Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Academic study

Calling all furries: FurScience / IARP launches international furry survey.

by Patch O'Furr

Paws in the air if you like science!

The newest, international FurScience survey needs your participation. They will use the data to help the fandom and those outside it to learn more about it. They have been doing surveys for years, and this is their largest and most ambitious one yet. They’re hoping to blow previous records out of the water by getting 10,000 furries worldwide. At the end, results will be available to all, and it’s sure to prove fascinating for anyone who’s curious about what goes on inside the fluffiest fandom. Please spread the word about it to other furries you know!

Take the survey here:  https://psychologyuwaterloo.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_39LTMxBo27VJMl7

This is a great time to help increase knowledge, with conventions hitting record attendance. In December 2017, Midwest Furfest grew larger than any con before by a difference that equals a small con itself.  The more participants a survey can gather, the better it can represent them.  Furscience / IARP has brought data in the past that has immensely helped raise understanding about why and how people come together in this very unique group – a reason why the media is doing less and less mocking and taking more time to tell real stories. Instead of waiting for slower media to catch up, put some science in their faces to neutralize the clickbait. That’s just one reason to help, and there’s probably 10,000 reasons and more, one for every unique furry. So don’t wait, click that link!

Q&A with Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential: the History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016.

by Patch O'Furr

ponyvilleRecently, I posted “The history of My Little Pony and thoughts about growing up with cartoons” to prepare for chat with Sherilyn Connelly.  Sherilyn is a journalist local to the San Francisco Bay Area Furries. (She has given them notice in publications like SF Weekly.) Her first book is out this April: Ponyville Confidential, a pop culture history of the My Little Pony media empire. (Please like the book’s Facebook page!)

Hi Sherilyn, thanks for talking about Ponyville Confidential!  Let me start by asking – who needs to read it? Will it be manely for fans?  Will there be parts to tempt furry readers?

“Manely!” I see what you did there. Obviously everypony needs to read it, and it’s by no means intended just for My Little Pony fans; I hope that people who are interested in pop-culture history in general will give it a look as well. And there are many references to the Furry fandom, including shout-outs to Frolic, Further Confusion, and Anthrocon.

I know you as a committed, active fan who comes to Furry events and writes journalism about them (and movies, and more.) Can you give a brief intro about your background and writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to want to be anything at all. I started writing professionally for SF Weekly in 2011 — within a few months when I started grad school and began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so it was a momentous year in retrospect — and wrote quite a lot about the the local Furry scene at the time. I began contributing film reviews to the Village Voice in 2012, and became the Weekly‘s permanent film critic in January 2013.

I hear this is your first book, congrats – how excited are you? Would anything surprise you about how it might be received?

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“Species Identity Disorder” is absurd, and Boomer The Dog is awesome.

by Patch O'Furr

Joke news is fun.

The Hard Times is a punk rock version of The Onion. They put out some of the funniest fake news anywhere.

“No One of Any Gender Wants To Use Venue Bathroom”

Did you hear news controversy about sharing bathrooms with trans people?  Personally I pee on hydrants, so I don’t give a shit about where other dogs pee.

On a Furry topic, here’s a news story that reminds me of Poe’s Law (the internet rule that says that parodies of extreme views will be taken as sincere, unless you tell people it’s a parody.)

Willamatte Week: Getting a Grip on Furry Fandom and Species Dysphoria Blues.

“It’s 2016. Time to check your Cishuman privilege.”  Cishuman… ha ha it’s fake, right?

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Furry Halloween treats, McGruff Goes To Jail – NEWSDUMP (11/4/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

12189827_1150763194953018_5433177237520487821_nHalloween treats:  Popularity for Rocket Raccoon, and some looks at the culture of costuming.

Mom’s costume creation goes viral, ‘wins’ Halloween 2015.  A very lucky kid in Michigan got to be an accurately-diminutive Rocket Raccoon, complete with moving jaw.  It got shared on Facebook by the director of Guardians of The Galaxy.  This isn’t claimed to be overtly “furry”, but when Mom makes cosplay outfits for Comic Con… it makes you wonder what research helped to build it from scratch.

UPDATE: The maker confirmed to me that Furry tutorials helped build it. I asked her opinion of furries, and she says:

It’s some tough work everyone does and all of you should be proud. I made so many mistakes because there aren’t a lot of tutorials for doing stuff like this. I honestly didn’t know too much about furries until I was trying to research how to make a movable mouth for my son.

In Huntsville Alabama, inside the business of Fig Leaf Costumes: “it looks like a dressing room for furries in here.” Read between the lines, and the article might involve us, maybe indirectly. There’s this thoughtful tidbit:

So why does he still enjoy playing dress up at age 35? “I love how people react. If you dressed up as a character they love they come over and give you a hug. It’s just a good feeling,” says Harrison, who along with his girlfriend plans to dress up in a couples costume for Halloween this year: “Lady and The Tramp.” Burkholder thinks the trend of adults continuing to dress in costumes, for Halloween and otherwise, is due to “Gen X feels a little bit lost so what we’re doing is claiming a little bit of a community for ourselves, especially with cosplay. And also with modernity people move away from so they want to form a sense of community, so whether it’s videogames or cosplay it’s people coming together. And I like that.

Milford Schools Criticized Nationally Over ‘Halloween Ban’.” A smaller city in Connecticut planned to stop costuming at some public schools.  That quickly changed after everyone growled about political correctness.  It reminds me of a similar-sized city in Vermont banning fursuiters.  Are they just too uptight in New England?  Are some people afraid of self-expression?

16 year sentence for McGruff the Crime Dog.

“The actor who played the crime-fighting cartoon character McGruff the Crime Dog, was sentenced to 16 years in prison stemming from a 2011 arrest in which police seized 1,000 marijuana plants, 27 weapons – including a grenade launcher – and 9,000 rounds of ammunition from his home…”

mcgruff-grenade-launcher

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Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 3: History book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

These “Panto-animal” history articles share a discovery of amazing proto-Furry happenings, in an overlooked era of Pantomime theater in Victorian Britain.  Stunning photos show why the topic is worth uncovering.  From those scarce records, a handful of actor names stood out with wide publication in their time for “animal impersonation”.  They were not necessarily playing specific “fursonas”, a difference from Furries today – but they earn fan author Phil Geusz’s general label, “paleo-furry.” Charles Lauri was mentioned in Part 1 – and Fred Conquest in Part 2.

51R-RcAYq6LFred Patten reviews the Conquest biography, loaned by the LA public library.

The best Pantomime theater actors seemed highly diverse in their talents.  That only included a small amount of animal costuming, although a few like Fred Conquest specialized in that.   This biography was reviewed in hopes of picking out scarce Panto-animal details, which have been forgotten by time, because very little was ever printed about them.

This Amazon.co.uk review of the book earned a quote in Part 2:

Now that it has become respectable to admit enjoying popular entertainment, the story of the Conquest family deserves to be better known. They were one of those colourful theatrical dynasties who flourished from Victorian times until well into the twentieth century. Many of them were actors who, between them, took on everything from Shakespeare to pantomime; my favourite was the one who played the animals or “skin” roles.

Fred did find amazing costuming stories, even if most of it wasn’t of the animal kind.  These shows must have been incredible spectacles, the “big budget movie” productions of their time.  I’m very sad I couldn’t find any illustration for the giant floating demon head! Let Fred explain more. ( -Patch)

Conquest: The Story of a Theatre Family, by Frances Fleetwood; W. H. Allen, 1953; 282 pages.

(Fred:) The book includes many illustrations, both photographs of actors, and reproductions of 19th century engravings of fantastic stage plays of acrobatic actors in grotesque costumes cavorting about.  The plays included many scenes of fairies and demons flying above the stage on wires, and there are many accounts of wires and ropes breaking and actors being seriously injured. Read the rest of this entry »

Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 2: Feedback, history and sources roundup.

by Patch O'Furr

Update to Part 1:  “If there was a Museum of Furry, theatrical “Panto-Animals” would be a major exhibit.

My first Panto-animal history article shared a discovery of amazing proto-Furry happenings, in an overlooked era of Pantomime theater in Victorian Britain.  Stunning photos show why the topic is worth uncovering.  From these scarce records, a handful of actor names stood out with wide publication in their time for “animal impersonation”.  Charles Lauri was covered in Part 1 – and here is Fred Conquest:

FredConquestHubbard2

Pantomime plays were popular entertainment, considered beneath the “high arts” realm of British theater.  They were not treated as equally worthy to record or remember, so these photos are all the more special because of it.  These pre-movie live happenings seem forgotten today, compared to the era of cinema that came shortly afterwards – where popular artists like Charlie Chaplin (the first international movie star) gained high respect as subjects to study and remember.

In our time, popular culture has gained respect it never had.  What used to be “nerd culture” is now the biggest Hollywood industry.  The tiny niche of Furries is one of few areas still looked down on, but that seems to be changing as it grows.  I think it’s a great time to rediscover and connect old, forgotten traditions such as Panto-Animal performance – what esteemed Furry fan author Phil Geusz calls “paleo-furry.”

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Princeton University course teaches Furry Fanfic – professor talks to us.

by Patch O'Furr

Fanfiction: Transformative Works from Shakespeare to Sherlock assigns homework to read a story replacing characters with animals.  (See March 4 in the link.) I emailed the professor for comment to furries. She has an interesting background and is author of Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World”.  (Her previous course focused on Twilight – the movie just came out, so I’m guessing that’s why she had many journalist encounters.)

Professor Anne Jamison writes:

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SEX! Researchers, journalists, and furries debate The Topic They Love To Hate.

by Patch O'Furr

Just published in the media: SF IS A HOTBED OF ONE KINKY-CREEPY-CUTE SUBCULTURE. AndSAN FRANCISCO – A FURRY FETISH EPICENTER.  More on that shortly.  (I apologize if this post is jumbled to read all at once- a lot of related topics just happened.)

1) Researcher Debra Soh recently wrote about Furries in Harper’s Magazine.  I invited her to submit a piece here.  She sent:

“A Lesson Everyone Can Learn from Furries”

 

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Researchers from Northwestern University want Furries to answer their survey.

by Patch O'Furr

When pop culture notices furry fans, it loves leaping to conclusions.  The internet has porn, and the weird furry stuff can make people’s eyes bug out and stick in their minds.  So is that what being a furry is about? Some people have a kink for that – is it fair to stick all furry fans in that category?

The assumed link of furries and sex is often made thoughtlessly by outsiders. It’s the topic furries love to hate.  But despite the attention, I’m told that no serious research has been done on this.  Sure, there have been surveys that ask blanket questions about sex orientation, or a selection of certain kinks.  But there isn’t enough broad knowledge for anybody to be fully informed.  That’s bad for two reasons.

rsearch

First, common beliefs can’t be challenged or disproved without data. Second, if data does support some of these beliefs, then the topic deserves better understanding.  Objective answers reduce assumptions.  It can replace fear and rumor with real information.  Informed people make a more tolerant society.  There are more gay people in this subculture than general society – the reason isn’t clear, but their socializing has gained more tolerance with understanding.  Other questioned activities may be reconciled too.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois are spreading a survey about these sensitive and murky topics. They intend to research relations between furry fan sexuality, and their identities and personalities. Their survey is on lesser studied aspects of this.

Disclaimer:  to avoid making bias, I can’t guess or tell specific aims behind their work.  Building studies and their methodology is out of my area, anyways.  All I can do is pick apart interpretation of statistics afterwards.  I did spend time talking with the researchers and emphasizing respect.  I told them to hold their cards and not tell me what the survey is testing, to prevent bias in sharing.  That leaves it up to you to choose how to respond.

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Furry Merry Christmas, media relations, RISK!, animal blessing… Newsdump (12/22/14)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Story tips are always welcome.

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Around Furry fandom and in the media:

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A Furry Merry Christmas To One and All – from Tom Broadbent, documentary photographer.

Tom takes us to the Londonfurs annual Christmas party.  “Retro gaming was the theme and it was hosted at the Amber Bar in Moorgate.” (More about his art.)

London Furries Winter Ball Read the rest of this entry »