Recent praise as well as crises about certain persons connected to the MLP fandom got me thinking again, and I write this as a mental experiment, as something that could totally be true in parts, or fully, or not be to the point at all, but the mere fact that it COULD be true based on the evidence at hand is worrisome enough and should make people start cultivating an awareness against being deluded, fooled or outright scammed.
What I write is stuff that is not in doubt of existing. To some it is business as usual. Only its applicability in the specific case mentioned is arguable.
To understand the context, you'd have to belong to the appalingly few people who care about or even know about what happened with the Galacon 2014 and BUCK 2014 charity auction song collab offers; the first one which I was personally involved in in one of the most spirit-crushing experiences of my life that took me quite the effort to get some emotional distance to, and from which position I am writing this, having done some unpleasant but necessary changes to how I approach things. Not always nicer, but stronger.
Living Tombstone and ShadyVox dishonor charity
So let's be playful; Imagine the following scenario:
The Living Tombstone is doing what various other musicians eventually did: The activity in the fandom was a very useful career boost, and now business calls for greater opportunities. Some musicians are less skillful/ruthless than others at selling such a decision to expand or change their target audience.
So what can you do when your interest in making inspired music fades? Some final publicity stunts to boost your rep (or should I say "brand"?). You harvest great praise by showing off your willingness to fulfill the fans a musical wish, and all in the spirit of charity. Massive popularity boost.
You select someone with a good budget and who is not opposed to playing business (e.g. a commercial vendor whose greatest strength is definitely not healthy social interaction) and tell them to ensure they are the one with the highest bid. Then you pay them off afterwards. No loss for them, but you just bought a big publicity package, and you can afford it, not the least due to the lucrative marketing cooperations you did with computer game publishers and such.
Just that something didn't go as planned. Your shill was outbid, reached the agreed/expected limit. So now you were in the extremely uncomfortable situation of having to make a song where you never planned to make one, didn't have the time or motivation for it, so spirit is non-existent, since you didn't get what you wanted. It would have been so much easier to just pay the money and not having to actually do something you don't want to.
The shill then does what people do when they're under stress and in fear and offers the winner to buy them out ... for LESS than their winning bid, as if that made any sense! (Neither would have for more.)
So now you try to piss them off so much that they either give up on their side or accept what you had planned all along - to be paid the donation money back. If you can pull it off, if you can make the whole thing fail, it means you win by being an asshole. And your army of fanboys and general denial will ensure that no significant harm comes to you from this. Reality proves it's a feasible strategy, and as every trickster knows, fancy words are preferrable over uncomfortable reality for those already hooked into an emotional dependency. Contradictions are no problem. They will cherrypick your statements. People don't want to see their hero-idols unmasked, because it leaves them back in harsh reality that they tried to escape from.
Your general sincerity having been revealed to the few as nothing but smokes and mirrors in several ways, among them by emphasizing the uniqueness of the offer, you offer the same again a month later at another charity auction, to maximize the publicity effect. This time the collab is set up to be with another buddy (i.e. business colleague or likeminded career ally) who you can trust wouldn't raise a finger against you due to mutual interests. And this time, who wins the auction with the highest bid? Surprise! Another musician. Who then, as far as can be estimated from the typically/sadly little information that transpired, has no problem at all to not insist on the collab ... because reasons. Stuff happened, ah, can't really do the collab. Couldn't forsee this, didn't see this coming. - Yeah, buddy, I understand. Don't sweat it.
And he's either so much an ally in spirit that he thinks a scam for charity is still a good thing or you pay him off, too. It's still cheap advertising, a powerful strenghtening of customer loyalty that serves the dual-purpose of also creating action against those who would speak negatively of you.
Let me hear your ideas why this could not possibly have happened this way. And make it good reasoning, because much worse is happening in the world under the protection of denial, and over the years of curious study I am running out of reasons for assuming the best. ("The best" meaning "only moderately appalling".)
Ever wondered what happens when the best of Pinkie Pie collides with the worst of Rarity?