Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: philosophy

Dysfurria: A Manifesto — by Alec Esther

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Welcome to Alec Esther, a new media theorist and aesthetic scholar. Alec uses “affect theory” to  investigate how people find belonging and becoming in group spaces. Alec’s undergraduate thesis was about Porter Robinson’s Virtual Self project. Now here’s a critical personal reflection about the furry fandom, and the feeling of distance between internal self and external fursona.

I. Pentagon Dust

 
“Wait a second,” my bunny-eared DJ buddy stopped us mid-walk. “You don’t actually HAVE a fursona, do you?!”

We were hopping along the San Jose Doubletree halls to find refuge in a PAWCon room party when the question arose. I’d hoped to dodge his accusations at least before a drink or five, but my neck was barren of badges sans my con admission. I guess that justified his suspicion: what kind of furry would frolic about a convention without a testament to their fuzzy side? Yet the remark only reminded me of the discomfort of human skin, the way it bumps and tingles at the first sign of trouble. My DJ name was on a flyer of his creation, advertising the very same party to which we strode. He knew who I was. Was there a part of me that mattered more?

I stashed this question in my carry-on and flew it back to my then-home in Arizona, a state in which I’d just partied the weekend prior at Arizona Fur Con 2019. I had only 48 hours before I’d be on another flight to an even greater challenge: a weekend in Florida spent with a furry mentor and his friends. Loath am I to pass up an adventure, but the thought of being surrounded by more “established” furries filled me with a hollow dread. More intimidating than the social falsehood of “popufur” status was the feeling of self-fulfillment that I knew I lacked. From the moment of my arrival in MCO, I’d be a fursona non grata in the inescapable form of isolated flesh.

It was not yet the weekend when I landed in Orlando. The others would touch down on Friday, and Thursday had yet to wreak its temporal terror. That day I took my mentor’s offer to accompany him to the UCF campus as he took his Thursday classes. I sought comfort in the arts building, just as I often did during my Midwestern education in art history, and admired the great works of UCF’s aesthetes until one peculiar project tackled my stomach to the tile floor.

Londoño, Marcela. El Caballero del Fútbol. Woodblock print. 2019, Visual Arts Building, University of Central Florida. mlondono.com.

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At Furry Weekend Atlanta, an academic philosopher wins a job by the power of fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

The human species is diverse, but anywhere you go, there’s job-seekers hungry to start careers. At least one of them is a tennis-playing philosopher with a FurAffinity account, a raccoon fursona and a cool story: WildeCard. (Here’s his personal site.)

In human form, he’s a Postdoc researcher and ethics course instructor at Ohio State University’s Center for Ethics and Human Values. He’s working on a book titled The Environmental Impact of Overpopulation: The Ethics of Procreation, which explores the ethics of slowing population growth. (For humans — no word about raccoons, bunnies or others with prodigious proliferation.)

How did he get there? WildeCard writes in:

“I recently documented how my experience on the academic job market (in philosophy) overlapped with attending Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019. And by overlapped, I mean that I was literally doing job interviews from my hotel room while attending this convention. That part of the story comes near the tail-end of an 8-month search for academic employment, which was ultimately successful.

The relevant (and lengthy) blog post is here.”

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My Fursuit Is Killing People – Guest post by Akhetnu.

by Patch O'Furr

Guest post by Akhetnu/Angriff.  Enjoy his previous post, Cultural Appropriation In Fandom, which brought spirited comments.

This fursuit set a record high $11,575 auction price.

This fursuit set a record high $11,575 auction price.

Imagine you are walking by yourself and see someone drowning.  You could easily save the person, but your shoes will be ruined and you would have to buy another pair.  Would you rescue the drowning individual anyway despite the monetary cost of new shoes? 

Most furries, I’d wager, would reply in the affirmative.  So if you would sacrifice $50 or $100 (depending on your taste in footwear) to save someone’s life, why spend $2000 on a full fursuit if that same $2000 could prevent the needless deaths of even more people in need somewhere in the world?

This is the dilemma that Peter Singer poses to us.  Singer is an influential modern ethicist in the utilitarian tradition, both well known and rather infamous for his various viewpoints on euthanasia, veganism, zoophilia, and economic equality (none of which are the subjects of this article).

One of his central conclusions, based on the thought experiment just provided, is that everyone in the developed world can and should live on a basic subsistence level, with all their surplus money being given to the poor around the world.  These could take the form of donations to various NGOs and charities, governmental foreign aid, or self-funded projects. (Assume the programs in question are the kind that have measurable results and where most of the money goes directly to those in need; Charity Navigator is a valuable tool for this). 

In his utilitarian calculus (which prioritizes the results of actions and emphasizes the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ and overall human happiness and freedom from suffering), any spending on luxuries while others are starving is immoral.

This means my fursuit is killing people. Since rather than donate the thousand or so dollars spent on head, tail, hands and feet (not to mention the reproduction 19th century Prussian uniform) to needy third world people, I instead spent it on something novel that I don’t really *need*…at least not like needy people need food, clothing, and medicine.

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