Ponies 101: Introduction To Ponies

Fun, Humor

Hi Ken,

I am a contributing writer to a website dedicated to authoritative discussion on education. I recently came across your blog post http://www.popehat.com/2011/12/01/confining-american-education-a-stem-cell/ and it got me thinking about the state of educational policy today, specifically in the United States — I would love to submit an article to your blog. As I'm sure you know, tuition costs continue to rise, yet few policymakers have done anything to actually assess whether or not this ascension corresponds to a similar rise of educational quality.

Today many students are graduating with advanced degrees and are taking on jobs that don't require such a level education, if only because the job market is stagnant. I would love to expound upon this idea and examine whether or not there needs to be policy changes that help the students who go to college and — eventually — who will shape the future of the nation.

Several universities, among them the University of Wyoming, have referenced our Internet resource as a learning portal for students. Please let me know if you'd be interested in an article, it would be great to hear from you!

Valerie Harris

Hi Ken,

I wanted to follow up with you and make sure you had received my email I sent a little bit ago regarding my blog post idea.

Let me know your thoughts, I would love to work with you. Do not hesitate to get back to me with any questions!

Best regards,
Valerie Harris

Dear Ms. Harris,

I had missed your email before; thank you for reminding me about it. I take it from a little Google research that you are affiliated with http://www.mastersdegreeonline.org/, a site devoted not only to rigorously substantive discussion of complex educational topics, but also to fearless explorations of the possibilities of nonstandard sentence structure.

At Popehat, our approach to guests posts is a work in progress. We require recompense for publishing guest posts. However, we have been forced to abandon our pony-based pricing system as a result of both practical and philosophical concerns. We are, however, still committed to a barter approach, especially as the campaign season draws to a climax and Patrick's views regarding the global financial system grow increasingly unconventional. We would propose to barter our respective goods with you: we provide a platform, and you provide education. Specifically:

1. In exchange for allowing you one full guest-post, we will require a half-day seminar regarding the mitigation of pony-related physical and psychological injuries, with an emphasis on pony-driven psychosis (or "ponychosis," as we have begun to call it after the recent regrettable mall food court incident involving Clark). Also hoofings.

2. If there are any misspellings or grammatical errors in the guest post, we will require liquidated damages in the form of suitable refreshments at the seminar. You may think, Ms. Harris, that it will be amusing to provide novelty pony-shaped cookies, but let me assure you very sincerely that it will not be.

3. For every additional guest post you wish to submit, we will require you to provide David with an opportunity to make an art-history-related presentation of not less than three hundred thousand (300,000) words.

4. We'll need honorary degrees of some kind. Surprise us.

Trusting that these terms will be acceptable, I remain very truly yours,


Last 5 posts by Ken White



  1. Tiptoe  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:08 pm

    I hope she ponies up.

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:12 pm

    Me, I would have merely shot back the question, "The price of gas keeps going up, does this ascension corresponds to a similar rise in the quality of your motor vehicular operations?"

    Or, you know, just deleted the thing. I am a man of limited horizons.

  3. Zubon  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:13 pm

    Are there any comparative studies courses available in ponies and unicorns? (I was going to say "versus" rather than "and," but then I recalled the trend of unicorn-Othering in pony studies programs.)

  4. Gavin  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:16 pm

    Holy crap, a conversation with Ken sounds like it'd be a bit like taking meth.

  5. SassQueen  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:28 pm

    Tell me, please, that you actually sent this actual email to this woman. Gawd.

  6. Kris  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:44 pm

    Would this count as ponychosis?

    (also, 2011 Hugo Short Story nominated)

  7. Aaron  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:49 pm

    It's only a matter of time before someone who ACTUALLY writes about ponies, and has a nefarious google search spam bot out there…

    …Sends Ken an email requesting to publish a guest post about ponies.

    And that will be a glorious day indeed.

  8. Ken  •  Sep 26, 2012 @1:50 pm


  9. eigenperson  •  Sep 26, 2012 @2:19 pm

    Surely your co-blogger Via Angus is feeling a bit slighted by all this focus on ponies. Perhaps next time you should request payment in the form of a bull or heifer (depending on which way Via swings).

  10. Stephen  •  Sep 26, 2012 @2:19 pm

    For a minute there, I thought Popehat had somehow collided with the new My Little Pony fandom.

    Actually, that could be hilariously interesting. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

  11. Dan Weber  •  Sep 26, 2012 @2:21 pm

    Tell her the post needs to be about 20% cooler before you will republish it.

  12. Maggie McNeill  •  Sep 26, 2012 @3:03 pm

    I got one from her today as well; inspired by your previous pony post, I'm considering an appropriate response both to her and the SIX others like her in my spam folder.

  13. nlp  •  Sep 26, 2012 @4:09 pm

    You can't fool me, Ken. The reason you stopped accepting ponies as payment is that the Bloggess set such a high standard of pony awesomeness that you know you will never match it.


  14. John Farrier  •  Sep 26, 2012 @4:10 pm

    Like Stephen, when I saw the title of this post, I hoped that it was about MLP.

  15. M.  •  Sep 26, 2012 @4:34 pm

    @nlp: "Knock knock, motherfucker" has become a catchphrase in my everyday life.

  16. Pete  •  Sep 26, 2012 @5:48 pm

    This would have been an extremely funny post when I was a young man with strong bladder muscles. It's less funny now.

  17. Roscoe  •  Sep 26, 2012 @5:53 pm

    Ponies??? You blog about Ponies???

    Over at Slate some loony law professor has an article comparing the First Amendment to a "dear old uncle who enacted heroic deeds in his youth but on occasion says embarrassing things about taboo subjects in his decline." And a journalist who claims it is her First Amendment right to deface an anti-jihad subway poster just got arrested for it.

    And here you blog about ponies. Frankly, we expect better from our National Treasures.

  18. Ansley  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:03 pm

    Lord God, I love this blog.

  19. MichaelW  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:14 pm

    I just shot soda out my nose laughing while reading this post :)

  20. Ken  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:19 pm

    @Roscoe: look, I'm in mediation. I don't have time for a long post.

  21. Roscoe  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:24 pm

    What, you dare take time off from providing us with free commentary on the issues of the day to earn a living? The nerve of some people.

  22. Dan  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:28 pm

    I have been in favor of a pony-based economy since Vermin Supreme made it a major part of his presidential campaign platform.

  23. Gail  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:38 pm

    P.S. No Brony stuff.

  24. Josh C.  •  Sep 26, 2012 @6:48 pm

    Someday, someone is going to take you up on one of these offers. What will you do when you have to sit through a half-day seminar on pony-related emotio-lectual injuries? How will you make that time billable?!

  25. flip  •  Sep 26, 2012 @8:18 pm

    I seriously don't understand this whole guest blogger thing. It's like wannabe writers can't be bothered signing up for a free blog and posting their stuff there. I know it's all about reputation and getting your name out and being viral and all: but you can have just as much, if not more, reputation if you just develop your own site. But then that takes time, SEO and a willingness to be less douchey.

    Oddly enough on my own blog I've only had one request for a guest blog that was entirely inappropriate. (Basically a request to write something, anything, so long as it contained linkbacks to whatever) Although I entirely considered the whole thing to be a waste of time, I went along with it and sent back a nice reply. I made it clear though that before replying I'd done a google search for the person's previous work, and suggested that their experience was nowhere near the level of quality I expected, and that they'd better bloody well know the topic that I write about before I would be convinced in publishing their stuff because I know my subject pretty darn well.

    Never heard back from them. How unexpected ;)

    Also, I like the added touch of asking for suprise degrees. :)

  26. JRM  •  Sep 26, 2012 @11:08 pm

    Wait, what? I've been training my pony to breathe fire (up to five feet now) and I can no longer exchange fire-breathing ponies for guest posts? I guess that's true even on Authentic Ionic Magnetic Power Bracelet (cures AIDS, cancer, acne, and would cure hemmorrhoids if we knew for sure how to spell that word. Also cures whatever disease you personally have by resonating with your personal frequency.) (Disclaimer: We make no medical claims. Please consult a physician before purchasing this product, unless you don't want to die painfully, in which case time is of the essence.)

    Fine, then. No fire-breathing pony for you.

  27. En Passant  •  Sep 27, 2012 @1:59 am

    I'm worried that all this "pony-driven psychosis" and "hoofings" might be the work of PETA operatives. Maybe they think your"pony-based pricing system" objectifies ponies.

    If they are doing it, that's pretty scary. Maybe they can get by with it because of our "symbolic attachment to uneasy, historically contingent compromises" about free speech.

    Is it really constitutionally protected to shout "giddyup" in a crowded corral? I mean, if there really isn't a fire or anything. Or is it fighting words?

    And what are the symptoms of "pony-driven psychosis" anyhow?

  28. John Burgess  •  Sep 27, 2012 @8:07 am

    Ken, you've got to move with the tides and seasons.

    Winter is approaching. You should be accepting alpacas and vicuñas in exchange. Their hair makes wonderfully warm coats.

  29. Doug  •  Sep 27, 2012 @9:09 am

    what! giving up the pony fee! You sicken me!

  30. Kevin Horner  •  Sep 27, 2012 @9:35 am

    None of you seem to know anything about My Little Pony fandom. For shame. I could write an article about the fascist Equestrian government and its many civil rights abuses.

  31. Ken  •  Sep 27, 2012 @9:56 am


    I seriously don't understand this whole guest blogger thing. It's like wannabe writers can't be bothered signing up for a free blog and posting their stuff there.

    No, that's not it. I wouldn't ridicule them for that.

    This segment of guestblog spam comes from people who are writing shitty, substance-free posts with links to a site they are not-too-secretly trying to promote (like the one in the first part of my letter). The purpose, as far as I can tell, is to increase the search engine ranking of that site, and then sell it or otherwise monetize it.

    There is no actual honest desire to write about anything. It's a scam. And the name is almost certainly an alias.

  32. En Passant  •  Sep 27, 2012 @11:03 am

    Ken wrote Sep 27, 2012 @9:56 am:

    There is no actual honest desire to write about anything. It's a scam. And the name is almost certainly an alias.

    Mais oui. So,

    1. Strike a click payment deal with Hasbro.

    2. Accept the guest post with condition that you will edit to suit your taste.

    3. Change all links in the guest post to Hasbro.

    4. ????

    5. Profit!

  33. kmc  •  Sep 27, 2012 @11:45 am

    It makes me want to offer a guest post just so I can try to address Ken's requirements.

  34. mmrtnt  •  Sep 27, 2012 @11:46 am

    Perhaps the "Guest Pole" should be introduced as a vetting agent prior to the granting of a "Guest Post"

    Then, aspirants would be granted a post based on their proficiency in Pole Dancing as evidenced by submitted photos.

    Just a thought. Probably won't do a thing to reduce the number of spam requests for posts, but might provide some interesting photos.

  35. nlp  •  Sep 27, 2012 @11:54 am

    Also, this phrase from your second sentence is so perfect I kneel in awe: <blockquote cite="a site devoted not only to rigorously substantive discussion of complex educational topics, but also to fearless explorations of the possibilities of nonstandard sentence structure."

  36. Antonio  •  Sep 27, 2012 @12:35 pm

    Kudos on rel="nofollow" :)

  37. Bearman Cartoons  •  Sep 27, 2012 @2:40 pm

    Guest posts are common practice in the webcomic world esp when a more popular cartoonist decides to take a break but doesn't want disrupt his/her regular posting schedule.

    Lately I have gotten some of these same companies that Ken is dealing with wanting ME to just write a blog post and include links (they do offer to pay)

  38. Nick  •  Sep 27, 2012 @3:08 pm

    By linking to the site in this blog post, you're still kind of helping her SEO. Inlinks from a legitimate, well-visited blog will definitely boost the linked site's Google rankings.

  39. Nick  •  Sep 27, 2012 @3:09 pm

    Oh never mind, rel=nofollow, and I'm an idiot.

  40. JebTexas  •  Sep 27, 2012 @7:30 pm

    OMG!!1!!!11 PONIES!!!!!1!11!11

  41. Paul Lemmen  •  Sep 28, 2012 @6:42 am

    So, did she send you an Honorary Doctor of Letters in Snark?

  42. Josh C.  •  Sep 28, 2012 @7:46 am

    Another option: vocabulary checks. I'd say its more than likely that if you e.g. sent something back agreeing, but saying that you were going to "edit it lasciviously," that would fly right under the radar.

  43. flip  •  Oct 9, 2012 @1:30 am

    When you're right Ken, you're right. For some reason I didn't have my brain that day.

  44. Ken  •  Oct 17, 2012 @12:49 pm

    Hilarious. She wrote back asking if I had gotten her request.

  45. Joe Pullen  •  Oct 17, 2012 @1:52 pm

    @Ken, so she didn't actually READ your reply email. I knew it – spam trolls can't read.

4 Trackbacks