Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: fandom

The Spectrum: Fursuiting with Autism (Part 2) – Guest post by Enjy

by Patch O'Furr

Guest author Enjy shares a three-part story about the history of Autism research, its place in fandom, and interviews with 3 furries who give their personal insight.

== DOC FOX – ASPERGER’S SYNDROME ==

 

Doc Fox (@Doctor_Red_Fox), real name Ted, is a 27 year old man born in Chicago, now living in Utah and attending college at the University of Utah. He is studying information systems. Doc Fox has the Autism Spectrum disorder known as “Asperger’s Syndrome,” sometimes referred to as “High Functioning Autism”. This can manifest as lack of social awareness, inability to infer the thoughts of others, sensitivity to noises or touch, and/or over-adherence to routines. He was diagnosed as a freshman in high school in the year 2006, but became a furry in the year 2004. However, his fear of being judged due to people’s negative perception of Autism, mostly people using it as a slur or insult, made him afraid to visit any furry meets until he tried his first one in 2012, at a local Illinois bowling alley. Having purchased his fursuit in 2014, Doc is very proud of his life now, and hopes that his story here can make Autism more visible, because he thinks that being public about your diagnosis can be scary.

Enjy: What does Autism mean to you, personally? How would you describe it, from your own point of view?

Doc Fox: For me, like, I’m aware I’m human. But I kinda feel like I’m always a stranger or an alien. I struggle to read other people, and sometimes, to understand other’s emotions. I’ll miss social cues that other people just take for granted. I really care a lot about if my actions hurt other people though, and I’m always afraid that people just tolerate me because I’m “weird.” It’s really hard sometimes to even talk to other people about these things too. Things people just understand like “folkways” aren’t always apparent to me and others often assume you’re acting out or in bad faith because they just take understandings of these concepts for granted.

Enjy: That was a very well thought out answer. Do you think the furry fandom has been better at coexisting with and understanding your condition than the rest of the populace?

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The Spectrum: Fursuiting with Autism (Part 1) – Guest post by Enjy

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Inspired by the above Twitter thread, I proposed doing a whole article. Guest author Enjy took it on and delivered far more than expected from a one-line topic. A lot of the content comes from interview subjects, as Enjy said: “I wanted to stray away from brevity and let them speak naturally to help neurotypicals understand how autistic people formulate their thoughts, that they might consider it when interacting with them.”

Thanks to Enjy for hard work (and thank-you tips are now being paid for article submissions too. A site sponsorship is coming soon to make it even easier with a PBS-like model.) Thanks to Patreon patrons for helping to fund this and to @Deotasdevil for supporting Enjy.

Parts 2-3 will post later this week. Enjy continues. – (Patch)

Thanks to Doc Fox, Heathen (fursona Manik), and Pluma for doing interviews.

 

== A (Very) Brief History of Autism ==

 

Autism.

It is a word that is scary for some, misunderstood by most, and impossible to pin under a single definition. Due to it’s prevalence today, with new technologies allowing easier and more thorough evaluations of a child’s health, you may be under the impression that autism is a fairly new disorder. However, this could not be further from the truth.

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A furry resurgence is bubbling up in West Michigan with the Great Lakes Furs.

by Patch O'Furr

Con gone? Tears were shed when Michigan’s Great Lakes Fur Con washed up in 2017. But now, @OrangeYouGlad brings good news of a new group, (Telegram: @GreatLakesFurs), lifting a wet blanket off those in spitting distance. Through hell or high water, furries will keep sailing on. Dam-straight!

First let’s look at how it rained on their parade. (I guess it rained cats and dogs?) From greatlakesfurcon.com:

An Important Announcement

Posted on May 14, 2017

We have a bit of disappointing news to share with all of you. Great Lakes Fur Con will not be taking place in 2017. Recently some of our staff members stepped down due to personal obligations, and while we wish them the best (and they wish us the best as well), this means we do not have the manpower to put on the convention that you all deserve and enjoy.

That’s not too dramatic. It sounds like it just melted away. Dogpatch Press shared a little notice in What’s Yiffin’? – June 2017 edition of syndicated furry news:

Even though there was no official convention this story still has a happy ending, too; the remaining staff of GLFC elected to hold a big cookout/potluck and invited furs in the area to bring a dish and come hang out. Afterwards, everyone went bowling! Sure, it’s not a convention but that still sounds like a hell of a way to spend a day.

Now they’re floating some new plans. @OrangeYouGlad joins me to talk about it.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 3)

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.

Part 1 looked at the roots of fandom, with fans being “fans of each other”. Stigma and undermining showed how the fandom didn’t just follow the path of least resistance, it broke out under pressure. A sense of outsiderness and self determination has stayed ever since.

Part 2 looked at conventions making a platform for industry and expression that keeps the group untamed. Relations with the media got better while making a certain fandom identity (instead of letting others make it). It can even connect to deeper identity of members, because it lets them be who they want to be.

Furries care about fandom identity with a kind of tribalism. When members say they’re prone to “furry drama,” it can come from conflict about who defines it or benefits from it. That’s how The Daily Beast noticed conflict about a luxury “designer fursuit” brand, which usually wouldn’t matter to anyone except furries.

I told the reporter: “I think it really struck a nerve. It really got to the root of this possessiveness that the subculture has about itself and what it built for itself.”

It’s a case for looking at resistance to commercialism. Backlash at the brand was provoked by tone-deaf marketing, where bringing a mainstream approach wasn’t workable with art based on unique personal identity. Also, luxury brands don’t get made from scratch when others go back 100 years. (Fans in-the-know could compare this with furry brand Hyena Agenda, whose stuff speaks for itself without rubbing the wrong way against a certain fandom identity.)

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

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.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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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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Dogbomb Leads Furry Fandom To Highest Fundraising For ALS Cure Event

by Tuck Tucker

Inspirational furry, Vet Tech, and champion of ALS awareness Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) has led the fandom with a notable achievement for charity.  In the second weekend of November, a small army of furry supporters came out for his Walk To Defeat ALS event in Southern California. Their goal was to raise awareness and research funds for this fatal disease with no cure (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Patch O’Furr spoke to San Francisco Bay Area furry Zarafa Giraffe, after his return from the weekend in SoCal. It drew furries who drove from Northern California and even flew in from other states. Zarafa gave a rough estimate of 75-100 furries at the walk that he estimated as mid to high hundreds – making them a significant chunk of the whole event, as well as a third of the entire donations.

The walk synched with a FurBQ where Zarafa estimated 300 in attendance (perhaps the high end of size for local furmeets less formal than cons). Meeting many new members encouraged him to make more trips to participate. That’s the kind of snowball effect that builds up to bigger things, and gives them power to reach out and make the world better.

That fandom power propelled both Dogbomb and the furry team all the way to the top of the fundraising leaderboard on the alsa.org webpage.

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Zoosadism investigation: Capitalizing on abuse, and the ugly persistence of Kero.

by Patch O'Furr

Investigation continues – October 2018

Last month, furry fandom took a very dark turn. Zoosadism leaks: possibly the worst story to ever hit fandom was a mere introduction to the exposure of hidden networks for abuse and even snuff porn of animals.

The impact of it kicked up murky clouds of misinformation. After the shock, there was the usual speculation that comes with lesser dramas that usually die out in a week or two. There was smokescreening to hide evil that shocked even the most shady corners of the internet. There was rubbernecking, shit-stirring, evidence-tainting, and penny-chasing for views. And beneath it all was natural confusion. The ongoing story still defies explanation after a month, but on the good side, there’s significant work behind the scenes. That should have been done from the start to avoid a botched mess. Most of that work is for future updates. This update is mostly about public awareness.

One thing needs saying up front: you can definitely judge before a court does. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a legal standard to constrain government, not common sense about the evidence. There’s different standards between criminal court, civil court and society. (For example you don’t get a trial about fitness for employment, election, or safety with kids or animals.) Remember names like Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, or OJ Simpson, and let a lawyer explain:

It’s not just about Kero, but apologism for Kero is the most obvious obstacle to progress.

If you followed so far and understand the evidence, then the name Kero may fill you with disgust and rage. Kero is a Youtuber exposed as a secret animal abuse fetishist, whose complicity got outsized notice due to his 100,000+ subscribers.

[UPDATE] Twitter Moment: “Kero is guilty – Evidence”

Kero had opportunity to own up or shut up. He didn’t. In the most self-serving way, he responded with cherrypicked and inconsistent denials, to brush this under the rug and keep his following, manipulate them to shield him, and even capitalize on notoriety built on puppy killing. I’ve never labeled anything obscene in my life, but making money from this is nothing less than obscene. Of course the info wasn’t leaked to target Kero and there’s a roster of worse offenders to account for. But his failure to at least relieve everyone from apologist bullshit makes him a poster guy for what’s wrong.

Kero dug a bottomless pit for himself, and the rest of fandom is on the edge. If you thought it was bad already, you haven’t seen anything yet.

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Zoosadism leaks: possibly the worst story to ever hit fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning: extreme animal abuse

Since 2010, US states have begun trying to implement registries for abusers. Take action here.

With no fanfare, public attention was riveted by a leak of private data spread by a Twitter account linking to a Telegram channel. It held compiled .rars hosted on Mega, containing chat logs, images and videos exposing years of activity. It was sourced from secretive chat groups connected to furry fandom.

The data implicated a ring of users sharing fetish material of unspeakably sadistic animal abuse. It was graphic evidence of rape, torture and murder of animals for enjoyment. The briefest skim of the Telegram channel was gut-wrenching. Among plain text chats and links, there was a thumbnail of a tied-up dog being raped with a baseball bat. The public response was tremendous shock and disgust.

There’s a list of some of those videos.

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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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