To create anything, is to be an artist. Of course, artists can’t starve to death, so they must often serve customers as a business. However, while “the customer is always right”, the artist also has a duty to the Muse, to Beauty as an ideal, and to the customer as well. This ever present conflict between what the customer thinks they want, and what they actually want is what gives birth to truly great art. If the customer is too bossy, we end up with shlock of the lowest-common denominator. Give the artist too much leeway, and he creates something so esoteric and foolish it makes the muses weep (aka Jar-Jar disease).
In this episode (continuity leading up to season’s end), we see that Rarity is already constrained by love of her friends. She doesn’t create dresses that appeal to only her (or a limited subset of the fashion clique), but ones drawn from each of her friends’ personalities. She works in between the tension of expressing her friends’ identities and taste as well as the proper aesthetic of fashion (as well as a catchy tune). However… her friends do hear the same tune of the muses that Rarity does; they can only see what the fashions are missing, not what is in front of them. So they critique, and Rarity forfeits devotion to her art in order to please her friends. The result? A disaster so momentous, even her friends realize they screw up. They sacrifice their pride to the muse they forced Rarity to betray by working together on her masterpiece, submitting themselves to the muse (who, by the way, was symbolized by Hoity Toity, and gods I can’t stop laughing every time I hear it) and letting the art reach the standard it should be, rather than what they think it is. And so friendship is strengthened by all involved learning that while it is better to give than to receive, sometimes it is good to simply receive.
As an amateur artist, this episode really spoke to me, and I quite enjoyed it. We should not turn away criticism less we never improve, however we cannot accept all of it without question: wisdom is always required. (Not to mention that when you work in computers, you very often have to struggle between what people think they want, vs what is actually possible or what they actually want.)
Seriously though, “look a gift horse in the mouth”? How can Twilight say that? It’s like… talking about slavery and deponyzing others. Some phrases just do not translate from one world to another.