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Category: Interviews

The Complexities of Problematic Kinks

by Patch O'Furr

Due to mob harassment, The Complexities of Problematic Kinks – guest post by Maybelle Redmond is now moved to the archive with this editor’s update.

“Say THING BAD, there are no complexities” … “If you talk about the bad thing then you must support it” … “Screw you for supporting the bad thing”

The original article was attacked for one niche issue: Of course cub porn is bad. But describing the problem isn’t. The original guest author was an abuse survivor who called it a dangerous thing that needs control. This site doesn’t support it but does welcome discussion.

It’s real to call it deeply rooted in the community. It was here long ago. Warner Bros threatened to sue furries for Tiny Toons porn in the 1990’s. It isn’t coming from outside and incongruent like racist stuff. It is furry. Anyone with a pencil can make it and anyone with a smartphone can share it. Some furries draw their art before they know there’s a fandom. Self-generating adult art is one reason why furry thrives without corporations that don’t make such things.

That’s a potentially infinite problem. When there are furry art sites like Inkbunny that thrive with it, condemning users at the bottom doesn’t stop distribution at the top. They will just keep coming to the furry platforms. It’s easy to get mainstream platforms to separate from it. But inside fandom, rejection creates opportunity. Perhaps the same opportunity that let the furry fandom grow as an autonomous, self-feeding creature apart from others.

It’s a good subculture that simply has human problems, like every part of the larger culture. If we take it for granted that cub porn is bad but intrinsic here, it’s like how drugs are illegal but people keep using them. Consider how the 1980’s “war on drugs” failed and made problems worse. If you imprison small users, they still need humane care or rehab, with a plan for bigger priorities like the distributors. Saying THING BAD and “screw you” isn’t a plan.

If cub art is condemned there can still be consideration for it being self-generated, or users may be led into it and trying to get out, or they may even include abuse victims who need help. Attacking someone who posts porn they made of themselves isn’t unlike making kids face jail for sexting pictures of themselves. (Read that news story. How is that fair? There are better options. And here’s a story of a minor, “babyfur”, and rape survivor who came to this site for help and understanding. Similar to the guest article author.)

That’s why there are complexities. This is one of those murky, dark topics people don’t want discussed. They just want to shun it. But that doesn’t get rid of it.

People who do age-play as consenting adults are already condemned with a bad reputation, and bringing this up will bring you harassment. Even in an appropriate place with a history of speaking about community things. The guest article was originally meant for [Adjective][Species] but their site went inactive so the author submitted it here instead. That was using the community access function this site often offered to anyone. It can’t be denied that it’s an ongoing topic that didn’t start here. Unlike here, places where it started have uncomplicated promotion for it. But that isn’t why the article was hosted here.

[Adjective][Species] and Inkbunny, a real source for the art, got no real challenge from harassers who targeted this site. But this site was open to discussing how to challenge it, and had a history of doing that.

Welcoming discussion is risky with an audience who don’t give the attention to read a long article about Heavy Stuff. That brought knee-jerk reactions and a communication breakdown. But apologize-and-delete-it doesn’t fix the problem. It keeps communication broken and enables everything from “did you stop beating your wife yet” type of baiting, to appeasing death threats. Harassers who use such tactics aren’t interested in the truth.

The harassment to this site put loyalty above getting to the root of the problem, with zero in return for catching flak for years of work on behalf of others. Ironically, the harassment served trolls who spent a long time pushing false accusations in retaliation for that work. People who pretended to be friends a day earlier then tried to score points with the same false accusations sourced from trolls, such as:

  • They attacked this site for not being a performing monkey with overwhelming amounts of “callouts” that weren’t useable to write news (and senders had no intention of helping with the labor.) These callouts were bait by a small circle of harassers to set up non-participants for new callouts.
  • They falsely claimed the site defended “friends” who weren’t friends, spreading lies about a photo taken with a stranger before knowing about their past. (Notice the post being liked by altfurries who originally started the lie).
  • Facts were ignored and words were put in mouths to harass, especially by playing “telephone game” with outrageously- out-of-context screenshots, then playing ping-pong with each other’s misinterpretations, adding rounding-errors and malicious distortion with each round, and convincing casual bystanders to form a mob.

It was very ironic that this site was bashed way harder than the original smaller target (Timburrs) who actually posted offending art. That was hypocritically carrying out different priorities that were suggested in a few comments that set off the harassment:

  • A post that literally said “pick your battles” about Timburrs was twisted into “pedo” attacks against this site. Suggesting that it was ineffective to blast random individuals as if they were crime bosses was twisted into “you support cub porn”.
  • Casual comments that small individuals were “low-value targets” (in other words, change would come from focus on distributors, instead of bullying single individuals) were twisted into false attacks that this site was chasing clout… ironically projecting what the harassers did.

The original target was passed over, and harassment of this site was encouraged from inside a Discord group by a troll who then deleted their account. The bad-faith callouts piled on manipulation when they pointed at blocking to justify what they did, as if abuse and death threats should be rewarded with apologies.

It’s sad to see no consideration for the difference between describing bad stuff and causing it. When reporters report about murder, they don’t have to say they don’t support murder — saying “Helter Skelter is a good book” isn’t supporting Charles Manson. Looking for understanding to reduce abuse isn’t encouraging it. A great deal of work done by this site shows that this site isn’t for that. It has never had anything to do with cub art.

But many people didn’t even read the article before lashing out. Nobody bothered to dispute for seven months (posted in May) until suddenly attacking in January. Since the article was seen enough, and the harassment was so thoughtless and toxic, it’s now archived or the author may host it.

___________________

Now here’s some feedback about the article that was stopped prematurely. We should have been able to discuss this.

It’s real to describe people using BDSM for coping, where it helps them take control over bad experiences in the past. BDSM isn’t abuse, just like furry art isn’t bestiality (or half the fandom would be targets for attack.) If cub porn is created by people who seek coping too, describing them isn’t excusing it. Of course it’s different because the art has a danger of being an abuse tool. The article said so, but it was a mistake to host the article without emphasizing the unacceptability more strongly. (Nobody bothered to bring it up for fair response when it published.)

That’s how the article is liable to be criticized for too much weaving between condemning abuse, but giving victims a grey area with the idea of a “walled garden” with “policing” inside. Ideally that has good intentions, but less ideally, policing can happen with blind spots or in corrupt ways.

The article talks about policing as a step forward for an imperfect world, with a need for more education. You can say a step forward isn’t enough but the article does recognize a problem. Perhaps it’s the wrong solution when expecting education from general society leaves things too far out of our hands, but at least it describes it. Perhaps it’s better to have an ideal of eliminating the porn with a plan for distributors.

There is no plan. Those who attacked this site for discussing will see history repeat when the problem keeps coming up, and they attack people instead of causes. That’s like putting a pin in a voodoo doll and thinking it solved the problem.

It was a mistake to let bad-faith callout harassers get too close to this site by helping some of them. This helper was crucified for suggesting that one-size-fits-all attacks could use better strategy.

After forgetting their first small target and mobbing this site, many harassers then wildly threw more false accusations at others with thoughtless targeting, excused themselves while attacking critics, excused cub porn users they likedturned on each other, denied involvement, deleted their accounts because of causing so much harm, then demanded to be left alone while realizing they have no plan to make real changes.

A plan is now even less likely.

Ironically, Califur was attacked like this by altfurries who killed the con. Pointless reaction like this helps their plan for a Burned Furs/gamergate/”Pizzagate” attack movement. (See altfurs discuss it: Burned Furs 2.0 Telegram channel.)

In private message to this site, a Califur staffer said:

I can really relate to the guest article thing. The Baby fur panel was used to kill Califur. A fur asked if they could run a panel and it was that panel. I do think “What if” on occasion.

As an important contrast, altfurries aren’t content producers, they’re parasitical on fandom. That’s how rejecting hate groups can work, but if the cub porn is intrinsic and self-generating, then the two problems are apples and oranges and call for different solutions.

What could be a better strategy that doesn’t just hurt people and drag things backwards? There is a way: organizing artists to change their marketplace, and make the art less accessible from the source.

Imagine an artist trade compact with mutual standards for members. This site has often suggested forming an artists guild for that. There are active examples like the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable and the Furry Writers Guild. But nobody has cared or bothered to try organizing artists, even with growing businesses and websites distributing their stuff.

Instead, things have fallen backwards by using bad-faith harassment, and misleading a mob who didn’t bother verifying what they lashed out at. They didn’t even read the article, or treated it like a Rorschach test, picking out pieces to make false pre-judgement that this site “supports” cub porn and justify vicious harassment. Thoughtless callouts like that will only hurt people. Doing it one-by-one will be an infinite cycle while ironically, platforms will grow from it.  Indie furry platforms will gain users for the targeted content, and outrage-traffic will feed giant social media companies.

For many who sent private support for accommodating discussion, but were too afraid to speak openly, good luck with it.

This site was often asked to help report a heavy load of stories nobody else would handle, until that work was killed by supposed allies. It’s so abusive to do that thing where “I sent you callouts and you didn’t throw huge amounts of unpaid labor into them, be our slave or it means you support ___”. Obviously, with huge amounts of work done on the Zoosadist story that came out in September 2018, this site has to sort by priority but doesn’t support such things. You wouldn’t know it from harassers who dragged it down pointlessly. The fandom has a terminal problem if that’s how things are supposed to work. Until the most extreme zoosadist content trading is illegal, or there’s a plan for getting real policy changes with art sites, or Twitter goes away or takes harassment seriously, these will be lasting problems.

Another “eating their own” story about the game of clout-chasing:






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POLICY NOTE (Updated Feb 2019.) Endorsement is not implied for quotes, tweets, community access guest writing, or other documenting that may appear on Dogpatch Press, and related info gathering elsewhere. In general, writing and sources will be kept secure and as published with all rights reserved. Outside directions to create, alter, or remove content will be declined except in these cases: 1) Factual errors like a wrong name or year. 2) By formal notice such as a lawyer letter. 3) A thoughtful request from one source may be considered. Assume good faith and independence of the site and guests, and use persuasion with no entitlement to labor. Non-response isn’t a statement of belief, affiliation or intentions. Targeting the site with harassment, mass brigading (such as with callout groups or hashtags), putting words in mouths with misquoting or mischaracterizing, and other abusive manipulation (e.g. “gotcha” ambush tactics, “did you stop beating your wife yet”, “silence about ___ means ___” or Catch-22 setups) will never be considered and will be blocked. TL;DR: declining is final and pressure ends conversation. This policy covers accounts connected to or followed by the site and may be cited with no further comment.

SonicFox, world record Esports champion: fursuit “a peak thing in life for me”

by Patch O'Furr

It’s not every day that a POC furry pro gamer with 4 Guinness World Records wins a tournament in a fursuit. When I talked to a friend about interviewing SonicFox, I heard he was cool and didn’t have a big head about it. It was true, but the question lots of people are asking is how does he do it in a fursuit head? The best thing I do in mine is fit a beer through the muzzle. And SonicFox isn’t even quite drinking age while earning more than enough to pay for college.

Pro gaming is getting huge, and it has a juggernaut representing furries – but to SonicFox, it seems like the representing and hugeness is no big deal compared to the furry part. It’s like whether he was a rock star or just a guy next door with a cool hobby to share, he’d give it the same attitude. It’s about being friendly and as sincere as you can be in being who you want to be, especially if that’s a cute blue fox. He should win all the hugs.

Thanks to SonicFox for being so prompt and enthusiastic about an interview from a tiny furry blog – it was fast and good like his gaming. (And thanks for question suggestions from Chip, Summer, Matthias, Tempe, Codex and Tex.) Here’s some further reference, then the interview.

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Furry Fashion (part 2): Interview with the Furry Fashion Collective.

by Patch O'Furr

Cyan:
Hi Patch. We invited a few members of the F/F Collective board into this chat. Thanks for considering our project newsworthy.

Patch:
Totally cool. I got the impression there’s a physical book happening with it?

Sol:
Yessir!

Patch:
I dig it – is it about furries-who-like-fashion, or fashion-for-furries? Like clothes + furries, or more specifically anthro costuming?

Steezy:
Furries who like fashion. Sometimes fursuit fashion.

Yazoo:
It’s an amalgam of both the fashion savvy and those interested in fashion, whether it’s fandom inspired or otherwise.  So there’s a very nice intersection of people looking for fashion who are in the fandom and creators that provide for the fandom.

Sol:
Its also about giving insight for furries who might want to get into fashion.

Patch:
Oh yay, inspiration. Honestly that would even help me, I love making cool outfits but know nothing about the kind of stuff that people who go to school for the design know.

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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“You let your ghosties get the best of you”- Chatting with comics creator Mark Kalesniko

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

“You can either stay and rot, or you can escape and burn. That’s OK; he’s a songwriter, after all, and he needs simple choices like that in his songs. But nobody ever writes about how it is possible to escape and rot, how escapes can go off at half-cock, how you can leave the suburbs for the city but end up living a limp suburban life anyway. That’s what happened to me; that’s what happens to most people”

High Fidelity- Nick Hornby

Years back, after heavily getting back into comics, I was gifted with the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels and surprised by the breadth and depth of the selection set about bookmarking and ordering a few dozen titles. Amongst them was Mark Kalesniko’s Alex, a character I instantly fell in love with and creator who’s work I quickly consumed. Having moved back to his home town of Bandini in Canada, with his tail between his legs, after abandoning his dream of animation at ‘Mickey Walt’, Alex wakes up on a park bench, groggy from another night of alcohol fuelled self destruction. Hungover, high school yearbook in his jacket and with an expressionistic painting of the town he has no memory of. The frustrated Alex fills his time wrestling with his past, struggling with artists’ block, hard drinking, and Gilligan’s Island whilst avoiding old school friends and facing up to the unthinkable. Having to be an artist, rather than a cartoonist. Freeway, drawn over ten years features a younger Alex in his animating career. Stuck in a seemingly never ending traffic jam he reminisces about his uncertain start in LA , whilst he imagines himself living an idyllic life, back in the golden days of animation.

Although optimistic now, I spent most of my teens and twenties as a shamefully stereotypically moody and sullen sod, even now I’m drawn to characters like Alex. Back then my favourite book was High Fidelity, which is the reason for the quote at the start of the review which pretty much sums up Alex’s story. Both books features a downtrodden lead character, stuck in their ways and unhappy with the way life turned out. Kalesinko’s work is great for wallowing in self pity and misery, in the same way that we’re drawn to sad songs, knowing full well they’ll bring us yet deeper into sadness. Tackling themes of depression, self destruction, inner peace and the death of a dream, they are both hugely moving and funny reads. Kalesinko can tease out the comedy of even the most disastrous and destructive events of Alex’s life, presented with his sparse fine line with the pacing and sense of movement that clearly comes from his own stint in animation.

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How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art: “When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked.”

by Patch O'Furr

I’m in love with this exclusive animation that Jib Kodi made for a B&A (Bark & Awoo) with me!  It was so cool of him to put the appeal and personality of his art on display with his words. He caught my eye, as I’m sure he did for many others, with his outrageously cool short .gif animations on Twitter. In a very short time (months) he’s built a massive 14K following based on how infectiously shareable they are. It’s a winning strategy for an artist, and as far as he’s told me, it just happened accidentally out of love for what he’s into. Kind of like furry fandom grew itself. – Patch

Follow Jib Kodi on FurAffinity and Twitter

Hi Jib, can you talk about how you got into furry, and what do you think about it?

Welp, here goes nuthin’.

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“Truly, my life is a low budget horror movie”- Scott Zelman’s Wilde and much missed webcomic

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with the devoted curation of a fan doing exactly what they love. It’s my favorite kind of writing – thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented, in magazine style long form. I suspect it may be underexposed considering the high quality, so if you like this, give a follow. And expect syndicated content reposted here too.  (- Patch)

“Don’t be scared! He doesn’t bite. That’d be gauche”

Scot Zellman’s Buster Wilde first appeared on-line around the mid-nineties back in the prehistoric days of the internet. Following the exploits of our eponymous hero, lover and maybe most importantly, gay lycanthrope as we quickly discover the he twist in the familiar folk tale and pop culture staple. Sinewy, flamboyant party animal by night at sunrise Buster switches back to his beleaguered alter ego, Bernard. Stressed, uptight and again most importantly, straight. As Buster humorously and enthusiastically throws himself into his new life, navigating the gay club scene with its drama and clichés, Bernard struggles with a double life he doesn’t remember and more often than not waking up in other guys beds. It was among one of the first web comics I discovered when I finally got on-line and I quickly made my way through every strip on the now broken and mostly forgotten geocities site. You heard that right, Geocities. It’s been around fourteen years since the final strip was posted and it’s a testament to both the quality of the strips and Zellman’s considerable skills as a writer and gifted cartoonist that those who saw it at the time still hold it in such high regard over a decade later. Apart from one of two references that date them (Buffy, who Buster declares is a bitch because of her treatment of fellow werewolf Oz) the Buster Wilde strips have a timeless quick paced humour to them that’s still as funny today as when they were first conceived.

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Fred Patten Interviews Rich Hanes – Author of Foxhunt!

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Back in April 2017, I reviewed Foxhunt! by Rich Hanes, a 2009 337-page science-fiction novel set in a largely-anthropomorphic “Wildstar Universe”. Foxhunt! is primarily about an interstellar nation of anthropomorphic foxes, but it refers to many other species. I was very favorably impressed by it, ending my review saying, Foxhunt! is superior both as space opera and as furry fiction. Don’t miss it!”

Rich Hanes, the author, e-mailed me to thank me for my review. I took the opportunity to ask him about Foxhunt! and his Wildstar Universe; how he came to write the novel in 2009 and why he hasn’t followed it with more Wildstar Universe stories. This has led to this interview, for anyone who is interested in anthro fox Captain Sebastian Valentino’s adventures in Foxhunt!; in Hanes’ larger Wildstar Universe; and in Rich Hanes himself.

FP: Let’s start with some basic information; date of birth, when & why you started writing, and so on.

RH: My name is Rich Hanes, which is my real name. I’m 32, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, earned a degree in Computer Drafting from ITT Technical Institute in Canton, Michigan at the age of 23, then moved to Seattle to work for Boeing on the 787 Dreamliner for 6 years until being laid off. Now I live back with my parents in Detroit while searching for adequate employment, and earn money right now through writing and my YouTube channel,  L-1011 Widebody

FP: Your email address is richard.harlan.hanes, which I assume is your full name. How long has your YouTube channel been going? Is its main focus on your Wildstar Universe?

RH: No, it’s focused primarily on retro-gaming — a lot of it is doing Let’s Plays of games that I owned as a kid and still have the original CD for. But I do have two short videos there that I put together as an ‘introduction’ of sorts to my concept for Wildstar.  About 7 minutes in total. Perhaps that will help answer some basic questions, or if you want to link to the actual videos.

FP: Since this interview is mostly about your Foxhunt! and its whole Wildstar Universe, why don’t you tell us how you came to develop its galactic civilization and the Star Nation of anthro foxes?

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Q&A with Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential: the History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016.

by Patch O'Furr

ponyvilleRecently, I posted “The history of My Little Pony and thoughts about growing up with cartoons” to prepare for chat with Sherilyn Connelly.  Sherilyn is a journalist local to the San Francisco Bay Area Furries. (She has given them notice in publications like SF Weekly.) Her first book is out this April: Ponyville Confidential, a pop culture history of the My Little Pony media empire. (Please like the book’s Facebook page!)

Hi Sherilyn, thanks for talking about Ponyville Confidential!  Let me start by asking – who needs to read it? Will it be manely for fans?  Will there be parts to tempt furry readers?

“Manely!” I see what you did there. Obviously everypony needs to read it, and it’s by no means intended just for My Little Pony fans; I hope that people who are interested in pop-culture history in general will give it a look as well. And there are many references to the Furry fandom, including shout-outs to Frolic, Further Confusion, and Anthrocon.

I know you as a committed, active fan who comes to Furry events and writes journalism about them (and movies, and more.) Can you give a brief intro about your background and writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to want to be anything at all. I started writing professionally for SF Weekly in 2011 — within a few months when I started grad school and began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so it was a momentous year in retrospect — and wrote quite a lot about the the local Furry scene at the time. I began contributing film reviews to the Village Voice in 2012, and became the Weekly‘s permanent film critic in January 2013.

I hear this is your first book, congrats – how excited are you? Would anything surprise you about how it might be received?

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EZ Cool Down vests are a major business for fandom and beyond – EZ Wolf tells why.

by Pup Matthias

Thanks to Matthias for writing for our mission: to show that furries don’t just dream, they make things with awesome DIY power. EZ Wolf’s shirt says it all. – Patch

Wearing a fursuit is a pain in the tail. I wouldn’t know myself, since I would like to have a roof over my head for the next month. However, ask anyone who has had the joy of bringing their amazing characters to life, and they’ll tell you it’s like wearing your couch. There’s a lot of sweat and heat that goes into bringing the magic to life. But one member of our fandom has gone out of his way to battle this problem, and has developed one of the most successful fandom businesses. I’m talking about the EZ Cool Down vests created by well-known photographer and video maker, EZ Wolf.  Here’s what he told me.

EZCD_logoIntroduced in 2013, the vest has become a standard for many Furries to stay cool under their fursuit.

(EZ Wolf:) “The EZCooldown Performers vest is specially designed for actors, cosplayers, LARPers, fursuiters, and other costume performers.

This cooling vest provides hours of cooling comfort and prevention against heat stress thanks to four special PCM inserts which provide comfortable cooling relief for up to four hours, even during strenuous activities in high-temperature environments.

Each vest has four inserts made of phase change material.

The four inserts contain biological phase change material (PCM), which retains cold.

The PCM inserts can be quickly activated in your refrigerator or freezer or by putting them in ice water, and they can be reused over and over again. Once activated, the PCM maintains its temperature for a long period, providing comfortable cooling relief.

The EZCooldown Performers vest is made out of thin yet durable polyester mesh, which won’t add a thermal insulating layer to your outfit.

The four inside pockets can house four PCM inserts: two on your chest and two on your lower back.

Our vests come in three sizes and can be easily adjusted with the six Velcro straps to fit each individual wearer perfectly.”

Unlike fursuit making, this is a step up from the process of custom handiwork.  EZ Cool Down does not make the vest themselves.

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