John Waters, Furries and “Plushies”- how valid is the term?
by Patch O'Furr
John Waters is a great character and his interviews always make me laugh. He has a place in San Francisco. He says his movie Pink Flamingos paid for it. He hangs at a certain dive bar here, and rides a certain bus line. My buddy who lives across from Yoshi’s knows which one. We went there to see him perform This Filthy World. (“His one-man show concerning his origins in the trash genre and his successful career navigating Hollywood.”)
Despite the content of John’s movies, the crowd was quite unfabulously dressed for good taste. My buddy’s Clownface drag outfit stood out like we were at a square dance.
At the end, John took a few questions from the stage. Thanks to the outfit, he couldn’t avoid noticing my hand up. I yelled out to the theater: “When are you going to come hang with the furries?”
It’s highly in the realm of possibility that a guy known for bizarro subcultural interests would come to a happening furry party with a reputation: Frolic, awarded “best consent-based nightclub petting zoo“. After the show, I got Waters’ publicist to pass him a flyer and email. (My business does occasional business with his, and I hadn’t even known he repped John. Frolic’s organizer Neonbunny gave me a nice thanks, so I’m glad it wasn’t out of line.)
For the audience, John answered my question. “Do you mean the Plushies? I didn’t know they were still around.”
Yeah, I know. Does the term “Plushie” even exist any more? I had a feeling that it shows Waters is behind the times. His info probably dates back to the infamous Vanity Fair hit piece, so old that many of today’s furries were still in d… wait, bad figure of speech.
I looked this up. This excellent overview of “furries in the media” helps confirm my feeling of Waters’ reference.
From WikiFur’s page on Vanity Fair, under “Further Coverage” we find: “The Vanity Fair coverage has been mentioned in subsequently in regards to furries. For example, in a 2004 interview the director John Waters is asked why he hasn’t “addressed” furries. He replies “I haven’t done that because Vanity Fair had that big article about it, and I never really believed it was true.”
Speaking of that article. A subject of it (call him F.W.G.) is still around and gross as ever. No shame to kinks in general (I believe the grossness is quite intentional), but if you look for him (call the place FL, for those who know) you can get an eyeful. And it makes it graphically obvious what a nasty hit the article was, if that’s how they chose to spin it. So yeah- there are/were people into that… but very few, I have barely heard of it since that time, and I think the piece made everyone else rapidly dissociate from the word. I’m not going to search this too deeply, just throw out the sense based on who I know.
Am I right on that? Is that word now mostly a relic of internet history? Well cool… it would hint that furries have more freedom for the awesome weirdness we have. People are way more used to anything existing in this age. It’s harder to misuse them while making the world a little more weird and fabulous. If that’s what you’re here for.
I love having many great and active friends helping do that. This weekend, over 40 of us signed up to meet at San Francisco’s How Weird Street Faire, attended by thousands. (Thanks to Boiler, whose pad offered a costume change refuge in walking distance, for helping bring us together.) Out of all the weirdness, furries stood out enough to get a brief mention on ABC News, doing this pose. That adventure is for a post to come.