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Watts Martin on the Fandom

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Watts Martin, longtime furry fan, writer, and publisher, has been talking about the state of the fandom in his blog, recently. Always a controversial subject, I think Watts makes some good points in his commentaries. Go take a look at the first entry, and then the followup entry.

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This was one of the reasons the annual Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading Lists and the Ursa Major Awards were started: to compile lists of high-quality Furry fiction & art, both inside and outside of the fandom, to stand as examples that good Furry fiction & art is not all sex-obsessed (without ranting about it).

Fred Patten

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It's interesting that this issue of acceptability in mainstream society is a recurring theme among furs. And why not? As humans we intrinsically seek reassurance from our peers that what we are doing is 'approved' and 'normal'.

From my perspective, as someone whom you might say is 'furotically' oriented: At the end of the day it is necessary and sufficient that it feels right for ME (and those participating). I don't CARE what other people think. Nor do I take this as a calling to force my tastes upon other people; 'squicking the mundanes' is an insulting and degrading phrase and I’m ashamed that there are those who do this.

Never the less the paradox remains. “I can see that it would be frustrating, to have innately good and well-meaning interests that are exclusively bound to some of the most socially reviled perversions and oddities that exist today” (c.f reply to the follow up entry).

Whoever made that comment has hit one of the proverbial nails straight on the head. Any sensible thinking furry, most of us, recognises that one’s tastes (however unusual they seem) have no intrinsic bearing on motivation or quality of character. It is unfortunate though that the way most people think is to assume something dangerous about those whose tastes seem alien to them. The only solution to this is for furs like myself to be honest about their preferences, but not overly eager to present them to surprised recipients. The greatest factor in prejudice is fear, and it can be fought by showing that having unusual interests does not stop your being a tolerant and respectful individual. This is a slow process indeed, but it’s far more effective than ranting and raving.

It must be upsetting and frustrating for some at how the fandom is perceived by the general public. I know it’s tempting to blame certain furs for this but let me propose an alternative explanation. Society as a whole is both repelled and obsessed by sex, and NO MATTER how small the sexual component in furry THAT is what would have come out. Any documentary or film ever made involving furries would have ALWAYS focussed on the sexual element. I’m sorry but I won’t deny who I am simply to fit in with what ‘everyone else’ perceives to be normal. Especially since the mass media are far more interested in viewer grabbing flicks about ‘freaks’ than they are about exposing the truth. Perhaps you can accuse some furs about being ‘naïve’ but not ‘perverts’.

As much as certain members of the fandom rant and moan about each other I’ll say this. It hasn’t stopped art being produced, stories being written, comics being drawn or furs interacting, role-playing and enjoying each others company. Personally, I think this ‘state of the fandom’ issue is artificial, there is no issue except in our minds.

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