“We Want Politics Out of Furry Fandom” is a political statement, and here’s a good response.
by Patch O'Furr
Part of furry is "If you got to choose your own body, gender, beauty standards, etc. this is exactly what the world would be like."— Liam Anne of Oz (@Anxiousounce) October 5, 2017
“We Want Politics Out” is politics.
It’s a popular complaint. This fan group is supposed to be for interest in anthropomorphic animal media and nothing more. That boils down to lowest-common-denominator consumerism. It’s like everyone is a bottom-feeding plecostamus in their own fish tank, and what they consume is just random scum growing on the bottom. Who cares where it comes from? Just be a dumb fish.
The problem is, reductionism doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a community attached to the way members consume things. And the complaint often comes with attacking care about how things work there. (Stop asking questions about the delicious scum!)
Everyone who’s here in good faith has some kind of care beyond themselves. It can range from management of websites or cons, to health and safety, or being a loose support network. You see it whenever a member gets help with money or a place to live, or even with complaints about FA’s management. When it’s time to talk about bigger stuff, complaining against politics is half-baked activism for the status quo. Here’s why.
Even as a pure hobby or interest, there’s something unique about furry. It’s one of the only crowdsourced fandoms, even when it’s inspired by central media power of others. Members build it every day. A sort-of comparison might be the Ren Faire community. Both are creatively self sustaining on their own terms.
Some people claim furry is capitalist because of art business, as if everyone’s a Monopoly man with a tail. It’s supposed to be some counterpoint about how things work. I run a business (when I’m not being a raffish sparkledog) and I think the point sucks. It’s shallow about terms like “industrial” versus “cottage industry”. Making bespoke art doesn’t scale, and meets and cons run on volunteerism. Fandom is less about profit than direct relationships of “furriness”. There’s numbers for it – look at labor that goes into expensive fursuits. Makers can earn under minimum wage for doing what they love doing for others.
“For others” is why calling it just a plain interest is a partial truth. In other words, an omission. More accurately, it’s part genre fandom, part DIY sub/counterculture, and part kink community. The people in it meet in real life, not just online. It brings them together for relationships and homes. It’s made of people, not anthro animals. And any community of people has politics.
Not just random people.
This group isn’t just an unremarkable little slice of the mainstream. Surveys show a strong bias towards an identity for many members. Nearly 2/3 of members are LGBT. It’s a super fabulously queer number.
Skip asking why and take it for granted that many members are non-LGBT (which nobody ever debates). It’s still impossible to call it a neutral number. It’s undisputably an association. Queerness isn’t neutral in the mainstream, and even less in a subculture where it’s so concentrated that it colors whatever is said about the group, like calling it “accepting.”
Saying it exists isn’t saying what politics should be. How you vote is up to you – when beliefs are in question, it calls for discussing issues first (especially with an international group). Of course, some issues are no-brainers. Some things are simply right or wrong. Not everything is a football game.
For example, in this particular community, being anti-gay is pretty close to being anti-furry. There are very few standards for being welcomed, but that’s a good one. It’s reasonable to expect every member to treat a certain 2/3 of the group as human. There isn’t middle ground or a debate about it. No hate is a basic reasonable standard. Unless you ask hate groups.
The basic standard looks like this.
Dear everyone screeching about "you can't day who is and isn't allowed to be furry":— Spooky Squeaky (@VictoryDanceOfc) October 4, 2017
Nazis. Are. Not. Allowed. To. Be. Furry.
"Furries can't say they're welcoming and be mean to nazis! Philosophical checkmate!" No, kid. That's not even chess. That's not even Go Fish— Arilin Thorferra (@gc_arilin) June 3, 2017
They say, “You call everyone nazis and you’re hateful too!” Well if it quacks like a duck, call it a duck. (See Take Them At Face Value below). One can’t play both sides and pretend to be separate while being their support network. And calling the response “hate” is false equivalence about identifying a problem.
Some people hate crime, disease, or poverty. Others hate fascism. Nazi isn’t an identity – it’s about issues they support. Dead discredited dogma deserves zero benefit of the doubt. Rejecting it is just what normal people do.
It only barely counts as politics.
You can pick a fursona, but you can’t pick whether someone else is human. Having such a basic standard isn’t like putting on a hat for some candidate. It leaves voting issues as a whole other topic. So here’s a slightly more real example of “fandom politics”.
Furries are super-sensitive about media scapegoating, but there’s a love/hate relationship with the media. After all, it’s called a fandom. That’s why a personal motto for me is Be The Media. If you need a label for that, call it a DIY ethic. When I practice that with a site I built, it’s a statement. Furry and DIY go together. It’s part of building a whole community. Anyone can do it if they try.
Altfurry can’t DIY. That explains the shitty stolen memes.
There are also loose “politics” about being extremely inclusive and open to free expression. (Even physically, like Hugs are the handshake of furries” – Artists explore cultural meaning of touch.) 1960’s hippies had it as part of their politics too. It even makes furry a counterculture sometimes. DIY creativity and inclusion goes with the top quote:
“Part of furry is “If you got to choose your own body, gender, beauty standards, etc. this is exactly what the world would be like.””
OK, if it’s about power to be anything, how can there be standards? Because hate is antithetical to “furriness”, and moderating the group keeps it healthy to have that pawsitive power.
“Get Politics Out of Furry Fandom” undermines integrity.
A community has integral parts. Genre fandom, DIY sub/counterculture, and kink are glued together by acceptance to make a community. Without them it might not be one, and definitely wouldn’t be the one you know. The consumerist, lowest-common-denominator, Just Anthro Animal Media kind might be more of a corporate-run Mickey Mouse club.
Integral parts doesn’t mean every part is inherent to everyone. There’s a weird duality in accepting everything from Disney to Dirty, but you don’t have to be personally involved with kink at all. It’s like how cars are integral to modern society, but not everyone drives and you don’t need a car. However, if there were no cars it would be a very different world. Get it?
There’s a real community with parts that can’t be removed without changing everything. The Burned Furs (the previous generation’s altfurry) found out when they failed with puritanism against “perverts”. It’s part of furriness. So when there’s a complaint like “Get Politics Out of Furry Fandom”, it often means “get fandom out of furry.”
It can be a simple minded wish to boil things down to mere consumerism. Or it can be a more evil agenda to make you surrender to this toxic garbage:
A push to inject fascism into geek communities.
Nazis have learned geek communities are a super easy recruitmebt base. pic.twitter.com/wmZAkNlV0u— 🍪Grant Raycroft🍪 (@GDRaycroft) October 7, 2017
Read about newly-exposed proof of white nationalists behind the alt-right. Altfurry is just one fizzled attempt among many to attack so called “SJW’s” to inject their own politics. They’ve tried with gaming, metal music, sci-fi, comics, and furry. The term is Entryism, and the same haters feed it all.
Perhaps their hate will always be around. So will crime or cancer, but people don’t act helpless about it. Sane politics means just standing for a basic standard. That’s all it is – a line for all sides, not liberal or conservative; just the furry side. And don’t buy apathetic acceptance like this:
But are they really nazis? Take Them At Face Value.
As a subculture, Furry shares something in common with DIY Punk. Old punks had advice about fascists worming in to their scene – Take them at face value.
That refers to acting edgy/provocative/trolly, until they flip around and excuse it. Like pretending it’s just joking or for looks. Or denying being a member while collaborating. Or refusing to own it, and moving goalposts to pretend like rare card-carrying “real nazis” are the only issue. There’s equivocation about how “we’re diverse”, “gays can’t be nazi” or “some of my friends are black”. They love pedantry about “it’s not illegal” and doing an endless-prove-it-loop. There’s nothing they won’t do for plausible deniability about wrongdoing and manipulating. If they can’t hide it, they deflect with Whataboutism. They love acting offended at reactions they provoke, to gaslight and project problems at you. Games Nazis Play are a form of two-faced, have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too.
Whether they even understand it or not, it opens the door to the real thing, as ones waiting behind the door know very well. So is trolling like a nazi as bad as bringing real nazis in? …Does a bear shit in the woods?
When they do edgy nazi trolling, withhold benefit of the doubt and let them prove they’re not. When they flirt with fascism, don’t let them off the hook while they try to squirm away. They made their bed, so let them lie in it. It was foretold in this 2008 FurAffinity post about Furzis:
You want to call yourself a Nazi, I’ll treat you like a Nazi. And don’t gimme bullshit about how “we don’t call ourselves nazi’s” your wearing the uniform, your name is a play on “nazi” don’t give me weak excuses.
You don’t think the American Diabetes Association LIKES diabetes. The Southern Poverty Law Center doesn’t like poverty. Jonas Salk hated Polio. I hate Nazis. If you have to be intolerant of something, Nazis are a great choice.
Intolerance of intolerance isn’t liberal or conservative, it’s humanist. And fascism isn’t strictly right or left either, it’s a two faced chameleon. It incrementally worms into power through brinksmanship and playing many sides. It devours from within to destroy what lets it grow. It cons you by syncretizing elements of right and left. Their left side might be pandering to workers, nerds or people who feel powerless, and their right side is nationalism or supremacy. They say whatever sounds good to manipulate, but it’s consistent to nothing but power. That’s what makes gay nazis and non-white collaborators. It’s always two-faced.
Can confirm. Having been one and got out - white nationalists ALWAYS lie. They ALWAYS lie about what they believe.https://t.co/uLy5qutkFb— Vex the Scarewolf (@andreuswolf) June 12, 2017
By the way, it's often tempting to point out to these absolute cretins the absurdity and hipocrisy of being a nazi furry, but don't bother. https://t.co/ZCZjU9FhuR— S L Ö T H M Ö T H E R (@CaseyExplosion) October 16, 2017
Some people expect to change minds with nice words. That’s fine when you aren’t talking to trolls. It helps trolls to be deliberately exhausting, it’s not the responsibility of targets to change haters, it doesn’t scale, and it legitimizes bad faith when there isn’t something at stake. For those who try, call it a matter of multiple approaches that depends on others firmly rejecting them.
But the furry fandom really is one of the most accepting places (that’s what they exploit.) Sincere change of heart is how to get acceptance back, and it’s not hard to get for those who choose to leave for real. Click through for three excellent threads:
I used to low-key subscribe to white nationalist views, back in my early 20s. Not going to make excuses for it, I should have known better.— VƎX IS RUNNING D&D (@vexwerewolf) April 20, 2017
What's important to getting people out of shitty ideologies like that is the knowledge that they CAN go back. They CAN rejoin society.— VƎX IS RUNNING D&D (@vexwerewolf) April 21, 2017
Hey furries, I've been doing a lot of serious, heavy-going takes for a while. Here's a change of pace:— VƎX IS RUNNING D&D (@vexwerewolf) May 19, 2017
THE FURRY FANDOM IS FUCKING AWESOME
When you hear a complaint about politics in fandom, point out that it is politics. It’s as likely to undermine as to reduce conflict. It’s merely a thought-terminating cliche when everyone does politics sometimes. And you don’t have to listen to everyone because some things aren’t debatable. Don’t waste time on bad faith and discredited falsehoods, or half-baked oppositionalism that stands for nothing but freedom to be selfish at best. There aren’t “two sides” with parasitic, two-faced trolls who pretend to want an “alternative” without creating anything, who take advantage of the one great fandom. There already is a group for the acceptance they pretend should extend to haters; the basic entry requirement is just getting along with others. It’s something so basic you learn it in kindergarten. Or maybe as soon as people evolve beyond fish.
The best response is: Don’t look for middle ground where there is none. Just have a spine and stand for something better.
Update. “check it out guys, I found a living example of why @DogpatchPress‘s article about “apolitical furry” is so accurate!”
“People who are fine with Nazis when it’s “just talk” aren’t going to do anything to oppose them when it becomes more than just talk.”
“How to find nazis: 1) Post “fuck nazis” 2) watch for the “don’t call people you disagree with nazis!” comments 3) You found the nazis.”
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