Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Journalism

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. 

Pic: Cecil Shepherd (center) with Mr. Disko and Patch

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.

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CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling: Furry Nation – review by Joe Strike

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a guest article from Joe Strike, a first-wave furry greymuzzle, writer about animation for Animation World Network, and author of Furry Nation, the first history of fandom in mainstream bookstores. His website shows work with TV cartoons you may know. He sent this in around the time of MFF. (- Patch)

Our community had been buzzing for months about the “furry” episode of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling before it finally aired on November 18th. I kept my fingers crossed; like most other furs I’ve been watching the media get us wrong for years. (The primary reason I wrote Furry Nation was to correct the record; as I occasionally told people, “I’m tired of outsiders getting it all wrong—I decided it was time for someone in the furry community to get it all wrong.”)

But what really piqued my curiosity was that several people told me the episode was titled… “Furry Nation”!

Okay, what’s going on here? Shortly before the episode aired, I emailed the production company to ask, wazzup? how did you happen to borrow my title?, to which they responded:

Thank you for reaching out!  Your book sounds amazing! We actually learned about this community from Lisa’s viewers. It was a suggestion someone sent in. Our research and facts came from FurScience. 

Well, thank you “someone” for the free plug for Furry Nation The Book. (Said title never appeared in the episode by the way; I assume it was only used in the episode’s listings, although a search of cnn.com failed to discover it.)

Lacking cable, I caught up with the episode later via a relative’s DVR. After taking a few days to digest a second viewing, I’m finally ready to share my take on Lisa Ling’s take on Furry.

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CNN’s This Is Life is amazing TV – relations with the media – and more positive furry stories.

by Pup Matthias

CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling: Furry Nation aired last Sunday. As Furries do, some loved it and some hated it. That’s not surprising. When the critically acclaimed show (built around exploring the different corners of people’s lives) tweeted their season five episodes, fandom freaked out. Furries were tweeting about how CNN would cover them in the same season with MS-13, meth, screen addiction, and gender fluidity. Or how Furries complained that Anthro Northwest was letting TV do recording at their convention. Or how this episode was either the second coming, or the dawn of the apocalypse.

Boy, that changed overnight. If it sounds like I’m salty, I am to a degree. The reactions leading up to the premiere were just tiring. Many furries painted all journalists as TMZ tabloids looking for the next juicy clickbait headline, but looking at an episode shows Lisa Ling being a thoughtful reporter who wants to show the human stories behind the topics she covers. (You can see all episodes legally with a TV subscription here.)

It’s funny to see Furries wanting to share their stories and promote the good this community can do; yet push away anyone wanting to report on it. It lets rumors continue to define us. Of course, as I’m writing this, the BBC has done a piece about the hacking of an adult furry site many haven’t heard of. It’s actually a relatively neutral story in comparison to what happened to Ashley Madison (the website devoted to helping people cheat in their relationships), but with buxom zebras and scantily clad lionesses instead of mistresses/guys on the side (or whatever). Beyond the furry aspect, it’s neither positive nor negative, it’s just there. Perhaps those rumors are losing power just from becoming old and familiar.

It’s not without merit to be skeptical about the media covering this fandom. YouTuber Quartz Husky did a video about cable news coverage:

The issue as I see it, isn’t pointing out that there are people who will use us for sensational clicks. The issue is then finding positive examples to compare and contrast for what we, as a community want. The dialogue about the media vs. the fandom is so black-and-white, that any form of coverage is seen as bad. It leaves very little room for us to showcase who we are because there are no “good” reporters.

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“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

by Patch O'Furr

Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine is a 2011 profile of a fandom-loved personality written by Kijani Lion. Kijani himself gets love here for bringing excellence to furry news (see his 2016 interview). By request, his Dogbomb article was reprinted with a plan for a fresh 2018 update. It was delivered with this note. (Your fluffy editor – Patch) 

In my 6+ years of journalism this was the most challenging, emotional yet inspiring piece I’ve ever written and I’m very happy at how it turned out. At the bottom I added an additional Q&A with Dogbomb and his friends and also some links. I chose the headline “Last Mutt Standing” as a homage to his favorite artist Jimmy Buffett and his single “Last Man Standing,” I know Dogbomb will appreciate that. I really look forward to seeing this online and it was my honor and pleasure to share the uplifting story of a true inspiration to many in the fandom and beyond! (- Kijani)

Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) and Trip E. Collie share a laugh at Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC) in Reno last May. Barrett was diagnosed with ALS two months prior and said this would be his last appearance at BLFC. Photo courtesy of AoLun

“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

 By Kijani Lion

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes you also can’t tell a mutt to lie down, even in the face of the most grim diagnosis. For Tony Barrett – affectionately known as “Dogbomb” in the furry fandom – giving up was, and never will be, an option.

After experiencing gradual loss of muscular function about two and a half years ago starting with his feet and lower legs, then progressing into his hands, neck, back and throat, Barrett was officially diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in early 2018. The disease kills motor neurons, effectively blocking the nerve path to the brain that makes muscles work, rendering them weak and eventually unresponsive.

“Walking is becoming extremely difficult, and my swallowing and speech are rapidly worsening,” Barrett said. “With ALS, each day is slightly worse, and it becomes difficult to plan for the future. What is easy today may be impossible in a week or a month, and that’s just frustrating.” 

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Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine – by Kijani Lion

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome back to Kijani Lion, who I previously interviewed in 2016. Kijani’s bio includes being a con Guest of Honor and organizer for FurLifeNW and their bowling meet that set a world record for attendance. And he’s been a journalist who contributed to Furry News Network, writing profile articles about outstanding fursuiters in 2011-2013. FNN’s articles seem to have fallen off the web in 2015, but I asked to bring this back.

FNN Fursuiter of the Month (August 2011) was Dogbomb. In 2018, Dogbomb has gotten a lot of love from the fandom with a serious story that you should know before moving on to this reprint. I asked Kijani to write a new update, and that’s in the works. Look forward to it soon. – Patch

Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine (2011)

By Kijani Lion 

As long as he can remember, dogs have always been a big part of Tony Barrett’s life.

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Wat ‘n Wolhaarstorie! – A South African Article on Furries – and a radio show.

by Duncan R. Piasecki

Submitted by guest Duncan R. Piasecki – don’t miss his articles The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical – and Talking Animal Films In South Africa (Part 1) and (Part 2.)

As some of you might know, South Afrifur happened quite recently, the biggest one yet. Unusually for furries from this part of the world, however, was the media coverage: the convention was featured in an article in the Afrikaans magazine Huisgenoot, in their July 26th issue. Of course, being Afrikaans (quite an obscure language outside of this country) means the readership potential is limited internationally, but it’s a pretty big deal for local furries: the magazine is one of the most popular in the country.

So, for all the international furries out there, I present to you a reproduction of the print article, and then my own translation. Please keep in mind that Afrikaans and I don’t agree (it was my worst subject in high school), I’m very far from fluent in it, so this was done with Google Translate, a dictionary, and my own extrapolation. The results might not be exactly accurate, but I feel they give the general idea if not the exact translation. As you will see, some things just don’t cross-translate.

But first, a new development: furries on the radio.

A couple of the people covered in the Afrikaans article went on to one of Pretoria’s biggest radio stations to talk about being a furry (it sounded like it was because of the article, in fact), and I thought the interview went quite well (if ticking off a few of the usual boxes of annoying “but it’s a fetish, right?” questions the media loves to ask). Quite weird, this sudden boost in interest, considering everyone’s ignored this community in this country before now.

Article: https://www.jacarandafm.com/shows/scenic-drive-rian/furries-take-over-scenic-drive/

Videos of the interview:

I ripped an audio recording of the whole interview. It comes to about 24 minutes and has quite a bit more than the videos (a lot is not in English). Here’s a Google Drive folder of it, including videos from Facebook: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Rkcm6dNAIxfe0p-lMj9WdtcwzY3AuNU5

Tweets:

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Remembering Kim Wall, a journalist who found the best side of furries.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries are on a list of news articles by Kim Wall:

  • How Cubans deliver culture without internet
  • Inside the Ugandan Mall at the Center of China’s East African Investments
  • Asian, queer and dancing defiance: ‘Everything we do now is resistance’
  • When China’s Feminists Came to Washington
  • Ghost Stories: Idi Amin’s torture chambers
  • The Magic Kingdom Meets the Middle Kingdom in Shanghai Disneyland
  • Tour Buses to Sri Lanka’s Battlefields
  • Can This Tiny Island Restore Haitian Tourism?
  • It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures

Does it feel special to be on such an interesting list? It’s on a site for Kim Wall and her work. She was an independent journalist writing about identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy. Tributes from people who knew her paint a portrait of a talented person full of curiosity, who made a warm and lasting impression. Her stories spread that vibe on behalf of their subjects.

This headline understands- “It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures”. The story mentions bad media attention and furries being targets of hate while they celebrate self-expression. In my opinion, we were lucky to get such a good story and it’s one of a handful of the best you can find. This is why to welcome media notice if this little subculture is going to get it.

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Call for artists – be paid and become Dogpatch Press’ Featured Artist

by Patch O'Furr

Imagine if every Google search was measured in sweat. In the 90’s, dead-tree newspapers were the place for movie listings, job ads and more. Delivering them was my first job. The Sunday paper was the size of a log, and it hurt to climb hills on a bike with a sack full of them in the middle of a blizzard or blazing heat. Relaxing afterwards with the comics was a treat, and there used to be a lot of good strips. Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite.

Furry has had zines, newsletters, comic books, strips, and webcomics. But I’m not aware of any fandom news publication with a regular comics or art feature adding to commentary. Dogpatch Press Patreon subscriptions are almost at the goal for that. It asks why furries don’t use the political cartoon format – (Wikifur says it had “some of the earliest anthropomorphic or funny animal art.”) Maybe they need a news source to host it? Doesn’t it seem like a worthy match?

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The truth behind a famous, misinterpreted “nazi furries” photo.

by Summercat

[Note from Patch:] Thanks to Summercat for this guest post. It’s a follow up to: Ever hear that Altfurries are just trolls? A real Nazi leader is taking them seriously. More than a few commenters had a mistaken impression that Dogpatch Press was original poster for a photo of “nazi furries”. We weren’t. That was a screencap, and it wasn’t posted to endorse the contents. An automatic feed to Twitter made it the cover image there. 

UPDATE (late 2018): This article keeps being linked to debunk the photo *completely*, and I’m kind of sick of it. YES, the photo itself was taken out of context – but in fact, that’s only part of the story. Read to the bottom and see that Nazi furries ARE part of the local scene of the photo – and may not tell you the truth about it. – Patch

Summercat continues:

We’re creatures of the internet. We all know that images and photos can be ripped from their context and spread around with new interpretations that show them in a different light than intended. Context matters, even for items that appear to be clear cut.

A prior article I wrote about Altfurs includes a photo shared by Neo-nazi Andrew Anglin. It shows three fursuiters posing happily in front of a Nazi flag.

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Atlantic City Fur Con story sources and issues – Part 2.

by Patch O'Furr

About this story of a racist hate incident (Continued from Part 1:)

You’re looking at sensitive info that needs calm. For example, please don’t post event group pics by themselves to criticize event goers. I don’t support that because it’s not clear which were involved or innocent from one photo. Just as importantly, some people involved with mistakes could use support now.

This follows controversies in fandom in 2017 that peaked with the closing of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. Mismanagement and abuse of tolerance killed the con. This New Jersey event seemed to be near that ballpark. But unlike RMFC, the furry in charge was more caught up in other people’s actions, so it’s not about him so much. And Trenton (the furry who was mistreated) wasn’t making a strong statement like Deo – he just asked for respect.

The story wasn’t tipped by Trenton and he never asked for help. I was watching the chat when he tried to directly solve a problem. It led to intense peer pressure on others by haters, so it wasn’t good enough by itself. I think when haters use such tactics to recruit, it’s not solved by people just keeping to themselves if they don’t get along. Also, if hate groups are trying to grow, waiting until people leave them isn’t the only way to respond. So if there are side effects from publishing a story, there already are effects from not. The best thing that can happen with a story like this is take it as a real issue, then have a calm conversation. I think 75% of fandom drama recently is just about upholding that issues are real and can’t be trolled and denied out of existence. That’s why this article is giving sources. To be honest, I wish this wasn’t going out and it will hurt people, but it would hurt to not put it out. I’d love to see change and growth come from it.

The damage incident in the story had nothing to do with racism. It was part of a wider topic about behavior (did it remind you of another con closed by damage?) There was a request for their side first. Also, the line about Graymuzzles didn’t please everyone – sorry guys (you helped found the fandom). Same to good fraternities.

Summary of Part 1:

  • A small New Jersey furry group threw a party at a casino and the hotel was damaged (although it was taken care of.)
  • Radfox, the organizer, then decided to make it a real convention for the future.
  • The chat group for the party had a history of hateful posts.
  • Trenton (who is a black furry) complained about a stereotype meme and asked for better behavior if the chat was official for a con.
  • Radfox redirected offensive posting to an “anything goes” side chat, where members doubled down with racist hate for Trenton.
  • Radfox was peer pressured to discourage listening to “SJW” complaints, but said he was trying to start a real event and couldn’t have racism.
  • Members carried on attacking the concern and Trenton with neo-nazi propaganda, sourced from a terrorist group responsible for 5 murders. About 6 people were most responsible but others enabled it.
  • Part 1 asked: will those members be helping to found or staff a future event, and will fandom support it?

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