A 1990’s fax to troll Confurence shows how long there’s been culture war with furry fandom
by Patch O'Furr
Hairy Horny Freedom
Media was different in the 1980’s. There was a TV channel just for music videos. Furry fans got their fix from Saturday morning cartoons or cult films on VHS. Smartphones, Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist. Sharing a meme could need paper mail or a fax.
On MTV, there were lots of metal videos with men who acted macho but looked like hot women. Think: bikers in mascara who switched meth for hairspray. They sang about love over widdly-diddly guitar wizard pyrotechnics. (They were rockin’ like Dokken.) There was an arms race to be the most Glam until Grunge bands stole their place. But first, they were challenged by disco DJ music, minus the hair farming and augmented by rapping and controversy.
In Miami, a club scene rose up that thrilled crowds with rappers doing porn lyrics. Horny young people loved it. The rappers were a few young guys in the Air Force with a music hobby named 2 Live Crew. A recent rap history podcast (Mogul) tells the story of how their song “Me So Horny” went huge even without MTV. It helped rap cross from black to white people, and also pissed off a lot of them.
Think Of the Children
In a similar way, heavy metal started raising record sales with more sex and Satan. And while black music rose to share the limelight, they all had an enemy in common: fossilized moralizers who wanted to make a name for themselves. It was a little like how callouts work on social media, except for political votes instead of “likes”. Instead of mobs demanding apologies, there were powermongers using concerned parents (the Karens of their day) to keep society whiter, straighter, and more full of jesus instead of fun.
While some of the media pushed free expression, artists had fascist conformists trying to ruin their careers, and even getting people arrested for dumb reasons. 2 Live Crew faced obscenity trials. Rappers N.W.A. were targeted for their political message in “Fuck the Police”. So was punk rocker Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, who beat obscenity charges while mocking the moral manipulators. (A few years ago, Jello hung out with furries when he DJ’d their party.)
It wasn’t just about music. Government attacks on free expression hit art museums and libraries. Conservatives targeted TV shows. “Satanic Panic” lead to horribly injust prosecutions. Fans and nerds of the time were even under fire for Dungeons & Dragons and adult comics. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded to win a First Amendment fight that started with a 1986 bust for selling the erotic furry comic Omaha The Cat Dancer.
For as long as furries have been around, they’ve been derided for weird kinks even if they don’t hurt anyone. In a way they’re on the same side with rappers and rockers who opposed freedom haters. (However I doubt most of these people would have sold out for real fascism, unlike dishonest furry shock jock 2 Gryphon who would falsely claim to be like them after killing his own career.)
Even today, fandoms have occasional conformist prudes, led by grifter Gryphon types. Opposing them has worked pretty well in furry fandom — although the design of social media itself now makes a worry about going past supporting oppressed people, to supporting censorious puritanism itself.
- Dogpatch Press — Fight the Beigists! Furries defend the National Fun Reserve.
- Worst Year Ever — How The Furries Fought The Nazis and Won
- Medium — The New Moral Majority, Same As The Old Moral Majority: On the allure of censorship
The old culture war has new battlefields. When social media pits people against each other, circular firing squads raise traffic and the arms dealers profit. In other words, the owners of Twitter/Facebook/etc win even from friendly fire. It’s a sign of how much power has consolidated. That’s a topic for another time, but let’s look back at a simpler time, and a forgotten incident of 1990’s Karenism.
For the first time, you can see how a “think-of-the-children” mindset did big damage to the first furry con!
Snitch Faxes From the Moral Police
1989: 2 Live Crew was targeted by ultraconservative crusader Jack Thompson. He faxed lyrics of their album As Nasty As They Wanna Be to 67 Florida Sheriffs. (The story is at 20:00 on the Mogul podcast.) A judge ruled the music was obscene, so the musicians sued the police to have it proven free speech. In court they played hardcore porn as evidence… and then they couldn’t ask the audience to stand up. Sex won.
1999: Confurence 10 was days away when the staff got a fax preventing the con from selling anything pornographic. It caught the hotel and staff by surprise, because the hotel itself was selling Playboy magazines in the gift shop. The prohibition fell under the liquor license that covered the entire facility. But the complaint wasn’t due to drinking problems. It was against all furries.
(Record unearthed by Changa Lion, archivist at ConFurence.com):
Can’t Stop Us
Wow, that’s a find with artists who are still active and popular now, and threats to warn churches about them. (God was out of lightning bolts.) Here’s the vintage 90’s Furnation porn that shocked the poor churchmouse, by Max Blackrabbit (NSFW). Spoiler: it’s just drawings. We were promised worse. Report abuse if it does exist, but an entire adult industry with real humans makes this tame.
It made me wonder if the fax was an internal complaint or did a non-furry send it? What affect did it have?
Changa Lion said it came from an outsider close to an insider. (Details have to stay private, but there’s a reason for the history I wrote!) And:
This came in right before the con and essentially at the last minute we were not allowed to have any porn visible. The Town and Country was a resort, so the license covered the entire property. They had had problems in the past with losing their license so they were very nervous. Stuff came in for the art show that couldn’t be put up. One artist had a pair of jeans up on his panel with a note that read something like “I got here and this is all I can display”. This was the first time I ever saw very creative use of post it notes in a furry dealers room.
This was one of those problems that contributed to Mark [co-founder] to throw up his hands and walk away from the con. The loss of staff caused by moving con 100 miles south and drop in attendance from the move were the major reasons, but I expect this didn’t help.
That’s pointlessly annoying sabotage, because there’s more cons than ever now. Smart people would stop trying… wouldn’t they? But then there’s the nazifurs.
Notice that they attack people who just dress weird, because these losers don’t care about kids or improving cons. They want power and hate when gays are visible. The problem is allowing them in cons to do sabotage. But from the 1990’s to now, nobody stopped drawing, cons shot up in attendance, and consenting adults are still having sex. In the future we can just look back at them as more silly fossils, like they are right now.
Thanks to Changa Lion for his archiving and go watch The Fandom documentary for much more history.
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