The Cure for Ignorance and Apathy on Furry YouTube.

by Patch O'Furr

Editorial with Sam Hyena in collaboration with Patch.

Ignorance and Apathy on Furry YouTube

Over the last 2 years with the demise of Vine, many Furries have started to migrate over to YouTube. Many have amassed groups of followers, hold regular livestreams on Twitch, or have Patreons. And some have used this platform as a guise to get away with borderline toxic or outright hateful behavior.

The platform makes every click content-neutral. Getting attention for any reason gets advantage over quality, so being edgy plays to the lowest-common-denominator. Lines get persistently pushed, and suddenly things that aren’t debatable at all get some asshole demanding a debate. Is the earth round, is evolution real, should racist altfurries get kicked to the curb after swatting Califur? Yes, yes, and yes, if we’re all telling the truth.  But unending conflict between “sides” is a substitute for good stories, real jokes or having anything sincere to say. It brings the clicks that raise clout for edgy people.

While the line-pushers thrive on conflict, faux-“centrists” tag along and enable them, trying to play all the sides and turning definitions to mush. They do posing about freedom, but really have no side except mercenary selfishness. It’s a cooked-up conflict between people who act in good faith vs. people with none.

In this barrel-scraping free-for-all, there’s many examples of people doing it and it goes way beyond just furries. Let’s name names.

In 2017, JonTron did a livestream with right-wing commentator SargonOfAkkad in support of Donald Trump, which continued on social media and this video, where he promotes reactionary “white identitarianism” while denying that’s what it is. (They love disguising it as “both sides” centrism to cook up a “debate” that spreads the racist side no matter who “wins”.) The first step is calling white a race, for false equivalence between an arbitrary label and specific conditions – like being redlined or arrested for sitting in a Starbucks while black. It’s as disingenuous as saying that incident wasn’t racist because they served black coffee.

We’ve seen that kind of ignorance across 2 Gryphon’s entire career. Newer furries such as Dojo Dingo imitate that model like empty suits anyone can get inside, seeking clicks from haters AND people they hate. It’s clear that they’re acting in bad faith, but their platform doesn’t just change if it’s demonetized while they also use Streamlabs or Patreon for money. Some of their fans are kids, not just “college kids” but 12-14 year olds or younger. They’re prime targets when they support and even idolize furry Youtubers, taking it as a character act (it’s not) and an excuse for apathy about demagoguery.

Demagogue: A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.

What’s really beneath excuses like “it’s just their opinion”, or “it’s a joke” or “they’re being sarcastic?” When they go out of the way to offend people for the sake of it, or enable ignorance while pretending to be unbiased and aloof – there’s no practical difference between hating ironically, and just hating.

Such ignorance on Youtube isn’t going to get improved by YouTube. Whether content is nice, hateful, well-crafted, or crappy, they profit from clicks no matter what. When it can just shift around to other platforms, general society isn’t so likely to improve it either.

But there is a choice on the ground level inside a self-aware, self-defined subculture. When people say “furries are fans of each other”, no other community has more power to choose what they consume.

You’re more than a consumer, you can be an active member of a creative community. It’s a 2-way street when content isn’t premade and blasted out by corporations. You can demand better, and that isn’t censoring or being an “SJW.” (The strawman about implacable offense is flipping the direction it comes from, when indifferent platforms are exploited by line-pushers).  You don’t have to settle for crap, and a basic standard isn’t gatekeeping. It’s your choice, and that’s the free market. That doesn’t mean telling those empty suits how to act, it’s just expressing how you, as an audience, aren’t buying it.

For proof that you have power, cue up any 2 Gryphon rant and see what he blames for his faded career as a convention performer. Expect him not to name himself, his declining relevance or the hate he spreads. When selfish mercenaries won’t improve themselves, getting better starts with demanding better.

Response from Summercat:

Free speech is a good idea, and it’s predicated upon the assumption that all involved are acting in good faith. Those who are not acting in good faith by knowingly and intentionally spreading dishonest discourse, untruths, mis-statements, and any other forms of lying, are acting in a manner counterproductive to free speech. Here’s what poisoned discourse is like:

There are two pools. One is cleaned regularly. The other has toxins intentionally dumped in by people who hate swimming. Which would you rather swim in? Would you consider it to be free speech by those who hate swimming, if they point at the pool filled with toxins they dumped in and claim that swimming is therefore bad?

The rising potential of fandom to be better:

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