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Category: Society and culture

Review – Furry Nation: The true story of America’s most misunderstood subculture, by Joe Strike.

by Patch O'Furr

Furry Nation: The true story of America’s most misunderstood subculture, by Joe Strike.
Cleis Press, October 2017, paperback $17.95 (288 pages), Kindle $10.99.

Here’s what I wrote for a cover blurb:

Like herding cats, gathering the history of furry fandom has been called impossible.  Furries love impossible things, so this is long overdue.  I’m happy to say it was worth the wait.  Joe Strike puts solid ground under the legs of the Furry Nation – genre, subculture, and yes, even kink – with his experience of watching it grow.  This book is for original 1980’s fans, new ones looking back, and outsiders drawn to the weird coolness of talking animals.  There’s many ways to get into it, but this is a unique inside view of how furries are breaking out.

Joe’s book isn’t the perfect bible for everyone – but expecting that from one book is unrealistic.  It’s just the kind of book that comes from a devout fan, and that’s why I recommend it.

I’ll summarize some reaction to the news that this book will exist: “It’s gonna suck! Who is Joe Strike?” – I knew who Joe was before I knew he was a furry, from his animation journalism. He does scriptwriting and his own comic too. He brings us a history that can live beyond bit-rot, supported by a firmly established publisher. Cleis has a 36-year history as “the largest independent sexuality publishing company in the United States.” It’s smart to focus on the word independent, which means open-minded support from the first ones to take the chance.

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Altfurry supports neo-nazi violence, with member Nathan Gate on camera in Charlottesville.

by Patch O'Furr

Altfurry is the term used by a tiny fringe of hateful bigots in the furry fandom.  (It’s accurate to replace “alt” with “anti”, as you can see below).  Last week they encouraged members to attend the “Unite the Right” rally where neo-nazis attacked and killed protesters. (archive)

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

by André Kon

For a good many of us, summer vacation is almost over and it’s time to return to the reality of classes, or just another day at work if you’re no longer in school. This past summer has been home to a number of controversial events at conventions and in the fandom alike.  We’ve got four more to round things out before all is said and done. Mercifully, there’s no convention drama this month… well, not unless you count Pokemon GO Fest as a “convention”. There’s a lot of things we’d call that disaster, but “con” isn’t one of them (unless you mean “con” as in “to trick”). Anyways, on with the news!

2016 FURRY OSCARS

It’s that time of year again, Oscar season! Not the actual Oscars, mind you, but the fandom’s equivalent of them: the Ursa Major Awards. Awarded to people and projects who go above and beyond in the name of anthropomorphic entertainment, the Ursa Major Awards are community-driven, with initial nominations and ultimately voting open to the fandom. This past month the winners for 2016’s Ursas were announced. The results were full of emotions, ranging from surprise to “ugh, not again”.

First off, the big daddy title of Best Motion Picture went to Zootopia… to the surprise of literally no one. If there’s such a thing as “Ursa Bait”, this was it; in the past decade there’s probably not been such an obvious shoe-in winner since The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Right behind Nick & Judy’s furry fling was Pixar’s Finding Dory, which, while this was a great movie in its own right, stood no chance against Disney’s powerhouse. The results of the Ursas are posted in order of who received the most votes, and coming in dead last was The Secret Life of Pets, a godawful CGI movie. In what we imagine must have been a three-way tie for last place, Sing and Kung Fu Panda 3 also made the bottom of the list.

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Make fandom cooler with local Furry Bazaars.

by Patch O'Furr

Do you like Scooby snacks?  The first time I ate a weed cookie was at a Really Really Free Market. That’s a swap meet seasoned with radical/hippie idealism. People who love principles of mutual aid get together and trade crap they don’t need with others who want it.  It keeps stuff out of the dump and helps people without money. It’s a place to score old books, music or some wiggy threads. They may have potluck food or dumpster dived treasure. Or both at once. (I once lived for two years with Freeganism – oh the stories I have.) And you might score weed (for adults where it’s legal, of course.)

The meet was in a 5th floor artist loft full of good music and fun people. There was a spread of free cookies with a sign to beware of overmedicating. I took one and nibbled a corner. Nothing happened so I went whole hog.  Then it happened… oh boy it happened.

My personal pile of treasure was all donated, so I took the exit to the twilight zone.  On the way down the stairs, I turned a corner and suddenly they weren’t going down… they were going up.  What the heck!?  I continued to fumble my way out while a faint satanic chanting emanated from behind the doors.  Somehow I found the street and got home. I sat down and time-traveled.  When I looked up, I realized that I forgot to shut the front door.  And there was a hooker in my living room (it was that kind of neighborhood).  She asked for a ride, so I told her to try one of those cookies for a real trip.

I wish there was a way to travel to a world full of furries. That would make some amazing blogging for you.  But you can make it happen where you live. The coolest thing about this fandom is how it’s so DIY. It’s like a sandbox for whatever you want to make of it.  If you live anywhere that has furries within petting distance, try getting together with them to throw cool events.

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Vice News and furries, the Fullerton murder story, and “sensational media”.

by Patch O'Furr

Vice’s Furries topic has excellent news reporting. You can find a few missteps, but it has some of the best focused attention that the media has ever given to the fandom, way beyond Furries 101.  One outstanding article is CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention. Writer Jennifer Swann got an Ursa Major award nomination for it.  Their most recent is Who Makes Those Intricate, Expensive Furry Suits? (Fred Patten and myself were proud to assist writer Mark Hay – I sent a long summary of history, makers, details to investigate, and links.)

Those show that not all media is bad, and talking to them has good results. That’s different from prevailing attitudes against “sensationalism” that blindly treats “the media” as an epithet – as if PBS is the same as the National Enquirer. There’s a world of difference between trashy daytime TV and well-researched long-form reporting. But a fandom grudge persists, for as long as 16 years after stale old incidents we all know and hate. There’s even backlash at members who step out of line. This friend of ours experienced it:

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The truth about the myth that “Deo Killed RMFC” – guest post by Harper.

by Patch O'Furr

It’s very possible you’ve heard the assertion that Deo (DeoTasDevil) is responsible for the demise of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. There’s been a lot of back and forth about it, and allegedly she’s the main and even sole party responsible.  Let’s put aside the various instances of the fallout and just examine the sequence of events pertaining to Deo’s participation.

  1. In January 2017, Deo tweets “can’t wait to punch these nazis.
  2. She receives a reply from someone that they would be amused if she were shot in response to her purported action.
  3. Deo responds asking if this person was threatening to bring a gun to RMFC.
  4. Deo contacts RMFC security to inform them of a potential issue.

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How furry fandom is rejecting neo-nazis, “Altfurs” and Furry Raiders who target kids for hate.

by Patch O'Furr

Get ready for a big topic about toxic behavior, the cult-like groups doing it, how they’re targeting kids, and how the fandom is cutting ties with it for positive progress.  This is a followup to last week’s article: “The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time“. It focuses on the source of the problem:

  • At Anthrocon 2017, a troll provoked drama with defenders who claimed he was being unfairly censored.
  • The defense missed a basic point – he was an antagonistic outsider who was banned and didn’t register or support the con.
  • It showed how trolls twist facts about consequences for bad behavior, so they can pretend to be the victims.
  • Posing as victims requires a scapegoat (“SJW’s”). The misinformation is being spread like cult propaganda.

Anthrocon’s letter recognizes how the troll was pushing a “political message” on others.  It’s an example of recent fandom activity by alt-right “altfurs” and their enablers.  They do it with a twofaced pose that they want “freedom”, want “politics out of fandom,” and are just giving “their side”. But “their side” relies on false middle ground. (In other words, saying the earth is round doesn’t require Flat Earthers to give their side.  Newspapers don’t interview vandals to get their side.) The real goal is to exploit and undermine the fandom behind a false front of “freedom”.  That includes grooming and recruiting kids, trolling and harassing, dodging accountability, and worse things like welcoming literal neo-nazis (see below.)

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

by André Kon

2017 is officially halfway over, and boy has it been one hell of a year for the fandom. We’ve covered the official demise of Rainfurrest, 2’s fall from grace and subsequent cancellation at Anthrocon, and more than one fake bomb threat being called into a convention… and we still have six months left to go! Fret not, because while we’ve collected four more of the top stories in the fandom to present to you today most of them aren’t that soul crushing. Most.

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The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time.

by Patch O'Furr

TROLLING ANTHROCON

The infamous Confederate fursuit got a lot of views on social media. The issue started with complaints during Anthrocon and Midwest Furfest in 2015.  By no coincidence, the symbol was pushed on the fandom at the same time as racist mass murder by Dylann Roof led to taking down Confederate flags across the USA.  Then in 2017, during a huge amount of positive news about Anthrocon, the issue bubbled up again like a turd in a punchbowl.

The fursuiter is Magnus Diridian, AKA Rob Shokawsky. He was previously known for causing disturbances by copying the fursuit of Lemonade Coyote to exploit his death for attention. For several years, Magnus was reputedly banned from MWFF and Anthrocon.  He came back to troll with the Confederate fursuit and a Trump sign that violated AC’s Code of Conduct:

Any action or behavior that causes significant interference with convention operations, excessive discomfort to other attendees, or adversely affects Anthrocon’s relationship with its guests, its venues or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in permanent suspension of membership.

Harassment includes … Conduct, dress, or speech that targets, threatens, intimidates, or is otherwise intended to cause distress to other attendees, or to members of protected classes (such as those based on race, age, religion, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual identity).

Magnus chose to bring that suit even though he has many others. There’s no pretending that it was anything but forcing politics on others, since he admits he did it because of “attack” on the flag. According to his helper, he was even  “ghosting” the con to do it. He could have attended like anyone else if he didn’t set out to cause entirely predictable negativity. To be perfectly clear, Magnus was an antagonistic outsider who did not register or support Anthrocon.

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Who let furries in the goth club? Death Guild vs. Wild Things – Monday July 3.

by Patch O'Furr

July 3, 9:30 PM – 2:30 AM

DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, San Francisco

Facebook event page

“Bring a dead stiff squirrel and get in free!”  Yes, that’s a real long-time promise by Death GuildI can’t say what happens to the squirrels, but I can tell you about this legendary club night. It’s the longest running one for weird dark music in North America. That means gothic rock, industrial, darkwave, EBM and synthpop, with an ambiance like The Addams Family gone cyberpunk:

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