Representing furries in 2018: Good news on CNN, Sonicfox, and a tiger on Jeopardy. (Part 1)
by Patch O'Furr
In 2018, fandom had so much going on that this needs two parts. Part 1 has the media, and Part 2 is for conventions, charity, art, celebrities, awards, spending, and more.
Ever been on an aircraft carrier? The USS Hornet, in Alameda CA, is docked across the bay from San Francisco. It’s a fearsome wedge of rust-flecked metal bigger than most city blocks, and bristling with guns, planes and artifacts from WWII to the Apollo Space Program. Now it’s a national historic landmark and museum, but if you walk down the cavernous hangar deck and look at photos of Pearl Harbor in flames, it almost tingles with the smells and sounds of a global struggle against the evil of fascism. It made me think of my grandpa in the South Pacific, taking islands from Japan. It could make the world’s biggest hippie feel a sense of pride and humbleness from the history there.
Look ahead a few months, when this ship will be full of furry animals throwing a rave. That’s the cutting edge of turning swords into plowshares!
The second Space Camp Party is coming. On 12/9/18 it started with a photoshoot on the ship that drew a whopping 130 fursuiters just for a pre-planning meet. Previously in March 2018, over 500 went to the first party at Faction Brewing (a converted aircraft hanger on the same navy base). From early demand, the followup is likely to reach the size of a single-day con.
While I was doing silly poses in my rat suit against a giant ship anchor (does Bad Dragon make one of those?) – I thought of furries taking over the ship and conquering the nation. Next, the world. Then the blue skies above, and then the moon.
2018 is an intense year with many furry news stories topping ones that just happened. It’s too much to easily keep up with, and Fred Patten’s death affects publishing here, but on the plus side, I’m now paying for articles. Get in touch about submitting your story. And check out how much cool furry stuff there is to share.
Love from the media.
CNN’s This Is Life with Lisa Ling – Season 5 finale Furry Nation. Was this show a mea culpa for mockery by “The Media?” In the popular furry imagination, that’s a melty brown blob made of everything from supermarket tabloids to PBS.
It’s a fandom faith that the media is eeeevil because 23547 years ago, Vanity Fair/MTV/CSI made it a punching-bag for ratings. But in my opinion, even the 2003 CSI episode “Fur and Loathing” isn’t totally fair to hate. (It’s not documentary, and a fiction story about murder made with real furries is an absurd party watch.) That’s part of my usual disagreement with media illiteracy, while I watched things warm up for years in places like high quality features in Vice. CSI was syndicated, causing persistent annoyance simply by reach. 15 years later, CNN reached a half million viewers with their sympathetic perspective on fandom.
Furry Nation was made against resistance about “The Media” being welcomed at Anthro Northwest 2017 (a sort of carefully-managed replacement to fill the smoking crater left by Rainfurrest.) Remember that? Lisa Ling personally engaged with fake rumors hurled at her show during production.
I know we are doing good work.The ppl running this con care deeply about this world and allowed us in because they know that...— lisaling (@lisaling) November 11, 2017
Given how much yelling there was about the con and the media, it’s a miracle they got good stuff at all. When I hear that the show overlooked minority or LGBT fans, I would say it’s hard to be choosy with backlash – raise your hand if you want to be counted. Also, while it’s reasonable to want representation, it’s a story of individual fans, not a comprehensive review.
Others complained that it portrayed broken people reaching for a fix, like for anxiety. Sure, fandom is fine, but a story needs stakes to pull you in, and the thing about anxiety is every human has it (try being on camera.) I’d just call it a humanizing correction for yiffer-fever stereotypes.
The fandom is like a many sided diamond, peering through each facet gives a different perspective. A story on the healing properties of the fandom has been long overdue. @SpanielSpaniels, @captainboones and @WeaselsOnEasels thank you for your courage and real life example.— Anthro Northwest (@anthronw) December 8, 2018
- Dogpatch Press: CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling: Furry Nation – review by Joe Strike
- More warmth in a Colorado cover story: Local furries explain the oft-misunderstood community of their clawed, pawed and feathered friends
Dominique “Sonicfox” McLean at The Game Awards in Los Angeles. On 12/6/18 , the world’s highest-paid professional fighting game player put on his fursuit by Fursuit Enterprise, and took the stage to accept the year’s Best Esports Player award. He dominates a game more smoothly than he handles a mike, but he still owned the room. “I’m gay, black, a furry – pretty much everything a Republican hates – and the best Esports player of the year!”
That wasn’t campaigning to try getting an award, it was looking back on how he did it. And nobody can deny it was skill. But there’s more. When a queer black gamer can’t expect peace from haters, telling the truth isn’t political and identity-blindness is the lie. You can point at the actual record of Republicans, or the Gamergate hate movement that embraced alt-right scammers like Milo Yiannopoulos, who collaborated with white supremacists at Breitbart before it fizzled out and he went bankrupt. That’s context for the way Sonicfox gave a “we’re here, get used to it” message that cut through nice corporate PR, or pretension that gaming is separate from the world. You could call it raising his hand to be counted, like many furries wanted from CNN.
On Twitter, he followed up: “Others keep thinking my personality is being gay and black and if that’s the case, you’ve missed the point already.”
The point is personal power to shake the status quo. At age 20, SonicFox can pay for his Computer Science college study many times over, and I can’t even buy him a beer yet. On Twitter, his follows shot from 59K to 142K in just months since I interviewed him in May 2018. That makes him the most followed, officially Twitter Verified furry (including Uncle Kage, Kyell Gold, Fox Amoore and Joaquin Baldwin). I don’t think he’s even trying for power. He wins by loving what he does, with sweet sincerity for everyone who does too. That’s a fan’s fan like every furry.
In our interview, Sonicfox told me: “I am not afraid to stomp out some racist alt-furry shithead in my feed”. Harassers can’t stop him from looking out for himself and furries around him like that, any more than they can take down his speech with hateful brigading on Youtube. It’s like the way negative media couldn’t stop the fandom from growing.
For 2018, Sonicfox shows that this fandom isn’t a doormat any more.
- Dogpatch Press: Sonicfox Just Won Best Esports Player – and the Future of Furry is Bright – by Tempe O’Kun
- Dogpatch Press: SonicFox, world record Esports champion: fursuit “a peak thing in life for me”
Bucktown Tiger on Jeopardy. I don’t think this featured furry openly (and I didn’t get to covering it), but this was a big deal inside a fandom who knew. In 7 days on the show, he took in $163,721, with a tiger-claw move after his wins.
Flayrah furry news: Bucktown Tiger returns to ‘Jeopardy’ to defend 3-day winning streak
Look for Part 2 soon: Midwest Furfest, Dogbomb, Jello Biafra and Violent J, fursuit auction records, awards, and more. Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these, so please support Dogpatch Press on Patreon to help make it possible.