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Further Confusion Makes the Paper

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The TriValley Herald interviewed several Further Confusion staff members, including chairman Lee Strom, for an article
in their Thursday edition. A nice piece, compared to past writeups fandom conventions have gotten.

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Your rating: None

Very nicely done, very professional... there was (barely) a paragraph and a half about the sexual aspect and it didn't focus too much on one thing.

Very well rounded, well-done article (except I think they had a typo [Mustalid instead of Mustelid] but I've never been to FC, so if they're right and I'm wrong, you can hit me).

This wasn't bad at all...

Tlaren }:=8}

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Yes, that was a very positive article on Furries. We could do with a few more like this to balance our image in the press. Granted there may be a large proportion of the fandom's energy devoted to yiffy materials, but no more than any other fandom, I'm sure. Articles like this one show that we're not just here to satisfy our raging hormones.

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What a charming article. It was very professional, while trying to bring up some of the amusing aspects of the fandom. I really thought it was overall a well balanced piece with a lot of straight info on all sorts of fannish acitivities. Kudos to the TriValley Herald!

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Very nice article and very well balanced indeed. I wish more mudane magazines and newpapers could report on us like this.

Visit me on the Internet
http://baarsden.itgo.com

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there's really nothing or almost nothing that i know of to compare it to - very few both positive and nonbiased articles have come to my attention as even having been written.
this has to be one of, if not the, best, ever, possitive reports, of, by and for, anyone outside of our genre, about it.

those infamous negative ones, that have drawn so much attention and misaprobation among us, were, for the most part, if any were to take a moments reflection, from sources not so much baiased against US as representative of the perceptions and orientation of their sources. in that light their appearance and nature is by no means anything to wonder at.

this article being praised, and rightfully so, is from a paper, in a town, where our genera has a very visibly positive presence. at least that is the sense i get from all i've seen on the web about aae, critters by the bay, the charities they support, and the very positive relationship generaly between them and the surrounding mundane community.

how many towns do you know of that have a fursuiter contingent in their local parades?

at any rate it was with great delight i saw it posted on the info kiosks at furcon which is where i read (as much as i so far have of) it ...

one for the goodness and positiveness of the diversity of reality - and the positive reciprocal relationship of all living things to that diversity!

... ~;)

Your rating: None

I'm glad someone has proved the message I was trying to get across in my article about the press. It is well within the fandoms grasp to get good press.

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I was telephone-interviewed by the author of that article about a week before the convention. The only sign of my interview that I could find in the article was the mention of the Ursa Major awards.

--Darrel.

ConFurence will again be at the Burbank Hilton, April 25-27, 2003.  Visit http://confurence.net for more details on this and other events being hosted by The ConFurence Group.

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There was also an excellent article just before the 2001 Anthrocon in a Philadelphia-area newspaper. Let's hope that somebody is archiving these articles so that fans can find them again.

Fred Patten

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This is the sort of article we should give more attention to. There's an unfortunate tendency within the fandom to sweep the positive articles under the rug and put the spotlight on the negative ones.

I propose next time someone makes the claim that "furry fandom never gets good press," we show them examples that it can, does, and will continue to.

Woody Allen once said eighty percent of success is showing up. As I've said before, you don't get good press by avoiding the media.

Your rating: None

>There's an unfortunate tendency within the fandom to sweep the positive articles under the rug and put the spotlight on the negative ones. <

There's no such tendency. There simply hasn't been any positive articles, save for the one that interviewed Kage about Anthrocon a couple of years ago. (Maybe there was another one somewhere that I've forgotten, though since, as I mentioned, there's been so few I think I should have recalled it.)

Get some more positive articles out there, they'll get mentioned.

(And I have to note that so far I can only assume that this article is positive from the comments made here, since I don't seem to be able to access the website, let alone the page with the article on it, and can't see for myself.)

-Chuck Melville-

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Heres the text since some folks seem to have a hard time getting to their web page. Theres are a couple photo's to go along with it:

Begin text:

Lee Strom identifies with raccoons.

His license plate reads ``RAQOON.'' Outside his front door a little welcome sign is held up by a knee-high wooden raccoon. A mat reminds you to ``Wipe your paws.''

Inside Strom's San Leandro home, on the dining room table, is a big grinning raccoon head, like you'd see on a football team's mascot or atop a friendly character hugging children at an amusement park. He sits in a line of other mascot-sized heads - a wolf, a bunny rabbit and a coyote.

``The bodies are in the wash,'' says Strom, diligently arranging an auburn, pageboy-style wig atop a fox's head. It's the costume that Strom, a systems administrator, plans to wear to Further Confusion, the Northern California convention of furries opening today in San Jose. Furries?

Furries are fans and artists of anthropomorphic art, or art with part human, part animal subjects. Furries like Strom, called ``fur suiters,'' like making and wearing animal costumes. Furries called ``gamers'' like on-line role playing games. And some furries, called ``furverts,'' like sexually-charged art and activity, and they naturally get the most press.

But in spite of the salacious publicity surrounding the furverts, furry conventions have grown in the past decade from one to a dozen nationwide, proving that furry fans are in no danger of going extinct.

Charity and education ``There will be some adult artwork, but that's definitely not what (Further Confusion) is about,'' says Strom, 33, who identifies with raccoons because they ``are mischievous, intelligent and sly.''

``We want to help dying children be happy and help zoos and make families happy in parades,'' he explains, referring to the various charities for which the costumed furries have entertained.

The purpose of Further Confusion, which drew 1,100 furries last year, is charity and education, he says. Funds from the convention sponsor, Anthropomorphic Arts & Education, and from an art auction at the convention will go to Pets Are Wonderful Support, a nonprofit that provides assistance with pets for people with AIDS and other disabling illnesses, and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz.

As for education, depending on your furry bent there are eight ``tracks'' offered at Further Confusion.

On the fur suiting track, Strom will lead a ``Fur suiting Roundtable,'' described on the convention Web site as an ``opportunity to meet some of the faces behind those fursuits.'' Other workshops address the specifics of costume making, such as ``Animatronics'' and ``Head Carving.''

``Sewing'' will be led by Dawn Davina Brown, who was commissioned to make several costumes for Further Confusion attendees. The convention's theme is ``Furries in Wonderland,'' so several fur suiters requested costumes to wear over their costumes.

``It's complicated,'' says Brown, who lives in San Jose. ``Most of the fur suiters have a persona. They'll give their fur suit a name. They want costumes for events - red, white and blue for Fourth of July, green and red for Christmas. And for this convention I've made several `Alice in Wonderland' outfits.''

Brown will also help judge the Masquerade, the convention's most popular event. Costumed contestants have three minutes to strut on stage in this fashion-show style competition. The judging is serious business, though. Contestants must follow rules established by the International Costumers Guild and will be evaluated on construction, technique, originality, complexity of style and presentation.

Other popular events at the fifth annual convention are CritterOlympics, the Furry Variety Show and the Costume Ball. Revelers can take time out in the lounge, which the Web site promises is ``spacious, with plenty of tailroom.''

Furries interested in more serious activities will likely be found on the scientific track, taking ``Biotech,'' which asks ``How close are we to creating a real furry?'' or ``Mustalid Panel'' about the weasel family, one of several panels devoted to a specific species. Both are led by Eric Schwartz, a post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University.

In years past he's led ``Furgonomics'' (how to adapt normal life to animal-like bodies), a class on careers that allow people to work with animals and sessions where people can see live animals up close.

``I take such a broad view of what furry fandom is,'' says Schwartz, a San Mateo resident. ``It's fandom of everything related to animals.'' A volunteer at both Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo and Oakland Zoo, Schwartz, 31, came across furry fandom through a ``Tiny Toons Adventures'' message board.

Many furries say they always loved cartoons, but their appreciation for Bugs and Wile E. Coyote didn't fade with childhood.

Artists and authors The contingent of furries interested in visual anthropomorphic arts is evident in the number of workshops offered in the art track and the importance of the Dealer's Room, which Brown describes as the event's ``hub.''

Art fan Greg Johns from San Jose says he sticks to the Dealer's Room for the most part, although he likes to see what everyone's wearing.

``I like more realistic and photorealistic art,'' says Johns, 28, a computer technician. ``Paintings of wolves or cats in the wilderness, that's what I like.''

Jeremy Doran likes use his artistic talents for puppet making and puppet shows, although like Strom, his initial draw to the fandom was a chance to get creative with costumes.

``Since I've been involved in this fandom it's really brought out my creativity,'' says Doran, a Cupertino resident. ``It gives you a goal to build things and be seen by people. You bring ideas you may have and share them with people.''

Doran, 29, first made a fox costume and recently made a magpie, complete with wings that fan out when he raises his arms. He'll join in the ``Open Pawpet Show'' at the convention.

Guests of honor this year are Tony Bluth, art director for Disney's ``The Tigger Movie'' (2000) and Karen Anderson, co-author of many books with anthropomorphic themes.

Bluth will discuss watercolor techniques while Anderson's sessions include ``Furries in Fiction'' and ``Plot & Short Story Basics'' about ``writing with an emphasis on the furry.'' The writing track also includes a discussion of nominees for the Ursa Major Awards - the Pulitzer of furry fiction.

There's something for every subset. On the spiritual track, you can take ``Totems and Power Animals'' or ``Fursuiting Spirituality.'' And for the ``gamers'' there are a slew of workshops dedicated to furry fantasy games.

``We get all ages,'' says Strom, the Further Confusion chairman. ``It seems to draw a younger male crowd, mostly males in their 20s and 30s, but we've got a good number of female illustrators. We've had entire families come, doctors, rocket scientists. It's just people interested in art.''

You can e-mail Alina Larson at alarson@angnewspapers.com

Your rating: None

There's no such tendency. There simply hasn't been any positive articles, save for the one that interviewed Kage about Anthrocon a couple of years ago.

You do realize the fact that you're only aware of one positive article proves my point that the positive media coverage gets ignored, right?When you look at the attention furry fandom's gotten in the media over the years, the spotlight consistently gets put on the negative articles while the positive articles are ignored or trivialized. As a result, the persistent---but nonetheless false---assertation that "furry fandom never gets any good press" remains.For your information, there have been at least four times furry fandom has gotten positive coverage in the media:* Animal Instincts: Fans of Furry Critters Convene to Help Mankind - Tri-Valley Herald, 01/23/03*
A 'Furry' Tale for a Foxy College Student - Olympian, 04/24/02*
Invasion of the Furries - Wayne Suburban, 07/26/01*
Public Radio International (.mp3 - 716K), 01/22/99This the sort of coverage I've always thought should be in the spotlight; the things we actually want people to see. These are the sort of things that should be distributed as far and wide within the fandom as possible, so when outsiders come looking for information they get an accurate idea of what the fandom is about.I'm sure you're reading this and getting ready to reply with the usual baseless accusation that putting the focus on the positive articles instead of the negative ones qualifies as "ignoring problems," so I might as well blast a hole in that argument now and save myself some time. Have you ever gotten one of those "business opportunity" chain letters in your e-mail that goes on at length about how it's not a pyramid scheme or illegal or a scam? Do you ever believe them? No? Good. Perhaps that will help you realize that putting the spotlight on the negative media coverage and telling people "this isn't what we're about" hasn't been anywhere near effective. It is a far better investment of time and effort to tell people what you are instead of what you aren't. I can tell you this from personal experience, because that's what I've been doing all these years and have never gotten any flak for being involved in furry fandom as a result.You can argue all you want against it, but when all is said and done, I must be doing something right.Karl Xydexx JorgensenAnthrofurry Infocenter
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>>There's no such tendency. There simply hasn't been any positive articles, save for the one that interviewed Kage about Anthrocon a couple of years ago.

>You do realize the fact that you're only aware of one positive article proves my point that the positive media coverage gets ignored, right?

Quite the contrary. The fact that I'm only aware of one positive article is indicative of that there has been no other positive coverage. I keep track, same as you. One of the chief differences between the two of us is that we disagree sharply as to what can be considered as positive coverage.

>When you look at the attention furry fandom's gotten in the media over the years, the spotlight consistently gets put on the negative articles while the positive articles are ignored or trivialized. As a result, the persistent---but nonetheless false---assertation that "furry fandom never gets any good press" remains.

False by your own assertion, perhaps, but that assertion is of itself untrue. The little good press that the fandom has received has been a drop in the bucket compared to the deluge of negative press its received. The Antrhocon article of a couple of years ago was the first good press the fandom had received in over fifteen years. Everything else before that was negative or else slanted towards the lifestyler fragment.

>For your information, there have been at least four times furry fandom has gotten positive coverage in the media:

* Animal Instincts: Fans of Furry Critters Convene to Help Mankind - Tri-Valley Herald, 01/23/03

I couldn't even read this site or the article until someone finally reposted it here. (My appreciation for that, by the way.) As far as it goes, it's okay. Better than most. But it still doesn't give a wholly accurate impression. What I got from it was that the con was about people wearing fursuits. One person was even quoted as saying that the fandom was all about anything to do with animals -- which it isn't. And even though that might have been taken as one individual's unique perspective of the fandom, I didn't see anything to counter or balance it. It was okay as an article. But this is also a recent event, and not a fair counter-argument to whether or not there have been positive articles in the past.

>* A 'Furry' Tale for a Foxy College Student - Olympian, 04/24/02
* Invasion of the Furries - Wayne Suburban, 07/26/01
* Public Radio International (.mp3 - 716K), 01/22/99

I'm only getting 404's from these sites. Perhaps you should post the actual urls?

>This the sort of coverage I've always thought should be in the spotlight; the things we actually want people to see. These are the sort of things that should be distributed as far and wide within the fandom as possible, so when outsiders come looking for information they get an accurate idea of what the fandom is about.

Not being able to access the sites you mention above, I can't comment directly upon them. But I've seen in the past what you considered the sort of articles that you thought were acceptable, and as I often do, I take issue with them. The only article I've seen to date that best epitomizes exactly what a furry con and the furry fandom is about is the very recent Roy Hill article (mentioned elsewhere on Flayrah), and that is what I want outsiders to see.

>I'm sure you're reading this and getting ready to reply with the usual baseless accusation that putting the focus on the positive articles instead of the negative ones qualifies as "ignoring problems," so I might as well blast a hole in that argument now and save myself some time.

Frankly, I think you've missed the boat, as you so often do. It isn't a matter of focusing on the positive articles at all, since there have been none until very recently to focus on at all, and those few have only just turned up. (Except for the one from two years ago, of course.) Other than that, there was nothing.
And, yes, I do think the negative reports should be paid attention to as well, if only to note that they are there, to note how many there were, and to note specifically what was being said, so in order to correct those impressions by not repeating the mistakes that originally led to those misimpressions to begin with.

>Have you ever gotten one of those "business opportunity" chain letters in your e-mail that goes on at length about how it's not a pyramid scheme or illegal or a scam? Do you ever believe them?

I don't even accept spam in my mailbox; it's all deleted unopened. So your point here is rather pointless.

>Perhaps that will help you realize that putting the spotlight on the negative media coverage and telling people "this isn't what we're about" hasn't been anywhere near effective.

And trying to pretend to people that such things don't exist or never happen only makes you look foolish and naive in their eyes, as well as less than honest. At all times, its best to take the bull by the horns, than risk being gored from behind.

It is a far better investment of time and effort to tell people what you are instead of what you aren't. I can tell you this from personal experience, because that's what I've been doing all these years and have never gotten any flak for being involved in furry fandom as a result.

You've gotten a good deal of flak for it in the newsgroups, in case you've forgotten it, not the least of which has been from me. Your approach has some good points to it, but only to a certain point. You can't ignore questions about past misbehaviors and unfortunate events, and you can't downplay them without being dishonest; you have to meet the problems head on, not tiptoe around them.

You can argue all you want against it, but when all is said and done, I must be doing something right.

You say that so often these days, that I'm begining to believe that you're trying to convince yourself of it. I remain, as ever, unconvinced by your actions or argument.

-Chuck Melville-

Your rating: None

Sorry about that. These should work:* Animal Instincts: Fans of Furry Critters Convene to Help Mankind - Tri-Valley Herald, 01/23/03*
A 'Furry' Tale for a Foxy College Student - Olympian, 04/24/02*
Invasion of the Furries - Wayne Suburban, 07/26/01*
Public Radio International (.mp3 - 716K), 01/22/99Also, the recent Jim Hill Media article qualifies as positive coverage. Also: Comics Buyer's Guide, Issue #1379, "Anthropomorphic Antics: Past, Present, and Future. A Warm and Fuzzy Look At Furry Funnies", April 21, 2000.I'll reply to the rest of your message when I have more time.

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I remain, as ever, unconvinced by your actions or argument.

After thinking it over a bit, I don't think I need to make a detailed reply to this.As I said earlier, there is an unfortunate tendency within the fandom to sweep the positive articles under the rug and put the spotlight on the negative ones.Your responses here have proven my point far better than anything I could possibly say.
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Is there any chance that someone might actually post the article here where it can be read? I've been trying to access the URL for the article ever since it was first mentioned, but keep winding up in some sort of endless loop between two or three webpages -- I can't even access the Trivalley home page. A posting elsewhere -- like here -- of the article would be appreciated.

-Chuck Melville-

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Here is the URL:

http://www.trivalleyherald.com/Stories/0,1413,86%257E10715%257E1131181,00.html?s...

Fred Patten

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Thanks, Fred, but I already had the url. The problem was that my browser couldn't access it. I've since learned that it's due to the fact that I'm using Netscape 4.7 and the webpage has something that requires a more recent version in order to read it. Since I don't like the later versions of Netscape and am quite comfortable with 4.7, I won't be reading that webpage at any point in the near future. Fortunately, someone reposted the article here on Flayrah, and was able to read it that way.

-Chuck Melville-

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an agronomist and Cornwuff from Northern Illinois, interested in sf, homebrewing, photography and running