Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Opinion

5 shot, 1 dead in Portland mass shooting; suspect Ben Smith was right-wing extremist furry

by Patch O'Furr

CNN reports “The Saturday night shooting in Portland, Oregon, that left one woman dead and five people injured started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters, according to a Portland Police Bureau news release issued Sunday.”

It can be hard to trust police accounts if the shooter wasn’t actually a homeowner, and it was a one-sided attack on unarmed targets until one defender shot back. Those are the claims of some sources. The New York Times has a victim’s account that they were volunteering to reroute traffic for safety ahead of a protest, but weren’t protesting when they were threatened. One victim was a woman who walked with a cane. Oregon Live identifies a slain volunteer as June Knightly, 60.

The sources include investigators who identify the suspect as Ben Smith, 43, an outcast of the furry community. There’s also furries who know Smith, and local journalists with a history of reporting against political spin and suppression. Some of them compared this to other chaotic incidents with unreliable official news, delays and failures to respond until authorities were forced to by public protest.

At the time of writing, the police haven’t named Ben Smith, but the media has. People grieving the tragedy are waiting for the arrest.

It appears that this story may be another incident of right-wing violence with a risk of biased official response. And, it’s another incident from a far-right fringe of furry fandom that the main community strongly rejects. It’s been compared to the July 2020 shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry, a far-right furry who was controversially let go with no murder charges for a year.

UPDATE (Feb 22): Benjamin Jeffrey Smith charged with one count of second degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm, as well as four counts of assault with a firearm.

The history of Portland shooting suspect Ben Smith (furry name Polybun) indicates his violence was predictable and motivated by hate. The facts may come from independent reporters and even furry news. Some may be pulled from investigator files because of record deletion we’re watching as the news comes out.

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Origins of an urban legend: “litter boxes for furries” joke gets revived for moral panic

by Patch O'Furr

Update: Thanks to The Daily Beast for linking this and quoting me. – Patch

No school ever had litter boxes for students who identify as animals. So how did the rumor explode into mainstream consciousness, like bad diarrhea from a diet of concern trolling and right-wing blogs?

In January 2022, the malodorous myth rose from local news in Michigan to the New York Times: Litter Boxes for Students Who Identify as Furries? Not So, Says School Official. Furries in the Times is a rare achievement. (Check the 1996 example at bottom of this story.) That isn’t simply debunking, it also has cultural potency for a post-truth era full of flat-earthism and Qanon cults.

I can’t count how many headlines there were about one incident. One is just absurd, but it keeps happening. That shows cynical calculation by Otherphobes. They’re demonizing minorities by proxy, with a target behind the target. It’s a cousin to transphobic memes like “I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” using weirdos to make it easier to swallow. But before we digest that, let’s go to the splatter zone and trace the patterns.

At Dogpatch Press, I’m obsessive about tracking media mentions and memes, and we also do debunking — like for a misinterpreted “nazi furries” photo — and I’d been asked to trace the old litter box myth before. So I dug deeper than the mainstream news. Furry News has the real shit.

The oldest mainstream source I found is in this 2008 photo from Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. He’s a broadcaster named Bob who likes furries, although it’s complicated. More on Bob in a minute.

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NFT’s bring hype, greed, and fraud; Creativity will suffer, says guest writer Doppelfoxx

by Dogpatch Press Staff

(Editor opinion by Patch): Cryptocurrency isn’t for me, because… (1) The energy use hurts the climate, (2) I wouldn’t try volatile trading without being highly informed, (3) I have no interest in heroin or hiring a hitman. That’s a popular stance among furries, but let’s not just be popular. One should know their enemy.

In theory, this blockchain technology is for decentralized exchange, kind like Paypal + Bittorrent for outsiders. In theory, I’d say it has some worthy use. Why? Look at Wikileaks, which did whistleblowing about governments — and was cut off from traditional funding — or even consider how to fund furries with identity and expression issues beyond borders. I also wonder if crypto’s energy use could reconcile with sustainability through computing advances, but ask a cryptographer. I’m not techie enough to understand the math beyond science fiction.

Basically, if you see blockchain tech covered by me, it’s from learning and putting things on record. Like its influence on the record highest fursuit auction, or the fandom’s only auction site. (I’ve never covered NFT’s.) Do you want it covered differently? Send a guest article! The following opinion piece covers NFT’s, another blockchain concept that isn’t interchangeable like currency. This isn’t vetted by a tech editor, so please use the comments for feedback. (- Patch)

The Furry Fandom, artist culture, and the dangers of Non-Fungible Tokens  

 

Cryptocurrency isn’t a new thing to a lot of people. Most safely assume that it’s a common matter to discuss by now. From one trend to another, it seems like the over-publicized success stories, scam emails, and ads that badger you to invest or download this or that app never stop coming. Yet while furries are notoriously well versed in technology, for most of us, it’s just background noise. Spam, business con tactics, and maybe hearsay from the friend of a friend who invested; it all sounds almost good enough to break through our skepticism… but not quite.

However, early in 2021, things suddenly changed. A digital work from Mike Winkelmann (AKA Beeple), entitled ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’, sold for $69.3 million USD. It was entirely unexpected for most of the online community, and the term NFT exploded like crypto did before it.

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Anti-LGBT Russian government morality activist visits and harasses fursuit walkers

by Patch O'Furr

From the fursuit walk in a video posted by Skip Doggy on Russian social media. SEE Q&A at BOTTOM about the walk.

“Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

Furry fan @Matvey_Muhin has a story that goes with media reports like this one from PinkNews: “Russia considers officially branding LGBT+ groups and furries as ‘extremists’“.

BACKGROUND: The reports look at political homophobia in the Russian government, and a commission that claims to protect morality. The reports say the commission chairman, Andrey Tsyganov, called for the government to help law enforcement by listing ideologies on their extremism list. The list includes the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) of Alexey Navalny, a jailed opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Listing these groups allows banning related gatherings and media, and Putin has been using it to squash his political foes.

That’s how Tsyganov wants to legally discriminate against LGBT people, supposedly to protect kids from “propaganda” — making it extremist to discuss LGBT people breathing and existing, as if they come from recruiting. The logic shows conservative belief of what a family should be, with a goal to enforce it by squashing LGBT people. Straight families with children are supposed to thrive through this false understanding of how sexuality works. They could just as soon seek power by squashing interracial dating.

Tsyganov started with such a reach, and blasted off from earth like Sputnik when he added LGBT+, radical feminist, child-free groups… and furries.

What’s the problem with furries, again? The logic is: (1) People on the internet make weird porn. (2) Some of them are furries. (3) Fandom freedom includes tolerance for LGBT expression. (4) Kids are in trouble while those exist. Those things don’t necessarily overlap, but it raises stereotyping about non-traditional gender and sexuality. This got furry porn site e621 banned in Russia (an easy target that shows the government was already watching.)

Furries face such attitudes rooted in old bigotry. Of course fandom isn’t exactly an identity, but it makes a community. Targeting their expression is just around the corner from direct homophobia. Compare how in the 1970’s, Disco music was targeted for being made by LGBT and minority people, even if the music itself is just music. So if furries belong on an “extremist” list, imagine getting attacked for dancing to the Ra-Ra-Rasputin song!

@Matvey_Muhin faced this with fellow furry Skip Doggy. He wrote:

“Can you imagine that Andrei Tsyganov came to our furry walk Tsaritsyno, Kolomeskaya. He continued to accuse us of pedophilia in front of children. But Skip drove him away. When a high-level official comes to us personally, it shows his madness. Long story short – the Christian radical and anti-vaxer is attacking us (especially me and Skip). Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Fursuit Fixation

by Joe Strike

Welcome to guest Joe Strike, journalist and author of Furry Nation, the furry fandom history book. (- Patch)

It’s not the first time Jimmy Kimmel has exploited Furry for a cheap laugh or two. (Furs with long memories or prone to Wikifur browsing might remember Kimmel/The Man Show’s 2003 ConFurence controversy.)

— but Kimmel (or his writers’) anti-furry bias has resurfaced with vengeance, judging from a couple of recent throwaway Jimmy Kimmel Show gags. On May 5th Kimmel referenced the ongoing NaziFur controversy in the most trivializing/assholey manner possible:

“Twitter has a feature now that will double-check with you before you post a mean or offensive comment… some people even want to get on the list [of comments or language that should be confirmed before posting].

He then posted a screen capture of a news story comment reading “Can we get “NaziFur” added to the toxicity list? It’s used by furrys [sic] who want to demonize other furrys who they can hate and it causes them irreparable reputational harm.”

Kimmel’s “clever” comeback (perhaps inspired by that memorable Entourage episode – ):

“That’s right, it causes ‘harm’ to the reputations of those of us who like to get a handy in a squirrel costume every once in a while.”

Yes, because nothing says “funny” like comparing fascism to masturbation.

Gag can be viewed here; comment author posted as a nazifur and was banned from Furaffinity.

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Mass shooting shows 6 reasons for furries to worry about the causes.

by Patch O'Furr

Last month, Equestria Daily warned about blowback to fans: The Indianapolis FedEx Mass Shooter Was Apparently A Brony, and Obsessed with Applejack. The 19 year old shooter carried it out after posting online that he hoped to see the cartoon character in the afterlife. “Brony” stands out by the Man Bites Dog rule, but there’s more details. Previously he had a gun seized, and got confined for threats after visiting white supremacist websites. Half of those killed were Sikhs. (I REALLY hate that, because of learning about this at the birthday of a Sikh friend. Every one I’ve met is a sweetheart.)

Rolling Stone asked: “Do Bronies have a Nazi problem?” They say fandom isn’t inherently problematic, but it faces infiltration by problems. Being a fan of cartoons isn’t a threat, but there’s threats coming out of fandom. Maybe giving a heads up about negativity should also say…

1: It’s not the only incident.

  • (2020): In Texas, Daniel Perry killed a protester after tweeting about how to kill protesters. His FurAffinity page got far-right gloating.
  • (2020): Furry in Ohio shot up a school, thankfully just hitting the building and nobody was hurt.
  • (2017): Randy Stair, a Brony who made animated fan videos, did a mass shooting at his workplace that was predicted by his creations.
  • (2016:) 3 killed in Fullerton CA by 3 furries, they all mingled at furry events and might not have met without them.

Maybe this isn’t more frequent than in general society, but do they share context? And isn’t one shooting too many?

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The Captain’s Oath, by Rick Griffin — book review by Gre7g Luterman

by Dogpatch Press Staff

VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! From March 1-31, support furry creators.

Welcome to Gre7g Luterman, science fiction author reviewed here. Find him online at his site or Twitter.

The Captain’s Oath is book two in an epic science fiction trilogy about a struggle against oppression, featuring illustrations by author and artist Rick Griffin. [Full disclosure: I’ve been a beta reader on this project since the trilogy was a novel-length draft.]

What would you do to escape from slavery? It’s not as simple a question as it might seem. For although the crew of the White Flower II are definitely slaves, it’s not like someone stands over them with a whip, watching them pick cotton. The krakun (an alien race that look like dragons) indoctrinate the geroo (an alien race that look like anthropomorphic kangaroos) from birth into believing that they are willing employees. Additionally, they let the geroo live in just enough comfort to keep the crew from considering any form of revolt.

Ateri, the captain of the White Flower II, has been considering escape his whole life, and when a ship of pirates offers him a chance at freedom (a do-or-die offer, admittedly), they enter into a conspiracy that can only lead to freedom or the execution of every man, woman, and child aboard. The plan has three parts, which roughly correspond to the books in the trilogy.

Step 1: Trick the krakun into believing that a newly discovered planet can be terraformed into a new home world.

Step 2: Lay low while the krakun bring in a terraformer (the single most expensive machine in the known galaxy).

Step 3: Steal the transformer and sell it.

The first book in The Final Days of the White Flower II trilogy was called Traitors, Thieves, and Liars (published February 2019). It followed Gert and a pair of pirates as they snuck aboard a krakun survey ship to plant doctored data.

The second book, The Captain’s Oath (published February 2021), largely abandons Gert to follow the ship’s science officer, Tesko. I’ll admit that I was leery of this decision initially, but as this book has become my favorite novel of all time (furry or mainstream), clearly it was a good choice on Mr. Griffin’s part.

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Furry Raiders “Foxler” sex crime case: Jacob Kovar pleads guilty in scheme to frame witness

by Patch O'Furr

Jacob Kovar, and his friend Lee “Foxler” Miller, founder of the Furry Raiders

The continuing story of nazi furries and their gang-like crimes (Updated April 2021)

In 2017, Dogpatch Press broke news that made national headlines. (Rolling Stone: Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem? — Newsweek: Neo-Nazi Furries are Trump’s Latest and Most Puzzling Alt-Right Supporters.)

The Colorado-based Furry Raiders are a nazifur group with around 200 online members at this time. They exist to infiltrate and troll the furry community. The first story covered how they killed Rocky Mountain Fur Con, and followup covered more of their crimes and victims who need vindication. (See timeline at bottom). 

In 2019, Denver police arrested Furry Raiders founder Lee “Foxler” Miller. He was charged for sex offenses with a child that took place in 2015.

New court documents show how Miller’s inner circle tried to undermine the case by intimidating a witness. If the plan worked, the witness would be lured into a trap, framed, harassed and extorted, and pulled out of Miller’s case. Dogpatch Press would be baited into false reporting to hurt the victim.

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Pornhub and Xtube purge millions of videos, telling furverts to “beat it”

by Patch O'Furr

Are you old enough to remember downloading lo-fi toon porn from sites like VCL? (Slo-o-oowly…) In the 1990’s, furry butts and bits came from pencils and ink, and the small niche of “spoogey” fans could probably fit in a single furpile. Not that it was easy to find ones close enough for hookups, or a rudimentary murrsuit for a hot-glued fantasy scene. Furverts were sensationalized with party scenes on CSI, but quality furotica was rare.

Today, your spank bank can come from a wealth of platforms. They’re stuffed with crisp digital renderings from full-time professional artists, and hi-rez live-action videos with a kaleidoscope of fetishes. It just takes a smartphone to put thousands in show value on screen. For those with gear and a dream, it’s as easy as finding a partner with a room at a convention. Adults new to the fandom don’t know how good they have it.

They’re doing what healthy adults wanna do. But corporate overlords just gave a sign of how fleeting this freedom can be.

(Vulture): Pornhub Just Deleted Most of Its Content.

Prior to this decision, since Pornhub’s launch in 2007, anyone with basic computer literacy could upload any video they wanted, and trust us, they did. Before the content purge on Sunday night, Pornhub held around 13.5 million videos per its own metrics on the home page. As of writing Monday morning, the site shows a mere 2.9 million.

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Music review: the fantasy soundtracks of Baumarius Remastered

by Patch O'Furr

A review request came in from Lucas Masoch:

My new album Baumarius Remastered is an 85-track, 5-hour-long compilation of my work over the years, featuring music that falls within the realm of avant-garde, psychedelic, orchestral soundtrack, epic trailer, post-rock, and world music; often a combination of these. You can listen to the album here on Youtube.

As a confirmed night owl, most of my work happens between midnight and dawn. This is the chilly season for Northern California fog, so I work with a lit fireplace and dogs lounging on fluffy covers nearby. When I put Baumarius on, the cozy level was off the charts.

5 hours of music is great for immersion, but a lot to review. So I used it as background for working with occasional extra attention.

Baumarius Remastered is packed with arboreal, pagan, and fairytale vibes to summon furry creativity. For more than personal listening, it would also be good for a chillout or cuddle space at a party, an art exhibit, a moody video game, or a group art making session. Another Youtube mix of it is labeled: Calming Fantasy & Adventure Music for Writing, Sleep, & Emotional Inspiration.

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