Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Subculture

How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Why is commercialism a topic for an often disparaged subculture? Compare furry fandom today to its roots. Times change, and hindsight can help to see why. Let’s look at how industry and media influenced the American roots in the 1970’s, how it grew, and changes that come with bigger scale than ever.

The 1970’s could be a hungry time for fans with a taste for comics and animation of the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age. As it faded, funny-animal comics died off while the business suffered under the Comics Code. In movies, the fall of the studio system contributed to a dark age of animation. Hanna-Barbera reigned on TV with cheap formulaic product. Disney’s feature studio almost went bankrupt with barely any new artists hired for a generation. Robin Hood (1973) spread the furry virus before it had a name, but the movie wasn’t well loved by the studio. Then a new wave of artists (such as Tim Burton and Don Bluth) came out of Disney while it had a rebirth, peaking with The Lion King (1994), which launched a thousand furry projects. But by the early 90’s the furry fandom was already fully fledged to take off on its own. It happened under the influence of the ups and downs of industry, but also in spite of it.

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Story of a Former Alt-Furry: Clouded by Clout

by Dogpatch Press Staff

This guest post was submitted for anonymous posting on the guest’s behalf. That’s a community access service offered by this site. The story gives details about hate groups that can help readers with similar experience know it’s true, and can put the poster at risk of backlash. Part of such stories that often goes unspoken is the extreme abuse that such posts attract. That’s why it’s important to offer community access service, even for some stories that may have scary information that may be impossible to tell openly.

Sadly, abuse often comes from people who claim to be allies, as well as from enemies — and in cases targeting this site, they often fall for lying and baiting from bad faith sources. The knee-jerk reactions come from acting tribalist and putting agreement above finding out what’s going on. It may gain clout for the group but make you less informed.

“Perhaps we need to spend slightly less time asking whether we agree with, or approve of, a text, a piece, an experience, and ask what it does; or, better yet, what it might do? There is a power in simply asking “hmm, what’s going on here?” – @L0v3byt3

If you find the post valuable, be aware of abuse that comes with hosting it, not to gain clout that others fight for, but just to offer the service (since 2014). Of course nobody owes debate or an audience for bad faith and it’s fair to simply block it, but the post also describes how hate groups can be reinforced by attacking them – and a different solution.

To learn more about how hate groups seek to get attacked for publicity, check out the Behind The Bastards podcast about George Lincoln Rockwell, the American pioneer of those manipulative tactics. – Patch

Hate groups prey on loneliness.

I want to preface this by saying that I understand if you do not want to listen to the words of someone who used to be part of something horrible. What I have brought on myself and my reputation is nobody’s fault but my own and saying sorry after the fact may seem like an afterthought or a way to staunch the bleeding. What I am offering you is an insight into how these insidious groups like Alt-Furry work from an insider’s perspective, and how to avoid them if you feel unsure of yourself, or help others avoid falling into the same trap.

Since the beginning of human history, when we banded together in tribal groups, feeling like you belonged offered you a sense of safety. If you didn’t have the charisma or the skills to start your own group, you joined one, or tried. A sense of community makes you feel useful. It makes you feel like people need you around. Sometimes, this is so intoxicating, especially to people who have been alone for quite some time, that you overlook things that others in your group do.

After all, they are your friends, right? It’s okay for people to be imperfect. If you point out that what they are doing is wrong, they won’t want to be your friends anymore. You will have to be alone and afraid again. Unfortunately, this feeling of fear is sometimes what drives us to turn a blind eye to things that hurt the people around us. It just gives you company when the ship begins to sink. Anything is better than dying alone, even dying together.

Taking advantage of this feeling is the core of how many hateful groups operate, and Alt-Furry is no exception. By convincing you that others hate you, and are always out to get you, they separate you from the world and trap you into a bubble. This is not to say that they are master hypnotists or that they force people to act the way they do. Instead, they are master manipulators, and nudge people who are vulnerable emotionally into doing the wrong thing. They convince you that they are your friends not because they like you specifically, but because everyone else -hates you-, and so they are the only friends you will ever make.

You have every chance in the world to walk away, but they convince you that doing so will only make you alone again. This is how they got me.

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Forget designer fursuits… it’s time for more bonkers concept fursuits.

by Patch O'Furr

Following yesterday’s article about Zweitesich, here’s a round table chat.

(Vandell:) Saw the Zweiteisch backlash and wow some people are being way, way too harsh.

(Chip:) It is impressive that they have 50k Youtube followers and didn’t run into this sort of issue sooner.

(Changa:) Yeah. It was misguided attempt pushed on by youthful foolishness but not something I would flog them over.

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When furries attack: Zweitesich criticized for marketing fursuits as expensive luxuries.

by Patch O'Furr

“Being mean and shitty to people doesn’t make you interesting” – Kaiser Neko

Everyone knows furries are silly. Many of them even claim a tongue-in-cheek Furry Trash label that sells truckloads of t-shirts. So what kind of oxymoron is “Designer Fursuiting”?

The launch of fursuit maker Zweitesich (Second Self) presented the trappings of an upscale luxury brand, complete with slo-mo fashion modeling, and dismaying logo placement right on the faces of the products. (Cool logo design, though.) It emulated the most pretentious of mainstream hype, including eye-popping prices and one of the most overanalyzed sentences ever written to sell things to furries: “created by a designer, not ordered from a tailor.”

Flayrah’s Sonious summarized how the marketing flopped: Fursuit entrepreneur learns rocky lessons about advertising.

Sometimes hype is just hype. Image is part of selling anything. Of course, if you know furry drama, it predictably didn’t stop with a failure to connect. Not when there’s a fandom complex about image that’s way out of proportion to how much the mainstream cares. With this complex, it’s like The Normies are always lurking outside the door, and they’ll break in here if there isn’t constant gatekeeping against fictional entertainment (like the 2003 CSI episode. If it’s been stale since last decade, insecurity keeps the resentment going.)

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The conspiracy of Beto O’Rourke, AOC, Sex, Politics, Furries, Hackers and the 1980’s internet.

by Patch O'Furr

Announcement: Until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

Hang on, this will be a weird ride. Start with recent furry news about this guy:

The story goes like this – this dude was deep in Jesusland and high on snake venom and arm-wrestled The Zodiac Killer, and … OK, I can’t do serious writing about political battles here, but Beto almost won a Senate seat from Ted Cruz in Texas. I think it’s kind of unusual for a Democrat to do so well there. It’s unusual enough that he joined the 123547 people who want to unseat Trump in 2020. That made some Republicans want to embarrass him with typical anti-sex, anti-gay stone age bullshit, so they dug up an old video of him wearing a sheep costume on stage when he was briefly in a punk band, and called him a furry with insinuation about freaky sex. (Like that’s bad? Could anything else make him seem cooler? Yeah, wait for it…)

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Animation and documentaries break ground for an indie furry film scene.

by Patch O'Furr

Announcement: Until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

Hollywood favors big-budget explosion-based movies. For small indie makers, the epic approach doesn’t seem like an easy path to getting support. Instead, those in furry fandom might go for niche, weird and being real. Think of artists with bedroom studios. Think of high furry talent at low fandom cost. Think of making documentary with ingredients already available, like costumes worth millions in show-value, and a cast that needs no practice to feature their passion. There’s so much raw energy here waiting to come out.

With documentary, excitement is rising for The Fandom, a series in the works from Ash Coyote, Chip Fox and Eric Risher. (The first episode is out on March 22). Ash’s co-director and editor, Eric “Ash” Risher (Furryfilmmaker) already made a well-received documentary and won a regional Emmy. At this point in fandom growth, such projects seem viable to go wider. Furries have recently risen to pro Youtuber status with 100k+ subscriber channels. (Call them “pro-fans”, which may be a unique status for this kind of grassroots fandom). Meanwhile a CNN news feature earned good mainstream notice, and furries spawned two good feature films; Fursonas won an award at the Slamdance festival and Rukus screened at SXSW.  And for the first time in 2019, a furry film fest is coming to Utah (an idea I’ve been wanting to see for years).

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Galactic Camp sets record with 742 furries, a San Francisco Bay warship and a Soviet time traveler

by Patch O'Furr

“A breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline from the deck of the USS Hornet at Galactic Camp. Featuring the extra fluffy Bandit Raccoon” – Muffle the Fox. (Previous story: A furry con takes flight on the USS Hornet, Feb 23, 2019)

Galactic Camp showed how nobody has weird fun like furries.

Photo by Orzel

Lucky Fox (Udachny Lisa), a 1970’s Soviet Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant-Colonel), was traveling through time on a mission to explore the future of fully automated luxury gay space communism. Unfortunately, due to budget shortages, his time machine was missing a few pieces. When he arrived, instead of seeing moon communes, he was astonished to be on The USS Hornet aircraft carrier surrounded by rainbow animal-people.

The future was a silly place. But Comrade Lucky Fox wouldn’t abandon his mission. It was time to sample alcoholic beverage drinks and dance for science and the glory of workers. (Worry to Glorkers!)

The uniformed time traveler made a furry party on a warship even weirder. But to those who already know him, he’s loved for running 10 years of “The Communist Party” annually at the Further Confusion convention in San Jose CA. (His party isn’t for politics… it’s for themed celebration of culture and donating to a Russian LGBT charity.) He was happy to do a Q&A about it below.

Mixing weird ingredients makes incredible events, and that’s why furry activity is steadily growing.

Galactic Camp set a record for biggest one-night event ever in furry fandom.

The furries who danced with Lucky Fox totaled 742 (corrected for double-counting of ticket upgrades and staffers.) Attendance of 742 sets a fandom record, according to some who helped make it happen.

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Sonic the Hedgehog artist injured by hate crime; life can be prickly for struggling artists

by Patch O'Furr

Milton Knight has a hand in works of animation and cartoon art seen by millions. For the 1993 Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV series, he did storyboards and animation and is credited with design for the villain Robotnik. In nearly 40 years as a pro, he’s made countless fans happy. But on February 25, he was hospitalized with “cuts, a broken nose, and more” at the hands of a racist stranger. Knight described enduring 15 minutes of provocative hate speech before it exploded with “endless punches to the head”. The attacker injured his fist and was jailed for battery.

Knight’s creative drive is inspired by retro style from the Golden Age of animation, and traditional ink and paint. As a pro since 1980, he got into animation on Ralph Bakshi‘s Cool World and The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. In comics, he worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Mouse. Like his inspiration from untamed 1930’s cartoons, he also did mature work like Heavy Metal and his own indie comic Midnite the Rebel Skunk. A fact that readers here may like is that he experimented with “extremely adult furry” work in the independent spirit of 1980’s fandom. In the network where pros, fans, and art curators meet, he has done archiving for the International Animated Film Association (whose president Jerry Beck was very close to “fandom founder” Fred Patten.)

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“Furries make the internets go”: a Behind The Meme story with Durango Dingo and Summercat.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Thanks to Summercat for starting this story about a long-lived and frequently-shared meme. He chatted with Durango Dingo, who is pictured in a suit from Fursuits By Lacy and Nick (Fursuiting.com.) This meme continues to spread from the heyday of Myspace to now, like when it was shared in 2018 by “Swift On Security”, a 263K follower mainstream Twitter account. (- Patch)

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Galactic Camp: a furry con takes flight on the USS Hornet, Feb 23, 2019

by Patch O'Furr

*** Get tickets here for the event in Alameda CA ***

Article photos by Loboloc0 and Amenophis.

How do you describe a one-day, space-themed furry convention on an aircraft carrier? It’s such uncharted territory, you might need a satellite view.

Galactic Camp was formerly Space Camp Party, their first event on the San Francisco Bay waterfront in March 2018. The name was changed to avoid a trademark conflict. Besides a shiny new name, it’s back with the same crew, and ambitions that go as high as putting pawprints on the moon.

Here’s Chatah’s video from the first party:

What to expect at Galactic Camp: A dance with spectacular production including a video wall and stellar DJ lineup, food trucks, Burning Man art cars, and a top-shelf craft cocktail menu better than any furry event has had before. And the biggest feature is the venue, the USS Hornet. It’s a floating museum and visitor attraction, even before you throw a horde of colorful party animals on top.

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