Bay Area Furs find out why there should be a Furry award for Best Journalism.

by Patch O'Furr


Pic: UltraGor

There was a hunt for a missing giraffe…

Zarafa is a furry superstar lately.  But he didn’t go looking for notoriety.  It happened one night after a show when his treasured purple giraffe fursuit was stolen from his car.  It led to community-wide support, and miraculous recovery of the suit. Now people recognize him on the street.

Credit is due to Neonbunny, the show DJ, for pounding the sidewalk to spread flyers.  How many promoters would do it for one show goer?  Dedication like that built a local scene for furry dance parties.

Finding the suit flipped around the loss to amazing extremes beyond Zarafa and a circle of furry friends.  The support drew notice from local media, and they found it irresistible to share:

The San Francisco Bay Area Furry scene drew a journalist from New York.

A new surprise came two months later.  Another news article covered Zarafa’s night out and loss of his suit.  The journalist had been on the scene, but not with intentions to write about drama like that.

Whitney Kimball originally contacted me through Dogpatch Press.  She was looking for leads for a story about older people who may have discovered Furry fandom in later life. (I told her the word was “greymuzzle”). I pointed her to Zarafa, Neonbunny, and Spottacus.

After my introductions, they handled the rest.  Whitney learned about Neonbunny’s “Furries vs. Drag Queens” dance party.  Soon she was flying from New York to San Francisco to be there.  (That’s dedication, right?)  I had nothing else to do with the resulting article (although I’m told the main graphic seems to show me in the background. Nice!)  It’s exciting to share it:

How the furry community rallied when Zarafa Giraffe lost his head – by Whitney Kimball.

It’s a kickass article, according to the feedback.  Have you read many others that talk about the “lightning bolts” you get from wearing a fursuit?  (It invited more interest too – Zarafa was then contacted by Zoomin TV, a euro outfit doing video news for niche channels.) Spottacus said:

‘This is wonderful… it sets the right tone, weaves several threads into a great story with exactly the right feeling, and captures the essence of what is going on inside the head inside the fursuit.”

One furry friend (and journalist in real life) had an interesting comment:

Why don’t we have an award?

The Ursa Major award seems to be all for fiction, even if there’s an “other” category. Fred Patten is a member of the award committee.  He told me: “what to do about non-fiction works with regard to the Ursa Majors is being discussed.”  

Everyfur knows how the furry community regards the dreaded “THE MEDIA”. It starts with supersensitivity, and maybe a hate/hate relationship.  Attention from them seems to cause a defensive crouch with claws out.

But furries are in many ways created by the media. It’s an internet-based subculture of fans. With “The Year of Furry” happening, and furry movies blowing up the box office, I think it’s a good time to stop dancing around this frenemy.

The quality of Whitney’s article makes me want to do more than share. It made me talk about establishing an award because of the story. Whitney liked that:

“WOW, I think that is the most flattering feedback I have ever gotten in 6 years of writing!! Thank you for featuring the story, Patch, I really appreciate it! And I’m happy to hear that the news coverage is improving in general. That Vanity Fair piece was just godawful.”

If “the media” is mostly bad, reward it when it’s good.

If they’ve spread negativity before, it’s part of notoriety that now draws them back.  That’s a monster they helped to create.  Now the more interest grows, the more you have power to say “no” if they ask for access.  Making them work to do better would flip the dynamic.  It would be smart to own that power and award good attention.

Well written articles are coming with growing frequency. It makes me want to start a short list of the best. Here’s a few that I would list for special recognition:

What do you think about an award name?  How should it be organized?  Who could pitch in? 

Look for a second article here soon about more spotlight on Bay Area Furries.