Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Politics

Jello Biafra’s Incredibly Strange Interview and dance party with furries: San Francisco, 12/1/18

by Patch O'Furr

Info: Frolicparty.com or Facebook – Frolic with Jello Biafra

Are you a man or are you a mouse?
If you love your fun, die for it!
The Power of Lard by Lard

Man or mouse: why pick just one? Furries can have their cake and eat it too. (It’s cheese cake, of course!)

That line jumped out of my car music on a drive to San Jose’s PAWcon, on the day after Halloween. Besides rocking my giant ears, I was geeking out about just doing a 45 minute phone call with Jello Biafra.

Jello is a punk legend, the singer for Lard and the Dead Kennedys, the founder of Alternative Tentacles (one of the longest running indie record labels)… and he’s friendly to this fluffy fandom. Is that punk? Well, will it annoy purists and/or make you laugh? Then it just might be. And will the average furry care? I’d say it’s cooler than the times when furries infested the White House and assimilated Insane Clown Posse. If you could put all those things together, and let the mayhem commence with cute animals and crazy clowns doing a coup on the Capitol lawn, it would only be half as outrageous as this amazing event.

Speaking of Halloween, that wasn’t just a date on the calendar. Halloween is a classic Dead Kennedys song, and Jello referenced it when I asked for his thoughts on furries. The song rages against social regulations and asks why people don’t express themselves like that day, every day? So, furries, you got compared to a classic punk rager by the legend who wrote it. (He also wrote Nazi Punks Fuck Off. By the way, Nazi Furs Fuck Off!)

See why I was so stoked? Getting in that spirit also reminds me of Ministry’s Every Day is Halloween; Jello’s band Lard is a metal/industrial collab with the guys from Ministry. And when I asked what his fursona could be, he gave the punkest answer:

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Furries vs. Evil: Habits in geek social spaces

by Patch O'Furr

This was written as introduction for a planned series. I edited it to stand alone in response to recent events of bad things being exposed. Expect to see it reposted in the future to fit a series. It’s kind of a thinkpiece to provoke open ended conversation. Let’s start with a weird question… (- Patch)

Q: How are furries like Catholic Nuns? 

Aside from silly headgear or being anthropomorphic penguins… this isn’t about being moralistic, but it involves contrasting black-and-white appearances.

Do nuns make you think nice thoughts about The Sound of Music or Mother Teresa, with harmless ladies playing guitar and taking care of orphans?

For a huge contrast, now think of scandals with abusive priests, where churches shift them from diocese to diocese to cover it up. It’s easy to assume nuns don’t do abuse like that. Until news comes out that they do, but the church hasn’t been accountable. This news may be loaded with a certain counterintuitiveness that increases the WTF factor. But in both cases, it’s dishonest to blame individuals for an institutional problem.

Furry fandom is made of loose federations of groups. Almost all of them are super positive and friendly and it would be gross exaggeration to suggest an institutional problem like above. It’s not a church with a pope. At worst, dramatic stories like a ring of abuse in Pennsylvania was limited to personal friendships that didn’t go as far as alleged. (Lupinefox, who was accused of hosting it at his house, was found not guilty on all charges in court.)

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Dwale’s critical review of “Red Engines”: When furry fiction becomes islamophobic propaganda

by Patch O'Furr

Dwale is a member of the Furry Writers Guild whose story “Behesht” won a 2017 Coyotl award. Follow them on Twitter. Thanks to Dwale for this guest post! Here’s a few previous articles about the anthology. – Patch.

Dwale continues – and see an update from Furplanet at end.

Disclosure: I have a story in this anthology. This analysis will contain spoilers.

I’ve been making my way through “Dogs of War II: Aftermath”, edited by Fred Patten and have now almost finished. I had thus far thought it more or less innocuous. Then I read the second to last story.

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I found “Red Engines” to be an offensive, even dangerous work of fiction. It is a nakedly Islamophobic diatribe, the publishing of which, while not surprising given today’s political climate, is saddening.

The story is told from the point of view of an AI-controlled robotic bird who calls himself Hughin. Hughin comes to an unnamed village in an unnamed part of the Muslim world; desert country (these kinds of stories never take place where the land is green).  He sees the dust trails of an approaching army identified as the “Allies.” He perches on “the town minaret” (I guess this is a one-mosque town?), then flies down to a school.

At the school, he meets Aisha, a young girl, and asks her if there are other children present. She takes him inside where he meets and questions the others, recording their answers. Hughin, you see, comes from an island of artificial intelligences and has been told to collect as much data as he can from these kids before they are killed. The reason he does this is to preserve them in some fashion. He is not part of the conflict, we are told, he is supposed to be a neutral observer.

From this information, Hughin constructs within himself what he calls a “djinn,” a virtual representation of what he has learned from the children. Throughout the remainder of the story, this “djinn” spouts off phrases such as “Eat the Jews!” And while Hughin admits that this pseudo-mind is a “nasty parody,” the reader is never really offered much of a counterpoint.

They hear an explosion nearby, and when the children ask who is attacking, Hughin says, “The allies.” He thinks to himself, but does not say, “and you’re all going to die.” This makes clear that the coming battle is not a surgical strike. It is to be a wholesale massacre.

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Furry Socialism: You’re Soaking in It! – by Tempe O’Kun and Dralen Dragonfox

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks Tempe and Dralen for this guest post, a good followup to my “heart of the furry economy“. – Patch

The furry fandom is big and complex. We each have our own groups of friends, and our little sub-fandoms centered around specific shows and interests. It’s easy to not see the fursuit for the fluff.

Once it a while, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at it as a whole.

Furry is incredibly socialist.

This seems like a weird statement on its face. How can a community of people who like cartoon animal media be socialist? Well, we make, buy, and sell things.

“But wait!” you might say. “That’s using money! Furry must be capitalism!”

Socialism doesn’t mean abolishing money, like they do on Star Trek. It just means the economy has to benefit regular people, instead of companies and a handful of the ultra-rich. In fact, since the Furry fandom literally invents itself without some overarching canon coming from any one movie, TV, animation, or comics studio, no one person can ever control who gets paid for their unique creations. This power resides in the creators themselves and the furries who support them. Furry is open source.

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ArtworkTee issues and the heart of the furry economy

by Patch O'Furr

There was a lot of recent drama about Artworktee, an indie operation catering to furries. This video covers how it started, but there’s a lot more to say.

I had mixed feelings on watching it unfold on social media. “But Patch, isn’t reporting not supposed to have feelings?” I’m a fan like any other, and “objective fan” is an oxymoron.  I couldn’t pretend not to be one, or miss the point of having an independent subculture by fans, for fans that’s best written about from inside. For this story, I dug deeper into some of the issues involved:

  • Complaints about underpaid artists.
  • Questionable practices for the business of art.
  • The mission and allegiance involved in profiting from fandom.
  • The stakes of overlooking problems and calling it “just business”, vs. how formal business can solve problems too.

Let me try to bring understanding from several perspectives, including the travails of small-business, and the devotion of grassroots fans. This is a great case for that stuff, because it’s not every day that a business comes from this niche fandom that kind of resembles mainstream startup companies. Until now, the most successful commercial enterprise like that is probably Bad Dragon.

Pro-fans and profiteering

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FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon

by Patch O'Furr

IN THIS ARTICLE: FurAffinity bans hate groups – click through the Twitter threads to see many screenshots of what they were promoting. 

The true story of FurAffinity account bans

Furry art is full of cute, cuddly cartoons. Many FurAffinity users wanted to know – why was the site being used for hate imagery? If the art has to be edgy, couldn’t they just stick to good old-fashioned Hyper Diaper Pokemon Porn or whatever? At least sex is positive and life-affirming.

On the site and on Twitter, protest rose against activity that seemed to violate the Code of Conduct, while complaints were being dismissed by site staff. The CoC looked toothless because promotion of hate groups was excused with an exception for “fictional” activity.

What furry stuff ISN’T fictional? And depicting hate imagery in a positive light IS promotion. That’s part of the history of propaganda. And making excuses that it’s just historical interest reminds me of when I used to sell rare books at an antique mall; let’s be honest here, that chicken-necked skinhead with a swastika on his elbow wasn’t visiting that creepy dealer down the lane just for memorabilia. (His money was no good to me.)

During the protesting, FurAffinity users openly claiming to be alt-right trolls were gloating about driving traffic from the site and taunting those who left. That’s like getting acquitted for a hate crime and then mooning the judge. Sometimes nazis dress to impress, but nobody ever accuses them of being smart.

The dumpster fire kept burning until the complaints started tagging FurAffinity’s corporate owner IMVU. Perhaps they got worried about their anime-eyed avatars being the lesser evil on the site.

Soon the Code of Conduct was updated, and dozens of accounts went dark. It seemed to follow a precedent set a few months earlier when Discord Inc. flushed many of the same assholes and their alt-right servers down the drain.

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AZ Republican Leader Exploits Furries To Disguise Anti-LGBT Policy, “Concentration Camp”

by Patch O'Furr

By Tempe O’Kun and Patch, with thanks to Tonya Song for interview questions.

Recently, AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend (a politician in the Arizona House of Representatives since 2013) stumbled into the furry fandom.  She’d been threatening to sue teachers who were organizing for resources to fix a crisis in schools with leaky roofs, 25-year-old textbooks, rats in classrooms, and no budget to afford toilet paper. It all started when she responded to criticism by Pepper Coyote, a furry who happens to be a teacher in Arizona.

Furries, as we are naturally inclined to do, welcomed the curiosity with the usual range of mostly-SFW responses. This sort of interaction happens with some regularity. Some innocent outsider happens upon the fandom, and we get to watch him or her discover the wacky world of talking animals. Sometimes they even become a loved fixture of the community like Boozy Badger.

Except that’s not what’s happening here.

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“Naughty Bits” fursuit video shoot with Rachel Lark – sex-positive art in the age of Trump.

by Patch O'Furr

(Adult content)

Armed with a ukelele and raunchy/smart songs like “Fuck My Toe”, Rachel Lark is an Oakland, CA based singer-songwriter with a fierce and funny voice. She has a new song, “Naughty Bits”, that playfully protests against sex-negative politics. It’s a response to SESTA, a law against sex trafficking that throws free expression under the bus. Furry dating site Pounced closed in fear of overreach of the law.

For those of you who don’t know what’s up with SESTA (and I’m not judging, there’s a lot going on these days) here’s what you should know….

1. It equates all sex work with sex trafficking (not the same thing)
2. It hurts sex workers AND victims of sex trafficking
3. It has serious and scary implications for free speech on the internet
4. It potentially criminalizes sex worker solidarity and advocacy

This law sucks, but when things suck, we make art, and that’s the only way out of the despair. Rachel Lark

Rachel wrote an in-depth article about this: SESTA, Sex Work, and Art in the Age of Trump.

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2 Gryphon punches down on a critic – what can we learn from this?

by Patch O'Furr

Quick: What’s the difference between a car driven into a crowd by a terrorist, and a swimming pool? That’s a question about the video below from 2 Gryphon.

He was reacting to a video criticizing his beliefs about hate groups. Like neo-nazi marchers who murdered a woman in 2017 by driving a Dodge Challenger into a crowd – (with participation by haters from the furry community, leading one to kill himself in March 2018.)

2 Gryphon claims to be respectful of the critic Tantroo McNally, AKA Sonious. a furry news writer and Youtuber. At the same time, his reaction was punching down on an easy target with 369 subscribers in front of his 28,000.  That’s unusual. Sonious doesn’t get other ratings like this, and it pushes down search results. With so much unbalance, it’s hard to get both sides. Everyone likes both sides, right? So let’s give a deeper look to what Sonious was criticizing. This was the source of it all:

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The closing of Pounced.org is a wake up call for fandom attitudes about sex.

by Patch O'Furr

Yesterday’s article covered the closing of Pounced, a long-lived furry dating and personals site, out of fear of legal liability under a controversial new law, FOSTA. A statement on Pounced discussed ill-defined wording that made the law overkill; and how the smallest organizations may face the worst liability. It particularly could require administration that sounds easy on paper, but makes an untenable burden in practice.

FOSTA is meant to protect assumed victims of sex trafficking, but falsely makes “victims” and “sex work” the same thing. My article suggested that nobody wants trafficking abuse, but sex work isn’t illegal everywhere, it exists everywhere and can be called a healthy consenting adult issue. Beyond that is anti-free-speech, anti-business, and intrusive paternalism of a law that has collateral damage on stuff like harmless dating. Here’s some editorial elaboration.

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