I don’t think it was meant in a pejorative way.

TS: I guess it goes to show. You can take the pony out of the barn, but you can’t take the barn out of the pony.

CS: I didn’t mean to cause a problem here.

TS: I like books. That doesn’t make me a nerd.

CS: Believe me, I’m not trying to…

TS: And “intellectual”? What is that even supposed to mean? I mean, come on. Look at me. I’m a purple unicorn with a pink streak in my tail. That doesn’t make me the next Cornel West.

CS: Look, all I want to know is…

TS: Compared to that winged slut Fluttershy, I guess I am some kind of intellectual. I mean, I’m Immanuel freaking Kant compared to Fluttershy. And do you know how she got that cutie mark?

CS: Okay, look. I went to journalism school. I wanted to be an investigative reporter. It’s not my fault that the business model for the newspaper industry went to hell. And I’m sitting here in this cubicle, talking to a pony, because some other reporter screwed up the basic facts of the story, and you’re making my life very difficult right at the moment.

TS: [Long pause.] I am so sorry. I am not being a good friend to you right now.

CS: I’m sorry, too. I’m a little stressed at the moment.

TS: I am going to have to have a long talk with Princess Celestia about my attitude.

CS: You do what you need to do. It’s fine. I just need to know if I can make the correction I need to make.

TS: Sure! And I’m sorry if I was rude to Fluttershy just then. I love Fluttershy. She’s a great friend. You won’t print what I said about her, will you?

CS: No, of course not.

TS: Thanks so much! I hope you have a very sparkly rainbow weekend.

CS: I’m going to hang up now.

TS: Bye!

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