What’s Yiffin’? – June 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

by André Kon

Can you believe it’s been five months since What’s Yiffin’ was picked up by Dogpatch Press? We can’t; it still feels like we’re just getting started here every month even though this feature is now a regular thing (and we’ve been running this series since 2015). It’s all about having confidence really, and this will make a nice segue into one of our stories because it’s exactly that. No, wait that’s “Confurence”. Anyway we’ve got your usual lineup this month: something gets cancelled, someone phones in a bomb threat somewhere, and Dracokon complains about the current state of the fandom. Get out your officially licensed What’s Yiffin’ bingo cards and play along because it’s time to start this article proper.

THE O.C. IS THE NEW O.G.

We’re pretty sure everyone reading this has played the “[Your Name] the Hedgehog” game; you know, the one where you literally punch something like “Andre the Hedgehog” into Google and see what DeviantArt-tier Sonic fanon characters crop up? It’s incredible but there’s usually an “OC” (“Original Character”) for every name you can think of. Make no mistake, “the OC” is a huge thing in Sonic circles and it has been dating as far back as the early years of the Internet on places such as the late Sonic HQ. If it pleases the jury, one of the two people behind What’s Yiffin’ even had an OC at one point, that’s how prevalent this is.

But why all the OC talk though? Well, coming to stores this holiday season is Sonic Forces which comes with a built-in character creator. Believe it or not this is the first of its kind in a Sonic game, never before have players been able to create their own characters and team up with the Blue Blur himself. Up until now that privilege has been reserved solely for the realm of awkward and shameful fanfiction. In a trailer that has been dubbed the “Custom Hero” trailer SEGA revealed Forces’ character creator by finally clearing up just who this “new character” was that’s had people biting at tooth and nail for more information. It’s you.

SEGA later followed up with a list of species available for use in the creator: bear, bird, dog, cat, wolf, rabbit, and hedgehog. Each of them have their own unique traits which have subtle effects on gameplay regarding things such as how the characters take and recover from damage, how they can collect rings, or how inflation art of them should be drawn. Eagle-eyed readers have probably noticed by now the huge hole in the species list –“fox” and “echidna” are nowhere to be seen. Yes that’s right, Tails and Knuckles superfans are currently high and dry at the moment with no confirmation one way or the other if their OC’s will have a place in the game. There’s still a whole half of a year before this game’s release though so anything can change between now and then.

Finally, DeviantArt — arguably the ground zero of Sonic OC’s — had a moment of self-awareness on social media when they tweeted out a congratulations to their fanbase for making “the OC” official canon. Smiles all around, everyone. We’re looking forward to the release of Sonic Forces later this year, available on all major platforms including PC.

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1989

Mark Merlino might not be a household fandom name to you, and that’s truly a shame because in the grand scope of the furry fandom he’s quite an important person. Back in 1989, Mark was one of the organizers of Confurence Zero, considered by and large to be the world’s very first furry convention. Yes, as crazy as it sounds and as hard as it might be to believe “furry” predates the commoditization of the Internet by just a narrow window and got on its feet before a significant slice of its current base was even born. Hell, if you add together the ages of the What’s Yiffin’ news team in 1989 you get four.

Mark and his partner Changa Lion have put forth an incredible amount of work digitizing and putting online “The Confurence Archive” (www.confurence.com). They’ve taken the old defunct Confurence convention website and have revitalized it with over TWO THOUSAND images, videos, and digital scans from Confurence’s seasoned history plus additional odds and ends such as magazine advertisements, conbooks, mailing forms, old fandom memes, and much more ephemera that thankfully was not lost to time. In an interview right here on Dogpatch Press, Mark said when he and his friends all moved in together way back in the day their collections of books and mementos formed a sort of “library”. Now, 28 years after the first Confurence, it’s all online. For you. For free.

Please do go and check it out, we implore you to give a shit about this. With the fandom in its current state at times it feels like we’ve completely forgotten where we’ve come from as a fandom and The Confurence Archive is here to give us that rare glimpse back to the way things used to be, before the drama. We owe a lot to Mark & Co. for helping us get to where we are today, so from us and everyone else at Gatorbox, thank you. Thank you Mark, Changa, and everyone else who played a role in the creation of this archive; we can only hope in coming years more archives such as this one will appear.

GROUNDED

Over the weekend of May 19-21 Califur took place. We’ll leave it up to you to guess which state it was in. This just so happened to be Califur’s 13th convention and its theme was “horror” (because Friday the 13th, get it?), however if you’re a superstitious person then you know 13 is an unlucky number and luck would rear its ugly side at Califur this year.

Historically, the convention has always hosted a small number of BDSM panels for people interested in learning more about the lifestyle — whether or not you believe a BDSM panel to be appropriate content at a furry convention is up to you, and while we won’t be getting into a specific side of that argument it does play an integral role in this particular story. One of the panels, formerly named “BDSM 101: What is a Little/Big?” was renamed to simply “Meet the Babyfurs!”. Now that we’ve said “the B word” you can probably pinpoint with surgical precision exactly where problems arose.

An unknown fur (or potentially a group of them) took it upon themselves to phone in some threats to the Califur venue because of this panel. The immediate fallout caused the panel to be renamed “Littles Meetup”, but the damage was done. Everyone knew what that panel was and now that nefarious people had their sights set on it it’s not a huge stretch for them to see this through to its ultimate conclusion. Security at the convention was increased, obviously, but in the end the “Littles” panel was canned. That’s right, the people making the threats got what they wanted in the worst manner possible.

The people calling in these bogus threats are total assholes, don’t get us wrong, but despite this perhaps the only sympathetic aspect of their cause was the notion of “it happened to them, it can happen to us too”; the inappropriate behavior of many furs has led to the indefinite termination of at least one convention (Rainfurrest), and the seemingly negative viewpoint people take with things such as babyfurs would be reason for concern. “Concern” is an important emotion to highlight here, because in a statement released by the convention Califur stated that at no point did anyone approach or contact the con staff with concerns regarding the content of the panel or the existence of the panel itself. Nope, they just went straight to bogus bombs, which is a felony offense.

Personally, we don’t care what consenting adults do behind closed doors as long as it stays between them and the public isn’t subjected to it against their will. That said, if you really have a problem with things like a panel for babyfurs, bring it up through the appropriate channels. That’s why they’re there.

(Editor’s note from Patch: Trolling attacks at Califur’s venue originated from @altfurrydiscord, a group of Nazi furs who use extreme racism as a shit-test to filter members for a smaller secret “cyber_activism” group where the planning is done.  It’s led by Casey Hoerth, a former staffer of the Trump campaign, also known as “Len Gilbert / The Furred Reich”. Before this info leaked, he lied to deny his group was the source of the attack and attempted to scapegoat supposed “SJW’s”. When it leaked and the smokescreen failed, those posts were deleted and he removed his role as owner of “cyber_activism” to hide it.)

DROUGHT RESTRICTIONS

Last but not least it wouldn’t be a proper edition of What’s Yiffin’ without some convention somewhere getting cancelled and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. The Great Lakes Fur Con was set to happen May 26-28, however due to a shortage of staff the event was called off. That’s it. Nothing happened. Nobody crapped in a hot tub, nobody had sex in public, nobody left used diapers on someone’s car, nobody partook in unknown substances and had to have the paramedics called in… this was just a case of convention staff having to step down due to personal reasons.

The remaining staff chose to cancel the convention because they did not want to host a sub-par event and let everyone down, and really? That was the smart move. Even smarter is that if you had already registered for this year’s GLFC you’re already good to go for 2018. No dates have been announced, so if this potentially isn’t good for you and you’re unsure if you can make it next year the con staff wants you to contact them at registration@greatlakesfurcon.com to work something out. Again, that’s the smart move. We had never really even heard of this convention but thus far we’re impressed with how they handle business. Everyone else should be taking notes here.

Even though there was no official convention this story still has a happy ending, too; the remaining staff of GLFC elected to hold a big cookout/potluck and invited furs in the area to bring a dish and come hang out. Afterwards, everyone went bowling! Sure, it’s not a convention but that still sounds like a hell of a way to spend a day.

That’s a wrap on last month’s most interesting stories from the fandom. Thank you for checking us out! As always, we’d like to invite you to come check out What’s Yiffin’ when it is broadcast live as part of the first Friday show of Gatorbox, every Friday night at 9PM. Follow us on Twitch so you’ll know when we are live!

André “Dracokon” Kon & Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro

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