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Remember furries on CSI?

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Those of you who remember the article from a short while back discussing an episode of the show CSI that would feature furry fans from our own SoCal group might want to check this out. It seems someone's efforts to give the fandom yet another black eye have sadly succeeded.As copied down from the original forwarded message:

From: David Parenteau
Subject: Fwd: 'CSI' : OK, *now* I'm upset.

Hey, all. In my previous post on the upcoming 'CSI' episode including furries, I tried to take a positive stance on the situation. But my optimism has been somewhat dampened now, thanks to a comment made by actress Marg Helgenberger before last night's Emmy Awards.

... When they (the interviewers) spoke to Helgenberger, they asked her what was the most bizarre thing she had learned in her now three-plus years of doing the show... Marg talked about furries. To the best of my recollection, her answer was "We just shot a show about furries and plushies... this whole sub-culture of people who dress up in animal costumes and have sex. I don't know. I'm not judging."

Gee, Marg. Thanks for not judging. You're asked about the most bizarre or amazing thing you've learned from the show, and you don't talk about (forensic science)... Or about the evil that drives people to commit cold-blooded murder. No, those things pale in comparison to furries. What freaks of nature we are.

-- There was more to the message, but that is the jist of it for purposes here. The original author did include an address for those who wish to speak their mind (politely, one would hope!) to Miss Helgenberger. This address, again care of the original missive, is at:

CSI
c/o CBS TV City
7800 Beverly Blvd. Rm. 18
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2165

(Most of the preceding was originally written down by FurryFury AKA ChrisMouse -- who I trust is okay with seeing it here).

So again, furry tries to put its best foot forward only to have some dolt promptly shoot it off. Sigh. I imagine that furs will be even more paranoid than ever about talking to the media after this. Then again, now, we may well have good reason to be.

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LOL!!!

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Oh, goodie.

He promised the show won't be sanitized. The "CSI" crew will still travel into bizarre territory now and then.

Indeed, one upcoming episode titled "Fur and Loathing" examines a crime that takes place among a group of adults who dress in animal costumes and participate in a sex act known as a "fur pile."

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Great, so no matter /what/ DarkFox said or did, they still look on us as a lot of deviant weirdos.

Oh well, I suppose I can console myself with the thought that even Hollywood will get tired of mocking us eventually and go back to their usual targets of all evildoers on the planet, i.e. everyone the Hollywood elite hates.

Ardashir

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oh christ. When will our fellow furries learn NOT TO TALK TO THESE PEOPLE!?!?!? >.<

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ya right

darkfox, and whoever was with him on this did better than anyone else

i dont know who he is, but i read his livejournal a little bit

he seems ok

at least he had the balls to make an attempt to get on damage control
and probably did make this episode better than it was

darkfox aint the problem
he was speaking up for THE FANDOM
not his fucked up fetishes (not that he does or does not have them - its irrelevant)
which is what the source of some of the WORST coverage of furry ever was generated by

when some (and i dont use the term lightly) social retard goes to great lengths explaining all about themselves and every little thing they do and think about to some reporter
well shit , i dont even know what to say ...what were thinking ? that they somehow WERENT representing furry as a whole when they did this?

hey , i dont give a shit about "mainstream america" in general either , but its called diplomacy

mouse
(again)

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Personally, I'm reserving comment until after the episode actually airs. If the script consulting that was talked about here before has made a difference, the episode might not be as bad as this makes it sound.
She could just be a shallow Hollywood git, remember.

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hey, i gotta better idea

DONT ***** send ANYTHING to Marg Helgenberger for starters..
she doesnt give a shit
neither does anyone at CSI
neither does CBS

secondly - clean up the ***** fandom so that this shit stops happening

problem solved

-love
mouse@blackvault.com

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>secondly - clean up the ***** fandom so that this shit stops happening

That's been tried before.

Remember The Burned Furs?

And what happened to them?

And the response they got from The Fandom?

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Clean up the fandom? There is nothing wrong with the fandom. This shit doesn't happen because of us, it happens because of them. Attacking people in the fandom because of one's own narrowminded views hurts it just as much as a negative article or TV show.

Problem solved, huh? Hey, thanks for doing that for us. Wow, now half the fandom is gone! Because of your valiant efforts you got many of the most talented artists and writers, and not to mention a crap load of customers, to leave the fandom! But of course those were dirty furverts, so who cares? Good show! :P

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the burned furs were ***** stupid about it

they had no goal, or if they did they had no plan on how to reach it

long on wind short on action

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"nothing wrong with the fandom" ?!?!
"doesnt happen because of us" ?!?!
"because of them" ?!?!

are you ***** crazy????

half the fandom doesnt HAVE to leave...they just need to have some sense smacked into them..thats all
its called tact

oh and the talented artist and writers are ***** LEAVING if they havent left already - because of this type of shit
so there are plenty of furry artists who will "never" leave..probably because they cant do anything else or thier reputation is already shot or both. so wheres the new artists going to come from? the art in this fandom is already beginning to stagnate ..havent you noticed?

wake up

furry aint gonna get any new recruits other than "furverts" if this shit keeps up
(im just gonna assume this isnt the case already)

everytime one of these things airs or gets published or somebody spoofs the fandom, not only do people get freaked out and leave and/or avoid furry ...on top of that OTHER people...***** deviants, say: "hey that looks like fun!"

they dont give a shit about artists and comic books, or promoting the genre
i dont think i should have to explain to you what they DO care about

your fooling yourself , not anyone else
sorry but everything in your post is dead wrong

you want to turn furry into a sex fetish fandom (not that it would take much effort - it practically is already...what little boundary remains is blurred for the general public)...but dont be surprised when it gets treated like one

the whole acceptance n tolerance thing didnt work out...in fact - it ***** failed..miserably

give em an inch they take a mile...thats EXACTLY what happened

and my valient efforts?? i havent done anything at all, i made two small suggestions - one of which just pertains directly to the news item, and the second is one thats been made many many times...but you motherfuckers never listen

i dont know why i bothered to be honest with ya

mouse

also:
before you accuse anyone of being inconsiderate or intolerant of others...remember that the "dirty furverts" didnt even take the time to consider what impact THIER ACTIONS would have on THIER own fandom, and fellow fans ...THATS pretty goddamn inconsiderate (to say the least)

if you think that your actions today will not have any bearing on tomarrow, regardless of how insignificant they may seem to you...get a clue. its been shown over and over again

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Um.. hi?

Those of us who are here doing ART in the furry fandom are not here because we like having sex in fursuits, with plushies or whatever, but because of the fans who are some of the nicest people out there. So what if they wear tails and ears, and call themselves by fake names? It's escapism. We may get asked to draw weird stuff, but what actually exits our pens is of our own volition. If it's our images that drive the fandom's psyche, then great.

And um.. talent artists leaving, stagnating or can't do better? Heather Bruton, for one, does many many SciFi cons a year, and has been GOH of enough to choke a horse. She draws adult stuff too, and to ask her about the kind of attention even simple nudity gets in a SciFi con art show as opposed to a furry show. We are much more hyper about it, even though our characters could not possibly be real to anyone but us. I, for one, refuse to put on clothes on something that works just as well naked. The body is a lovely work of art, and with all the infinate variety of fur patterns, it seems a shame. But heaven forbid we show a nipple, because then we are contributing to the downfall of the fandom! *cringe*

Talented artists leaving the fandom? How do you explain Dark Natasha, who has been getting better and better for years, enough to make the rest of us cry, or the countless other names who have been pushing the quality upwards. Cara Mitten, Susan Van Camp, Diana Harlan Stein, Heather Bruton all can and do work for companies, furry work aside or actually used to as part of a portfolio. I, for one, have seen a change in the artwork since I started. It's gotten better, more polished, more professional, and I am all for that. You can't expect a fandom still in it's infancy to be strutting around like a 80 year old curmudgeon. Give it time, and let it mature. Everyone is crazy in their youth. SciFi fandom did not start as a bunch of austere adults sitting around a polished mahogany table. It was people like us, in their parent's houses or in dorm rooms, writing fanzines and countless letters and stories, back when people thought they were out of their minds.

Adults have sex or want sex. Well, I suppose you wouldn't if you were a eunuch. Nobody I know of in this fandom has been spayed or neutered to my knowledge. :) It is a component into most things that are advertised to us, in our daily lives. You will never remove it from this fandom, but there are people working to make the fandom worth being part of despite it. It's interlaced, as it is with any other adult fandom. There is a lot of bad smut out there. But at least those people are trying, and I think that's really neat. Whether they draw camels or fox, or smut or purity, at least they are expressing themselves by doing more than telling other people to change.

You're intitled to your opinions. Good luck to you.

Sara "Caribou" Palmer

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So you figure that another group, one that's better organized and has better leadership, should come along and roust out all the "unsavoury" elements in furry fandom, harass and harangue them, until they all leave the fandom, leaving "furry fandom" in the image of what they think is perfect?

Hate to break it to you, but the reason the burned furs didn't get anywhere with their little campaign is that trying to do that with *any* fandom is stupid. It takes all kinds to make up any fandom. I've been involved with many of them, and there's always an aspect of the fandom that's quietly going about its business and really doesn't bother people. Science fiction fandom has a number of interesting sidelines that I've seen at conventions; it doesn't get as much play as furry fandom's sidelines, I guess because they aren't as pretty to the sensationalist media types (I'm in the media, so please note I'm not painting every media rep with the same brush). Those people involved with the sexual aspect of furry *should* try to keep it out of everyone's face a little more, but ostracizing them and driving them out to purify the fandom ain't gonna work. Furry has a sexual side to it. Sci-fi has a sexual side to it. Anime has a sexual side to it. Chasing those people out because they don't conform... sorry, doesn't play.

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If people don't accept the fandom, then they're just dumbasses. THAT'S what we need to fix. All you're doing is assisting the people who're bashing the fandom.

I have no desire for furry to become a sex fetish fandom, as you say, but I have no problems with sex being a part of it. Sex is a part of life, and if you think people are bad for liking to have sex in a slightly different way then you need to do some serious growing up. Sex is a part of every fandom. There is no real difference between fursuit sex and people that have sex in, say, Star Trek uniforms. But for some reasons a bunch of morons think fursuit sex is evil or disgusting or something.

And the furverts (I don't much like that term, but it's the only one I can think of at the moment that applies) have every right to do what they want. They are not the ones hurting the fandom, it is those that call them deviants and freaks and then associate that with the rest of the fandom that are the problem. There is nothing wrong with looking at furry porn or having sex in a fursuit. Our world is just full of a horde of puritans that hate everything that isn't 100% normal and godly. As I have said, that is the problem.

Well, that and people like you who're trying to tear the fandom asunder from the inside.

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i dont feel that anyone should be harassed at all, i think they should recognize that they dont define furry and should keep thier fucked up shit to themselves ...this is kind of a moot point anyway
but whatever

mainly i was thinking of a solid enclave within furry that could draw in new people...until the fringe resembles the fringe that it should be

because to most people...that aint what it looks like now...(YES - PR DOES MATTER, VERY MUCH SO)

also , you probably dont want to hear this, but it seems that some furry fans are clinically mentally ill - they need help that the fandom absolutely cannot provide

the problem also is the sideline youre talking about is WAY worse than in other fandoms
its probably a bigger percentage too

and the "sexual side" to furry and in other fandoms isnt the problem, and it wasnt what i was talking about

its how far its gone , and how fucked up it is
and the fact that it encompasses the behavior and lifestyles of fans themselves....not thier comics and art

pin ups and porn comics (at least ones that arnt nasty fetishes and/or copyright violating ones) didnt wreck the fandom
the fans did

-mouse

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ok dude ....

answer me this then

what the ***** does ANY of that shit have to do with anthropomorphic art?!?!

seriously

how the ***** did things ever get like this ?!

the whole fandoms OFF TOPIC in the WORST WAY

ok?!
no more fursuits..
no more roleplaying ..
no more weird bizarre shit
no more fucked up secondary fetishes sloppily tacked onto furry

just comics, and art, cartoons that feature cartoon animals, funny animals, anthropomorphics..whatever you wanna call em
the way it should have been and should have REMAINED

this is why people should come to the fandom..not for whatever the ***** your trip is

-mouse

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Oh yeah, dressing up as furries has nothing to do with the furry fandom. Neither does roleplaying as furries, or erotic art that contains furries. That makes so much sense.

And I agree, furry art/stories and such should be what people come to the fandom for. However, don't try and pretend that yiffy art/stories aren't furry just cause they have fetishes in them. Just cause most people think it's weird doesn't make it wrong.

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The ignorance of furry history is appalling. I only hope some of the naiveté written here is due to youth. The grayfur who remember furry from its beginnings gave a forum on furry history at the last ConFURence. Anyone who wanted to know about furry's beginnings could have sat in with us. It was clear that furry WAS started by close male friends, many gay, a few with sublimated (or not) animal desires, and all with an appreciation of art. The truth of furry's beginnings were made available to all, but only a few attended. Typical. The sexually-repressed prudes of the right-wing would not enjoy hearing of things that don't fit their perceptual model of the world. It's frightening to them to discover they are wrong, so they do not educate themselves, in order to avoid challenging their belief systems.When igno-rants rave how furry is -becoming- sexualized, it sounds just like the dinner conversation at a restaurant near ConFURence many years ago. Several rabidly-religious christians were discussing methods of destroying behavior and art/artists they did not approve of, even if it meant destroying the fandom to stop what they did not like. They did not know I could hear them, and I was not dressed at all furry fan-like, so I know their conversation was genuine, and I was eavesdropping. The conversations were appalling, and sound just like the rants here.When I read pathetically naive, ignorant, right-wing, hate-baiting, anti-freedom, fascist or Nazi-esque desires to control other people, I pity the young fools who place themselves squarely in the cross-hairs of the culture wars. Can't help but think to myself: "Get an education, grow a brain and some understanding of diversity before some leftist intellectual calls you out and takes you down." Seriously... intolerant people are in no danger of being considered enlightened, and are a hazard to themselves. Our ultra-conservative wack jobs might want to move out of their mother's basement and get thee to a community college. Education, travel and sex can cure both zits AND the mental illness of religion and right-wing ideology. Flames and hate-mail cheerfully accepted: mailto:127.0.0.1

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uhm.....

i consider age-roleplaying to be ***** DANGEROUS territory

i consider rape/crush fetishes (art) to be morally wrong
i consider bestiality a criminal offence

most people do too...unless they are criminally insane

ya its great to not want to impose your views on everyone else, and thats fine

but when warning signs like these start popping up its time to start telling people to take a ***** hike and make sure they undestand they have no business hanging around

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first thing - i AM a leftist
and im consider my self an agnost
so unfortunatly for you i dont fit that profile you give

and YOUR the one revising history

the sex/gay thing was from merlino and he grew the fandom, sure,

while simultaneously derailing it, and TOTALLY ***** it up

funny how you accuse "right wing" "nazi" furries of living in thier mothers' basements ,

well please explain to me how ***** a stuffed animal can be considered balanced and healthy?
explain to me how a guy runnin around in nothing but diapers has ***** ANYTHING, ANYTHING at all to do with with anthropomorphic animals

because i sure as hell dont understand it (and dont want to)

then you have the audacity to wonder why the media portrays the fandom in a poor light

the naivete is all on your side pal

what you need to do is take a step back from the fandom and take a good long look at it

probably wont help, because your perceptions probably too warped by this point

-mouse

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The grayfur who remember furry from its beginnings gave a forum on furry history at the last ConFURence. Anyone who wanted to know about furry's beginnings could have sat in with us. It was clear that furry WAS started by close male friends, many gay, a few with sublimated (or not) animal desires, and all with an appreciation of art.

I think that you mean to say that the first large scale organized gathering was by these people.

Implying that Mark and Rod (co-founders of ConFurence) started 'furry fandom' themselves is quite inaccurate. The fandom was in existance then on various BBSs, and there were already publications like Albedo that were out then.

Frysco!

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I'd prefer to have them acting out these fantasies through porn or RP than have them act it out in reality.

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Crocodile tears and ad homonym attacks from a vocal minority? Whining about Adult Babies? Pumping an anthro animal plushie might clear the cobwebs out of any sexually repressed prude suffering a spooge back-up. As Martha Stewart would say, "A Good Thing."
Personally I would be happy if all narrow-minded bigots would self-identify ala Burned Fur (a joke, in case you missed the punchline) so I can refuse to sell them the bestial porn they buy at cons to wank off with, and then whine how bestial furry is. Furry -is- sexual. It would be nice if they would grow up and get over their delusions of self-importance, that they are 'right', and should speak for all of furry. They never will. Furry -is- sexual. Always will be.
Whoever told you Mr. Merlino was 'the sole individual responsible for starting furry...' was pulling your leg. Hate and loathing for Mark Merlino insults all the other Founders of Furry who gave that great presentation.
A thought-control Nazi from the left? Not unheard of. A black gay republican woman can vote for self-oppression and rant how she wants society to behave, but the rest of us don't have to fall into jackboot lockstep with her self-elected delusion. No one 'elects' anyone to speak as a furry, locking out all other voices. Every Klingon 'fursuit' speaks for trekkies, and if American media eats it up, why feign surprise? At the last ConFURence, American media could not find outrageous behavior by well-behaved furries, so they created it for their themselves. Furry is media-attractive for it's bestial element. A voice of freedom and a visual target to appeal to the sublimated bestial desires in many, a place where folks can feel normal and okay with that. Some find this funny, in others it creates revulsion and anger. An attention-getting win-win for for media to sell overpriced soap and automobiles with.
Those who would sooner tranc sexualized fur and hospitalize them are trying to shove folks into the same kind of closet gays just came out of. You want to stop the unstoppable? That will require a post-apocalyptic return to slavery. The future may be scary enough with ultra conservatives directing effective new technologies to control huge tracts of populace. We may yet end up with a Pharaoh^H^H^H^H^H^H^H on-high controlling all slaves underfoot, quashing all dissent. Desmond Morris in 'The Naked Ape' called it for what it is... A hardwired need for a daddy ape to control his troop.
I have no 'audacity to wonder' about American media. I have never posted before this previous. I should know better to 'reply' to posts so obviously intended as a flame troll by a world view so naive and sad as to resemble a desperate cry for help from a mental health client unable to cope with the world as they perceive it. Such folks don't Have To seek help, but it's available to them in a compassionate society. Not so under a thought-control regime. That would be called 'reprogramming for the betterment of furry^H^H^H^H^Hsociety.'

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merlino grew the fandom by promoting it as a sex thing

even the terribly flawed 'furry FAQ' says that its not

yes, merlino grew the size of the fandom very rapidly

he also completely fucked it over in the process - starting it rolling down the path into what it is today

the bad hes done so greatly outweighs the good, anythign hes done to actually help is inconsequential

-mouse

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ok well thats ***** problem right there, by not doing anything or not comdemning it , then you condone it...

you might not ACTUALLY feel that way , but guess what , thats how people are gonna interpret your silence
thats how these things work

you might not be able to actually stop someone from doing something but you shouldnt miss an opportunity to point out very clearly that person has no business being in furry fandom

now do you seriously sit there and wonder why people look at furry as being fucked when the fandom in general has this all accepting attitude ...no matter how deranged ?
..shouldnt be

ya it sucks but oh well
why would you want a genre that you supposedly care about ...a fandom YOU belong to , to have this shit in it ..
because of 1 sick ***** ?

its stupid

(im not even really refering to stuff like 'rabid!' here , im talking about outright "criminal" artwork)

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1. im not a ***** troll

2. there is a HUGE difference between the "fringe" in other fandoms, and the "fringe" in furry, i think i already addressed that
(its also common sense)

3. you think its all ok ? go ask around OUTSIDE furry and see what people who know about it have to say
ask GAY guys what they think of it
and people who arnt "thought controlling nazis"

i dont wanna control other people..
but what the *****, you guys crossed one too many lines - sorry
now its time to deal with the backlash

you wanna blame all this on the media, "bigots" and everyone else ...the media isnt making this shit up out of thin air asshole

you want tolerance ? why not respect the fact that some furries dont wanna be painted with the broad brush you gladly handed to the media and everyone else

it was, is, and always will be: ***** inconsiderate

and once again i say "BULLSHIT!"

furry aint ABOUT sex , never was

MERLINO was the primary players in CHANGING THE fandom into a fandom that is all about SEX (for the FANS - this is the key idea right here)

and when i say "sex" im not talking about reed waller's "Omaha" , im not taling about "genus"

im talking about deranged FANS and thier outrageous, unacceptable BEHAVIOUR (and mental state for that matter)

it might sound stupid
but you're the one who's fucked up - not me

-mouse

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You think that just cause I don't like the same kind of porn as someone else that I can say they "have no business being in the furry fandom?" I don't have that right, and no one does.

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well, all i can say i hope we are talking about 2 different things here,

otherwise, go ahead- hang out with the furry kiddie-porno artists

i dont give a shit

having these type of people around, even tolerating them will only bring bad things down on furry
dont be too shocked when it happens, ok?

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You know what, I think I agree with you. And after that, we can kick all the Mexicans out of America because they're degrading on the American society as well...

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We should send the kiddie-porn furry artist into the anime/manga fandom, where it abound. One problem less.

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I suspect Marg was not talking about furries, but rather fursuiters, or to be precise erotic fursuiters. Unless of course she meant "dress up in animal costumes" and "have sex" but not at the same time. ;) To make these linguistic distinctions though, you practically have to be furry or heaven forbid, ask someone who is furry. Instead of thinking she just called you a yiffy fursuiter, instead consider that perhaps she really was only talking about fursuiters who enjoy pleasuring each other in costume. Everyone else, all the rest of us, the grand majority of furry fans and enthusiasts, these people could care less about us. "Oh sure, you liked Secret of NIMH and have read both books, plus fan created full length sequels, ...so what?"

She was in error though. People who actually dress up in animal costumes and have sex aren't a whole subculture, more like a small group, maybe even numbering in the dozens. :shrugs: I could be wrong, there are 6 billion in the world after all. But I'd argue that more people have a "thing" for bath toys than fursuits. The day they have a fursuit sex convention I'll call it a subculture, and promptly move to another country. :D

Cold-blooded murder isn't very bizarre, sadly enough. Most people can at least understand it, and certainly have been inundated with it, watching TV shows. Bizarre doesn't necessarily mean evil; if anything it means strange, or even diverse, and furry is most certainly diverse even I have to admit. By not judging, she meant she didn't call erotic fursuiters debased, immoral, heathen, pagan, Satan worshipping, sodomizing, lunatic hedonists who should all be rounded up and shot. (I'm not judging either, that sentence is a lie.) That's usually how people judge anything different from themselves, if our major religions are any indication.

Starling

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Not to start a flame situation, but once furries stop hiding in the closet like gays from the 60s did and become more open about their interests you'll see less of this stuff over time. As long as the "normal" furs keep avoiding the press, all the press will have is the extravagant, "in your face" furs. There is nothing any more odd in collecting anthro stuff as there is in collecting Disney, comics or trading card games.
Having gone through lots of fandoms through the years, I remember when all the press wanted out of comic fans was "how much" old comics were worth. And the footage only showed folks in superhero costumes. No one really covered the artists or writers. I know this turned off many collecters who refused to talk with the press. After years of folks finally willing to talk about all aspects, things got more balanced. Suddenly you saw prominent collectors, creators and such talking about graphic novels, inspiration for movies and more. The fact that much of furry comes from (now respected) media as comics, anime and animation will eventually come to public view.
Best example of "hiding" causing damage was a recent special about folks wanting to be a different species. (I think on National Geographic). They talked to at least two furs who seemed rational, if "odd". What made it seem terrible was that the furs went to a convention where (as the narrator put it) "no outside cameras are allowed!" Sheesh! It would have been better seeing a typical con with comics, folks in normal clothes, etc. walking around. Not seeing anything allows folks to really think the worse! True, they would have probably focused on the extremists, but in the background the audience would have seen some normality... and maybe a nice comment might have slipped in.
Face it, the oddities of furry fandom will always be what drives the media. Heck, comic-con footage still has too many stupid costumes and "pow" and "bams". But who knows, if more folks are willing to be seen as "standard", there will be a "Fur Eye for the Bald Guy" on future TV.

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You know, I basically agree with you, but I'm beginning to wonder if the word "furry" isn't, at this point, irretrievably lost.

This is a case Chuck Melville tried to make years ago and I didn't really buy it then, but I think it may be only that he was premature. When he was talking about it, most people outside the fandom really didn't know the word "furry"; there's always been a kind of myopia within the fandom, where people on the inside failed to understand how invisible internal politics really were to those on the outside. For many years, nobody who wasn't already embroiled in the fandom would have had the faintest clue what groups like the Burned Furs (and less formalized predecessors) were yammering about. They wouldn't have heard the term "furry" and they'd take anyone's offered explanation at face value.

But in the last few years, the window has closed. The word "furry" has escaped into the mainstream and it has a specific meaning attached to it that's much narrower than our fandom. We can argue all we want internally about the distinction between "furry" and "furvert," about comics lovers and fursuiters and shades of just what "fursuiter" means, but it doesn't matter. CSI is a top 10 show, folks. The horse is long since out of the stable, and with all due respect to folks like Mouse, it's far too late to be arguing about whose fault it is the gate was left open.

I'm all for more of the "normal fans" being willing to speak--even though I know it's tough, because they're going to get a lot of crap piled on them if they do it, by both fans and media alike--but I'm moving toward the opinion that it's simply too late to save the word "furry" by saying "no, what you think of as 'furry' is [specific fan jargon], and furry is so much more." Correcting people with the specific fan jargon is fine, but it won't stick, and there needs to be some other word to be out there to describe "fans of anthropomorphic animals in comics, stories and animation."

- Chipotle

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Whoa... Watts Martin...

*bows in worship* I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

Ahem, now that that's out of my system... Yeah, I can see the problem myself, being an avid fan of CSI myself. Like a few others, I'm reserving judgement until the episode actually airs, and heck, if they slughter the fandom, well, then that's what happens, it's what gets the ratings.

There, that's my .002 cents.

Tlaren }:=8}

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Odd to reply to my own note, but it suddenly occured to me over the weekend, the first major appearance of comic fandom in fiction was in a murder mystery novel.
The book took place at a comic con and (I believe) dealt with a famous dealer who gets killed after selling a super rare issue. All of the suspects are slimy con-goers, many of whom were parodies of current comic con attendees. If comic fans survived this (and the endless ribbing on SIMPSONS and other TV fare) so will furry fandom.
As for a new name. That also is a game that has been played for too long. No matter how often Trekkies tried to get a new name and image, they were still Trekkies... and still controversial. But they go on having fun and just let the media circus go its own course. A good lesson for fans of fur.

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>It seems someone's efforts to give the fandom yet another black eye have sadly succeeded.

You're got to be kidding. Are you really so arrogant? These people don't give a damn about the fandom. They just want to make money. They think having an episode with furries will accomplish that. I highly doubt anyone on the show has any desire to hurt the fandom, and many of them had probably never heard of it until recently. Negative media coverage of the fandom is not an act of hatred, it is an act of greed.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but acting like the media is out to get us is just silly.

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www.csifiles.com just posted an episode synopsis that begins:
----
If you think "Slaves of Las Vegas" had some of the weirdest sexual situations on primetime television, you ain't seen nothing yet. In "Fur and Loathing", CSI: Crime Scene Investigation enters the world of "furries" and "plushies", people who have sex disguised as animals.
===

Unfortunately, the remainder is no better. Anyone happening across the site, and reading this front-page article will form an instant and unpleasant impression.

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The synopsis:

"By Caillan
September 26, 2003 - 6:01 AM

See Also: 'Fur And Loathing' Episode Guide

If you think "Slaves of Las Vegas" had some of the weirdest sexual situations on primetime television, you ain't seen nothing yet. In "Fur and Loathing", CSI: Crime Scene Investigation enters the world of "furries" and "plushies", people who have sex disguised as animals.

It all starts when a man called Bob Pitt is found dead at the side of a road dressed in a raccoon costume, according to CSI Files sources. Bob's somewhat unusual get-up leads Grissom and Catherine to this year's "Fur Con", an annual convention in which ordinary people put their lives as "skins" on hold to dress up as furry creatures. Having extracted blue fur from the vomit found near Bob's body, the CSIs are on the lookout for any furries who might be sporting a blue costume.

Grissom, in full scientist mode, thinks "Fur Con" is fascinating, but Catherine finds the whole experience too weird for words. It isn't long before they find a potential suspect, Miss Kitty, who is spotted slinking down the catwalk of the furry fashion show in her neon blue costume. Kitty refuses to take off her mask at the convention, so she's hauled back to the police department for questioning.

Fed up with interrogating a ***** cat, Captain Brass orders Miss Kitty — who likes to be known as Sexy — to take off her mask. But when the deputy does so, a quiet-spoken, middle-aged man named Bud Deaver is revealed. Rather embarrassed and withdrawn without the support of his feline alter ego, Bud says he and Bob Pitt (known in the furry world as Rocky Raccoon) were "skritching", or rubbing their faces up and down each other's fur.

But when Grissom finds Bob Pitt's semen on the Miss Kitty costume, Bud has to confess what really happened when the furries got intimate. And what goes on at those conventions has to be seen to be believed...

Please note that these plot details have not yet been confirmed by CBS, Bruckheimer films or Alliance Atlantis and until such time you should treat this information as you would any other rumour. Also, please be aware that these details come from an early draft of the script, and elements may change before the episode goes to air.

"Fur and Loathing" will likely air in late 2003."

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"Fur and Loathing" will likely air in late 2003."

Actually, the idea I got from talking to those folks who were there, they mean to show it the Friday before Halloween. Sort of their 'weird crap' episode.

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There's been a lot of mud flying around recently about "controlling the fandom" or cleansing it or what not.

You're out of your mind.

First of all, I would like to state my belief on what furry is, since it's so simple and easy.

Furry is a label.

Furry is an empty ambigious label that means absolutely nothing to anyone -except- the person who defines themself as a furry. What furry means to you, may mean nothing to me, and vice versa. You might find someone out there that feels furry means nothing but orgies and zoo sex. Does it have to mean that for you? Of course not. But just like every other person, they can call themself a furry whether or not you agree with them. There is no law that says they can't call themself a fur. You can yell at them all you want, but they can call themself a fur if they want to no matter what you say. There's also nothing that can truly stop them from going to cons (besides breaking con rules and so forth). They might be interested in nothing but spoo art, but if they call themself a fur, then they're a fur whether you agree or not, he/she doesn't need your written aproval to become a fur.

You can't "cleanse" the fandom, it's just not going to happen. You can whine and complain all you want about whatever aspect of furry that you don't like, but they don't have to leave or listen to you. They can go on with their friends and be furs. You can't force them to wear a sign that says "IS NOT A FURRY" or some such nonsense. There's also nothing stopping a zoosex advocate to talk to every media outlet and tell them that furry is about sex with animals. Is doing that incredibly stupid? Yes, yes it is. But you cannot stop him from doing it. The best you can do is try to get the attention of the media and tell them he's full of it. Chances are they don't care, they just want money and ratings after all.

That's my two cents, too bad it's not enough to buy some piece of mind

~Suriko

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It's difficult to get worked up over any bad publicity furry fandom is going to get on one night of television, considering AFF makes us look bad 24/7.

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AFF aint nothing compared to ALF

-mouse

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If furry fandom has such a bad image, how come I can mention it on my resume and get a job with a window office overlooking the Potomac?

Not that I'm saying we shouldn't try to put forth a positive view of the fandom. It's just unfortunate that every time we get bad publicity, some folks seem to think the only solution is the same old tried-and-failed "Take Back Our Fandom" crusades like Burned Fur and such.

If furry fandom's reputation is such a serious problem, these folks should show us a serious solution. And when will we know they have a serious solution? When they finally decide to start exercising the same discretion and consideration for their fellow fans they've been demanding from everyone else.

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You know, sometimes I really hate it when I'm right.

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Anomie, Social Control Theory, Deviance, and Furries. What does it mean in regards to the media, and CSI?

Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, introduced the concept of anomie in his book The Division of Labour in Society, published in 1893. He used anomie to describe a condition of deregulation that was occurring in society. This meant that rules on how people ought to behave with each other were breaking down and thus people did not know what to expect from one another. Anomie, simply defined, is a state where norms (expectations on behaviours) are confused, unclear or not present. It is normlessness, Durkheim felt, that led to deviant behaviour. In 1897, Durkheim used the term again in his study on Suicide, referring to a morally deregulated condition. Durkheim was preoccupied with the effects of social change. He best illustrated his concept of anomie not in a discussion of crime but of suicide.

In The Division of Labour in Society, Durkheim proposed two concepts. First, that societies evolved from a simple, non-specialised form, called mechanical, toward a highly complex, specialised form, called organic. In the former society people behave and think alike and more or less perform the same work tasks and have the same group-oriented goals. When societies become more complex, or organic, work also becomes more complex. In this society, people are no longer tied to one another and social bonds are impersonal.

Anomie thus refers to a breakdown of social norms and it a condition where norms no longer control the activities of members in society. Individuals cannot find their place in society without clear rules to help guide them. Changing conditions as well as adjustment of life leads to dissatisfaction, conflict, and deviance. He observed that social periods of disruption (economic depression, for instance) brought about greater anomie and higher rates of crime, suicide, and deviance. Durkheim felt that sudden change caused a state of anomie. The system breaks down, either during a great prosperity or a great depression, anomie is the same result.

Merton and Strain Theory

Robert K. Merton, an American sociologist, borrowed Durkheim's concept of anomie to form his own theory, called Strain Theory. It differs somewhat from Durkheim's in that Merton argued that the real problem is not created by a sudden social change, as Durkheim proposed, but rather by a social structure that holds out the same goals to all its members without giving them equal means to achieve them. It is this lack of integration between what the culture calls for and what the structure permits that causes deviant behaviour. Deviance then is a symptom of the social structure. Merton borrowed Durkheim's notion of anomie to describe the breakdown of the normative system.

Merton's theory does not focus upon crime Per say, but rather upon various acts of deviance, which may be understood to lead to criminal behaviour. Merton notes that there are certain goals which are strongly emphasised by society. Society emphasises certain means to reach those goals (such as education, hard work, etc.,) However, not everyone has the equal access to the legitimate means to attain those goals. The stage then is set for anomie.

Merton presents five modes of adapting to strain caused by the restricted access to socially approved goals and means. He did not mean that everyone who was denied access to society's goals became deviant. Rather the response, or modes of adaptation, depend on the individual's attitudes toward cultural goals and the institutional means to attain them. Conformity is the most common mode of adaptation. Individuals accept both the goals as well as the prescribed means for achieving those goals. Conformists will accept, though not always achieve, the goals of society and the means approved for achieving them. Individuals who adapt through innovation accept societal goals but have few legitimate means to achieve those goals, thus they innovate (design) their own means to get ahead. The means to get ahead may be through robbery, embezzlement or other such criminal acts. In ritualism, the third adaptation, individuals abandon the goals they once believed to be within their reach and dedicate themselves to their current lifestyle. They play by the rules and have a daily safe routine. Retreatism is the adaptation of those who give up not only the goals but also the means. They often retreat into the world of alcoholism and drug addiction. They escape into a non-productive, non-striving lifestyle. The final adaptation, rebellion, occurs when the cultural goals and the legitimate means are rejected. Individuals create their own goals and their own means, by protest or revolutionary activity.

Deviance and Social Disorganization

In criminology, subcultures theories emerged as a way to account for delinquency rates among lower-class males, of these the infamous teenage gang. Subculture theories believe that the delinquent subcultures emerged in response to the special problems that the members of mainstream society do not face.

The strain theorists explained crime as a result of frustrations suffered by lower-class individuals deprived of legitimate means to reach their goals. Cultural deviance theories assumed that people became deviant by learning the criminal values of the group to which they belonged to. This laid down the foundation for subculture theories during the 1950s.

A subculture is defined as a subdivision within the dominant culture that has its own norms, values and belief system. These subcultures emerge when individuals in similar circumstances find themselves virtually isolated or neglected by mainstream society. Thus they group together for mutual support. Subcultures exist within the larger society, not apart from it. The members of the subculture are different from the dominant culture.

The subculture theories we will look at are extensions of strain, social disorganisation and differential association theories. Subculture theories help to explain why subcultures emerge (extension of strain), why they take a particular shape (extension of social disorganisation), and why they continue from one generation to another (extension of differential association).

For instance, Marvin Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti's Subculture of Violence thesis argues that the value system of some subcultures not only demands but also expects violence in certain social situations. It is this norm which affects daily behaviour that is in conflict with the conventional society. Here we will explain the subculture theories proposed by Albert Cohen, (Subculture of Delinquency), Richard Cloward & Lloyd Ohlin (Differential Opportunity), Walter Miller (Lower-Class Focal Concerns) and Marvin Wolfgang & Franco Ferracuti (Subculture of Violence).

To better understand and appreciate subculture theories one must first probe into the historical time period of the 1950s. The values of the middle class were dominant and anything else was not considered normal. Peaking urbanisation produced more and more deteriorated cities in America. The suburbs of the middle class were emerging. Delinquency was mainly perceived as a problem of the lower class. The middle class "we-they" separation led to seeing itself as the far superior class.

Chicago School of Thought

The theme of the Chicago school focused upon human behaviour as determined by social and physical environmental factors, rather than genetic, personal characteristics. The school believed the community to be a major factor on human behaviour and that the city functioned as a microcosm.

Researchers from this school developed empirical sociology, that is, studying humans in their natural environment rather than an armchair look at the social environment. Chicago theorists combined data, such as individual cases with population statistics which constructed an important foundation that has since been the basis for many criminological theories of today.

Members of this school focused upon the city of Chicago (hence the name) as a source for many answers to its probing questions. Many scholars of this time believed that urbanisation and mobility into the city was a cause for many of the problems experienced at the time.

Crime was fostered mainly in the slums. Many unemployed people, male, female, young and old, became transients. A plethora of social problems emerged, ranging from poor sanitation, inadequate housing, juvenile gangs, vice, to name a few. People were no longer closely-knit, nor were communities familiar. Many had no one to turn to during these troubled times. Crime was mainly fostered in the slum areas, where many of the immigrants lived. People began to form their own support groups and gangs, which emphasised deviant values. All of this served as a laboratory for the new sociologists at the University of Chicago.

The school contributed two methods of study. The first was the usage of official data, such as census reports, housing/welfare records and crime figures. High areas of crime, truancy and poverty were applied to different geographical areas of the city. The second method was the life history, as first studied by early Chicago school theorist, W.I. Thomas. This contributed a shift away from theoretical abstracts to more concrete approaches of the real world and real world related phenomena. The process of becoming deviant or criminal was explained by psycho-social phenomena. They wanted to present human behaviour in its natural environment, and this is why the Chicago School is often referred to as the Ecological School.

Further observations by researchers provided a clear analysis that the city was a place where life is superficial, where people are anonymous, where relationships are transitory and friendship and family bonds are weak. They saw the weakening of primary social relationships as leading to a process of social disorganisation.

Chicago criminologists clearly saw pathology in the city which led to criminality. Much of the research conducted by Shaw and McKay illustrated this point. The Chicago School clearly stressed humans as social creatures and their behaviour as a product of their social environment. The social environment provides values and definitions that govern behaviour. Urbanisation and industrialisation break down older and more cohesive patterns of values, thus creating communities with competing norms and value systems. The breakdown of urban life results in basic institutions such as the family, friendships and other social groups to become so impersonal, almost anonymous. As values became fragmented, opposing definitions about proper behaviour arise and come into conflict with other behaviour. Disorganisation is more prevalent in the centre of the urbanised city, and decreases with distance. Thus, crime developed through frequent contact with criminal traditions, goals and values that have developed over a period of time in disorganised areas of the city.

Differential Opportunity Theory

In 1959, Richard Cloward noted that Merton's anomie theory specified only one structure of opportunity. He, however, argued for two and not one. He thus proposed that there are also illegitimate avenues of structure, in addition to legitimate ones. In 1960 he and Lloyd Ohlin worked together and proposed a theory of delinquent gangs known as Differential Opportunity Theory. This theory, like Cohen's theory, combines the strain, differential association as well as the social disorganisation perspectives.

Delinquent subcultures, according to Cloward and Ohlin, flourish in the lower-classes and take particular forms so that the means for illegitimate success are no more equally distributed than the means for legitimate success. They argue that the types of criminal subcultures that flourish depend on the area in which they develop. They propose three types of delinquent gangs. The first, the criminal gang, emerge in areas where conventional as well as non conventional values of behaviour are integrated by a close connection of illegitimate and legitimate businesses. This type of gang is stable than the ones to follow. Older criminals serve as role models and they teach necessary criminal skills to the youngsters. The second type, the conflict or violent gang, is non stable and non integrated, where there is an absence of criminal organisation resulting in instability. This gang aims to find a reputation for toughness and destructive violence. The third and final type, the retreatist gang, is equally unsuccessful in legitimate as well as illegitimate means. They are known as double failures, thus retreating into a world of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

Cloward and Ohlin further state that the varying form of delinquent subcultures depended upon the degree of integration that was present in the community.

Social Disorganization

The growth of cultural relativity, that is, the view that cultures are not better or worse than one another, but simply different, in sociology led to a questioning of the existence of a universal set of values. The pronounced social changes following World War I and the Great Depression, included immigration, urbanisation, and industrialisation into the U.S. The crowding of large cities and the cultural diversity within them led to a huge urban development, which was conducive to deviance. An explanation was needed to sort out and understand this new phenomena. The concept of Social Disorganisation is largely associated with the "Chicago School" of sociology and was based on the work of W.I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki as well as Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay, to name a few. Thus, the term social disorganisation refers to both an explanation of deviance and a state of society that produces it. It was the result of intellectual development that had taken place since 1910 in Sociology. It rooted its explanation of deviance in social norms and community activities.

Crime was seen as a product of uneven development in society, with change and conflict which affects the behaviour of those within it. This theory emphasised that society was organised when people are presumed to have developed agreement about fundamental values and norms, with behavioural regularity. Social organisation, or social order, exists when there is a high degree of internal bonding to individuals and institutions in a conventional society. This cohesion consists largely of agreement about goals that are worth striving for and how to behave and how to not behave. Simply put, social disorganisation is social disorder.

I

t was believed that social organisation involved an integration of customs, teamwork, high morale, and bonding. This led to harmonious social relationships. Such a group showed solidarity and homogeneous and traditional behaviour. Social disorganisation theorists believe social disorganisation existed in much of city life. They made such a relationship almost unmistakable. They used the city as their laboratory in which they studied deviance and crime. They concentrated their research on disorganised local areas, slums or inner-city areas of high crime, prostitution, suicide and other deviant forms of behaviour. Thus, in their theoretical framework, social patterns of the urban environment produced social disorganisation, which led to crime and deviance.

Thomas and Znaniecki compared the conditions immigrants had left in Poland with those they found in Chicago. They also studied the assimilation of Polish immigrants. They found that older immigrants were not very much affected by the move, due to managing to continue living as peasants, even in the urban slums. The younger generation did not grow up on these Polish farms and thus were city dwellers. They had very little traditions of the Old World and were not assimilated into the new ones. The rates of crime and delinquency started to rise and Thomas and Znaniecki attributed this to social disorganisation, which they defined as the breakdown of effective social bonds, family and neighbourhood associations, as well as social controls in the community. Their study influenced others to come.

Robert Park and Ernest Burgess introduced an ecological analysis of crime causation. Ecology is the study of animals and plants and how they relate to one another in their natural habitat. Park and Burgess then examined area characteristics instead of criminals for their explanations of high crime. They developed the idea of natural urban areas, which consisted of concentric zones which extended out from downtown central business district to the commuter zone at the fringes of the city. Each zone had its own structure and organisation, characteristics and unique inhabitants. This had been known Burgess' Concentric Zone Theory.

Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay were researchers at the Chicago's Institute for Juvenile Research and maintained a close relationship with Chicago's Sociology department. They were interested in Park and Burgess's conception of the "natural urban area" of Chicago and used this model to investigate the relationship between crime rates--mainly delinquency--and the various zones of Chicago. They found that the crime rate was distributed throughout the city, delinquency occurred in the areas nearest to the business district, that some areas suffered from high consistent delinquency rates no matter the makeup of the population, that high delinquency areas were characterised by a high percentage of immigrants, non-whites, lower income famines, and finally, and that high-delinquency areas had an acceptance of non-conventional norms, which competed with conventional ones. They collected their data from over 56,000 juvenile court records with covered a period of time from 1900-1933.

However, there were problems with the concept of social disorganisation and these problems are what contributed to its decline. First, it confused cause and effect. That is, it described community factors related to crime and deviance, but it must be able to distinguish the consequences of crime from disorganisation itself; it didn't. Many early social disorganisation theorists were not careful in clarifying the concept of disorganisation. Second, social disorganisation was rather subjective and judgmental, all the while pretending to be objective. Observers failed to free themselves from biases and placed their own value judgements on behaviours. Third, it tried to explain crime as an almost entirely lower-class phenomena, and in no way included middle and upper-class deviance and crime rates. Thus, it was biased, in that it favoured middle-class standards. Those in the lower strata were assumed to have higher levels of crime rates because their members lived in the most socially disorganised areas of the city. Fourth, social change was often confused with social disorganisation, and little attention was paid to explain why some social changes were disorganised and why others were organised. Finally, what is disorganised? At some times, things may seem like disorganisation but at other times, they may be highly organised systems of competing norms and values. The concept produces a bit of ambiguity.

Techniques of Neutralization

In the 1960s David Matza, and his associate Gresham Sykes, developed a different perspective on social control which explains why some delinquents drift in and out of delinquency. Neutralisation Theory, or Drift theory as it is often called, proposed that juveniles sense a moral obligation to be bound by the law. Such a bind between a person and the law remains in place most of the time, they argue. When it is not in place, delinquents will drift.

According to Sykes and Matza, delinquents hold values, beliefs, and attitudes very similar to those of law-abiding citizens. In fact, they feel obligated to be bound by law. Then, if bound by law, how can they justify their delinquent activities? The answer is that they learn "techniques" which enable them to "neutralise" such values and attitudes temporarily and thus drift back and forth between legitimate and illegitimate behaviours. They maintain that at times delinquents participate in conventional activities and shun such activity while engaging in criminal acts. Such a theory proposes that delinquents disregard controlling influences of rules and values and use these techniques of neutralization to "weaken" the hold society places over them. In other words, these techniques act as defence mechanisms that release the delinquent from the constraints associated with moral order.

In Delinquency and Drift (1964), David Matza suggested that people live their lives on a continuum somewhere between total freedom and total restraint. The process by which a person moves from one extreme of behaviour to another extreme is called drift, and this is the very foundation of his theory.

Along with Sykes, Matza rejected the notion that subcultures of delinquency maintain an independent set of values than the dominant culture. They hold that delinquents actually do appreciate culturally held goals and expectations of the middle-class, but feel that engaging in such behaviour would be frowned upon by their peers. Such beliefs remain almost unconscious, or subterranean, because delinquents fear expressing such beliefs to peers. Techniques of Neutralisation suggest that delinquents develop a special set of justifications for their behaviour when such behaviour violates social norms. Such techniques allow delinquents to neutralise and temporarily suspend their commitment to societal values, providing them with the freedom to commit delinquent acts.

Sykes and Matza's theoretical model is based on the following four observations.

1. Delinquents express guilt over their illegal acts.

2. Delinquents frequently respect and admire honest, law-abiding individuals.

3. A line is drawn between those whom they can victimise and those they cannot.

4. Delinquents are not immune to the demands of conformity.

Thus, Sykes and Matza propose the five Techniques of Neutralisation: -

Denial of responsibility. Delinquent will propose that he/she is a victim of circumstance and that he/she is pushed or pulled into situations beyond his/her control. ("It wasn't my fault!")

Denial of injury. Delinquent supposes that his/her acts really do not cause any harm, or that the victim can afford the loss or damage. ("Why is everyone making a big deal about it; they have money!")

Denial of the victim. Delinquent views the act as not being wrong, that the victim deserves the injury, or that there is no real victim. ("They had it coming to them!")

Condemnation of the condemners. Condemners are seen as hypocrites, or are reacting out of personal spite, thus they shift the blame to others, being able to repress the feeling that their acts are wrong. ("They probably did worse things in their day!")

Appeal to higher loyalties. The rules of society often take a back seat to the demands and loyalty to important others. ("My friends depended on me, what was I going to do?!")

Sykes and Matza further argued that these neutralisations are available not just to delinquents but they can be found throughout society.

Attempts have been made over the years to verify the assumptions made by Neutralisation Theory, and the results have, thus far, been inconclusive. Studies have indicated that delinquents approve of social values, while others do not. Other studies indicate that delinquents approve of criminal behaviour, while others seem to oppose it. Neutralisation Theory, however, remains an important contribution to the field of crime and delinquency. Social bond theorist, Travis Hirschi, asked an important question: do delinquents neutralise law-violating behaviour before or after they commit an act? Neutralisation theory loses its credibility as a theory which explains the cause of delinquency if juveniles use techniques of neutralisation before the commission of a delinquent deed and therefore becomes a theory which simply describes reactions that juveniles incur due to their misdeeds. The theory does fail on the account that it doesn't clearly distinguish why some youths drift into delinquency and others do not. The theory remains too abstract and vague to be of any practical use unless we understand why drift occurs, critics have argued.

Social Control Theories in Review

Theories of social control focus on the strategies and techniques which help regulate human behaviour and thus lead to conformity and compliance of the rules of society, including the influences of family, school, morals, values, beliefs, etc.

Does existence of rules guarantee peaceful existence of the group?

Who is to ensure compliance with such rules? Social control theorists are out to study such questions. They are interested in learning why people conform to norms, they ask why people conform in the face of so much temptation, peer pressure, and inducement. Juveniles and adults conform to the law in response to certain controlling forces which are present in their lives. Thus, they are likely to become criminal when the controlling forces in their lives are defective or absent.

Social control theorists argue that the more involved and committed a person is to conventional activities, the greater the attachment to others (such as family and friends), the less likely that a person is to violate the rules of society. Social control has its roots in the early part of this century in the work of sociologist E.A. Ross. Ross believed that belief systems, not specific laws, guide what individuals do and this serves to control behaviour, no matter the forms that beliefs may take.

Social control is often seen as all-encompassing, practically representing any phenomenon leading to conformity, which leads to norms. Others see social control as a broad representation of regulated mechanisms placed upon society's members. In other words, social control regards what is to be considered deviant, violations of the law, right or wrong. Social control mechanisms can be adopted as laws, norms, mores, ethics, etiquette, and customs, which all control and thus define behaviour.

Social control theory is viewed from two perspectives. The macro-social perspective explores formal control systems for the control of groups, including the legal system such as laws, law enforcement, powerful groups in society (who can help influence laws and norms) and economic and social directives of government or private organisations. Such controls can serve to be either positive or negative. On the other hand, the micro-social perspective focuses on informal control systems, which help to explain why individuals conform. It also considers the source of control to be external, that is, outside of the person. Other related social control theories to investigate are:- Travis Hirshi (Social Bonds) and Gresham Sykes and David Matza's Techniques of Neutralisation (Drift Theory). Also Walter Reckless' Containment Theory can be seen as a theory of social control, although we can also consider it a self-concept approach.

Labeling Theory

A group of labelling theorists began exploring how and why certain acts were defined as criminal or deviant and why other such acts were not. They questioned how and why certain people thus became defined as criminal or deviant. Such theorists viewed criminals not as evil persons who engaged in wrong acts but as individuals who had a criminal status placed upon them by both the criminal justice system and the community at large. From this point of view, criminal acts thus themselves are not significant, it is the social reaction to them that are. Deviance and its control then involves a process of social definition which involves the response from others to an individual's behaviour which is key to how an individual views himself. To make this point, let's briefly examine a crucial point made by sociologist Howard S. Becker, in 1963.

Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label."

Labelling theory focuses on the reaction of other people and the subsequent effects of those reactions which create deviance. When it becomes known that a person has engaged in deviant acts, she or he is then segregated from society and thus labelled, "whore," thief," "abuser," "junkie," and the like. Becker noted that this process of segregation creates "outsiders", who are outcast from society, and then begin to associate with other individuals who have also been cast out. When more and more people begin to think of these individuals as deviants, they respond to them as such; thus the deviant reacts to such a response by continuing to engage in the behaviour society now expects from them.

So what does this have to do with furries? If you recall my posts about the upcoming CSI episode, we can see distinct and effective representations of anomic theory, and labelling taking place. The images portrayed by the popular media, and by that small percentage of truly deviant and off the wall groups within the furry fandom create anomie. Those of us who are just here to have a good time, and aren't involved in any strange behaviors or lifestyle choices are left feeling as though they have nothing to belong to; no common and bonding set of rules, ideals, or norms that make furry cohesive as a group, and thus legitimate as a subcultural phenomenon. Here we have the plot synopsis of the upcoming episode-

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation enters the world of "furries" and "plushies", people who have sex disguised as animals.

It all starts when a man called Bob Pitt is found dead at the side of a road, dressed in a raccoon costume, according to CSI Files sources. Bob's somewhat unusual get-up leads Grissom and Catherine to this year's "Fur Con", an annual convention in which ordinary people put their lives as "skins" on hold to dress up as furry creatures. Having found blue fur in Bob's vomit found near his body, the CSIs are on the lookout for any furries who might be sporting a blue costume.

Grissom, in full scientist mode, finds the event fascinating, but Catherine finds the whole experience too weird for words. It isn't long before they find a potential suspect, Miss Kitty, who is spotted slinking down the catwalk of the furry fashion show in her neon blue costume. Kitty refuses to take off her mask at the convention, so she's hauled back to the police department for questioning.

Fed up with interrogating a ***** cat, Captain Brass orders Miss Kitty — who likes to be known as Sexy — to take off her mask. But when the deputy does so, a quiet-spoken, middle-aged man named Bud Deaver is revealed. Rather embarrassed and withdrawn without the support of his feline alter ego, Bud says he and Bob Pitt (known in the furry world as "Rocky Raccoon) were "skritching", or rubbing their faces up and down each other's fur.

But when Grissom finds Bob Pitt's semen on the Miss Kitty costume, Bud has to confess what really happened when furries get intimate.

I have been involved in fursuiting for more than ten years now, and have never once been involved in any such activities, and am appalled and angered that things I enjoy would be represented this way on national television. Sure, there are people who are involved in some really off the wall activities. And of late, they seem to be the most popular subject on television, and in the mass media. As I say, I'm a furry. And I've never had sex in an animal costume in my life. Those of you with enough sense not to believe everything you read on somethingawful.com or see on MTV can understand how hurtful, and how destructive labelling can be. Add to that a lack of cohesiveness in furry to stand up for itself, and for the people within it to band together under a common theme, you are left with such an amazing amount of social dissonance, it's not suprising that people have a difficult time understanding furry, and thus relating to it.

For example, "Furry" is a useful shorthand for the anthropomorphic animal fandom. Anything to do with such creatures is on-topic, as it were, whether watching them in cartoons, drawing them, writing about them or whatever. Bugs Bunny is a furry animal, for example, as are the Redwall books' characters, and if you enjoy that sort of thing, then you are, whether you like it or not, a furry fan.

Yet at the same time, we have the other side to furry such as the "furry lifestyler", often shortened to "fur". These are people who in some way shape or form feel a strong emotional and/or spiritual connection to animals, generally one specific species. It may or may not have a religious aspect. And it may or may not have a sexual aspect.

So how do we determine which aspects apply directly to the fandom, or more specifically, to the people within it? We can like cartoon artwork, but we can also have a spiritual attachment to a specific animal. We can have no spiritual attachments to a specific animal, yet feel a sexual orientation in artistic expression or personal expression through furry. There is no distinct combination of traits that make up a the stereotypical furry, which makes for a puzzling situation in defining and determining the status of the furry fandom as either of sociological importance as a subcultural group, or as social deviance as an offshoot from images which are popular and peculiar to western civilization. If I like Mickey Mouse, does it make me a furry? By the popular definitions floating around, yes, it does. But do you also have any of the following aspects... etc... This is problematic.

We recall that Durkheim proposed two concepts- First, that societies evolved from a simple, non-specialised form, called mechanical, toward a highly complex, specialised form, called organic.

If furry lacks a specialized and complex form, it is still in the mechanical phase of development as a cultural group. This makes it particularly vulnerable to the violent forces within groups that define or destroy them. Yet it also exhibits a lack of bonding between members, so no clear method of addressing the conflicts presented by the media and the more extreme individuals is present. Merely keeping the press away from conventions, and writing reaction letters to magazines and television channels does nothing, when the people writing them have no set unified bonds between them.

Furry in general is allegedly fandom, not a fetish. It's often referred to as a minor offshoot of Sci-Fi fandoms, though most see it as it's own entity. It's unfortunate that all many people seem to remember is unflattering attention such as the extremely slanted Vanity Fair article or the Mtv "Sex2K" episode. Obviously they were trying to sell something, and sex sells easier than the truth. But such is modern society in this country. We have to also remember, that because of the lack of bonds and norms that would otherwise make furry into a noticable and distinct subcultural phenomenon, the majority of people who comprise the mainly middle class audiences of public television don't know who or what a furry is. When asked or confronted with the information, the majority of people off the street will tell you they don't know what your'e talking about. However. When 95% of the viewing audience have never even heard of the furry fandom before, and suddenly get exposed to the darker side of it right off the bat, what are they to think?

Thus furries are immediately labeled as deviant, criminal, or otherwise unwanted. This creates strain and stress on people who consider themselves furries when placed in social arrangements with people who claim to know what furry is from contexts presented in popular media, which as most intelligent people can attest to, is contrived and has never presented a truthful aspect to anything. This is hurtful and detrimental to people who are otherwise underserving of such accusations, prejudices, and faleshoods. But until some general sense of unity is established to define it as a subculture, it will constantly be the unwilling victim of the most extreme cases, the media, and the illegitimate.

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Dang.

You have really put some thought into this. I thank you, sir, and can only wish the fandom took more notice of what you just said.

Ardashir

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I pretty much agree with your conclusion; that without cohesion the fandom will basically suffer. Some people will always be giving us a negative label, no matter what we do - we passed this point some time ago. We will never be able to escape from our dark past and present, its legacy will live on. Now it's a question of how to minimize the damage in the fandom's future.

I'm about to say some strong things, so before I continue, let me say that I've swung with both men and women, and that I enjoy furry porn as much as I enjoy furry non-porn. I believe in tolerating other lifestyles, but not shoving them in people's faces. I didn't get into furry fandom for the porn, and it's not why I stay. I enjoy furry imagery and my friends in the fandom. Issues of personal sexuality will always be a part of the fandom, but it's not what the fandom should exist for, nor be publicly represented as being about.

Now that that's out of the way...

I doubt any improvement for the fandom will come from within, because social pressure within the fandom is minimal at best. Unanimous social norms to not exist: fans can't get other fans to stop behaving in a detrimental fashion - one part of the fandom will gladly embrace a person whom another part rejects. Nekobe is one of the few who hasn't been welcomed back. RkoLynx and Ostrich paraded their kinks to the media to our embarrassment, and are still here. Even though TygerCowboy has opened himself up to the media too, at least he's gone out to try and do some positive PR work and damage control for the fandom, and that's deserving of respect.

My observation has been that the fringe element in the fandom has gotten steadily worse over the last ten years, or maybe it's always been there and has simply became more vocal. I've observed that the majority of people in the fandom are selfish and emotionally immature individuals, who view their participation in the fandom as being the quickest means to rewarding themselves - socially, sexually, economically, or spiritually. The selfishness is made worse by the fact that a lot of fans are younger or in low income brackets. There is very little interest in the stability of the group as a whole; only an interest in maintaining the parts that reward the particular fan.

The selfishness gets particularly bad with sexual issues. Whenever people from the more non-flamboyant side of the fandom ask the extremely extroverted side to be a little more considerate and keep their interests more low-key and out of the mainstream public's view, there are immediate cries of censorship, etc. Yet the people who protest being censored don't generally go out of their way to defend larger censorship and free speech issues outside the fandom. Funny, that. If censorship and free speech was such a big deal to them, you would expect them to be really gung-ho about it all the time, not just when public petting and porn is threatened. But most of them will gladly participate in a pride parade instead of an anti-censorship rally.

Another problem is that fans like to pretend the subculture doesn't have to conform to the rules of greater society. This is most evident at cons. While subcultures partially exist to allow non-mainstream behavior to express itself, after some fuzzy point it crosses the line where the mainstream culture begins to take exception to it. That's where we are now. We have to grow up, and reign ourselves in. We exist in the real world here, and can only get away with so much. A lot of good and talented people have left the fandom because of the stigma of being associated with it. Should someone feel ashamed about being gay? Or married? Or for collecting comic books? No. Ideally, furry fandom should be considered a mere eccentricity, like other fandoms, not as being a mark of perversion.

Thankfully, there are people in the fandom who aren't selfish, who behave well, who are extremely generous, who fight for the environment, free speech, against animal abuse, and a lot more. But they are vastly outnumbered by fans whose first order of business is self-gratification. The fandom cannot improve when the individual concerns are valued over those of the group, and when no agreement exists over what the group's needs are.

If anything might be able to change our fandom, it would have to be mainstream society coming in like a ton of bricks, breaking the bubble of immunity that so may fans like to pretend we exist in. But we've had over ten years to clean ourselves up, and things have only gotten worse. If/when mainstream society descends onto our fandom like a drunken elephant, it won't be pretty. Heck, CSI might be the nail in the coffin, the day that the fandom gets declared officially dead.

Commenting on the sociological aspects of the essay; one angle about delinquincy (from an anthropological stance) is that Western culture has largely lost a definitive rite of adulthood. The teenage years are instead a messy mish-mash between what other cultures simply deliniate as pre-adult (low responsibility) and full-adult (with full responsibility). To be adults, teenagers in Western culture gradually perform a number of miniature rituals - losing virginity, learning to drive, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, graduating from school, getting a job, committing an act of civil disobedience, etc. A lot of furry fans are like overgrown teenagers who haven't become mature adults yet, maybe as a sort of defense mechanism while trying to seek solace for lacking a clear rite of adulthood, or to avoid maturing into the norms of society.

I very much see Sykes and Matza's techniques of neutralisation in the fandom, although I disagree with their observations about respect and guilt being factors. I simply don't see enough fans being respectful or feeling guilty. There is an astounding lack of normlessness, lack of respect and lack of guilt in the fandom. So few people seem to be willing to answer for their actions, and are quick to be defensive when confronted, instead of showing respect for the fandom, or apologising for how they might have represented it through their actions.

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Whenever people from the more non-flamboyant side of the fandom ask the extremely extroverted side to be a little more considerate and keep their interests more low-key and out of the mainstream public's view, there are immediate cries of censorship, etc.

The often-ignored other side of the coin here is the fact those of us with the more colorful interests who are considerate and want to keep a low profile and out of the public's view find our efforts are constantly and repeatedly sabotaged by misguided crusaders who drag this stuff into the spotlight.

Most of us just want to be left alone---a fact that should be more than obvious by now to anyone reading alt.fan.furry and sees that the folks railing against the colorful interests spend more time talking about them than any of the people who actually have these interests do.

Yes, we've seen all too often their claims that they don't want this stuff shoved in their face, but if that's true then why do they continually seek it out?

They yell for us to be discreet, yet show no discretion themselves.

They demand consideration, yet refuse to treat others the same way they want to be treated.

Exactly how do the tried-and-failed methods of the Take Back Our Fandom brigade and Burned Fur, groups whose appalling behavior has hardly been a good example, provide any sort of incentive for people to behave better?

I've always been of the opinion that furry fandom should be for everyone who likes anthropomorphic animals. These days, however, it's getting hard to find reasons to accomodate misguided crusaders who've deluded themselves into thinking I'm some sort of bad influence.

Can you give me a good reason why I should continue to make these people feel welcome if they've clearly shown themselves so unwilling to extend the same courtesy?

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The often-ignored other side of the coin here [is that there are] misguided crusaders who drag this stuff into the spotlight.

Yes, the worst exist at both ends of the spectrum.

[If] they don't want this stuff shoved in their face ... then why do they continually seek it out?

While there are a small number of the extreme who seek out the worst on purpose and then gripe about it "coming to them", I think you're making a crass generalization about the "I don't want it shoved in my face" camp.

There are two factors at work. (1) The stuff is in their face: it's already out in the open, or only hidden by the thinnest of veneers. That's why the media knows about us. (2) When you start to obsess about something, you start seeing it everywhere. Furry convention reports are notorious for reporting completely different versions of things, because of what the writer wanted to see in the first place.

Except for a couple of extreme fringe people, the "I don't want it shoved in my face" camp is not seeking the embarassing stuff out consciously. It's already too obvious, and it's upset them so much that they can't stop noticing it subconsciously.

They yell for us to be discreet, yet show no discretion themselves. They demand consideration, yet refuse to treat others the same way they want to be treated.

Uh... I don't understand your argument here. You're drawing a parallel between people who lack consideration, and people who lack discretion. There's no guarantee that someone lacking one will automatically lack the other. Here, I'll demonstrate.

"Could you please be a little more considerate and not wave that porn around in the open like that?"
"That's not very considerate of you, to ask me to stop waving my porn around."

"COULD YOU PLEASE BE A LITTLE MORE DISCREET ABOUT WAVING THAT PORN AROUND?"
"Geez, you're not being discrete at all."

I assume you don't have a problem with fans asking other fans to be considerate, in a discrete manner. The problem of the extremely extroverted side of the fandom is just as bad as indiscretly asking them to be more considerate.

it's getting hard to find reasons to accomodate misguided crusaders who've deluded themselves into thinking I'm some sort of bad influence.

Whoa... that just came from outer space. Suddenly your post isn't a reply to my post anymore, but is instead All About You.

Can you give me a good reason why I should continue to make these people feel welcome if they've clearly shown themselves so unwilling to extend the same courtesy?

I've always been of the opinion that furry fandom should be for everyone who likes anthropomorphic animals.

You should make them feel welcome because they like anthropomorphic animals. If someone's an asshole (i.e., inconsiderate) as well as being a furry fan, you don't have to personally like them, but they should be welcome.

Let's say a furry fan is indiscrete. Doesn't matter which side they're on. Could be a person who talks way too loudly about how they wish some people could keep stuff in their pants, except in private (a considerate request). Could be a person who's all into furry as sexual fulfilment regardless of cultural taboos and talks way too loudly about it to anyone who'll listen (not too considerate). Let's say you ask the person, politely, discretely, to tone it down a bit. But they don't. What do you do? Doing nothing is not a solution.

I'm not going to continue this thread here, it's far more suited to alt.fan.furry.

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I am extremely ticked off at how they portrayed the furr's on CSI. I dont think they could have done a worse job at it. For one they only portrayed the sexual side of everything. When in all reality being a Furr is a heck of a lot more than "Yiffing" about all over the place. Anyway I personally would like to get a hold of the writter and talk to him about how some (most) furrs really are.
Diamond White Wolf
wolfen_blood777@hotmail.com

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There is a little good in everything.......

...........it was the CSI "Fur" Episode that introduced me to the fandom. During the episode I was saying to myself "What are furries? Where did they come from? Why haven't I ever heard of this furry thing?"

Immediately after the show I jumped onto the internet and searched on furries. Numerous hits came back and I started clicking and reading. The more I read the more I HAD to read.

Suddenly I realized "This is me, I am home!"

There has always been a yearning to be outdoors, around animals, breath fresh air. It was my niche, where I felt at peace. Now for the first time I am finding out what I always knew inside but had suppressed.

Buried deep inside partly to gain acceptance among others and partly because I was wrapped up in the normal?!!? life. Now I was free, exploring my new world, seeking others like ME, finding them and realizing that THEY are like me.

That they are ME!

So I must go on record as saying "I loved the CSI episode on FURS...........

Las :3

"Though the beacon of light in your life seems dim, The sun’s coming up on the world we’re in, There are choices here, And I want you to live." STYX

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This is what happened for me also :} though it wasn't until this past week that I looked up info (due to more free time) about it and relized that most of the descriptions fit me Yay! :}

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Welcome to Furry-dom Lascivus. That's what I've been saying all along: no such thing as "bad publicity" -- Furry-dom couldn't afford that kind of advertising CSI handed it for free. You heard about it, you Googled up some sources, and found out what Furry really is all about. FUD always discredits itself in the end.

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CSI people are as conniving as the religions people against Jesus. They always wanted Jesus to be seen in a bad light. CSI is no different. Furries are fun loving not at all like the mentality of CSI. CSI could make anyone look bad doing normal things. CSI needs to repent of being Pharisaical to the Innocent furries.

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CSI people are not like Jesus. That should be clear. Had they they would not have behaved like a sneaky conniving, planing, manipulate people with a straight face trying to make another look to be less than they are. The devil in people revel in Hatty. That makes the people in CSI feel macho like a proud military officer.

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MY spelling was not so good. Sorry. I see a spirit in the furry that would end war forever. I see heavenly beings maintaining peace forever. They are not mischievous like CSI was drawing in childlike innocent minds looking for a fun time treating them badly. Furries would not be bad had thier suits look like the nude art that is seen in the dealers den. God smile p upon the parts he made not frowning on them at all. I want God to be in people accepting the sight of them with no age restrictions at all. God would have it to be that way.

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