Creative Commons license icon

How I learnt to stop worrying and love the Press.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Why does 'Furry Fandom' hate the press? Are all journalists out to get us? Can there ever be a good opinion of a 'Fur Con' published in a magazine? Why do hotdog buns come in eights, but hot dog sausages in tens?
Now as we all know, there are a group of people around here who love what they do with a passion. They deeply believe in what they do, and believe it makes the world a better place. Yet because of the actions of a small minority, they are vilified and hated.

I'm talking about Journalists here, not the Furs.

Do we seriously believe that all journalists are out to get the fandom, and will write a trash talking sex-ridden article at the first chance? It's slightly paranoid to think so. But, this is the explanation for why there have been so many sex focusing magazine and documentary articles.

I think that this may be because there is something we refuse to admit about the fandom. That the things in the fandom the 'sexsexsex' articles write about were not 'ferreted out' by the journalist in an attempt to dig dirt. They were handed to them on a silver platter, with the implication that this happens in all of the fandom.

There are people in the fandom who do talk to the press. Because they want to see them selves in magazines, because they want to shock the public, because they want to 'squick the mundanes'. And they do more damage to the fandom that the journalists.

So, whats the answer? Bans on Press at conventions? Dosnt work. Never has worked. 'SciFi' fandom's history will tell you this.

Look at it like this. There are a few articles about 'Shriner Sex Fetishists', about how they like to 'do it in their little cars'. All of a sudden all the Shriner Conventions declare they are banning the press. Now, wouldn’t *you* want to sneak in and find out what was going on?

Well, if we cant ban the press, but we don’t want the 'vocal minority' to grab the ear of the nearest journalist, what do we do?

Simple. We do the press's job for them.

Wouldn’t you like it if someone said to you, "Hey, relax, we'll do 90% of your work for today, all you have to do is re-type it". Make better stories than the 'yiffy fur' ones, not all your jokes have to be about sex, highlight the good aspects of fandom, give them press packs for cons with suggested photos of previous conventions. Give them nice sound bites that can be written into the story. Nearly write the story for them.

For instance, a local paper is *much* more likely to let a journalist write about 'A group of Fursuiters who did a Charity Fun Run for Cancer Treatments' than 'Sexxy Fursuiter Frolics'. Look for mainstream press that is likely to have people who have odd hobbies themselves, say SFX. (written by a bunch of Anime and DrWho fans!)

Don’t run at the first sign of a camera. The press can be our friends!

Tags:

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Well, I think all of it can be settled reasonably if every fur who meets a member of the press realizes two simple things:

1. The press WILL be able to find out what they want to know.
2. The press wants to exaggerate and sensationalize.

Don't succumb to the traps of thinking they're trying to be your friends or that they won't twist anything you say around... they might not, but then again, I might win Miss America in a tutu and full beard.

The easiest way to get a member of the press off your back is to give monosyllabic answers to anything they say - be boring. Answer just the questions put to you and they'll move on to find some other poor shmuck to quiz.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Unfortuantly, if you take the track of 'Ignore the press and dont give them *anything*' then they go to someone who will give them something.

And if its all the moderates and people just here for the fiction and cartoons dont talk to the press, well... That leaves the creapy baddly dressed guy who likes to talk about what he does to his plushies.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

When the situation came to me, I did the exact opposite: I gave LOTS of information, but I did my best to give the best possible picture of the fandom. After all, as the only one on campus wearing a tail, who better to finally give furry some GOOD press, rather than bad or neutral?

When the subject came up, I was honest about the fact that there was a sexual side to the fandom, but I downplayed it, saying "no more than in any other group with common interest." And lo and behold, in the final article there was (IIRC) no mention of "furry sex."

Don't be boring. Be interesting. But don't sensationalize YOURSELF. Their articles are going to be colored not just by their own views, but by the answers you give. Why else do journalists interview?

I wanted to have my moment in the spotlight, but I most definitely did not want another piece of "bad furry press," so I was careful in how I chose my answers. You too (I'm speaking to any furry potentially being interviewed!) can be a part of the solution, instead of simply avoiding the problem.

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

Your rating: None

If you want 40 hot dogs, it works out.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

For that matter, the good hot dogs come in packs of eight, which matches up perfectly with the buns.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Once in a while, you'll get a reporter that does a human-interest type story about furries, which presents a relatively unbiased view of both the good and the bad.

Most of the time, however, you get reporters looking to paint the furry fandom in the worst possible light no matter what you tell them.

From Kagemushi's rant from 2's radio show:

"They are reporters. What is their job? To sell papers. What sells papers? Strange Things. like... you! They don't want to hear about all of the time and effort you put into making your fursuit. That doesn't sell papers. They want to hear about how you wear your fursuit while you f! giant turtles. *That* sells papers."

Yes, avoiding media reps is a losing battle. However, so is talking to them. Given that three quarters of the articles written will be deliberately painting us as disturbing freaks, I'd rather that *I* not the be one interviewed in them, and that the interviews not take place at any con *I* attend.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Why do you asume that three quaters of the journalists will be deliberatly out to get you? Do you have figures to back that up?

As I said, the root problem is *not* that Journalists activly try to cast 'furries in a bad light'. Its that people give them these stories which will sell magazines. Most of the 'Bad Press' i've seen has been due to Furry Events who didnt 'handle' the press in a coordinated and agresive way. They got these 'Spicey' stories because people gave them ones. And when people talk about them, they tend to do so in a fashion that just makes for good copy.

What needs to be done to stop this damage is to give them good human intrest copy that is better than the trash they might pick up. How come no one in the fandom activly promotes such things as Fursuiters work for charity in fun runs and such to the press?

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Why do you asume that three quaters of the journalists will be deliberatly out to get you? Do you have figures to back that up?

Yes, I do.

Do a web search for the last N articles and documentaries on "furry" in mainstream media.

What fraction of them paint us in a good or even neutral light?

There you go.

Your rating: None

How come no one in the fandom activly promotes such things as Fursuiters work for charity in fun runs and such to the press?

How do you know they don't? Because such information doesn't appear in articles about furries? It's possible these reporters have been given information about fursuit charity work, but simply didn't bother printing it.

Your rating: None

Because I asume I would have seen people complaining about how they invited the press to X event and they never printed it.

Your rating: None

Unfortunatly, this is a small sample set skewed by the fact that a lot of the journalists were deliberatly given the 'yiffy' side of the fandom to present.

Your rating: None

Unfortunatly, this is a small sample set skewed by the fact that a lot of the journalists were deliberatly given the 'yiffy' side of the fandom to present.

Um, that's proving my point. I've seen no evidence of this trend changing much. It's not for lack of _furs_ trying.

Your rating: None

I would suggest that probably has something to do with their being ashamed of the outcome. Yote went along with the press for that MTV "Plushies and Furries" story. Now, lookg what a mess it got turned into. Take a good look at the abuse he went through at the hands of Furries after the show aired.

Now imagine, knowing what he went through, you made a similar mistake. Would you fess up or keep your mouth shut and hope it all blows over? The smart money is on "keep your mouth shut."

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Which is part of our problem. If no one ever admits to making mistakes in handling the press, then people will just keep making those mistakes.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

But each time someone in the fandom tries to aproach the press, and makes a mistake, the fandom jumps on their back so hard they never get a chance to fix their mistake.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Yeah, admitting to making a mistake in this "tolerant" fandom is a real great idea. All sorts of threats and abuse by arrogant people who seem like they never matured beyond age 8 is what you get for being an adult and admitting to a mistake.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

This is a symptom of a blame society.

By the system of 'Who is to Blame', if we make the asumption that 'Furry Fandom is not to Blame', then by rights 'The Media must be to Blame'. And if you deal with The Media then that makes you 'to Blame' as well.

Of course, none of this actualy relates to the real world problems.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I'm all for keeping press out of cons.

In a perfect world I would agree with this editorial, because a lot of the logic seems perfectly reasonable. The problem is that it's not a perfect world, and anything "perfectly reasonable" goes right out the window. I've seen seen people try to follow these very suggestions -- the results were disasterous.

MFF 2000 had a press policy. The con lead the reporter around by the hand, never let them get out of sight. They hand-picked who the journalist spoke to, didn't let them wander the adult section of the art show, gave them a press release about the con and the fandom in general that talked about the donations to charities, the positive thigns fursuiters do, etc. Guess what? The journalist spoke to other people outside of the con, by phone and by e-mail. That let them get the dirt they wanted to make a shock/shlock article, and you know what happened after that. MFF now has an explicit press ban and will likely continue to have it for years to come.

Anthrocon continues to have a press policy that allows press in, so long as they're handfed information by Kage. The articles that come out of that are neutral at the very best. There are enough barbs in the report to make people point and laugh, thinking "45 years old and this guy still has a crush on Minnie Mouse!"

Letting press into cons doesn't work. Letting press into cons and trying to control them doesn't work. The people you want to keep them away from, the people who "want to see them selves in magazines" cannot be controlled and can't be silenced. If the press doesn't come to them, they go to the press. Look at Ostrich, who managed to get printed in the Savage Love follow-up column on Furry. Why'd he get printed? Because he included links to fetish websites and proudly proclaimed "Yes, Furry is all about sex." Most of the other letters published were by people who argued that Furry is not about sex and gave plenty of examples to prove their point -- although their letters were heavily edited, I will give some of the benefit of the doubt to Dan Savage because he does have to work with a word-count limit each week. Guess what: Nobody will remember those good things, because that's human nature. The average Joe Blow in the public who reads that column will only remember "that guy who sent in the link to people getting it on with a Donald Duck plush. Boy, his friends are sick." They won't overlook the other responses for lack of good things but simply because weird/kinky/freaky is MORE INTERESTING. Sadly enough, it IS what the public wants to see. Why else do you think Savage Love is so well-syndicated?

I'm sorry, but I feel you're attributing way more to the press than is really there. Any journalist who wants to write about Furry fandom isn't trying to change the world or working under some other noble motivation. If you think that then you are giving far too much credit to the press and just stroking the fandom's ego. Furry is NOT THAT BIG and NOT THAT INTERESTING, no matter what we may tell ourselves. We're a blip on the map to the public and press.

Journalists are working people, just like you or me. As such they aren't taking any particular interest when they're interviewing you about your plush collection, nor when they're talking to the guy down the street about the shooting he witnessed at the 7-11. Journalists are just trying to do their job. The job is sometimes no more glamorous then being a fry cook, because quite often they're given some small-time item and told "Write me up 600 words on this," and they'll do it. Big names get big stories, everyone else has to provide filler for pages 10-20. If possible, they will do it in such a way that gets them remembered and possibly helps them score more lucrative assignments or even better jobs. They're like every other person with a job: they're trying to make a buck, and always looking for a way to make a better salary.

The public is very insecure about itself. It's like the Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry," which has the lyric "We all know that crap is king / give us dirty laundry." The public wants anything titilating. It wants sex, it wants scandal and, most of all, it wants a whipping boy -- any whipping boy -- that it can point and laugh at. Having somebody else to laugh at makes the public feel better because, they think, compared to that person/group/nationality they are clearly more "normal." Thus, sex and weirdness sells because the public eats it up. Journalists write what sells for that very reason: it sells and keeps them getting paid. Couple that with loudmouth idiots in the fandom who do indeed bring them best-seller material on a platter and they've got a formula for easy money every time. Nothing more, nothing less.

You don't have to run when you see a camera, but be prepared for disappointment when you're either completely cut, trivialized or quoted out of context. I find time with reporters is wasting my breath, and I've better things to do with my time.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

"MFF 2000 had a press policy. The con lead the reporter around by the hand, never let them get out of sight. They hand-picked who the journalist spoke to, didn't let them wander the adult section of the art show, gave them a press release about the con and the fandom in general that talked about the donations to charities, the positive thigns fursuiters do, etc. Guess what? The journalist spoke to other people outside of the con, by phone and by e-mail. That let them get the dirt they wanted to make a shock/shlock article, and you know what happened after that. MFF now has an explicit press ban and will likely continue to have it for years to come."

So, lets look at what went wrong with this method of 'handling' the press.

The first thing is that it was obvious to the journalist that they were being handled. How would *you* act if you were a journalist and were being told that certain parts of the public event other people could go into were off limits. Well, you'd want to pry into them wouldnt you.

And of course theres big one... There was dirt to dig.

I've yet to see an incident of a journalist actualy *makeing the stuff up*.

In this situation the Journalist was non-too subtly stoped from seeing any of the 'dirty things' that happened at the meet. Which only served in highlighting to the journalist that those things go on, and makes them seem awfully important. After all, you've gone to a lot of effort to make sure they dont get to see them.

So, instead of being able to tell the journalist that these items are just small events dont reflect the whole fandom they end up calling up the people they 'wernt allowed to see'. And as far as those people are concerned, those items are 'the best part of the fandom'.

In atempting to not give the journalist the whole story, they ended up inciting the journalist to focus on what they hid.

Your rating: None

Being a newspaper editor, and a long-time member of the fandom (though quiet), I'm a little disappointed that people seem to think all media is going to go out and be sensationalist and dig up the juicy bits of dirt.

The poster who suggested that community newspapers would be more open to doing a more positive story on furry cons is probably quite correct. Our newspaper focuses on things going on in the community; we report what people in the community want to hear about... which translates to: what's going on in town? We print pieces on conventions. We don't spend time digging around to find out who's boinking what outside the main rooms. All we know is they make the community money, and that's a good thing.
Yes, the big media sensationalizes like crazy, and the magazines definitely look for the naughty bits, so they can sell issues, but please don't lump the community media in with them.

My suggestions for handling media at cons was mentioned earlier; it sort of followed the pattern above, so I guess I won't make the same suggestions again. There's got to be a way to do it, though, I'm sure of that.

(and, I wonder: does this "no media" policy at MFF mean I'd have a problem attending? *ponders*)

-- tony

Your rating: None

In this situation the Journalist was non-too subtly stoped from seeing any of the 'dirty things' that happened at the meet.

Not at all. They weren't "stopped" from seeing anything, they were guided from one place to the next, and introduced to a number of people. Nobody said "you can't look at these things," they just weren't presented with the time or opportunity to go exploring on their own.

So, instead of being able to tell the journalist that these items are just small events dont reflect the whole fandom

So you propose just letting the media wander free in a con, and then trying to "explain away" the parts that are less-than-wholesome. I think that makes it look like you're covering things up even more than just not letting them see it in the first place.

Also, according to the posts of a number of people who appeared on the MTV special, they said just the things you recommended (eg "that's only a small part of the fandom as a whole") and they were either left on the cutting room floor or had their interviews edited in such a way that what they said was taken completely out of context, making it seem that they were in fact saying Furry is just about sex and kinks. Basically what happened to a couple of the people that were on the show was this: They gave a 30 minute interview, and during that interview uttered the phrase "Sure, to some it's only about sex and bondage, but that's not what I'm in it for, and here's why..." What actually aired on the TV? Just that tiny little bit, trimmed down until it's the phrase "it's only about sex and bondage." So you're right: the journalist didn't make it up. He just had to take that tiny bit of the interview a little out of context and he got his sensationalistic scoop. They did exactly as you advocate: they gave the journalist the whole story, and got completely ignored. Do you see now why talking to them at all is a waste of time?

I'll say it time and time again: for all the good they were presented, they opted for the sexual aspects because sex is sensationalism, and sensationalism sells.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I have to regretfuly admit it never occured to me that there were probably a lot of Pressmen and women already part of the fandom. You guys need to make your voices heard, your the ones who can most help this situation.

Your rating: None

(and, I wonder: does this "no media" policy at MFF mean I'd have a problem attending? *ponders*)

Nope, as long as you don't act like a reporter (i.e. asking lotsa nosy questions, bringing a camera crew... bringing your own camcorder for personal purposes is okay of course.)

Your rating: None

does this no media policy at MFF mean I'd have a problem attending?

No. Just don't interview for an article or a segment at our convention and everything will be fine.

-Jim
MFF 2002 Chairman

Your rating: None

Well... I'd be asking why the less-than-wholesome events are occuring at cons which are alegedly 'family safe' events.

And, altho its only apreciable with hindsight, its not a good idea to start your interview with the journalist talking about how your not here for the sex. Thats a statement that sounds awfuly similar to being in a bar and saying your not there just for the alcahol.

Your rating: None

What I wonder is how these 'Bans' are enforced anyway. Its not as easy to spot the diference between a chatty fan with a camera and a journalist as people think. Its not even posable to tell the diference between a camera crew and some fans with a DV-Camera anymore.

Your rating: None

Unfortunately, I've made my suggestions in the past, and they basically followed the pattern used by cons in the past, the ones that have turned out poorly. I honestly don't know what to do beyond providing a definitive press person, a careful schedule (shepherding, I believe it's been referred to as) and finding a media person who wouldn't be a moron about it and try to sell papers by making it all look bad.
I know what I'd do as a reporter, but I'm a) a Canadian reporter, not American (yes, there is a difference in philosophies), and b) not really stereotypical as a reporter. *shrugs* Guess it's a continuing problem.
-- tony

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I'd be asking why the less-than-wholesome events are occuring at cons which are alegedly 'family safe' events.

I suppose you've never seen an artshow with an adult section?

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None

I'd also suggest that it's not a good idea to interview with the reporter at all if they keep asking "But what about sex?" Yet a number of people did just that with the Vanity Fair and MTV journalists.

Your rating: None

They're enforced quietly and efficiently.

Your rating: None

Yes. Its trivial to keep them behind closed doors, off programe and held out of hours. What suprises me is often this isnt done at furry cons.

I dont think post-it notes are a suitable level of protection from young prying eyes.

Your rating: None

Yes. But how?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Have you ever attended Midwest FurFest? I'm guessing not, because if you had then you'd know that the adult section of the art show at MFF is, in fact, monitored and cordoned off from the main art show. It's always been done that way.

That doesn't mean it's advisable to let a reporter wander past it and take a peek, however. But I guess to the conspiracy theorists out there that's still the equivalent of "hiding the real dirt."

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Yeah, that's the way it's done at every furry con I've been to (and I've been to several); the adult section of the art show is separate, none of the art can be glimpsed from outside, and you can't go in if you have a 'minor' badge.

Your rating: None

If you can actualy see the adult art from outside the 'cordoned area' then its not all that effective a system is it.

Your rating: None

You can't (as I mentioned just moments ago). :}

Your rating: None

Then why worry about the Journalists *walking past it*?

Of course, if you only opened that area out of hours you wouldnt even have that problem.

Your rating: None

I'm guessing Feren meant "wander into it".

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I'm guessing Feren meant "wander into it".

That's exactly what I meant, KT, and it is exactly what will happen if you give a journalist a ticket to roam wherever they like: they will poke their heads everywhere. Sooner or later they'll poke their heads into the adult section of the art show. Then we're back to square one all over again.

What Lamar doesn't consider when he makes the suggestion of having the adult area of the artshow only open during "off hours" is that while it sounds real good in theory it has a major drawback in practice: it's off hours. I'm sure that the artists displayed in there will be completely understanding about having their art hidden away from viewers and potential buyers. I've no doubt they will really appreciate the lack of exposure they'll receive and won't be at all angry or anxious for a full refund of their showing fees. The con attendees who would be interested in seeing or buying such pieces won't be at all annoyed at the inconvenience of having to come back hours after they've already walked through the art show. It would also require the dedication of one room to hold the material, which would only be open for a few hours a day. Function space is at a premium in any con, and thus this is completely unreasonable in a financial and logistical sense.

Of course, any con that does such a thing would also have to demand that merchants in the dealer's room keep all adult-themed material locked away until the "off hours" or risk being labeled hypocrites. I'm sure this will do wonders for the business of the dealers, too. They won't mind manning their tables 24 hours a day, either.

In other words, any con that wants to piss off artists and fans alike and is welcome to discriminate in such a manner against artists who want to show adult-oriented artwork and the fans who want to peruse or bid on said artwork. Everyone else will get by with having a monitored, separate section. It's the best compromise available for cons that want to be "family friendly" like FC, MFM, AC or MFF while still catering to a number of different aspects of the fandom.

Cons that promote themselves as being 100% free of adult material are, of course, not put in any such situation.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Okay, lets remember this, because its important.

Adult Art and Sexuality is a Side Line to the Fandom. It is not the be all and end all of the fandom. The rest of the fandom should not have to suffer in the eyes of the press because of it.

Yes, it would be discriminating against the 'Adult only' artists and dealers. But I would not require more than the current 'Sealed covers' and 'only on request' policies taken by current dealers. I would like to see stricter policy on not being alowed to read/view/use in your laptop the items in the public con areas.

I think this discrimination is valid tho.

You claim that its the "best compromise available" yet also state that it dosnt stand up to journalists being in the area. IMHO, a "Family Friendly" Con would be, by definition, also Press Friendly. If a journalist can wrangle a way in, then so can a kid.

Your rating: None

Have you ever actually been to a con?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

[Adult Art and Sexuality is a Side Line to the Fandom]
Right... so why are you on this crusade to stamp it out? If it's such a small part of it then why are you making such a big deal out of it and telling cons that they should waste function space and only have the adult art section open during the hours of 10pm to 6am?

[It is not the be all and end all of the fandom]
And it isn't. The number of "general audience" pieces displayed in an artshow overshadow the number of "adult audience" panels by approximately a factor of 8. That's roughly one adult panel for every eight general panels used by artists. So as near as I can tell it's not the "be all and end all of the fandom" in the least.

[But I would not require more than the current 'Sealed covers' and 'only on request' policies taken by current dealers. ]
So you're willing to let dealers just seal covers and display "only on request"... but a designated area of the art show that is visitable only if the viewer feels so inclined (seems like "only on request" to me) isn't good enough?

[The rest of the fandom should not have to suffer in the eyes of the press because of it.]

If the adult aspect wasn't there, the fandom would suffer at the hands of the press just because furry fans are "weird and different." Trust me, the mainstream press is driven by sensationalism. If adult artwork wasn't there, they'd find something else to blow out of proportion.

[I think this discrimination is valid tho.]

The street corner I'm from says differently. Discrimination is discrimination, which means "Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice." In other words, it's bad and unfair even if a small faction think it is "valid." Look at profiling in the airport -- some people think it's valid and can make a very logical case for it. Does that make it any less unfair? And again, I'll say that I think the artists and dealers would think it's a lot less valid and be a lot more upset. Cons aren't in the business of having knee-jerk reactions and pissing off their fanbase or their vendors, because that generally assures there won't be a con next year. It would be nice if the issue at hand and its resolution were as clear-cut as you would like to make it (indeed, if would be nice if the world were that way), but it isn't. This is a political issue that requires careful handing as well as compromise.

[If a journalist can wrangle a way in, then so can a kid.]

My patience is running thin here, I've explained this issue to you time and time again but it just doesn't seem to sink in. I'll go over it ONE MORE TIME for you. Take a moment and think about what you just said... "if a journalist can wrangle a way in, then so can a kid." Most cons issue minor badges that are visibly different than the badges issued to adults. They have people standing outside the adult section checking those badges and then turning away those who aren't designated as old enough to view the aforementioned material. Are there many under-age (younger than 21 or even 18) journalists? Myself, I don't think so. Aspiring journalists, yes, but certainly nobody from Vanity Fair or The New York Times. It is therefor reasonable to assume that if a journalist were to be permitted into a con, and if they were allowed to wander freely around a con, then they would be permitted there because they were wearing an adult badge and made a conscious decision to go into that section, and not because they were somehow magically able to bypass security and "sneak in." Stop looking for loopholes where there aren't any, would you?

[You claim that its the "best compromise available"]
Yes, it's the best compromise available to allow those who wish to sell/view/buy such material to do so without offending those who don't want to see it.

[yet also state that it dosnt stand up to journalists being in the area.]
I find it humorous that you're trying to turn the tables on me, when only a few posts ago you were making it quite clear you think the adult section of the art show should all but disappear entirely so that it's hidden and out of sight. How do you explain that?

No, I said it's not an area that I'd like them to see. I didn't say it "dosnt stand up." Look, in the real world it is possible to not entirely agree with one thing but still accept that it's there. I am free to believe that a con should be allowed to serve the expressed desires of it's fanbase and have adult material in designated areas, but also believe that a visiting journalist should be kept away from it if they're writing an article about the fandom. They're not conflicting beliefs, they don't make me a hypocrit. Let me put it another way for you... if you have friends visiting your place for the first time, and you want to show them around the house and give a favorable impression, do you let them see your messy/cluttered/dusty basement, or do you just casually lead them past the stairway and not mention it?

Maybe you would choose to completely demolish the basement because it's embarrassing to you. But me, I'll just keep the stairway door closed and skip over that part of the tour. I find it gets the same thing done with a lot less frustration and work.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None

I've been to many cons. But only two 'Furry Events', one of which was notable in that it was being visited by a Channel Four Producer and Journalist who were prepairing to bring cameras to the next 'Event'. The way the gathered furs reacted to the press locked in what the programe was going to end up as even before a camera arived.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The number of "general audience" pieces displayed in an artshow overshadow the number of "adult audience" panels by approximately a factor of 8.

To paraphrase Tim Curry in _Clue_, this is both incorrect and misleading.

A lot of the material hung in the "general audience" section of every furry convention I have been to (and have reliable reports of the same from Anthrocon and MFF artshows) are NOT general audience material. A fully clothed character with breasts bigger than her head standing in a provocative pose isn't "G-rated." It's PG or R. And those pieces outnumber the true G-rated pieces by a ratio of about 30 to 1. Occasionally there are rather disturbing displays of violence also left out in the "general audiences" section.

To be fair, this is only slightly higher than the comparable ratio of sexually suggestive or violent pieces on display at general science fiction conventions.

The reason general sci-fi cons get a marginally nicer treatment in the press lately than they used to (and those of us old enough to remember press coverage in the 70s and 80s can attest that it was just as prurient and ridiculing as anything that has happened to furry fans in the press lately) isn't because there is less sexual content at general sci fi cons, it's because everyone knows someone who is a sci fi fan.

Let me repeat that. Everyone in the potential audience for any news story knows someone who is a sci fi fan. When that point was reached, when some types of science fiction had spread far enough into the pop culture, the full-court-press ridiculing no longer sold.

Most of the public believes that anything which looks like a "cartoon" is intended for children. This is a misperception on their part, but the belief is ubiquitous. Any depiction of anything that the general public views as not suitable for very small children in the form of anthropomorphic characters is therefore suspect. A lot of the PG-rated stuff falls into that category.

Almost every person outside the fandom who first sees a copy of the zine I edit asks the same question: "Why didn't you tell me this literary project you work on produces children's books?"

We keep poking at the symptoms and ignoring the underlying misunderstanding.

Your rating: None

Hmm...

So its unfair to Discriminate against Adult Furry Artists because of what they publish.

But its okay to Discriminate against Journalists because of what they publish?

You know, the problem with Furry Fandoms basement is that no ones cleared through the pile of old TV Guides, theres a wasp nest behind that old Sofa, and it smells like the Cesspool is seeping in here... Sure, lets just keep the door closed.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

The problem is, we're at a point where to get more growth in the fandom (and to avoid internaly stagnating) we need press coverage.

Sure, the media calling Star Trek Fans a bunch of Sad Trekies for a while wasnt nice, but it did the fandom a lot of good. They gained more fans, and it slowly became an *aceptable* fandom. (Anecdotal Story - A taxi driver ferrying Pratchett fans to Discworld 2002 con remarked 'You know, I might go see this con... I hear its got someone who writes Star Trek novels')

Escentialy, if we declare that we 'dont need the press' and avoid them, we doom the fandom to its current public opinon for ever.

Also to reply here to Feren's comment. The diference between an Art Show and a Dealers Table is simple.

A Dealers table is viewed simply as an extension of the dealers shop brought to the con.

An Art Show is viewed as an integral part of a con.

Thus, the impact of Adult Material at an Art Show is far greater than on Dealers tables.

Your rating: None

*sniff* Gene... Feren... I love you! ^_^ Here I was thinking much the same thing, but didn't want to get embroiled in a 50+ thread at a time when I have too many other commitments.... and then you two step up and pretty much say everything I would ever have wanted to, plus more.

I have argued for years now that we need to fight the misconceptions, not ourselves or even the press.... it's unbelievably gratifying to see someone else spontaneously make that observation/point.

Yay. Just yay. Thaaaaaaaank yooouuu.......

Your rating: None

[A lot of the material hung in the "general audience" section of every furry convention I have been to (and have reliable reports of the same from Anthrocon and MFF artshows) are NOT general audience material. A fully clothed character with breasts bigger than her head standing in a provocative pose isn't "G-rated." It's PG or R. And those pieces outnumber the true G-rated pieces by a ratio of about 30 to 1. Occasionally there are rather disturbing displays of violence also left out in the "general audiences" section. ]

You bring up a very valid point there, Gene. I will spare all those who are tired of seeing me post, however, and leave the debate of what constitutes "G", "PG", "R" and beyond for another time. :) However, you may consider my hand duly slapped on the overgeneralization of "General" versus "Adult" in my off-the-cuff statistics.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None

Let me rephrase that. Have you ever been to a furry con?

Your rating: None

Now I'm getting a bit confused on what you mean by the word "discriminate". The press has a history of creating a distorted public image of the fandom; therefore, they are not welcome at furry cons. Adult furry artists are in the business not of exposing anything to the public eye, but of creating furry art; therefore, they are welcome at furry cons. I don't see what the problem is, here.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Well, seeing as I live in the UK, and the nearest a Furry Con has ever been to me is several countries away, no. I refer you to my previous answer which said that.

Of course, I am working to rectify that by helping set up a UK con.

Your rating: None

Well, in that case there shouldnt be a problem with puting the adult Art Shows in the off hours. After all, if its not for the public eye, why make it such a main event.

Your rating: None

Darn, I was hoping maybe you were paying attention or something. At every furry con I've been to, the Adult section of the Art Show is in a separate walled-off area where the artwork is not visible from outside, and security staffers are on duty to ensure that no minors get in. There is no need for the severe inconvenience of this impractical "off hours" idea of yours.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

In my experience with the press, they're going to print whatever they want to print.

There was a cameraman, working mostly alone, who wanted to create a documentary about furry fandom. He went to many different furry conventions over at least two years (I saw him at Confurence, Further Confusion, and Conifur.) He was very willing to listen to and to film every viewpoint, contacted Further Confusion before the convention, was willing to work under the restrictions of Further Confusion, and stopped filming at Further Confusion after we asked him to. If anyone had a complete view of the fandom, it was him.

Of course, I'm talking about Rick Castro, who did the MTV special.

Another example hasn't come to light much, except within Further Confusion. The BBC called us, asking whether they could film at our convention. We hadn't heard of the show, so I started researching it... and researching the person who had contacted us.

I called the BBC directly, and was patched through to the fellow -- he was legit. He and I talked about the show, answering some simple questions about it.

I later found copies of her earlier show, Ruby Wax Presents... on BBC America. She makes a living out of making fun of people. Her show would have done more damage to Furry Fandom than any three MTV specials.

In short, I don't trust the media. Period.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Exactly. The old cliche of "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," applies perfectly here. How many times must the fandom get burned by the press before it starts to learn to question what's going on before opening its collective mouth or letting somebody into a con? I mean seriously -- even a rat will learn after it's been shocked enough times not to push the button that shocks it! The excuse of "but I was tricked!" really shouldn't even be valid anymore. By repeated example people should know not to trust journalists or, should they feel compelled by whatever dark forces to speak to the press, that they need to do the kind of research Chip did before agreeing to even share their names with the media! Yes, we may be passing up the genuine article and losing somebody who really could give a fair and balanced report. Yet statistics thus far have shown that all the shock publications that have been done have masqueraded under that very guise with lots of placations and promises of "A balanced and fair article." It's just better not to take the risk.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Conversly, if we dont take the risk, then Furry Fandom will only ever get bad press, because we are not trying to get good press.

Us not doing anything wont lower the amount of Bad Press generated. Inaction is not, and never is in any case, a valid option.

Your rating: None

I'm also going to predict that the next time there is a media foul up because someone didnt understand how to handle the press...

They will say this proves I was wrong.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

[Conversly, if we dont take the risk, then Furry Fandom will only ever get bad press, because we are not trying to get good press.]

Then please, lead us by example. Feel free to take the risk and step into the spotlight on behalf of the fandom. I am sincere when I say that nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see you prove all of us naysayers wrong by getting us good press in a major publication.

The problem is that I've heard this tune before on message boards, on alt.fan.furry and elsewhere. It's easy for people to stand on the sidelines and shout at the people who are most visible and in the game that "avoiding the press is the wrong way to go about things." It's easy for these "armchair publicity experts" to call people cowards or pick apart their mistakes when the spotlight is on somebody else. Yet when an opportunity arises for these very same people to step up to the plate and practice what they preach... suddenly these blowhards are strangely silent. You want my respect? You want me to believe what you say and support the cause? Prove to me that it works.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Um, I did. It wasn't in a MAJOR publication, but only a community college campus newspaper. Guess that proves ME wrong, huh? The fact that I was able to get furry some good press is there, but since it was ONLY in a campus newspaper, it doesn't count, right?

Please forgive my sarcasm. I'm only trying to point out that journalistic integrity is not an oxymoron. I answered their interview questions honestly and completely, and they got a good (albeit incomplete) picture of the fandom. Trust me on this: if you are clever and honest, you CAN get good press. If you avoid the press, they'll make stories no matter what once they have a subject. It's OUR responsibility to make sure we don't get bad press. During the interviews, I kept in mind that I was effectively representing all of furry fandom to a campus that knew little to none about us. Wearing my tail at Olympic College was beyond weird, it was literally unique. Hence the article.

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

The problem is that I've heard this tune before on message boards, on alt.fan.furry and elsewhere. It's easy for people to stand on the sidelines and shout at the people who are most visible and in the game that "avoiding the press is the wrong way to go about things." It's easy for these "armchair publicity experts" to call people cowards or pick apart their mistakes when the spotlight is on somebody else. Yet when an opportunity arises for these very same people to step up to the plate and practice what they preach... suddenly these blowhards are strangely silent. You want my respect? You want me to believe what you say and support the cause? Prove to me that it works. First of all, let's put an end to the myth that furry fandom never gets good press. It does, and it's the kind of stuff we should be putting in the spotlight instead of going around claiming it doesn't exist. The problem here is one of perspective: There are quite a few positive articles about furry fandom, but they're always marginalized and forgotten. In truth, furry fandom doesn't have image problem as much as a self-image problem.Second, speaking from real life experience, the only way you're going to counter bad publicity is by providing an alternative viewpoint. How do I know? I was on the media committee for the lesbian and gay community center in Westchester County, New York. Said committee was formed in response to our local newspaper giving one John D. Hartigan of a religious group generous column inches (sometimes half a page at a time) to espouse his view that people should oppose gay rights because gays were promiscuous, AIDS-infected child molestors and BDSM addicts. Mr. Hartigan is entitled to his opinion, of course. The problem was that's pretty much the only coverage the gay community got in the newspaper back then.I'm from the school of thought that says the antidote to speech you don't like is more speech, not less. If you want to cop out and hide from the media, then don't complain when the fandom gets negative media attention, because you're doing nothing to counter it.I do know from experience, however, that talking to the media---not avoiding them---got us several positive articles in the newspaper for National Coming Out Day: one about a gay parent, one about a lesbian couple, and one about parent's reaction to having a gay son. (The gay son, BTW, was Yours Truly, who got his picture on the front page of the newspaper... so you can't say I don't practice what I preach, m'kay?)Now, my local gay community did this, and the way I see it there is no reason furry fandom can't do it as well. People don't seem to remember having press liaisons at furry conventions has only been a recent development, and since we stopped giving the press free reign the quality of press we get has improved. Will it work all the time? No, not necessarily, but having responsible people talking to responsible media gives a good chance for positive coverage. All avoiding the media does is guarantee only one side gets heard.But I've said this all before, haven't I? I've been saying it since 1995, despite years of flak from Washington APA publishers who complain and complain and complain about all the fandom's problems and then turn tail and run away. I guess, ultimately, that's what seperates me from the "don't talk to the media" crowd: At least I have the courage to stand up for my beliefs.

Your rating: None

I'd love to see a URL to the article, a scan, or a summary of the article! Have you submitted it to Pressed Fur for their records?

I appreciate somebody who puts their money where their mouth is. Kudos to you! Lemme know when you're in my neck of the woods. I'll buy you a beer. ;)

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None

Yes, it is on Pressed Fur. Yes, it is also on my website, specifically at http://alfador.8m.com/misc/tailarticle.gif (although I much appreciate anyone going through the front page -> Furry page -> article itself; as this means they're more likely to look at the other stuff I have there [gratuitous plug!]).

And thanks! =^.^=

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

Your rating: None

That is the coolest article I've ever read... Very awesome Alfador!*wonders if he could get away with wearing his tail at college* hmmm...

Tlaren }:=8}

Your rating: None

I'm going to try to get the furry community published somehow in the local newspaper of my small city, however, I only know two furries from around here. One of them is an extreme fetishist (they'll try to get yiff out of me even though I don't like it, am not interested in them, and have a mate) and the other is someone that thinks it's funny to make everything perverted (for example, if you were to say, "you smell like a tube sock," he would turn it into some sexual innuendo) so of COURSE I'm going to keep them away from anyone that interviews me! If asked about the sexual side of the fandom, I would respond with a noncommital one-sentence answer most likely, but that's it. Perhaps I'd even say "There are a few weirdos out there, but we're not like that as a group," because that is my general opinion on the subject.

Your rating: None

An interesting observation that may be linked to the problem.

As of the time of this comment, the Top Ten lists this article as the second most commented on article on Flayrah.

However, 50 Sexiest Cartoon Babes of All Time and Yet another Yiffy Story Archive both far exceed it for article reads.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

It might be a little late for this comment, but I'm putting it here anyways.

Why do I hate the press? Well I don't hate the entire press, just most of it. The fact remains that the press and media love to exagerate and love to do anything for ratings. MTV's special is a fairly good example. From my experience and research about 75% of what the press or general media publish or broadcast is slander and paints a bad image of the fandom. They love to focus on part of the fandom and not the whole picture. Very few articles and even fewer TV spots show a good side of furry fandom.

I fully realize that some furs talk to the press, and talk about the less desirable parts, wether or not they know the harm they are doing. But it isn't all thier fault, as people in previous posts have mentioned. The press likes to twist people's words around. The quote from Kagemushi that was posted above is very accurate in this aspect.

The furry fandom is experiencing what sci/fi fandom experienced alot in the past and still does to a lesser extent. Somehow we have to deal with it, and mono-sylabic answers or not talking to the press at all seem like good options, but the press could use either as ammunition in a negative article or TV spot almost as easily as if we actually talked.

One result of this negative press is many furs have to wade through a montain of flames on the internet, and sometimes have to be careful outside of cons. It has even resulted in the slightly humourous, but very damaging, 'Christain Mothers Against Furries' group.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <img> <b> <i> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <table> <tr> <td> <th> <sub> <sup> <object> <embed> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <dl> <dt> <dd> <param> <center> <strong> <q> <cite> <code> <em>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This test is to prevent automated spam submissions.

About the author

Lamarread storiescontact (login required)

    from Oxfordshire, England