Fur-dom and the Media
Why does furry exist as a fandom? Why all the cons in public places where furs strut their stuff while wearing tails, ears, or full animal costumes? Why all the web sites? Was this not in order to be noticed? Congrats: you got noticed. There are several articles here at Flayrah about this, and these have generated blizzards of comments. Now you complain, complain, complain that the media aren't treating you right. Cry me a river! Furs b**** about a "Vanity Fair" article (Pleasures of the Fur) a TV show (CSI: Fur and Loathing) an MTV "documentary". All "unfair" and "sensationalized", well, guess what: that's what the press does. After all, it's not news if 10,000 airliners land and take off without incident; the one that crashes is news. That the vast majority of furs live the balance of their lives just like everyone else is not news. The one fur who wanks kids' toys, or yiffs in full costume: he is news.
There have been suggestions that furs ban the press from cons. This will not work since Mr. or Ms. Reporter did not sign away his/her civil rights when they joined the Fourth Estate. If it's open to the public, it's open to the reporter. Period. End of story. Announce a con, and the editor will assign a reporter to cover the event. And that reporter will come back with a story. So if the moderate furs take some of the suggestions I'm seeing here, they will be discourteous, or refuse to answer questions with more than a "yes" or "no", or generally make themselves "uninteresting". So what will our reporter do? You can bet next month's rent money that they will go to that plush-o-phile who's all too eager to discuss unusual new uses for stuffed animals, or that creepy zoophile. At the very least, we'll get the "What-are-they-hiding?" story, with God-only-knows what lurid fantasies to spice up a dull news day.
Let's take a look-see
Pleasures of the Fur wasn't so bad after all. Except for Gurley's going off on a tangent into irrelevance, it was actually a rather well-balanced piece. Indeed, I've found it quite useful as an introduction to Furry-dom. The actual content was not nearly so sensationalized as the title. The folks Gurley talked to and quoted for the article were not wierdos. Indeed, I know some of those folks. Pretty much, they're not so different from the general public. If he tried, I'm certain that Gurley could have found some real weirdos at that Midwest FurFest. He did not do this.
Fur and Loathing (this show is set in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is a Hunter S. Thompson novel entitled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: get it?) The producers of this episode consulted with a fur named "Dark Fox". They did not have to do this, and could have made that story however they wanted. It could have been one helluva lot worse. At least they made the attempt to be fair to Furry-dom. Furthermore, this is a fictional series, not a documentary. Who is to say that they can't base a story on Furry-dom? This is the chance you take when you gain entrance into the mainstream conciousness. You may not like the result, however, this is the price that must be paid to live in a free country: someone may say something you do not like.
Plushies and Furries was certainly a poor excuse for a documentary, produced by a known pornographer: Rick Castro. This was a pure exploitation piece that made no attempt at balance. To be sure, MTV acted with questionable taste and integrity in showing this. However, it's not the first time something like this has happened, nor will it be the last. Nor was Fur-dom uniquely victimized in this fashion. Since there is no "Furry, Inc.", complete with a well-staffed legal dept., to hit either Castro or MTV with a big, fat law$uit, there's not much that can be done about it.
So does Furry-dom have a problem?
Regardless of what many furs think about their treatment in the media, one thing is certain: Vanity Fair, the CSI producers, MTV did not act out of active malice towards the fandom!. The "Halloween Documents" OTOH, lay out in clear terms Microsoft's strategy to smear, slander, and ruin the reputation of not only the Linux operating system, but the whole of the Open Source Community, of which Linux is a part. The tactic has since become known as "FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) There's quite a lot of information there, however, it would be most instructive for furs to read and understand it. This was an active campaign involving planted news stories in credible tech journals (off-line as well as on-line) "seeding" tech forums with agents provocateurs to spread lies about Linux (indeed, once these Microsoft agents became known for their good spelling and grammar, Redmond ordered them to be less careful with both. As a result, they continued to identify themselves with script kiddie speak, bad spelling and appalling grammar.) And furs are actually worried about a few TV shows?(!) What you're going through now doesn't even begin to compare to what Linux people had to put up with for years!
Microsoft, which is much bigger than Vanity Fair, MTV or CBS combined, and has resources at its disposal the likes of which the Linux Community could never hope to match, lost the "FUD War"!
Early last year, Steve Ballmer gave a speech wherein he stated that MS was no longer going to FUD Linux. Instead, he said that Microsoft would place the emphasis on "added value" of using Windows. Indeed, the anti-Linux trolling on tech forums is way down from what it was a couple of years ago.
So what happened? First of all, the constant criticism of Linux served to bring the very existance of the OS to the attention of those who'd never heard of it before. Secondly, MS made utter fools of themselves by telling what were quickly recognized as "untruths". Knowledgeable people in the IT field knew that MS was selling them a "Bill Gates" of goods, and weren't reticient to say so. This, in turn, served to cast considerable doubt on Microsoft's credibility. Lastly, but not least in importance, Linux people used the 'Net to challenge these falsehoods whereever they cropped up. The "Netizens" listened as Linux people made their case. As for Linux, it kept on doing what it's always done: being a vastly superior OS.
We furs can do the same thing. Counter the FUD on-line and in your day-to-day life. Go on living as you were and show your acquaintances that you are not a "freak", or a "weirdo". If they didn't believe that you were before, they won't believe so now. If asked, own your furriness, and explain that these shows/articles/documentaries are the products of ignorance and/or exploitation. However, don't try to deny that there aren't problems. Infiltration by zoophiles is very real: explain it as such. These are the real "Skunk-f**kers", and they are some of the most aggressive perverts out there. They seek the cover and respectability that Fur-dom provides, now that the general public has wised up to the fact that "zoophile" is a code word for: "I rape defenseless animals for my own selfish gratification". Explain that "yiff" has nothing what-so-damn-ever to do with fuxxoring the family dog. People of goodwill will understand. Furthermore, if you do have some sexual "peculiarities", these are no one's GD business but your own. Keep your private affairs private, and show the public the best of Fur-dom.
Remember: The only bad publicity is no publicity. And truth beats FUD every time. There is no necessity to avoid the press; the reporter is not the "bad guy"