2 Uncool – a furry celebrity’s disgrace is a test of fandom tolerance.

by Patch O'Furr

Remember when Seinfeld was one of the biggest TV shows, and co-star Michael Richards derailed his career with a racist meltdown on stage? It happened at a comedy show, but it wasn’t part of the act. He apologized, and news said “It is actually one of the most honest apologies that a celebrity has ever given for bad behavior.”

It’s rare to see a career implode like that. Now let’s look at a furry happening that’s not so drastic, but more of a slow burn. A prominent performer in the fandom is being examined for poorly representing it, and found unworthy of support by its premiere convention. Bad behavior has been in plain view for years with no apologies. It took this long to accumulate wider attention. Many members say it’s long overdue, and some find it discouraging that it took so long.

“2 The Ranting Gryphon” has a problem.

His George Carlin-styled comedy has earned 24,000 follows on Youtube and audiences of 1000+ at Anthrocon. I’ve seen and laughed at his show there. But they declined to host him this year. His fans are very upset (almost as if he’s a tenured “house comedian of fandom”?)  2 himself appears to be the info source, claiming to be a victim of invalid attacks by over-offended “SJW’s”. There’s only a vague official statement citing declining attendance, so pointing blame is untrustworthy. A con can pick whoever they want, and they just chose not to pick him; friends and fame aren’t supposed to overrule quality or board decisions for approval. (Free speech doesn’t apply because it’s not between citizen and government – the host is a private organization. He isn’t “banned” and can attend the con. )

His issue with the con may not be clear enough for honest discussion.  But the deeper problem is.  Let’s look at what ‘2’ is defending. Is it just comedy?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, I have enjoyed a bit of fun, casual activity in scenes for comedy and more, from music videos to avant-cabaret variety shows. (Read more: It was so much fun to be in an outrageous Rap CD and a live comedy show!)  I went on stage in fursuit at the Tourette’s Without Regrets show (run by the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard.)  That is to say, I favor broad-minded appreciation for all kinds of weird shit and offensive humor.  I like it enough to suppress stage fright and try it as a complete amateur.  I’m not in any way professional (and I often speak loudly about loosening boundaries for expression) – but I think I can tell the difference between shock humor or satire, and words that are just indefensible.

Many furries are judging some words from 2 The Ranting Gryphon as indefensible. Read for yourself.

2 on suicide, jews and slavery, and child molesting (wackity schmackity doo!) – in his own words with links for context:

If you feel so much pain that you need to end your life because some other douche bag is calling you bad names then you DESERVE to be dead. No other species on the planet ends their own life because of minor harassment and the fact that we do just means that there’s too damn many of us and nature is trying to find a way to get rid of us. If you’re thrown into agony over little bullshit like this then you are better off killing yourself. Get off the planet and make room for others.”

(Screenshotoriginal vid.  Yet another source. 2 denies telling anyone to kill themself: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6])

I do not care that “your people” have been enslaved for the last 3000 years. How often have YOU been a slave? If the answer is “never”, you have no right to bitch… especially at someone who has never OWNED a slave in their life. The fact, if you care to research it, is that everyone… and I mean *everyone* has at some point, stemmed from people who have both been slaves and slave owners. There is no exception to this.

(“Open letter to Jews”)

What is sexual molestation? The physical nature of it is obvious, but what what does it represent emotionally to the victim? A loss of control. Helplessness. Perhaps some pain. Being forced to do something you don’t want to. Shame and embarrassment. These are all unpleasant things. But they’re also unpleasant things that most people experience nearly every day from their bosses or co-workers at their jobs or from teachers and other students at school.

(“Molesting the molesters.“)

monkeysWhat the…?  None of that accurately portrays people… and where’s the funny?  What’s the purpose for spreading this?  I could contact 2 and go through the trouble of diplomatically seeking his side… Nah, I’m busy and I don’t get paid to abate ignorance of the stubborn “see no evil” mindset with his fans.  I don’t think there should be benefit of the doubt for saying “you DESERVE to be dead,” or comparing a mean boss at work in the same breath with being molested, or describing molested victims as “grown men turned into blubbering, sobbing children” who should just grow up, or “…child molesters are, in fact, the saviors of their own victims”. If you have to explain this away, you already messed up.

Besides, 2 already stepped up to make a statement.  Let him speak for himself:

Unaccountable 2 the max.

Did you hear him say sorry, or take grown up responsibility for being anything less than innocent?  Or use talent to season it with self deprecating humor?

All I see is excuses with expectation to get unlimited passes, and deflection at supposed “SJW’s”.  A convenient enemy! Hmm, is there anyone besides them who might not support this?

A few years back, when 2 was explaining suicide, a furry friend of mine had her 19 year old brother jump off a building.  (There’s a real person I’m not linking for privacy, who might or might not comment.) There was no hint of trouble until she got the news.  Nobody had a chance to intervene, and it couldn’t possibly have been more of a surprise.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to have someone you love deleted from life like that.  I’ll bet it’s super raw and long-lasting.  More importantly, reasons don’t change things for people left behind to deal with the loss.

My friend’s experience showed how devastatingly unexpected suicide can be. As easy as a bad tweet. So when 2 mocks supposed trivial reasons for it, she gets to see him being utterly oblivious. Not just about people who do it, but to her and about all the effects that spread to others. 2’s “logic” hurts and does nothing to help.  When people have internal pressure brewing with no outward sign, and depressed people deal with a disease they don’t just get over – that’s not a “choice”. So you don’t go sorting good reasons and bad ones. None are good or simple.

Andreus Wolf has a summary about what 2 said. It is simple and excellent. Click through for the entire thread – it’s the best one:

Some furries didn’t feel like 2 did anything wrong.  And even “Nazifurs” from Colorado tweeted their support, grabbing a sleazy opportunity to troll or ride 2’s coattails.  That sounds familiar.  Remember when Trump was endorsed by David Duke (the KKK guy)?  There was also JonTron’s recent racist drama and the Rabid Puppies in Sci Fi fandom.  As small-scale as this furry thing is, it shows we can deal with the same stuff as grown up scenes do. We’re having a Moment.

Reasonable complaints

After my friend’s loss, she moved to Colorado where 2 is in the fur community (awkward!) This is about more than just internet words.  Community is a good word here.  It involves role models, peers, and support (and other words from after-school specials. A furry one would be extra special.)

 Support is important with suicide. Particularly for young guys (and LGBT guys).  This is very important, because those groups have way higher risk than others.  Maybe they’re more stupid and easily upset over little bullshit?  Are boys more stupid? Of course not – I’d say they deal with conditions particular to their gender, and deserve self-respect in groups. We do that.

This article isn’t coming from what 2 might call an SJW.  Some might even (falsely) use the label anti-SJW. It has to do with gender. Check this out: Why are “nerdy” groups male-populated?  Revisiting a debate full of dogma.  That’s where I see a group of disproportionately male (and LGBT) members as a good thing brought together by positive motivation like male bonding, not a bad thing made by exclusion and sexism.  In that way you can say I’m pro-Men’s Rights.  The type where gender roles are just apples-and-oranges and other gender politics can have constructive criticism like this rather than be enemies. The type who thinks society could do more for men who get broken by conditions they don’t ask for, like inner cities emptied of fathers in prison, to war and homelessness. One who finds 2’s words about suicide to be indefensible.

It’s dishonest to deflect blame onto “SJW’s”. That word is silly and the real problem is in the stuff 2 said.  The longevity of his act shows how much tolerance there is – now, I think he’s not so much being told what to joke about, as expected to be honest.  Furries who choose not to support him are giving reasonable complaints and earning their reputation as a group that cares. They might not understand what it takes for 2 to put his stuff out (they also aren’t unfamiliar with it – it’s hardly secret), but there isn’t a mob wanting persecution without limits.  There is room for mistakes and learning. Imagine seeing a gesture of something besides denial and blame for self-benefit.

Until then, I have a feeling that 2’s number is up and this could be a third strike. Even if this goes in one ear and out the other and he keeps looking out for number one, there’s no two ways about it – fans won’t forget and go back to square one.

Public Image

Anthrocon CEO Uncle Kage defers to the board’s decision, to his credit.  He’s also friends with 2 and apparently argued to keep 2’s show.  Kage’s feelings about media are famous – and when he’s so strict about letting the press in the con, it makes me puzzled about why he supports his friend who says outrageous, unaccountable stuff?  Isn’t that horrible for PR?  Why discourage the type of dishonest media from MTV, CSI or Vanity Fair, but let this go?

I guess it’s different because a friend is under control unlike a media company.  I can appreciate the sentiment at least.  It’s a furry kind of paradox in a group where the line of what’s too much is often up to the individual. Kage and 2 have done nice things together to support charities.  Now, support could mean telling a friend when to back away from the mike.