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Opinion: Misconceptions about the origins of furry fandom

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Contrary to popular belief, the furry fandom did not originate before the 1970's, nor were we the first anthropomorphic fandom.

Before the furry fandom originated there was another fandom called "funny animal lovers". Unlike the furry fandom, funny animal lovers viewed it as a hobby and there wasn't any porn of the characters, sexual aspect came later on

Pre-2000

Funny animal lovers were less of a fandom and more a fanbase. The general consensus is that it originated in the early 20th century and that works such as Redwall were created by writers who were funny animal lovers. No these works are not furry, they are funny animal lovers though.

1974 was when the Star Trek cartoon first aired, with M'Ress of the Caitians. Before, fan-drawn characters were completely funny animals; afterwards, fan art of the character and original characters began to be drawn with sexual appeal. Thus furry started out as a subgroup of funny animal lovers.

The 1980's were the peak for funny animal lovers with a massive amount of content, it helped jump start what later became the furry fandom as the timing couldn't be more perfect. The subgroup saw works like Omaha The Cat Dancer, Cutey Bunny, Albedo, Usagi Yojimbo, and Critters. A great factor in the formation of the furry fandom was the APA, Vootie. Reed Waller and his underground comics drew together a loose group of fans.

The furry fandom originated as a sexualized subgroup of the chaste funny animal lovers and the first ConFurence was held. The fandom gained popularity quickly with Further Confusion being held and other conventions, no longer just a part of funny animal lovers. Anthrocon too was created.

While it is debatable what exactly caused at ConFurence for it to get so out of hand; personally I think it was a bit of bad marketing and not having foresight to think of the consequences, aka Mark Merlino had a "derp" moment.

Also fursuits were created originally based off of mascots; the first ones were not made of faux fur, but rather anything available - some were made out of newspaper and paper-mâché.

Over time the furry fandom has gained new members, often through subgroups the fandom already has; another way is giving things already in existence a furry spin e.g. pokefurs. Another way is importing groups, just as fursuiters were originally based off mascots but since have become far better.

The last way is merging; not too many groups have done this; the only group currently going through this is kemono - though they developed separately from furry, the groups have become synonymous. In America there are fans that call themselves kemono instead of furry and in Japan there are fans that call themselves furry instead. It has gotten to the point where you can pretty much call yourself either.

The 1990's saw the coming of Burned furs cause of bestiality proponents. However the problem with the burned furs was that they should have broken down their group into each individual platform.

1996 saw the first furry website, FurNation, we also saw the arrival of Yerf.

Post-2000

The fandom has acted like a machine in the ways that is has grown and developed, following the four ways of growing constantly and without fail. Then the vanity fair article, followed shortly by the CSI episode being aired, however it was ten years ago, get over it, if someone brings it up just blow it off by saying, "you do realize that CSI is a fictional show right?"

The problem with the CSI episode and the ConFurence drama is that people joined the fandom specifically looking to engage in those acts. This second generation of furries defined the fandom for years after the original group of furries, until recently during the 2008 spike in growth.

In 2000–2008 we saw alot of people join the fandom and stay in the fandom for the sexual aspect. 2005 saw the founding of Fur Affinity by Alkora. More information about this period of time is available since it has only been a couple of years

For some odd reason the middle of 2008 saw a massive influx of new members compared to other years, I still have no clue what caused it and I've been trying to figure this one out myself for the last three and a half years.

The next generation

After the 2008 spike the new members in the fandom are different from previous ones, it is not yet known how this will effect the fandom in the future as they have become the majority. However these new members seem highly compartmentalized, interacting with the fandom through their own subgroups.

Comments

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This reads like an early first draft of... something. I won't call it a hit piece in full. It bears the label of "opinion"; that there are potentially disagreeable statements contained therein is thus not hidden from the reader. It attempts to characterize some of the history, but its treatment of that feels disjointed. I have to draw on quite a bit of info I vaguely remember from other sources, without any sort of citations, links, or sources given.

It could be an interesting smack in the face, but it presently lacks any sort of depth or polish that would make me want to take notice.

Still, it is nice first try.

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I've never written a news article before, but yeah I like criticism that way I can learn to do better.
Alot of my sources were from older members in the furry fandom.
One furry I chat with regularly that was in the funny animal lovers is http://www.furaffinity.net/user/charrio/ and a couple other furs.
Pretty much I summarized all what the people said into this.

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This is a reply to CannonFodder. I'm sorry that I selected the wrong tag...

You are correct, about SOME things.
Funny Animals were one of the mainstreams of comic books, and very popular before the Superhero Explosion. A very important genre you skipped, however, was the rise of the underground comic scene in the 1960s. Characters like Fritz the Cat used funny animals to slam very human foibles, and their content included a lot of drug use and sex. Reed Waller's creation, Omaha the Cat Dancer was inspired by and a part of the redefined Small Press comics that became the Black and White Boom/Bust, with titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo surviving and thriving.
You also missed the point that Funnay Animal cartoonists were a tightly closed group. Loose organizations like Amateur Publishing Associations (APAS), Vootie and Rowerbrazzle were for artists and comic historians ONLY. You could not be a part of the group if you were a "just a fan"
One of the important things about Furry fandom is that fans, costumers, writers, Everybody, is welcome! There will always be the private creators clubs, for the self-styled "elite", but the problem with exclusive clubs is so many of us can't join...
You also mentioned ConFurence... being "out of control". What do you mean by that? What is your source? Are you perpetuating the troll-created fabrications of the ancient past? If you are planning to be writing articles that are accurate, you should check your sources. Even people who are important voices for the fandom can get it wrong, if it supports their purposes.

Mark Merlino

American Pine Marten

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Also, Mark: you were told directly, and I saw you being told, that ConFurence was out of control. I saw the booths you set up at other conventions, such as San Diego ComiCon and VegasCon, where one of the prime attractions you set out to promote ConFurence were collections of furry porn. I listened at CondorCon while you told an audience of mainstream sci-fi fans that "being furry" was about "getting in touch with the sexuality of your inner animal".

These things, along with the poor behavior of various persons at several ConFurences running --- making out in public, stains on the elevator wall, full-torso public bondage displays, drag queens and so on --- caused people to begin openly and loudly complaining about how out-of-control CF was. We were BEGGING you to install and enforce behavior codes, which you folks insisted on NOT doing.

It is largely because of CF, and the out-of-control events which took place there --- even at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel --- that every OTHER convention now has strong behavioral restrictions in place.

AND you're entirely wrong about the APAs: numerous writers who never drew a thing were members of virtually every furry APA there ever was. And many of their members, including myself (Dallas Brawl Update, Bizarre Wars, Rowrbrazzle), were indeed "just fans".

That's not "trolling". That's history.

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I'm not sure who you are, though you know who I am.
Who exactly told me that "ConFurence was out of control"? The people on Alt-Fan-Furry? I didn't participate in those flame-wars. If anyone was representing me, it without my knowledge.
The only "oft quoted" item about ConFurence being "out of control" was a letter posted on Alt-Fan-Furry by a Ed Kline who was rather homophobic and didn't like the fact that his wife didn't make very much money in the charity slave auction. Everything else in the letter was pure BS and easily debunked. For example, the "stains in the elevator" were from wet bathing suits, as the hotel pool was not on the ground floor.
"Behavioral Restrictions" don't prevent anyone from doing anything. We always asked attendees to be polite and civil. Wasting pages in the con book (which no one ever reads anyway) with pages of "rules" served no purpose but to have something to point to if someone did something stupid. As to who was "begging" me to "install and enforce" codes... Who? Alt-Fan-furry again?
In several panels and on interviews, I talked about what Furry meant to me and some others I knew. I had nothing to do with the content of some of the sensationalist reports that may have included my statements. Yes, I said that an aspect of being furry involved sexuality. I was speaking from my experience, and I believe that has been the case for many involved in Furry. So what? You and whoever disagrees is welcome to say what you believe, too.
Yes, we set out collections of furry art at our tables, some was mature in nature. You could find mature art all over Comic Con in those days.
I know for a fact about the non-writer policy of Rowerbrazzle... I was a member. When Fred Patten took over as editor, many members were not happy with his editorial and review articles, and it took a long time before other writers were welcome (mainly due to Fred kicking down the door). Yes, there are writers in APAs... Many APAs were founded by writers... they just weren't very welcome in 'Brazzle in the beginning. People who were "just fans" were not likely to even know about 'Brazzle, and if they found out, they would have to meet the same criteria as any other member to be a part of the APA.
You obviously have a very personal dislike of mature-themed media and of anyone who openly speaks about their life choices. You have every right to speak out, as long as you make it clear that it's your opinion.
As to communication regarding ConFurence... Myself and my partner Rodney never received any mail or e-mail or telephone calls (even though our contact information was readily available) about the convention being "out of control". Discussions and the flame-wars on the Alt groups were mentioned at planning meetings and everyone was aware of them. When an issue was valid, it was dealt with, other wise, the BS was ignored.
Just repeating, over and over again, rumors created by attention-seeking trolls from the past and claiming it's "history" does not make it so.

American Pine Marten

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> I'm not sure who you are

We've met on various occasions. Granted, that was when ConFurence was still a going thing, so it's been a great many years. You would probably best recall me, in personal terms, as a friend of Metalhead's who helped keep him alive when he was homeless in Arizona, and who worked with Roofus to get him out to friends better able to support him in California. I've been to the Skiltaire as a guest when you had no problems with Lia Graf being there and Jazmyn kept loads of rats.

Another instance was with you, Jazmyn and Roofus, at ConFurence 4. When I admitted to and apologized to the lot of you for being the "Mad Bomber", you and Jazmyn scowled (understandably) --- and Roofus broke up howling with laughter because the incident had resulted in the Red Lion's quite homophobic Chief of Security being fired. According to Roofus, this was because when a police officer asked why the Chief had overreacted to what was obviously a prop, he said "well, we gotta get these faggots out've the hotel".

Yeah. I was the guy in the armored unicorn outfit. For the record, Scott Ruggles ultimately bought the armor from me.

> Who exactly told me that "ConFurence was out of control"?

At nearly every after-convention public meeting starting around CF4, the issue was raised. You were sent emails. You were called on the phone. Letters were sent. There is no means of communication which was available at the time which was not used, and when you ignored them all, people began airing their dirty laundry on Alt.Fan.Furry.

> The only "oft quoted" item about ConFurence being "out of control" was a letter posted on Alt-Fan-Furry by a Ed Kline who was rather homophobic

Actually he was bisexual --- same as you. Which he points out in the letter you're referencing. Most everyone who knew him at the time would be highly offended that you would try to pull the "Homophobia Card" on Ed.

> Everything else in the letter was pure BS and easily debunked. For example, the "stains in the elevator" were from wet bathing suits

Actually, the details were corroborated by others, including Scott Ruggels and myself. The stains in the elevator were slimy, adhering to a person who unknowingly leaned against them.

As to Ed's report of the guy dancing in the hotel lobby in nothing but a Dixie cup, I saw that myself. You dishonor yourself by calling Ed a liar on the matter.

> "Behavioral Restrictions" don't prevent anyone from doing anything.

And laws don't prevent anyone from committing crimes. Yet, both laws and behavioral restrictions provide deterrence, as well as cause for ejection of persons from the event.

> Yes, we set out collections of furry art at our tables, some was mature in nature. You could find mature art all over Comic Con in those days.

These being the same ComiCons I also attended? No, Sy, you couldn't find anything at ComiCon which came close to the "maturity" of what was in the collections you provided...not outside of a plain brown wrapper.

Oh, one could easily find T&A pics of the X-Mens' Storm, or cheesecake shots of Ms. Marvel, and indeed that was a lot of what passed for industry art standards of the time (and does today as well). But to compare that with, say, a black anthro stallion lying on his back in the snow while jacking off?

Um, no. Talk about sugar-coating your reality.

> I know for a fact about the non-writer policy of Rowerbrazzle... I was a member. When Fred Patten took over as editor, many members were not happy with his editorial and review articles, and it took a long time before other writers were welcome (mainly due to Fred kicking down the door).

I was also a member. Oh, not at the same time as you. But Fred took over the job rather early in Rowrbrazzle's run. And I've seen issues going well back into its history, owned by people who WERE your contemporaries --- Mike-Scot McMurry, for example --- where authors were turning out almost literally reams of material.

While various members did not like having writers in 'Brazzle, and were vocal about it, that hardly amounts to an actual "artists only" policy, which is the article's claim.

> You obviously have a very personal dislike of mature-themed media

I draw fetish porn, you twit. Which I wouldn't even mention, since it isn't necessary to the conversation, EXCEPT that you just pulled the "Prude Card" on ME. Didn't you talk about doing research in another post?

> As to communication regarding ConFurence... Myself and my partner Rodney never received any mail or e-mail or telephone calls (even though our contact information was readily available) about the convention being "out of control".

Except, of course, that you just got done attacking Ed Kline as being "homophobic" for sending you exactly such a complaint.

> claiming it's "history" does not make it so.

To the contrary; ignoring history doesn't make it go away.

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Roy, I've got to ask...when you were in that elevator with Ruggels, was there a brunette girl there, too? If so, I think that may have been me. I hadn't met Scott by then, but you have to admit he cuts a memorable picture and I remember being in that nasty elevator with him and one other guy. And trying to stay away from the walls, once I noticed the crap all over them.

I have to wonder something about Merlino's claim, too...if that were true wouldn't the walls of the other elevators be covered in the same ick?

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Clarification: I was not in the elevator with Scott Ruggels. In fact, I'd normally be the first to dismiss such a story as standard fannish trashtalking, EXCEPT that it came from Scott Ruggels.

Scott is one of the most professional, habitually-honorable people in this fandom. He doesn't smack-talk or make up stories, because doing so is simply unprofessional. For him to have made up such a story, and get others to back him up on it, is so out of character for him as to be literally unthinkable.

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I totally agree! I was a friend of his for a while long after this incident, but we lost touch when he left FurryMuck.

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Yes, I now know who you are now. So I'm not surprised by what you are saying.

>At nearly every after-convention public meeting starting around CF4, the issue was raised. You were sent emails. You were called on the phone. Letters were sent. There is no means of communication which was available at the time which was not used, and when you ignored them all, people began airing their dirty laundry on Alt.Fan.Furry.<

You aren't really explaining what "out of control" means. In 11 years, we had a few problems with drunk and drug using people, who the hotel asked to leave. The "bomb scare" with the alarm clock, and the intolerant security person. The film security board telling someone he could not sell bootleg videos in the dealer's room. Security having to deal with loud dealer showing furry art porn on his laptop (openly displaying porn was always against the rules in the dealer's den). It all cases, we handled the problems as they came up. It's impossible to predict how people will behave. Maybe we did expect attendees to behave better, but for many of them , it was the first time they had to "let their hair down". There is a social learning curve. However, in ever case, we were invited back to the hotel (except for the San Diego venue, and that was due to a contract disagreement).

I never ignored a phone call about the con. I kept all con-related correspondence. People complaining about PDAs in the lobby, or crazy stunts were responded to. Otherwise, it was all a bunch of exaggerated and fabricated garbage on the at groups. I didn't bother with that.

>Actually he was bisexual --- same as you. Which he points out in the letter you're referencing. Most everyone who knew him at the time would be highly offended that you would try to pull the "Homophobia Card" on Ed.<

Oh? so I AM allowed to state my sexual orientation instead of having to accept your label. You called my partner and I "Gay Activists". Gay? not by the accepted definition. Activist? um... I have no problem with gays, but they have no interest in Furry (or that has been our experience). I called ED homophbic, and you called me a "gay activist". We're even.
I was very close to Mr. Kline and his family for many years. He lived in an apartment directly behind mine, and we had a bridge between our patios. I won't bother with the details, but he had some attitudes that many would agree tended toward homophobia. This is based on MY personal experience, yours might differ.

>Actually, the details were corroborated by others, including Scott Ruggels and myself. The stains in the elevator were slimy, adhering to a person who unknowingly leaned against them.

As to Ed's report of the guy dancing in the hotel lobby in nothing but a Dixie cup, I saw that myself. You dishonor yourself by calling Ed a liar on the matter.<

Yes, both elevators were pretty messy, and the smell of chlorine was very strong. I assume that was a continuing problem, considering where the pool was located. It had nothing to do with our con.

The guy wearing a dixie cup in the lobby. A crazy stunt. Security took care of it. Are you implying that someone pulling a stunt like this is somehow my fault?

>These being the same ComiCons I also attended? No, Sy, you couldn't find anything at ComiCon which came close to the "maturity" of what was in the collections you provided...not outside of a plain brown wrapper.

Oh, one could easily find T&A pics of the X-Mens' Storm, or cheesecake shots of Ms. Marvel, and indeed that was a lot of what passed for industry art standards of the time (and does today as well). But to compare that with, say, a black anthro stallion lying on his back in the snow while jacking off?<

Actually, you must have missed the adult magazine collectors, and the erotic art sellers. True, you don't see much of that now, after a local Baptist church pastor started his campaign to "clean up Comic Con". But back then, it was pretty much "anything goes".

The art books we had on display were clearly marked if they contained adult material. The art was created by well-known Furry artists, and so was on display. Many of the artists had similar art at their oen tables, and were working on commissions of an adult nature. Since we were sharing a table with SF cons, we pretty much had to be discrete.

>I was also a member. Oh, not at the same time as you. But Fred took over the job rather early in Rowrbrazzle's run. And I've seen issues going well back into its history, owned by people who WERE your contemporaries --- Mike-Scot McMurry, for example --- where authors were turning out almost literally reams of material.

While various members did not like having writers in 'Brazzle, and were vocal about it, that hardly amounts to an actual "artists only" policy, which is the article's claim.<

The point I was trying to make from what was said in the original article, is that there wasn't a "Funny Animal" fandom that was anything like SF, Fantasy, Anime or Furry fandom. It was a small, closed group. APAs were "members only". I was asked to leave a Vootie party at Chicago Worldcon becaeu I was not a member. Ken Sample was with me, and he was invited to stay (even though he was also not a member), because he had a reputation for doing good art. It wasn't "sequential art", and he may not have become a member because he didn't meet the criteria. I remember Fred talking about how much trouble he was having getting the memebrship of Rowerbrazzle to accept non-artists. The point was that if you were a fan of animal comics, but not a creator yourself, you were not welcome in the"funny animal" fandom that existed then. Also, the adult themed work that appeared in issues of Vooite and 'Brazzle came under heavy fire from other members. The "anti-adult themed media" controversy is nothing new in fandoms.
Once again, your experience was likely different then mine.

I will freely admit that I was hoping for a new kind of fantasy animal fandom that was open to anyone, creator or not, and that had no restrictions on content whatsoever. My attempt to promote such a fandom, with open parties and eventually conventions, made me some enemies. I dealt with it (I ignored a lot of BS), I'm dealing with it now. When I see what Furry has become, I'm very happy to see that it has, for the most part, remained a bastion of free expression.

> You obviously have a very personal dislike of mature-themed media

I draw fetish porn, you twit. Which I wouldn't even mention, since it isn't necessary to the conversation, EXCEPT that you just pulled the "Prude Card" on ME. Didn't you talk about doing research in another post?<

OK, my goof. Obviously there is SOMETHING you don't like, and haven't liked since you first came to know of me and my friends. I have some suspicions about what it is you don't like, but it is unrelated to the discussion.

American Pine Marten

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> Yes, I now know who you are now. So I'm not surprised by what you are saying.

Starting right off with a character attack, eh?

> You aren't really explaining what "out of control" means.

Failing or refusing to prohibit sexualized public behavior, and turning a blind eye to same, which then becomes more and more prevalent with each passing year, is "out of control". Then again, I believe I've already said as much. Just capsulizing it in order to address your dodging of the point again.

>(openly displaying porn was always against the rules in the dealer's den).

By CF10 there were people selling horse dildos and buttplug tails in the Dealers' Den.

>>Actually he was bisexual --- same as you. Which he points out in the letter you're referencing. Most everyone who knew him at the time would be highly offended that you would try to pull the "Homophobia Card" on Ed.

> Oh? so I AM allowed to state my sexual orientation

Once again you dodge the point. Ed said not only that he had witnessed unacceptable public sexual behavior at the convention, but that he had repeatedly phoned and emailed you to address the matter before saying anything publically about it --- and you attacked him as being "homophobic".

I point out the simple reality that he's anything but, and you suddenly have an interest in semantics concerning YOUR sexuality...instead of addressing the fact that you just got done slandering Ed Kline in order to avoid criticism.

> I was very close to Mr. Kline and his family for many years. He lived in an apartment directly behind mine, and we had a bridge between our patios. I won't bother with the details, but he had some attitudes that many would agree tended toward homophobia.

So, again, you're saying that the reason Ed Kline complained about public sexual behavior at ConFurence, and the reason you dismissed his complaints out of hand without taking any action, is because you thought a bisexual man in a polygamous relationship "tended towards homophobia" (as opposed to your earlier claim, which was that he was out-and-out homophobic).

> Yes, both elevators were pretty messy, and the smell of chlorine was very strong.

And as we all know, chlorinated pool water (which is not inherently slimy) cannot co-exist in the same elevator with spooge (which inherently is). Seriously, Sy, WTF?

> The guy wearing a dixie cup in the lobby. A crazy stunt. Security took care of it.

Wasn't a stunt at all. The guy thought his behavior was appropriate to the convention. And I was there for that; security did NOTHING. He literally ran around, literally sticking his butt within farting distance of folks' faces and shaking it, and continued to do so despite people starting to yell at him until he realized the attention he was getting was negative.

At that point, he left the hotel lobby. Security did not talk to him at that or any point prior, did not escort him out, did not tell him his behavior was inappropriate. ATTENDEES had to do that.

> Are you implying that someone pulling a stunt like this is somehow my fault?

I'm not implying anything; I'm stating the obvious. Putting ads for the convention in a gay lifestyle magazine will have a natural tendency to attract people who think the convention is about being gay. Promoting porn and sexual lifestyles, when speaking about your convention at other conventions, will have a natural tendency to attract people who think the convention is about porn and sexual lifestyles. And failing or refusing to crack down on sexualized public behavior, when it occurs, sends the message "this is okay with us", thus encouraging more of it, even if that isn't the goal.

> The point I was trying to make from what was said in the original article, is that there wasn't a "Funny Animal" fandom that was anything like SF, Fantasy, Anime or Furry fandom.

That's...not at all what the author said. What he said was that there WAS a "Funny Animal" fandom, and that Furry fandom was created specifically to promote sexualized funny animals.

> The point was that if you were a fan of animal comics, but not a creator yourself, you were not welcome in the"funny animal" fandom that existed then.

It would be more accurate to say that the "funny animal" fandom which you're talking about --- in relation to Vootie and the early 'Brazzles --- was composed almost wholly of creators. But the reality is that "funny animal" comics and their fans pre-dated both Vootie and 'Brazzle by a long shot.

Those fans also tended to revolve almost wholly around their comics of choice, without making "fandom" connections between comics of similar content. Fans of Carl Barks' "Disney Ducks" did not hang out with the fans of R. Crumb's "Fritz the Cat", and both sets of fans would have been offended to be associated with one another by anyone else. As such, "funny animal" fans never actually coalesced into a fandom, per se, to start with.

>>> You obviously have a very personal dislike of mature-themed media

>> I draw fetish porn, you twit. Which I wouldn't even mention, since it isn't necessary to the conversation, EXCEPT that you just pulled the "Prude Card" on ME. Didn't you talk about doing research in another post?

> OK, my goof. Obviously there is SOMETHING you don't like, and haven't liked since you first came to know of me and my friends.

Once again, you're simply wrong. It took me a long time after knowing of you "and friends" before I ever developed a poor opinion of same, and did so only after problems repeatedly reared their heads and were repeatedly dismissed or ignored. When dismissing and ignoring became difficult, you began to attack the messengers instead.

To the contrary, I earned a reputation in various circles as being "the peacemaker" between feuding furries...because I would identify problems, filter out the BS, and address the realities. I would defend people from slander even if I didn't know them, simply because I had information indicating their innocence and I believed remaining silent was wrong. I gave people the benefit of the doubt wherever possible and reasonable to do so.

No, Sy, my dislike is not for you as a person, nor for any of your friends. I dislike acts by people, not the people themselves. I dislike our reputation outside the fandom (and with a lot of people IN the fandom) as being nothing more or less than a porn farm. I dislike the narrowing of the fandom's focus due to the perpetuation of that stereotype.

This article is, in fact, a prime example of what I don't like: it's a fellow furry, who's spoken to fellow furries, and who's concluded on basis of what he was able to learn that we're all about funny-animal porn. It's evidence that there's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding, and that new people to the fandom continue to be exposed to that miscommunication.

Setting the record straight is one of the few things in my power to try and correct that, even if what I say is just one set of lines inside a huge ball of Internet static.

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"I listened at CondorCon while you told an audience of mainstream sci-fi fans that "being furry" was about "getting in touch with the sexuality of your inner animal"

Why would even spew that kind of utter crap out of your mouth-hole? The majority of people in furry are not using it as some pathetic, lame excuse to get in touch with the sexuality of their inner animal. Get the fuck off your little high horse, and go die in a fire. Its because of douche canoes like you why we can't have nice things D:

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That's what I said.

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Rowrbrazzle has always been open to "just a fan" members who cannot draw, but they do have to be able to write interestingly. Reviews of current animated cartoon theatrical movies and TV series, Furry convention reports (the s-f fans used to write long, detailed reports of the s-f conventions that they attended; too many Furry fans have considered "I went to the XXX con and I had a great time!" to be a meaningful report), discussions of current happenings in Furry fandom, all count; and they have been the basis of some fans' memberships.

Fred Patten

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"I went to the XXX con and I had a great time!"

You should have choose a different variable other then "XXX" there, it just sounds bad.

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One thing that's entirely incorrect: Furry Fandom was NOT launched to sexualize funny animals. At all.

The fact is that the fandom came into being starting with room parties at comic conventions in the late '80s. These were inspired, primarily, by the funny-animal comics of the time, which were themselves inspired directly by the commercial success of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". And because enough GOOD comics involving anthropomorphic characters came out during that period, there was enough material to inspire a fan base.

The rapid growth of this base, itself, provided a market for more furry material...and at first, the sexualized material was rare, not to mention almost entirely a matter of simple cheesecake art. There was exactly ONE porn-related fanzine and NO porn comics during the early years.

ConFurence, the first official furry convention, changed that. Specifically because its two main organizers were gay activists who promoted the convention to gay-specific magazines and held forth at panels at other conventions on the sexual aspect of funny animals. I was there at CondorCon when Lia Graf called out Mark Merlino, during one of these panels, on exactly this point.

This attracted a large number of people to the fandom seeking free and easy sex partners...both imaginary and real. I was on FurryMuck when there was exactly ONE make-out room, and I watched as the first bad press about the fandom's tolerance for sexual kinks resulted in literally thousands of newcomers --- all there for the porn. And if they couldn't find it, they would make it. Which resulted in backlash groups like FASCIST (Furries Against Stupid Clueless Idiots Seeking Tinysex).

The effect snowballed: alternate-lifestyle activists felt so free and open about their kinks that they started having interviews with reporters about it, leading to more bad press. Which attracted more of the porn-seekers and started driving away people who did not want to be associated with the fandom's ever-more-negative reputation.

And that is why the fandom currently has the level of porn in it that it does. The fact that we have porn is not inherently a bad thing --- but it is simply incorrect to misrepresent the fandom itself as having been founded to promote the sexuality of anthropomorphic animals.

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Some of this response is my personal opinion, some is factual information. It should be obvious which is which.

>One thing that's entirely incorrect: Furry Fandom was NOT launched to sexualize funny animals. At all.<

Who said it was? CYD? Anyone who has had anything to do with Furry knows that is was not "launched to sexualize" anything.

>The fact is that the fandom came into being starting with room parties at comic conventions in the late '80s.<

Correct. Closed parties, (members and friends only) like Vootie and Rowerbrazzle gatherings, and open parties, hosted by my friends and I.

>These were inspired, primarily, by the funny-animal comics of the time, which were themselves inspired directly by the commercial success of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". And because enough GOOD comics involving anthropomorphic characters came out during that period, there was enough material to inspire a fan base.<

... and classic WB cartoons, independent animation like "Animalympics" and non-commercial art by artists like Jerry Collins and Ken Sample.

>The rapid growth of this base, itself, provided a market for more furry material...and at first, the sexualized material was rare, not to mention almost entirely a matter of simple cheesecake art. There was exactly ONE porn-related fanzine and NO porn comics during the early years.<

Actually, there was the entire underground comic scene, with artists like Von Bode and R. Crumb... which contained adult themes like drugs use and sex. Later, creators like Reed Waller (Omaha the Cat Dancer, a critically acclaimed adult comic) were inspired by these artists and encouraged by their friends in Vootie (the forerunner of Rowerbrazzle) to publish.

>ConFurence, the first official furry convention, changed that. Specifically because its two main organizers were gay activists who promoted the convention to gay-specific magazines and held forth at panels at other conventions on the sexual aspect of funny animals.<

ConFurence provided a venue for fans of the Concept" of animal-people. "Funny animal" fandom was just a subset of the larger fandom. Many young fans were not even aware of the genre.
Rodney and I are not gay, we are bisexual, and we are not now, nor have never been "activists" Gay "activists" are not the least interested in bisexuals, OR anything furry. We NEVER promoted ConFurence to any gay or alternative lifestyle publication. We did speak about the sexual and relationship aspects of being Furry. So what?

>I was there at CondorCon when Lia Graf called out Mark Merlino, during one of these panels, on exactly this point.<

Yes... Lia Graf. Who was the publisher of several erotic Furry and fantasy zines, including Touch, which I edited. She decided that she didn't like the story involving incest that was published in one issue (originally with her approval) and decided to make a big scene at ConDor. Attention hog, anyone?

>This attracted a large number of people to the fandom seeking free and easy sex partners...both imaginary and real. I was on FurryMuck when there was exactly ONE make-out room, and I watched as the first bad press about the fandom's tolerance for sexual kinks resulted in literally thousands of newcomers --- all there for the porn. And if they couldn't find it, they would make it. Which resulted in backlash groups like FASCIST (Furries Against Stupid Clueless Idiots Seeking Tinysex).<

Um... you mean like Science Fiction conventions, and Fantasy Conventions, and Comic Conventions, and Anime Conventions? Even Uncle Kage pointed out that college-age people are interested in sex! There was a lot of virtual sex going on in AOL and other chat services (there are articles all about this).
Backlash groups... every attention whore knows that easiest way to get attenuation is to attack something popular. These groups never accomplished anything, except to temporarily split a young fandom that was all about acceptance and tolerance from the beginning.

>The effect snowballed: alternate-lifestyle activists felt so free and open about their kinks that they started having interviews with reporters about it, leading to more bad press. Which attracted more of the porn-seekers and started driving away people who did not want to be associated with the fandom's ever-more-negative reputation.<

Actually, a lot of the original press coverage Furry received was about 50-50 accurate and sensationalist. Some people were outraged at any mention of adult content at cons... but it was a part of what goes on. Furry conventions are not for the average public. They are not "family" events based on entertainment and merchandising, they are private social gatherings. Anyone who isn't comfortable with what goes on at one should not attend... Or, if they are wealthy and/or dumb enough, they can pun on their OWN convention!
What is wrong with people being proud of their relationships? There may be some in Furry that consider themselves "activists", but most of them are the ones that take the "moral high-ground" and attempt to make Furry socially acceptable to the masses. Aint' Gonna Happen. I have met people that believe that drawing an animal head on a human body is an abomination. That dressing up in a fursuit is a perversion, even if all you do is dance around. You can't please everyone. You never can.

>And that is why the fandom currently has the level of porn in it that it does. The fact that we have porn is not inherently a bad thing --- but it is simply incorrect to misrepresent the fandom itself as having been founded to promote the sexuality of anthropomorphic animals.<

No... art in general has a high level of "porn". It always has... it's just that now, thanks to the Internet, everyone gets to see it (sometimes even when they didn't intend to...) The Furry community apparently has reached a consensus that "porn" is OK. I didn't do this. No one person, or even a large group could have done this. Artists draw porn because they like to. (contrary to popular belief, artists don't really draw anything "for the money", if they did, they'd all be rich) Artist who draw Furry porn find out that they are accepted and can share their creations in the Furry Community. It's interesting to notice how, because of the freedom of expression in Furry on-line forums, that other art sites have had to change their policies about adult material to better serve their members.

One major aspect of the popularity of anthro (therian?) art is the sensuality of the well-designed animal human creation. It doesn't HAVE to be sexual... it's up to the artist. The Furry creative community is the largest group of people dedicated to a "concept", rather then an existing literary or media work. It is one of the most open, accepting, and tolerant groups of people of all ages and occupations and "lifestyles" that has ever existed. I hope it can remain so.

Part of the problem with your comments is that you are quoting informations that is incorrect, incompletely researched, and sometimes based on irrational personality conflicts. Check your facts, dig deeper, know about the people you comment about, before posting anything that you are promoting as accurate history and not personal opinion.

American Pine Marten

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>>One thing that's entirely incorrect: Furry Fandom was NOT launched to sexualize funny animals. At all.<

>Who said it was?

The author of the above article. Did you bother to read it?

> Actually, there was the entire underground comic scene, with artists like Von Bode and R. Crumb...

Which pre-dated the fandom's existence, was not produced by or for furries, and was not initially a significant part of furry fandom. You're missing the context of my point, which is that the early fandom did not produce or in any way revolve around significant levels of porn.

> we are not now, nor have never been "activists"

Except in that every single panel I ever saw either of you on, and at every booth I ever saw ConFurence promoting itself at other conventions (such as VegasCon and SDCC), sexuality was promoted as part and parcel of the fandom. This included printbooks laden with porn.

You promoted furries as a sexual lifestyle, and as a result, people came to the conventions and to the fandom as a whole expecting to find a sexual lifestyle. When this inevitably resulted in public sexual behavior at conventions, and people complained about it, the complaints were either ignored or the complainers actually derided (as, variously, "Nazis", "boors", "prudes", "religious nuts" and so forth).

> We NEVER promoted ConFurence to any gay or alternative lifestyle publication.

You got caught publishing an ad which did exactly that, and complaints were raised about it.

> We did speak about the sexual and relationship aspects of being Furry. So what?

"Speaking about" and "promoting" sex are not quite the same thing, are they? What I heard you talk about, just as one example (specifically at CondorCon), was how "animals let us get in touch with our sexual side and make it easier to be sexually intimate with one another".

Now, let's compare that by replacing "sexual" with "religious". At that point, the speaker is promoting furries as a religious experience. And in fact, I've heard a preacher make virtually the same statement (as part of a Lambs/Lions routine).

You were different from the preacher how?

> Lia Graf...Attention hog, anyone?

I notice you avoid addressing that she caught you taking out that ad you just got done denying existed...and instead attack her character. Ah, the smell of Classic Internet Debate.

> Um... you mean like Science Fiction conventions, and Fantasy Conventions, and Comic Conventions, and Anime Conventions?

No, not a bit like any of those --- where such behavior is limited by convention rules and takes place behind closed doors. Not in the panel rooms, not in the event rooms, not in the elevators, not in the hotel lobby.

Which is the primary reason none of THOSE conventions got reputations for their attendees being sexually promiscuous. In fact, it was so well kept under wraps that the sexual stereotype which developed was the OPPOSITE of ours.

> Actually, a lot of the original press coverage Furry received was about 50-50 accurate and sensationalist.

Perhaps you can name some of the accurate material from that period. Most furry historians can't --- because it started off with sensationalism both from the fringe press and more legitimate outfits like Wired. When the mainstream press got wind that there was a new type of geek in the world, they got their initial info from these same sources --- and went looking for more of the same.

It wasn't until well after the Vanity Fair article that significant numbers of positive articles began to appear. And even those were often not entirely accurate either, which is, frankly, par for the media course.

> Some people were outraged at any mention of adult content at cons...

Actually, they were outraged by spooge on the elevator walls, people doing stripteases in the hotel lobby, doms and subs wearing bondage gear in public, and similar.

That's not merely "any mention of adult content", Sy. You're trying to play the Prude Card again.

> What is wrong with people being proud of their relationships?

I don't care, and no one else cares, about "relationships". When I and they care, it's about putting one's personal sexual preferences on parade. Fact is, no one needs to know and most don't want to.

> You can't please everyone.

Being considerate never requires pleasing everyone. It merely requires a lack of tolerance for inconsiderate behavior.

> No... art in general has a high level of "porn".

Interesting how you have to put that in quotes in order to generalize the statement. Kind of obviously, however, art in general recognizes porn for what it is. Comic books segregate porn from mainstream books. X-rated films play in theatres which cater to them. Even museums differentiate between "art" and "mature audience only" displays.

Porn may be art, but it is still considered appropriate to separate it from mainstream material so that those interested in one need not be subjected to the other.

> Part of the problem with your comments is that you are quoting informations that is incorrect, incompletely researched

Personally witnessed, in most instances. You forget I was there, Sy. And I was one of those whose complaints about what was witnessed were brushed off. Of the rest, do you seriously want to claim that other witnesses like Ed Kline were "incorrect, incompletely researched", or "based on irrational personality conflicts"? Especially when various of those claims were independently corroborated by other furry luminaries of the time?

> know about the people you comment about

Pot, kettle, et cetera, my good man.

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>>One thing that's entirely incorrect: Furry Fandom was NOT launched to sexualize funny animals. At all.<

>Who said it was?

The author of the above article. Did you bother to read it?

*OK, I thought this was a general statement and didn't refer to the article, You made it sound that way.*

> Actually, there was the entire underground comic scene, with artists like Von Bode and R. Crumb...

Which pre-dated the fandom's existence, was not produced by or for furries, and was not initially a significant part of furry fandom. You're missing the context of my point, which is that the early fandom did not produce or in any way revolve around significant levels of porn.

*Your point? Of course it predated Furry fandom. Many things that inspired Furry Fandom predated it. Funny animal fandom was not Furry fandom. It ALSO predated Furry fandom (and was also an obvious inspiration). Omaha, the Cat Dancer was born out of the Vootie APA, so there WAS "porn" in the prehistory of Furry. That is only one example.*

> we are not now, nor have never been "activists"

Except in that every single panel I ever saw either of you on, and at every booth I ever saw ConFurence promoting itself at other conventions (such as VegasCon and SDCC), sexuality was promoted as part and parcel of the fandom. This included printbooks laden with porn.

You promoted furries as a sexual lifestyle, and as a result, people came to the conventions and to the fandom as a whole expecting to find a sexual lifestyle. When this inevitably resulted in public sexual behavior at conventions, and people complained about it, the complaints were either ignored or the complainers actually derided (as, variously, "Nazis", "boors", "prudes", "religious nuts" and so forth).

*Actually, the panels I was speaking on were about group living and sexuality.. so, of course I'd talk about those subjects. I'm just as proud of my life partners as any heterosexual, and I will tell anyone who will listen how I managed to meet the people I love. By the time I was actually talking about Furry fandom at cons, it was already the way it is. The "lifestyle" movement is Furry happened, mainly on the alt groups (which I ignored), and people came to ConFurence (the only Furry con at the time) to meet other "lifestylers". Many college students who were on FurryMuck came to CF3 because we invited the muck wizards to be guests, since on-line RP was a part of the Furry scene.*

*You (and others) are attributing WAY to much "power" to me and my friends. People who liked anthro charaters, and RPed on-line discovered Furry (usually through early comics, like Albedo). Artists who were drawing art that would later be called "rule 34" were doing it already...

Suddenly, there was a place where they could all get together! The Internet provided the free advertising.
My making statements about alternative lifestyles at small SF cons (some that you happened to attend) could not have had such a world-changing effect. I was not a college student, and I wasn't active on on-line services, and I didn't even have a web page. I could not even get on FurryMuck until 1989, because I had no idea it existed.*

> We NEVER promoted ConFurence to any gay or alternative lifestyle publication.

You got caught publishing an ad which did exactly that, and complaints were raised about it.

*No. Didn't happen. Never happened. This is the most popular BS rumor that is used over and over again to condemn us. Now I have a idea where this originated... In a CYD article, the author begged for anyone to submit proof of this so-called ad... of course, someone would have to make it up, because it never existed.

> We did speak about the sexual and relationship aspects of being Furry. So what?

"Speaking about" and "promoting" sex are not quite the same thing, are they? What I heard you talk about, just as one example (specifically at CondorCon), was how "animals let us get in touch with our sexual side and make it easier to be sexually intimate with one another".

Now, let's compare that by replacing "sexual" with "religious". At that point, the speaker is promoting furries as a religious experience. And in fact, I've heard a preacher make virtually the same statement (as part of a Lambs/Lions routine).

You were different from the preacher how?

> Lia Graf...Attention hog, anyone?

I notice you avoid addressing that she caught you taking out that ad you just got done denying existed...and instead attack her character. Ah, the smell of Classic Internet Debate.

*see above*

> Um... you mean like Science Fiction conventions, and Fantasy Conventions, and Comic Conventions, and Anime Conventions?

No, not a bit like any of those --- where such behavior is limited by convention rules and takes place behind closed doors. Not in the panel rooms, not in the event rooms, not in the elevators, not in the hotel lobby.

Which is the primary reason none of THOSE conventions got reputations for their attendees being sexually promiscuous. In fact, it was so well kept under wraps that the sexual stereotype which developed was the OPPOSITE of ours.

*actually, SF and Fantasy cons have had quite a reputation for being sexually "wild", and it caused a lot of controversy over the years. Several cons in many states were close to being closed down for some activities. Something that never happened at any ConFurence.*

> Actually, a lot of the original press coverage Furry received was about 50-50 accurate and sensationalist.

Perhaps you can name some of the accurate material from that period. Most furry historians can't --- because it started off with sensationalism both from the fringe press and more legitimate outfits like Wired. When the mainstream press got wind that there was a new type of geek in the world, they got their initial info from these same sources --- and went looking for more of the same.

*most of the articles were in art magazines, and the TV spots are just now showing up on YouTube (bad VHS copies). The SciFi channel spot, which was likely the most viewed at the time, covered all aspects of the convention, and did a good job of showing it like it is.. including some of the "mature" content.*

It wasn't until well after the Vanity Fair article that significant numbers of positive articles began to appear. And even those were often not entirely accurate either, which is, frankly, par for the media course.

> Some people were outraged at any mention of adult content at cons...

Actually, they were outraged by spooge on the elevator walls, people doing stripteases in the hotel lobby, doms and subs wearing bondage gear in public, and similar.

That's not merely "any mention of adult content", Sy. You're trying to play the Prude Card again.

*The elevator thing is a dead issue, at least as far as I'm concerned. As for the dixie-cup guy, how many of the 1400 at the con actually complained? Not many. It was a prank. Most people understood that, and it happened exactly once, in 11 years.*

> What is wrong with people being proud of their relationships?

I don't care, and no one else cares, about "relationships". When I and they care, it's about putting one's personal sexual preferences on parade. Fact is, no one needs to know and most don't want to.

*you mean like heterosexuals do... all the time? Or is that OK because it's not "deviant".*

> You can't please everyone.

Being considerate never requires pleasing everyone. It merely requires a lack of tolerance for inconsiderate behavior.

*as it says in our con books.. be polite.*

> No... art in general has a high level of "porn".

Interesting how you have to put that in quotes in order to generalize the statement. Kind of obviously, however, art in general recognizes porn for what it is. Comic books segregate porn from mainstream books. X-rated films play in theatres which cater to them. Even museums differentiate between "art" and "mature audience only" displays.

Porn may be art, but it is still considered appropriate to separate it from mainstream material so that those interested in one need not be subjected to the other.

* porn is in quotes because different people have different opinions about what is Porn. Of course it's 'segrageted'. It is at cons, too. Including Anthrocon.

> Part of the problem with your comments is that you are quoting informations that is incorrect, incompletely researched

Personally witnessed, in most instances. You forget I was there, Sy. And I was one of those whose complaints about what was witnessed were brushed off. Of the rest, do you seriously want to claim that other witnesses like Ed Kline were "incorrect, incompletely researched", or "based on irrational personality conflicts"? Especially when various of those claims were independently corroborated by other furry luminaries of the time?

*most of the facts have little to do with the mythology that the trolls have created and are still nurturing. Maybe they should take William Shattner's advice...*

> know about the people you comment about

Pot, kettle, et cetera, my good man.
reply ignore

*like I said, I now know who you are, and will take that into consideration...*

American Pine Marten

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> Your point? Of course (pornographic funny-animals) predated Furry fandom.

Point being: this was a response to an article writer who claimed furry fandom was launched to sexualize animals, and that sexy anthros essentially didn't exist before we did. That's simply inaccurate. Yet you appear to be taking issue with my pointing that out, at the same time as you agree with what I said.

> Actually, the panels I was speaking on were about group living and sexuality.

Actually, the panels I'm talking about seeing you speak on had titles such as "Meet the Furries" and "A Panel on Furry Fandom". Nor were you actually talking about group living at all, or sexuality, EXCEPT as how it pertained to your take on furries.

> You (and others) are attributing WAY to much "power" to me and my friends.

"Attributing power"? I'm talking about how you ran your convention.

> My making statements about alternative lifestyles at small SF cons (some that you happened to attend) could not have had such a world-changing effect.

1) The conventions we're talking about weren't "small" (San Diego ComiCon? "Small"?).

2) "World-changing effect"? You DO take entirely too much stock of yourself. We're talking about the effect ConFurence had on furry fandom.

>> You got caught publishing an ad which did exactly that, and complaints were raised about it.

> No. Didn't happen.

Did. The ad was shown before a ConDorCon panel to prove its existence. I was there.

Your response at the time was to admit the ad had been placed, that you did not consider gay lifestyle magazines to be any different from other advertising venues, and that the term in the ad of "gay-friendly" was meant to reassure gays that they would not be discriminated against.

> In a CYD article, the author begged for anyone to submit proof of this so-called ad

"Crush Yiff Destroy" was created specifically to troll the fandom, as per its creators' statements. Most of its articles were written by people with the same goal in mind, who routinely did not respond to opposing points except to continue trolling.

Not the best source for investigative journalism, there.

>>> Lia Graf...Attention hog, anyone?

> *see above*

You've merely attacked someone's character to deflect the issue, and repeated yourself when this was pointed out. Classy.

> actually, SF and Fantasy cons have had quite a reputation for being sexually "wild"

Not in the press they don't. Not in the public mindset, they don't. In fact, anywhere outside of the smaller inner circles of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fandoms, they don't. Arguing otherwise is laughable.

> most of the articles (about furry fandom's sexuality) were in art magazines, and the TV spots are just now showing up on YouTube (bad VHS copies). The SciFi channel spot, which was likely the most viewed at the time, covered all aspects of the convention, and did a good job of showing it like it is.. including some of the "mature" content.

...you're claiming the SciFi Channel's piece was viewed by more people than St. Elsewhere or CSI. Just as two examples. Never mind that the "art magazines" you're referring to (including Wired and Vanity Fair) both had larger readerships than the SciFi channel had viewership at the time.

Ooooooookay.

> The elevator thing is a dead issue, at least as far as I'm concerned.

Yes, reality DOES get in the way of denial a lot of the time. It's your word against the word of some of the fandom's most honorable long-time members, one of whom you've attacked as being "homophobic" despite his bisexual multipartner lifestyle.

> As for the dixie-cup guy, how many of the 1400 at the con actually complained?

To my knowledge and experience, everyone who saw him.

> It was a prank. Most people understood that

Not according to the guy who did it. He specifically said that he THOUGHT ConFurence was a "coming out" convention, because that's how it had been presented to him. He THOUGHT his behavior was acceptable, as a result, and he apologized profusely when he learned the hard way that it wasn't so.

The man was misled. And now you're making up new motives he never had in order to deflect criticism from HOW he was misled.

> and it happened exactly once, in 11 years.

"Guy in a Dixie cup" happened once. "Public sexualized behavior" happened over and over and over. It was always complained about. Nothing was done about it for a decade.

>> When I and they care, it's about putting one's personal sexual preferences on parade.

> you mean like heterosexuals do... all the time?

It'd be interesting to line up all the incidents where heteros were doing things like making out in the panel rooms, necking with their lovers "to screw with the mundanes", walking around the convention in bondage gear, leaving spooge on the elevator walls and literally shoving their heterosexuality in folks' faces in the hotel lobby...except of course the total number of such events which happened during ConFurence was ZERO.

>> Being considerate never requires pleasing everyone. It merely requires a lack of tolerance for inconsiderate behavior.

> as it says in our con books.. be polite.

Which didn't amount, in any way, to a lack of tolerance for inconsiderate behavior.

> porn is in quotes because different people have different opinions about what is Porn.

Ah yes, the old "nothing is really porn because people differ on what porn is" dodge.

>> Personally witnessed, in most instances. You forget I was there, Sy. And I was one of those whose complaints about what was witnessed were brushed off.

> most of the facts have little to do with the mythology that the trolls have created

Not even bothering to read before you respond, are you?

> like I said, I now know who you are, and will take that into consideration...

The "reply ignore" presented just before this is enough to show: denial and obfuscation remain in full effect in the mind of Sylys Sable.

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I think this might be the longest comment in Flayrah history, for someone who talks a lot myself, I'm impressed.

EDIT: Never mind, the one above it is longer.

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Yeah, as I was responding to a very long post, I did what I could to trim it down without blowing off the points he was trying to make.

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Thanks for your comments it corroborates other firs hand second hand account of how we got into this mess in the first place.

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Did. The ad was shown before a ConDorCon panel to prove its existence. I was there.

So, after all these years, this thread is still being used to perpetuate the furban legend of Mark Merlino placing an ad for ConFurence in a "gay lifestyle" magazine (someone recently linked here from a post on lulz.net). People claim to have seen it, but nobody's actually been able to give any specifics, much less produce the supposed ad. Allow me to present some evidence that will hopefully (but probably not) debunk this once and for all.

You say you were there... did you actually see the ad? What magazine was it in?

Are you talking about the same ConDor panel that Tygger is talking about in this old a.f.f post? Tygger says, "I chose that moment to drop something on Merlino I've been wanting to do: I brought up the Black Sheets item." Black Sheets was an alternative sexuality zine published in the SF bay area, and issue #10, the "Bestiality and Glamour" issue, did in fact mention ConFurence and give its mailing address. However, it was not an advertisement. The magazine featured furry art by a fandom artist, and he was the one who mentioned CF as a convention for fans of anthropomorphic animals.

As Tygger also mentioned in her a.f.f post, Mailbox Books was also mentioned in Black Sheets. Of course, nobody accused Ed Zolna of advertising in an alternative lifestyle magazine. So why do people think Merlino had anything to do with CF's appearance in Black Sheets?

In any case, you all can see for yourself: the Black Sheets page in question.

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Thanks for showing a copy of it...its a lot worse than I expected, even tho I agree it isn't an ad, and that its possible that Merlino had nothing to to with its placement in the magazine. However, if he ever defended the listing as people say he has, in the end it doesn't matter if he inserted the listing or not because defending it indicates agreement with it.

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We must be looking at a different page - I don't see the problem with it at all!

It says, accurately and briefly, that ConFurence is "an annual convention for creators and fans of anthropomorphic comics". Above that, it says that the fandom is "mostly hetero-sexually-oriented, but gay anthropomorphic stories and anthologies are slowly emerging", which is relevant to readers since this is an alternative-sexuality magazine.

What on earth is wrong with that? It's like you're saying "these people can't talk about our event because it might result in other people like them coming and messing it up by being gay and/or sexual".

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I was expecting something like a classified ad or one of group of different ads, not part of an article listing 'Barnyards to Play In' right next to beastiality. That's all.

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Yeah, it kind of takes more than a bit of willful ignorance to see Rabbit Valley and Confurence's mailing addresses right above the creepy dog sex poem and go, "nope, no problem here." It's like real estate; location, location, location.

I mean, yeah, the actual text is ... spot on, Green Reaper's right right about that. But we're on the, holy shit, "Bestiality and Glamour" page. And we're not their for the glamour, either.

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There's two section titles on that page: "Anthropomorphics" and "Zoophilia/Bestiality". Now, they're clearly not saying "ConFurence is about bestiality" – that's the next section on the page – but they are saying "these are related topics". I suspect the thought process was "it's about animals, right? They can go together."

This is an understandable decision, especially as this is a general fetish magazine which seemingly collates material submitted by those who know more about particular topics. It's unlikely that the editor would have an encyclopedic knowledge of Omaha. And I suspect they didn't ask Mark Merlino if he wanted his convention to be placed next to a creepy dog sex poem.

It's similar to saying fursuiting and cosplay are "broadly the same thing". In fact, there are significant differences between the why and how, but these may not be apparent to an outsider, and they have many common factors – the most obvious being with dressing up in giant costumes. A cosplayer or a fursuiter might take great offense to the two being considered related; or they might not.

Just as some people are into both fursuiting and cosplay, some furries are clearly into "dumb" animals. Around 2.5% of furry art is tagged "feral" - this may merely indicate physical morphology, but a significant proportion involves at least one character implied to be of lesser intelligence; much of this is adult art. Then there's Pokemon which tends not to have that keyword applied to it consistently, etc.

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That's it? This is what you, The Burned Furs, Crush Yiff Destroy and every other LOL Furries site has used to justify forcing this fandom to live in a state of complete degradation for nearly 20 years?

I think this fandom owes Mark Merlino one hell of an apology.

"Feral" is used in the fandom to denote 4 legged characters. 4 legged characters may be pets or forest animals who lack awareness of technology, but they can sometimes teach us a thing or two about war strategies or philosophy.

That's what got me into this stuff, you know. I started out back in the 70's writing for feral characters coming off the inspiration of Bambi, Watership Down and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

I find a 2.5 interest in feral kind of disappointing, given that feral was a big deal back in the day. But then, there aren't that many writers in the fandom that can be effective in an area that can't be carried by sexiness. This means you have to work much harder at coming up with a substantial story. There aren't many of us left who want to work that hard, particularly when working without pay.

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Perri does have a point; on one hand, it does look bad, but on the other, yeah, well, it does seem kind of odd we're all here discussing it a quarter century later. It is a little bit worse than the other big CYD/Burned Fur/whatever conspiracy, whether or not Eric W. Schartz was TDK or not; by furry porn standards, TDK's smut, it's positively heartwarming, and yet it became a "big deal" for some reason. (Uh, also, Green Reaper, the WikiFur article on TDK is NSFW? That's not supposed to be like that, is it?)

It's just really unfortunate placement; I don't think there was any real malice involved, true, but there was still a "wow, right next to the bestiality group's address" moment.

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Like Wikipedia, WikiFur - at least the English WikiFur - is not censored for the protection of minors; but adult content should be included only when appropriate.

The Russian WikiFur prefers to put adult content behind a click-shield.

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Everybody's got "NSFW rules" nowadays; I just assumed WikiFur did, too. I guess not.

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It would be interesting to demand groups that haven't existed for around five years+ now to apologize to anyone.

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Nah, we should just burn them in effigy in a big ceremony to lay all the trouble they perpetuated to rest. Then we can get on with the rest of our lives as happy furs who need never think of such things again.

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It also takes wilful ignorance to pretend that there is no similarity between sex with animals and sex with anthropomorphic animals. It's bad PR, yes, but furries get far too defensive and deny a fairly obvious connection between the two interests.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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I had to think for a second about how sex with minors is similar to sex with a grown up dressed in a schoolgirl outfit.

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I feel like you're trying to mock me but I'm just not seeing how your example could accomplish that.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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No mocking, just a disagreement. animals:furries::minors:schoolgirl outfits.

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Animals; anthropomorphic animals.
Minors; people dressed in costumes that are only worn by minors or for sexual arousal.

I'm not saying they are identical, just that they are very similar and one can't really get too upset over people realising that.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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A slippery slope doesn't make similarity.

I think if you walked up to a grown up wearing a schoolgirl outfit for any reason, and compared them to a pedophile, your safety would be at risk.

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I never got the impression that Merlino was defending it; according to Tygger's post, he said he didn't know anything about it. My impression was that he was asking what anyone expected him to do about it and was frustrated that people were trying to pin some blame on him when he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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This is a hell of a post!

It stirred a lot of familiarity... since I'm sort of part of that local community including people like Carol Queen of the Center for Sex and Culture, who maintains a library of zines including early Furry comics.

I found Furry through some very tenuous web contact (an email list or two) in those mid 90's times, but more strongly through zines. It was only one of a bunch of topics I got into, punk rock and tape/video trading were others. I had a pen pal network and even published a bit. Factsheet Five was the bible where all zines were submitted for review and they took a strong radical stance of passing on all info they received, which included much worse stuff than the kind that can disturb you here (they got in some shit for refusing to block nambla from their info page.)

As soon as I saw mention of Black Sheets I thought, dang I would like to see the specific page... I already searched it, and then there it was at bottom of post. Thanks.

Just for context here is a 2015 catalog (PDF) of that era's zines from Bolerium Books, a world respected specialist in very niche radical publications. (I believe John Waters is a devoted patron.) http://www.bolerium.com/zines2015.pdf

Notice how wildly special interest it all gets... this was mostly pre web and so it passed direct person to person in the mail, dozens or maybe a few hundred personally stapled together copies at best, no filter whatsoever.

The entire culture of these mail zines was radical self expression and anti censorship. I'm familiar with many free speech issues that bubbled out of it. Some of the addresses (the eye popping ones) posted next to the CF address included: a dude who went on Jerry Springer and published one of the few (or only) books on the "zoo" topic through a radical but respected NY publisher - and someone who I believe is still running a toy company with a devoted customer base.

In short what you see there is NOT in any way the responsibility of any supposed Furry leader. And it's included in the spirit of radical speech, not because the topics are tied in any way besides the interest of the submitter, representing their self alone.

You can say the internet broke this culture wide open to everyone, but it also exposed it all to the panopticon and impersonal mass conformity. In a way, zines were the most pure lab for subcultures.

Fred Patten's articles about early fan publishing did a good service by sharing some of the furry ones... I think it's a mostly forgotten milieu. And yeah anyone who claims sex didn't fertilize this is nuts. It was only one of other entry points but it was a strong one at the roots going back to the 1960's underground comix days.

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Its kind of a Russian nesting doll of context; if you're looking at just the furry part, it's really nothing to complain about (which is what Green Reaper was saying), but in the context of the page, it's "eye-popping" (which is what I and maybe Zhora was saying). But then, you put that page in context with the time and culture it was produced in, it also makes more sense.

I think Perri is right in pointing out, however, it's only really a big deal because some people have made it a big deal; if you really think this is the reason furry is the way it is, well, that's silly.

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That is what I was getting at, thank you. :) I'm not always as articulate as I'd like to be anymore.

I personally never felt it made furry 'the way it is', but I do feel what happened with this magazine listing, etc, certainly colored Confurence that way to those outside the fandom, and since for many years it was the only furry con it had a huge impact on the public face of the fandom. An impact which the fandom has been having to fight ever since.

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Furry fandom is what it is because of the theory that, if you say something long enough and with enough passion, while getting as many people as you can to repeat it, people will believe it has to be true just because they hear it so much. A thousand whiners on the internet can't be wrong, can they?

What's that line from The Little Prince? “I wrote it, I published it, it's been read, consequently it's fact.” Such “facts” form the entire foundation of Furry Fandom as it exists today, rather than the actual history of The Furry Arts, as it would be with any other fandom. And that's why Furry Fandom can't be explained to anyone's satisfaction. We've spent 20 years building on a foundation of lies and deceptions. There's no actual truth or reality in what we've built for anyone to grasp. It crumbles as soon as anyone tries to get a grip on what we are. And with no reality available people have no choice but to accept the most popular unsubstantiated fantasy, and then back away in horror.

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I doubt impact means much. ConFurence went on a sharp decline before there was barely any public notice or media coverage that was really sensationalized to mock furries, like the Vanity Fair piece. I wonder, who is supposed to represent the idea of a pied piper leading people astray, and how did that cause massive demand for porn all across the internet and everywhere else?

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ConFurence went on a sharp decline in 1999 mainly because it couldn't get its traditional Orange County late January hotel date that year. All the hotels around Irvine, Costa Mesa, Buena Park, etc. that were large enough for 1,250+ furry fans were booked for late January. This led the ConFurence Committee to experiment with moving about 100 miles to San Diego, and from late January to the Easter weekend. The Committee fully intended to return to Orange County and to the late January dates the next year if it didn't work out. It didn't, but before ConFurence could move back, Further Confusion in Northern California grabbed the late January time slot. This left ConFurence with either moving back to January and competing directly with Further ConFusion, at a time when new furry conventions like Anthrocon and Midwest FurFest meant that all furry fandom was no longer coming to California for its annual convention, or remaining in either San Diego (too far from its fan base) or away from its traditional date.

Other problems within furry convention circles led the longtime leadership of Mark Merlino & Rod O'Riley to turn the ConFurence over to Darrel Exline, who made some very bad decisions resulting in ConFurence's further shrinking; and Exline's final arbitrary cancellation of ConFurence despite strenuous objections from most of the rest of the Committee. So there was no "pied piper leading people astray" from the ConFurence. I Was There when it all happened. The next year after ConFurence's cancellation, the rest of the ConFurence Committee plus some new Southern California fans started CaliFur as its replacement, proving that ConFurence hadn't had to be cancelled; just run better. By then (around 2004), there were so many new furry conventions that the days when all furry fans in North America came to Southern California for one annual convention were over.

Also, frankly, many of the new conventions were more popular and successful than ConFurence because they were run more like the traditional s-f fan conventions, with scheduled panels with panelists and a moderator, rather than just an empty room declared to be for one SIG or another. There were several reasons why ConFurence shrank/self-destructed, but they all came down to the evolution of furry fandom during the 2000s, not to any pied piper.

Fred Patten

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ConFurence went on a sharp decline in 1999 mainly because it couldn't get its traditional Orange County late January hotel date that year.

Yeah, I'd agree with that... I'm just one small data point, but I quit going to CF after CF9 because of the date change (and I went to the first Further Confusion instead).

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Thanks Fred - to clarify, the "pied piper" remark wasn't about ConFurence specifically. It was referring to the misinformed idea that sex content comes from some sort of outside alien influence, rather than always being native. The above comment talks about a false "fight" against something that clearly has always had popular demand. It isn't the only influence, it's just never been an outside one. The people who like it are no lesser fans than ones who don't.

Even in this thread we have the person I've seen credited with bringing the first fursuit to furry. Hilda the Bambioid was a sexy fursuit in leather lingerie.

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You mean my last comment? I was talking about the damage to furry's *reputation* with people outside the fandom as a result of this incident and others. THAT'S what the fandom has been fighting since.

I can't even tell where you got the idea I was saying that the sex in the fandom 'comes from some sort of outside alien influence', because I wasn't. Its part of furry, and always has been.

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Oh, OK - well, where I got that idea, was the original post (from Cannonfodder) and the huge drama between Calbeck and others I mistakenly lumped you with. They are arguing -

"funny animal lovers viewed it as a hobby and there wasn't any porn of the characters, sexual aspect came later on"

"The problem with the CSI episode and the ConFurence drama is that people joined the fandom specifically looking to engage in those acts... In 2000–2008 we saw alot of people join the fandom and stay in the fandom for the sexual aspect... the new members in the fandom are different from previous ones"

There's the false idea of chaste olden days ruined by alien influence. And the same thing in different words:

"One thing that's entirely incorrect: Furry Fandom was NOT launched to sexualize funny animals. At all. ... ConFurence, the first official furry convention, changed that. Specifically because its two main organizers were gay activists who promoted the convention to gay-specific magazines"

I'm glad if you find this a useless argument full of misinformation...

The best thing that came out of it was the revealing of the actual "gay specific magazine" above. (Not promoted to, and not even a "magazine" but a DIY underground 'zine.) That shows where the argument went off the rails.

I'm really interested to make an article out of the story of the "furban legend" of the supposed "ad". I just talked to the Center for Sex and Culture in SF, and got an invite to visit their library and get quotes from their archivists about early furry zines.

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As someone who Was There When It All Started, I can say that the beginning of furry fandom was and wasn't about sex. It started around Steve Gallacci at s-f and comics conventions in the early 1980s as discussions among fans who had been interested in funny animals in their youth in comic books, animated cartoons, etc., and still were interested in them. Tezuka's "Kimba the White Lion" and Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH" were two early focuses; Tim Fay and John Cawley wrote some NIMH fan fiction. Some early fans like Dave Bennett, Mike Curtis, and others who concentrated on 1950s to 1980s professional funny-animal comic-book artists like Carl Barks, Jack Bradbury, Sheldon Mayer, and Walt Kelly never were interested in adult stuff at all.

At the same time, these first furry fans were all adults with an adult interest in sex. Many or most were fan artists, and there was a lot of trading drawings in sketchbooks and manila folders. Most of these were drawings of original anthropomorphic animals; very few were of commercial characters like Bugs Bunny. Some were of the artist's own non-sexual characters like Gallacci's Erma Felna, Jim Groat's Equine the Uncivilized and Red Shetland, and Donna Barr's Teutonic centaurs, but a lot was of furry cheesecake such as Reed Waller's "Omaha, the Cat Dancer" and Jerry Collins' Bambioids. There was also considerable 1980s interest in anthro animals in the new, semi-adult independent comic books like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Panda Khan"; underground comix and TV cartoons for teens & adults, like "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show". When Warner Bros.' "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Animaniacs" appeared on TV in the 1990s, most furry fans locked on Minerva Mink and the TV emphasis on Buster Bunny's never wearing any pants in public; some risquély but cleanly, and some with pornographic drawings. (Whatever happened to Karri Aronen, anyway?)

So the beginnings of furry fandom was neither completely clean of sex nor all about sexualized funny animals.

Fred Patten

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Makes total sense.

There were always Disney artists drawing private stuff for each other, and Bugs Bunny going in Drag, and Dr. Suess's first book was porn! Then came the unleashed underground comix, Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat and the 1970's Air Pirates all helping pave the way for a subculture. I read that Gallacci's intent was to take funny animals into sci fi adult themes (maybe not sexy ones for him but that doesn't rule them out), and the stuff like Omaha makes the clear example to me that there shouldn't be any controversy about where this all came from.

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I know about furry fandom since 1999 but never became on until December 2006. It sounds like Furry Fandom was no more sexualized than Anime Fandom. (it exist but it was not a big thing) when did it started to change and we started to get an influx of LGBT. I thought confurece may been where it started. Was it just one incident not a pattern of advertising in gay and fetish magazines and trying to express" furry sexuality " at panels.

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LGBTQ and sex have always been a big part of this fandom.

Back when I joined in 1990 (tho I'd been an Omaha fan for years), it was entirely due to a gay friend telling me that he'd felt 'safe enough to come out' in the furry area of a BBS I was on. I'm straight, but back then it was much less safe for a woman to admit she was a woman online...except in furry circles, where everyone was safe to be who they were. And artists could draw what they wanted to draw and not have to hide it.

The problem was *some* furries seemed to think they could act out inappropriately in public, either to express themselves in general, or 'freak the mundanes', or claim that every furry was all about sex, etc, etc, etc, and the public started paying attention to that, and those who didn't want to be painted that way started fighting back, etc, etc, etc,...and here we are decades later, still arguing over what and who to blame for all that.

While the younger generations just get on with the business of being furries. ;)

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Yeah, Patch, I know about Cannonfodders article and the subsequent arguments, I was among the first to start taking him to task and have been reading it since. Years ago, literally, at this point! XD XD

And I agree that the best thing to come out of it is the public reveal of something many have only heard about for the last couple of decades. I also think your article idea sounds REALLY interesting, and definitely would contribute to the knowledge base about furry history.

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Thanks good job :) Also the article is up now:

http://dogpatch.press/2015/08/31/rumor-ad-for-confurence/

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Sex in Furry Fandom comes from the same place it comes from in Anime Fandom and every other fandom, human nature. It's just human nature to sexualize whatever you fixate on. Rock fans sexualize music. Car and motorcycle fan mags tend to be full of pin-ups.

But I think the vindication for having a lot of high profile porn in Furry Fandom came from Anime Fandom. Back in the 90's whatever Anime Fandom got away with, Furry had to have it's own version of. Which is why it trips me out that people in Furry Fandom take a sexy fursuiter in bondage gear to be shocking. Google Sorcerer Hunters Cosplay sometime. I was surrounded by that stuff constantly at Anime cons in the 90's. If I'd gone to a Furry con I'd just have thought you had some Furry Sorcerer Hunters fans.

Back in the 90's hentai comics were helping to get Anime taken seriously by adults. So, since the Furry comics were coming out of the same comic company, Antarctic Press, it was only natural for them to put out naughty anthropomorphics. Unfortunately, over-concentration on sex and violence to get adult buyers greatly cheapened both genres, and the fandoms in question were flooded with people who warmed to that cheapness. By the early 2000's Anime Fandom had become so asinine I left with thoughts of returning to my earlier Furry ventures which I regarded as serious art.

So I tried hooking up with the Furry Fandom hoping to find kindred spirits, but things were no better here artwise. It's just another fandom geared towards the superficial in which a writer of 70's inspired Furry allegory can't get arrested. Not unless I want to do the Not Ninja High School thing and have sexy pin-ups and porn drawn of my characters to get attention.

But if you attempt to assess blame for that you have to look to the people who have been responsible for fronting the respective fandoms over the years. How have they advertised the fandoms, what quality of fans have they attracted to become the body of the fandoms, and more importantly, what types of fans have been discouraged from taking part?

Sadly, the two fandoms are today portrayed almost exclusively as a big party for people of little brain. Any time I start talking in terms of respectability in the arts some fur will pop up and say “You're not talking about this fandom.” And perhaps I'm not. Perhaps, just like with Anime, I'm looking at the degenerating promise of something that once seemed to have unlimited potential for greatness, but gave up on its higher aspirations when it found out there was more money in porn and other entertainment for the small of mind – social forums that generate a huge volume of drama and idiocy that both Furries and Otaku consume to such degrees they hardly have time for watching cartoons anymore, let alone dealing with long running net serials that actually have to be read and thought about. If you can't get your point into a meme image, you can't reach today's audience.

The problem isn't exclusive to fandoms. All of society has geared the current generation to have an attention span so short that you can't reach them unless you can encapsulate their driving area of interest in a single image. And, if you're an artist in any genre, that means one thing – draw something sexy, if not out right pornographic, because that's the one thing that interests the most people. There really isn't much point in drawing anything else, not unless you're driven to beat your head against a brick wall like I am. But then, that's a compulsion. It probably doesn't qualify as a point.

I don't really see a point to it anymore. The world has changed. I didn't write fast enough to be embraced by the world that would have appreciated what I do. I should just drop it and start selling sex like everyone else. I'd probably be really good at it. I'd make a lot of money. They'd ask me to be a guest at Furry conventions. And then when I die folks would memorialize me like I was someone of some significance to this fandom, like they did for Doug Winger.

That might be considered an achievement. And an achievement is a point. Then again, that kind of achievement is kind of like a hard rock band that put out 7 high quality rock albums, but is only remembered for their one disco hit.

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Where is this "funny animal fandom" nowadays? I think I'd like to join.

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I think the 'funny animal fandom' has been subsumed into the Pokemon craze. There are no other cartoony animals that have such wide popularity right now.

This does read like a first draft of a longer essay about furry fandom's history. There is at least one error, though. The Burned Furs existed well before the CSI episode. They arose as a response to the influence of bestiality proponents in the furry newsgroups in the mid-1990s. The link you provided has a good history, it just disagrees with what you've written above.

Fill in some of the blanks and research your past better and you'd have a nice historical document.

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I know of a person who links and has a lot of information on this stuff http://symphonic-rp.livejournal.com/

I mean his post lengths usually put mine to shame but if you go back through his entries you'll some old funny animal comments and some historical stuff.

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I'm reading through it right now, going to have to wait a bit though cause my roommate is aggravating me... yet again.

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The Burned Furs were a lot earlier than 2008 -- more like 1998. You need to break your analysis into more discrete time groups!

CSI came after the Vanity Fair article, which at the time caused even more of an uproar because the parts of it that weren't distortions were out-and-out lies.

You've also completely left out Yerf, which was huge in its day partially for being "squeaky clean."

-The Gneech

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Agreed on all points. Burned Furs was around well before 2k.
And I kinda miss SCFA/Yerf. it was a shame they decided not to get it back up after the last crash.

Feli
-----
Chairperson/Président, What The Fur? - http://whatthefur.ca
-----
http://thewarren.ca for opinion and blog

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Umm, not to jump on the bandwagon here, but if you're going to state things, as you did above, with such conviction, then you need to cite your sources. I understand that this is an opinion piece, but with so many glaring inaccuracies and, well, not-quite-falsehoods (more misconceptions really) it shouldn't be posted without citing a few sources.
I've been in the fandom since the early 90's now. More of the comments to this posting are accurate than the body text of the piece itself.

Perhaps, for argument's sake, you should either revise this with some souce citing or fix it up?

Feli
-----
Chairperson/Président, What The Fur? - http://whatthefur.ca
-----
http://thewarren.ca for opinion and blog

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This article reads like a history written by someone who was not there, and also didn't talk to the people that were there.

There certainly was 'furry porn' in the pre-furry days. The most well known are historical Greek and Roman anthros and mythicals, and it's not hard to find art of them copulating.

But more recently, there was art, ranging from just 'very sexy' to some incredibly lewd art featuring many major cartoon characters. This included the big name characters at Disney and Warners, and it was often drawn by the animators themselves. But these were private, and you had to 'know someone' to see them. The internet has just made it easier to see this stuff.

And a few years back, I asked one furry artist why he had changed to doing mostly 'sexy/sexual' art, when his earlier stuff had been less so. He simply said, 'That's what sells...'.

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Uhm, funny animal lovers were outright chaste.

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How exactly are you determining that? Were you there at the time? Did you _look_ for funny animal fans who weren't chaste about it, or are you basing this only on a small number of people you know who were?

Also, regarding your claims about when non-chaste material appeared, "Fritz the Cat" was animated in 1972 (and was a comic for almost a decade before that). The film received an X rating.

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I'm talking about funny animal lovers as a whole.
Furry was the sexual aspect back then, furry originated as a subgroup.

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You have completely ignored both my question - where you're getting *any* of this information - and the counterevidence to one of your claims (Fritz the Cat appeared during a period you claim did not have porn, and was x-rated).

You also seem to be ignoring the counterpoints raised by a few other people in this thread.

I'm not asking what you're talking about - I'm asking where you're getting your facts, because they seem to be at least partly incorrect.

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Also, "furry" was absolutely not originated as a sexual aspect subgroup. Speaking as someone who was there...

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It's unfortunate, but true. Picasso's 106 million dollar auction half a year ago was a 'lewd' piece. http://www.popfi.com/2010/05/05/picassos-106-million-dollar-painting/

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Having not been in the fandom that far back, I can only go on what I hear from other people. By itself, this looks like a pretty reasonable summary of things, even if it smells a little of pushing a personal perspective/opinion as how things were (I don't mean that to be as negative as it sounds).

My problem comes from when I look at this not by itself, but taking into account what I've heard from other long time members of the fandom. Others have talked about remembering porn and adult themes going way back. And it seems I vaguely remember some artists with portfolios going pretty far back, or a case or two of someone with a very old fursuit photo and my thought being, "Umm, that is much more sexually suggestive than what I've used to seeing around today." I wish I could link to things, but I don't remember names and specific cases as things being from that time period was not of special interest to me (especially with me not having been around long enough to thing artists as being new vs. familiar, old-school, etc.).

So when I see conflicting reports, someone saying things were not present or less present, and others saying it was about the same, I am more likely to believe the latter, if only because it is easier to miss seeing things than it is to see things that were not there.

To be honest, despite having seen some of the darkest depths of the fandom, and seeing plenty of the adult stuff around, it never really has looked more sexual to me compared to the rest of the non-furry internet. Heck, I've found fur-meets to be rather bland in that regard compared to my co-workers (who I would have expected to be more repressed/shy/nerdy in that regard than the average person), and the furs look like saints when compared to typical college and university students. To say the fandom was much, much cleaner in the past almost would make me think of that as being freakishly abnormal in the past, not the present.

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I think that, to start such an essay, you'll have to define your terms, since there is debate about the meaning of several of them, so as to better frame the piece. For example, I'm not sure you can count a fan base as a fandom, at least not in the sense of fandom that Trekkies, furries, otaku, etc. use (I see the difference as being fandom vs. fandom as a community, with the latter being far more on the Trekkie side). Also, using furry = funny animal = anthropomorphic animal, I really don't see the difference between furries and funny animal lovers, seeing as both love the same thing (very Trekkie vs. Trekker), just maybe celebrating the thing in different ways.

Also, what were your sources for pre-1970s anthropomorphic animal fandom info? I'm rather curious, seeing as I'm doing my own research into the history of fandom as a whole.

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I would have preferred interviews with older furs. We DO have furs who have been in the fandom of some sort since the early 70s, some even earlier.

They would have given the article credibility.

The ones I've talked to (and know) all insist the sex has always been part of the fandom, both proper and otherwise, and just like the Kirk/Spock stuff, was always prevailing and present even in the commercial side of things. That said, the original sex obsession was more straight than gay, that likely came in far later in the fandom.

But yeah, talk to some of the guys that were there, they'd disagree with the premise of this.

Now, they would say it's likely gotten FAR more immoral than it was... that they would agree with you on.

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Unfortunately when it comes to history talking to people that "were there" is not really a be all end all.

If you talk to a soldier of the Vietnam War, you're going to get a different take then if you were to say talk to someone in the Woodstock movement. Usually all you can do is capture a piece of the overall picture, the one biased by the individual's own philosophical viewpoints.

(ironically the person who voted a one on this comment only proved that theory resoundingly)

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That diversity in takes is exactly why I think so many people recommend talking to people who were actually there. A lot of the problems are not so much completely wrong for what a single person may have seen and experienced, but becomes wrong when trying to say such things were universal and applied to everyone back then. Short of being unlucky enough to get a few people who all saw things the same way, talking to a few random people who were there will quickly start to show what aspects were more universal and what aspects were more person specific, and possibly how common some of the specific stuff was.

This seems to be a common source of drama from those that speak out: assuming their own slice of things applies to everyone in the fandom, when talking to even a single other person about some of the topics will show some claims to be narrow.

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I think it's fair to say, if you ask a hundred different people you'll get a hundred different answers...

What I remember, may not be the way another person remembers it, but I was there, and I remember a lot of the first fursuits and people as well...

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I attempted to do something like this a few months ago. I was trying to simplify things, break it down by years, including what I felt were major influences (comics, tv shows, movies, video games, computer technology) and how they help create the fandom: http://wildbilltx.livejournal.com/281262.html

But I "wasn't there" either and had to rely on information gained from the internet and also from older furs who did attend those early conventions. There's a lot of stories, hearsay and cover-ups, and that makes it very hard to put together a good history of the fandom.

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Well, I am in agreeance that "furry" is a beyond modern contrivance; it's positively postmodern. However, since even "Modernism" (with a capitol M) is over a century old (and "Postmodernism" not that far behind), that doesn't really help.

I usually (rather arbitrarily) date the formation of "furry" into 1986, the year that the Joe Ekaitis's "T.H.E. Fox" was, uh, started (or whatever the term is for webcomics). Also the year "Redwall" was first published, though I am in agreeance that it was published indepedently of anything else having to do with furry.

Of course, there's the problem; furry was not founded in one go. There were many unrelated events that came together, until we had enough of a group of people to found the first furry convention three years later. Or just one problem; furry has numerous in the area of history. For one thing, the definition "anthropomorphic animal fandom" is a bit vague; though the fandom has always been primarily been "cartoon" (both comics and animation) based, some furries like to point out mythological beings (which probably actually had an exaggerated or even negligible impact on the early fandom), and the fandom frequently draws from children's literature and illustration (an important source that is often woefully ignored by furries' histories of themselves), and even more mainstream fantasy, science fiction and even horror stories, art, illustration, comics, movies and video games.

I find the formation of the furry fandom coincided with a very interesting time in American and English comics; 1986 was also the year of "Watchmen," and comic books were for the first time being treated as something other than just "kid's stuff." I believe this accounts for a lot of the adult content of furry; some members of the formative furry fandom sought the same recognition comic book superheroes were receiving. Early attempts at turning "kiddie" talking animal stories into "adult" stories were magnified by the fact that the genre had little mainstream appeal at the time. With no one to sell their stories to, furries never had to "edit" their stories for content, while still attempting to top each other. Mild sexuality became, well, 9/10ths of FurAffinity.

Simply put, furry was not "founded" as a sex thing, but it started to look like a sex thing. Eventually, the early fandom grew big enough to finally attract mainstream attention, which is what we saw at the turn of the millenium, what with Vanity Fair and CSI and all. Since it looked like a sex thing (and at this point it had fooled quite a few furries as well as non-furries), it was touted as a sex thing.

I'd say the influx around 1998 can be either be seen as Anthrocon finally gaining some positive attention (around the time it gone in the Guinness Book of World Records) and a burgeoning furry YouTube presence. However, the really interesting thing is what this growth may say; furry product may finally have a mainstream appeal.

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When you look at what sells , what is portrayed mostly on FA, and what is portrayed mostly at furry conventions... it IS a sex thing.

There have been two cons in the history of Furry that tried a PG13 rating. One's gone, and one got so much butthurt complaining that it turned into a full artwork con before the convention died entirely.

Say what you want about your goals and your ideals and what furry is to you, and that's cool, and I'd agree with it being that for you... but mainstream conventions, mainstream fandom.. sex is the driver to that economy.

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Please, just because sex is the driver of an economy doesn't mean it is a sex thing. For instance, VHS beat out ... whatever it's rival was, BetaMax, maybe? Anyway, looking back, one of the predictors of the VHS format's future success was that was where the porn went.

And, obviously, VHS is all about sex.

I guess the best way to put is it isn't necessarily a sex thing ... but it is if you're doing it right.

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Look, when you take the total movies sold, you'll see a FAR number higher in VHS sales were NOT porn. This is because of availability.

If you go to FA, and look at the most popular items, by views or by ratings, they're sex.
If you go to SoFurry, and look at the most popular items, by views, favs, or ratings, they're sex.
If you go to a Furry con, and look at the art show's highest priced item, it's sex.
If you go to a Furry con, and look at the auction's winning pieces, it's sex.
If you look at the advertisers on FA, 3 out of every 5 are sex based.
If you look at the mucks, the majority of people have longer wixxx's than wi's.
If you go online to IRC, the majority of people are in kink based channels.
If you go on Furcadia, the majority of people are in sexual dreams.
If you go to SL , the majority of furs are having sex or kink related.

I'm running out of places to go here. Everything that identifies as fandom has at its core, a high level of sex.

It's a sex thing. Furry has become a fetish. Maybe it wasn't always. Maybe it won't be forever. Maybe it will. But this rampant denial of what is so blindingly obvious is insane.

Now, you sound like a good guy, and I don't mean this to be mean and I don't want to come across as harsh or anything. If I do, it's likely the Jack Daniels Single Barrel talking, but it is about the sex.

The REALLY ironic thing is, the thing that brings most furs into the fandom that I've discovered, be it Lion King, or Disney, or Shirt Tales, or Sonic, or Animalympics, or Robin Hood, etc... really didn't have any sex in the canon. That's weird :)

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Oh, I never said there wasn't any "furry fetish." Of course it's fetishistic; so's anime. And you know what, the fetishistic aspects of anime are what really make it "pop," as it were. So do the fetishistic aspects of furry. It is an important ingredient, but flour isn't a cake, though perhaps I'm just trying to have my cake, and eat it too.

But for a person arguing the sex thing while drinking hard liquor, you're delightfully innocent, aren't you?

The REALLY ironic thing is, the thing that brings most furs into the fandom that I've discovered, be it Lion King, or Disney, or Shirt Tales, or Sonic, or Animalympics, or Robin Hood, etc... really didn't have any sex in the canon. That's weird :)

And innocense is what it's all about; the seduction of the innocent, to appropriate a line from Dr. Wertham for my own twisted ends. These characters are "innocent," just like a Catholic schoolgirl is "innocent."

And nobody fetishizes Catholic schoolgirls outfits, after all.

Other people will tell you it's about "comfort"; furries are afraid of, or otherwise made uncomfortable by, sex, and the sexual apparatus of human bodies, so they turn to "comforting" images of cuddly cute things. This is pure Freud, and, unless otherwise noted, Freud is wrong.

No, it's about ... innocense. And that perverse desire to ... spoil it. It's why virgins look so good on paper. Because they are pure, and pure only means innocent, and innocent only means ... spoilable. Because to spoil something is to have power over it. So, that's what it all comes down to, really.

And there you have it. Even the sex things are really about something else.

Power.

No. Furry isn't about sex.

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I can actually see it being about power.

Most furs I've met... no.. that's not fair.. many furs I've met are somewhat inept in their human forms.

The furry form gives them something they don't have in real life. I can see the sex as being a symptom of that, and not the cause.

Maybe it's not so much as power, as , a rejection of all that is supposed to be "good" or "accepted." A counter-culture, if you will.

BUT, whatever it's about, it certainly is a fringe element trying to cope with the internet turning it mainstream... and that is an odd place to be.

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How limiting to say Furry is all about sex, or all about power, or all about anything. Furry is a method of expression. It is capable of expressing anything the human heart and mind have need of expressing.

When you look at Furry art, you are seeing the human condition expressed from the inside out. And, of course, the human condition fluctuates from individual to individual. Many humans have a natural obsession with sex, others with power, others with a need to escape the complicated nature of human existence and return to something more comfortable, secure. And the individual Furry fan will naturally frequent those areas of The Furry Community, those artists or story tellers, who express those ideas that resonate with their inner self.

The problem then becomes that they do not look at the other areas of the community. They ignore them. And when they come on forums like this, they act like those other areas of the community do not exist, and consequently they say Furry is all about one thing.

Graeme The Lion lists several places one can see porn in the community. I note he does not list my blog, nor the blogs of my nearly 200 watchers on Live Journal. I manage to maintain the interest of all those Furries without resorting to porn or expressions of power. And chances are there is not among them anyone who would relate to the idea that Furry is all about sex or power. All who think that stay well away from our area of the community, either because they find it boring, or because it contraries their desired image of what Furry is all about.

Those who say Furry is all about porn also tend to focus on Fur Affinity - a place mainly for individual pieces of art - a medium in which it is natural for explicit content to flourish. They totally ignore the plethora of Furry comics that exist elsewhere in the community which are not explicit. They also ignore the commercial media that the fandom consumes and absorbs into its subculture, which also tends to be non-explicit.

Though Fur Affinity is by no means the be all end all of Furry, I do use it quite a bit. I currently have saved 37,444 in my Furry file. As I put these images in a slide show and watch them with the question in mind, "What is Furry all about?" this is what they suggest.

Love of the artistic beauty inherent in the combining of human and animal attributes. Love of the hidden beauty in the souls of individuals that this artistic idea gives expression to. Love of the friends with whom one shares the love of this artistic idea. Love of the freedom from restraint that tends to keep humans imprisoned within themselves. Love of the ability to be seen by others as something beautiful that may be worthy of being loved. Love of the ability to use the expression of one's inner beauty to make others happy.

Yes, from where I sit in The Furry Community, Furry does seem to be all about love. But, just like all those who say Furry is all about sex, it's not proper for me to say Furry is all about love, because I too am only seeing the part of the community that suits me best.

The truth is, and this is possibly the most wonderful thing about Furry, it has the ability to be what any individual needs it to be. It is an impartial mode of artistic expression that can be all about what any individual needs it to be all about. So, anyone can say "This is what Furry is all about to me," but they can't speak for anyone else. And that also is why it is rightly said, "Ask 20 different Furries what Furry is all about, and you'll get 20 different answers."

Also, please consider the deceptive nature of what is judged to be sexual content in these discussions. I have my saved images separated into 2 categories. Those I can put in a screen saver which is safe for anyone to view (22,812 files) and those which are not safe for the screen saver (15,853 files.)

First note that the number of safe images remains consistently higher than the number of not safe images, which should show that no one who likes Furry for non-sexual reasons is starved for content in The Furry Community. Also note that this safe file doesn't include the Furry comics I collect online. There are an additional 7,112 safe files in my online comics folder. Not to mention an additional 1,150 safe images in my file of illustration art for the Furry soap opera I write.

But what about the images in the not safe for the screen saver folder? How many of those are sexual, as apposed to those that are merely nude artistic representations of characters which include bits? Art which is of such high artistic quality that it may end up hanging in an art gallery someday. Meaning that just because a piece of art shows bits doesn't make it porn.

I've never been bothered to separate those. But off hand I'd say at best the genuinely sexual pics make up less than 25% of that folder, and even those were not collected for the fact that there's something sexual going on in them, but rather because the characters are just so dang beautiful.

So, basically, people who take a quick glance at Fur Affinity and say Furry is all about porn are missing a lot, failing to take deeper concepts into consideration. What's going on at FA is an art movement - thousands of artists working with a single idea, struggling to find something unique they can do with that idea that will click with the fandom, or trying to do something they can earn a supplemental income with.

Naturally those who need to earn an income will go for the extremes at first, both to get attention and to refine their skills. Those artists that specialize in nudes tend to be some of the highest skilled and most artistically honorable in the fandom, because they get so much practice at translating the human form into the anthropomorphic medium. While those who don't specialize in nudes get more practice drawing outfits. Thus it makes sense for an artist to do both in order to achieve balanced skills.

Also note, when the artist Miu, who was well known for doing porn, announced that he was going to do a non-porn comic of his characters, the fandom responded with a resounding cheer. Which indicates that the fandom doesn't mind porn, if it's the only way they can get these adorable characters. But, at the end of the day, Furries need more than porn. They need these adorable characters to live. And there's always more to life than sex. Just like there's always more to Furry, if one cares enough to look for it.

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You have to be a little careful comparing views on such sites between pornographic material and non-pornographic material, especially if tracking of unique views isn't perfect. Looking at just my own browser history, I see two categories: General entertainment/interest stuff, where each given article or item is read once, and more utilitarian stuff that can be visited multiple times as needed, like references and tables. I think porn falls more in the latter category, as something people will use, and hence can get looked at and faved a lot. Does that popularity due to utility mean that is the most significant or important aspect?

Even ignoring that issue and question, just because there is a fetish or a lot of porn about X does not make porn a defining characteristic of X (or cable repairmen and pizzia delivery boys have better jobs than I thought). On a non-furry art site, searching for certain words like anime, police, nun, gothic, and even rug, pull up a fair amount of porn.

It is also hard to compare things on the internet to off the internet (e.g. porn popularity on websites vs. on VHS), since the anonymity of the internet led to people expressing pornographic interests a lot more, as they were too unmotivated or concerned to previously do so in the seemingly much more public physical world. And this may be part of why it seems like things have changed about 10-20 years ago, not necessarily because of specific actions at specific cons, but because of the impact of the internet on porn in general.

For myself at least, and despite what my browsing history would suggest, if asked what I think is important to me about the furry fandom, or the internet in general, I have a long list of things that take priority over porn. Even if it would be a major annoyance for porn to disappear from both, there are far more indispensable aspects of either. And while I think denying the existence of porn in either case is obviously wrong, I don't equate the view that porn is of secondary importance or doesn't require special mention as the same as denying its presence.

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I'm one of those 'older furs,' and I'm sorry but your pre-2000 info is SEVERELY lacking.

One GLARING ommission - FurryMUCK. It predates the WEB and for a long time was the premiere furry site online - its certainly the longest running as it's still alive and populated by a lot of us 'older furs'. I joined it in 1994, by which time it had already been running for at least a few years. You also completely missed the other MUCKs like Sociopolitical Ramifications and Tapestries, and the fact that some BBS systems had furry areas - which were populated by people calling themselves 'furries' as far back as 1990, trading art of all ratings via UUENCODE and other primitive data conversions.

Also, saying that Furnation was the 'first furry site' is wrong, as several artists like Tygger and Terrie Smith already had a web presence by the time Furnation was put together, as did I. I'm also fairly sure VCL predates Furnation, but you'd have to go there and ask what date it was setup.

Furry fandom also did not grow as fast as you seem to be implying in the 90's. There was only one con for many years, then there were two, then eventually three. There wasn't this huge proliferation of cons until after 1998/9.

As far as negative publicity, the first sensationalistic article was in WIRED in the early 90's, and it was about the various MUCKs, MUSHes and MOOs the article writer visited, including FurryMUCK. I used to have a copy of that issue and don't know what happened to it.

History articles need a lot of research, not just talking to people. Did you at least look at WikiFur?

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Also gotta take into account all the pre-modern past Western Civilizations of dragons, demons, gods, beasts, and the occasional king who wore cheetah skins on top of his head for supernatural cheetah powers from before the BCE times.

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Which has absolutely jack-all to do with anything furry.

Its the same thing with horror; people say, for instance, Beowulf is a horror story, because it has a scary monster named Grendel. It is not a horror story, however, because a lot of people back then believed there once was a scary monster named Grendel, as compared to say, Dracula or the Wolf-Man, which are also scary monsters, but where never meant to actually convince people of the existence of vampires or werewolves. Grendel was presented as something that actually once existed; Dracula and the Wolf-Man were presented as things that never existed, and never will.

Likewise, Anubis was a (to the Egyptians) very real entity; the cheetah skin wearing was for real power. No furry draws a anthropomorphic vixen and believes it is real, or dons a fursuit to gain wolf powers (barring those with mental disabilities, of course).

In a nutshell, horror and furry, like most modern "fantastic" genres, are self-conscious attempts, by both the producers and consumers, to gain real emotional experiences from the implicitly unreal (as "fiction") and the explicitly unreal (as "fantastic").

Furry, despite surface similiarities, is, in fact, the exact opposite of mythology.

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This history article really needs research.

You DO realize that many of the people who founded institutions are still around?

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Here is a thought: should "fanbase" and "fandom" be used interchangeably?

I mean, IS there a difference?

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No, not really. A fandom is composed of its fanbase.

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Thank you for being logical :3

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This reeks of attempted revisionist history. =P I started and ran an international furry-themed BBS in 1988 which lived for 6 years before I abandoned it for the internet in 1994 and joined "mainstream furry fandom" which had already been around for years by that time. As many others have pointed out here, furry fandom traces its origins back to Fritz the Cat, Omaha the Cat Dancer, Albedo and other early- to mid-70's underground comics and APAs. The fandom gained a public presence and coalescion due to the internet and the first official furry convention, ConFurence, of which you have already received numerous corrections and informational posts from the founder of. FurryMUCK was also a strong part of that and is still around today, though it has been largely abandoned by sensationalist furries who have left for other furry-themed MU*s which provide a more specialized experience for them (i.e. Tapestries for sexual roleplay and Second Life for 3D roleplay). I'm not sure where you got your history from (you really should provide references and quotes to help support your article) but it sounds like they fed you a whole lot of horseshit.

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Wow. Just wow.

This is so off it's not even funny. First of all I can safely say that furry / funny animal books have been around since the 1950's (if you need information on this do a google search on atomic mouse, tom and jerry, woody woodpecker etc and so forth).

Also as for the cons I can say that I was there (was at Confurence 5 - 10 and every FC from 1999 to present) and the demise of Confurence was not one person or one factor it was a myriad of things and it had gone from a small gathering of people to a boatload of people (which reached a crescendo at Confurence 10 where we inhabited a group of hotels in San Diego).

Furnation was not the first website. VCL was around WAY before that and Yerf came around 1996 (http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Yerf). But one of the most influential parts of furry fandom was not discussed in this article.. it wasn't even glanced over.

And that was the internet. Which was made the furry fandom what it is today. Back in the day of the usenet groups of alt.fan.furry and irc channels and developing into furrymuck back in 1990 (And I joined up in the summer of 1992).

I could go on and on about this at great length.. but I won't. Hell you can even trace furry / funny animals back to the prehistoric era and the egyptian times (where people worshipped gods with animal heads).

But yeah.. you've been misinformed about some of the stuff that has gone on. If you want real facts.. talk to some of the people who've posted.. like me.

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If you decide to clean up this article before the next argument breaks out in the comments, here is a good place to start your research: http://wikifur.com/

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Outside of the factual problems, your writing is horrible. I'm not trying to be mean or anything I'm just offering an honest assessment. I don't know how old you are, so maybe you just haven't had enough practice, but seriously. Work on your writing.

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People keep saying this article looks like a first draft of something larger they've seen before. On the off chance they are referring to my Furry History essays, they will be found at the following new location, due to the demise of Furtopia hosting.

http://spectralshadows.livejournal.com/46979.html

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I found your articles to be very interesting and enlightening, Perri, even tho I knew a good bit of the information already. Found them when looking for the articles that Fred Patten has written, and spent the rest of the evening reading. The writer of this article would have done well to google 'furry history' and he would have been decently educated thanks to you.

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Thanks so much for the compliment. ^_^

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You're welcome. :)

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To MazelTov Cocktail:

It's spelled with an "ie," not "y," you prick.

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Maybe I missed it, but why does 'Further Confusion' seem to be listed as the first con to come after Confurence. I don't like nitpicking...but AC was essentially 'AAC' (Albany Anthrocon) in 1997, and I may be biased, but 'Camp Feral!' started in 1998. Last I checked, Further Confusion started in 1999, making it at least the fourth or fifth con to come after Confurence. (MFM started sometime in there too!)

I've started chatting with the local furs who started up doing APAs and going to cons in the late 80s, early 90s...maybe it is time someone did an actual furry history ;)

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Here is a sketchy history to December 1996, written at the time: http://yarf.furry.com/chronology.html

Fred Patten

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I use Fred Patton's chronology as reference for my furry history project. It's not everything one would desire in a reference, but it's all most of us have to work with. If additional info is found that you feel should be included, please go to the site linked below and put the info in a reply on the page for the appropriate era. I will try to verify it and get it into the document.

http://spectralshadows.livejournal.com/46979.html

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I was in on the ground floor of what would ultimately become "furry" with the likes of Fred Patten, Robin Leyden, Judy Niver, Wendell Washer and Mark Merlino. Wendell and I hung out starting in '74 when when one of my teachers introduced us.
This was in the 70's and I could tell you volumes, but why bother! "Furry" had it's origins out of the "CFO" which was created in 1977, but you all know that, don't you!
Robert Hill

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The C/FO, Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, was created in May 1977 as a place for fans of Japanese animated TV cartoons to come together. Specifically, the giant robot and s-f cartoons like Space Battleship Yamato, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and Galaxy Express 999. In the 1980s anime fandom spread out to include other topics such as outer-space teenagers, Japanese history, gay comedy (Pataliro), cheesecake (Dirty Pair), outright pornography (Lemon People), etc., but from 1977 for about the next five years, it was virtually all giant robots and outer-space s-f.

“Furry” could be considered to have started as a subset of the C/FO. There were a lot of early anime fans who were very interested in the Japanese funny-animal cartoons like Kimba the White Lion and The Amazing 3, and in similar American animation like the 1973 Disney Robin Hood, Fritz the Cat, the WB cartoons of the 1940s & ‘50s, etc. Chris Balduc, Ken Sample, Bob Hill. Of the C/FO’s five 1977 founders, Mark Merlino and I got immediately involved in furry fandom when it started in the 1980s. Judith Niver, Robin Leyden. and Wendell Washer did not. Their interest was purely in anime as exotic animation, and they were interested in the WB cartoons, etc. as historic American animation that happened to feature funny animals. They had no interest in funny animals/furry characters outside of the animation.

One historical factoid that I consider fascinating if entirely irrelevant was the 1930s animation career of Charles Thorson (1890-1966). He worked for almost every animation studio (he couldn’t keep a job), and specialized in designing cute animal characters. Elmer Elephant and the cute woodland creatures for The Old Mill and The Country Cousin for Disney; Sniffles and Bugs Bunny for WB; maybe Droopy Dog for MGM. It was Thorson who “named” Bugs Bunny by labeling his model sheet “Bugs’ bunny” because he created the character for WB director Ben “Bugs” Hardaway; and famously had his initial design rejected because it was too cute & cuddly for the sassy personality that the rabbit had in the cartoon. Walt Kelly acknowledged Thorson as a major influence on Kelly’s design of cute anthropomorphic animals and fairies. Well, according to Thorson’s biographer (Cartoon Charlie; The Life and Art of Animation Pioneer Charles Thorson, by Gene Walz; reviewed by me in Animation World Magazine in 1999, http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.12/3.12pages/pattencharlie.php3), a major reason for Thorson’s moving from studio to studio was that he kept getting drunk and drawing his cute woodland animals in obscene situations; not to mention starting drunken fights. This was kept private in the 1930s animation industry, so it could not have influenced funny-animal or furry fandom; but you can be sure that a lot of furry fans would have given almost anything to have seen some of the creator of Sniffles the mouse and Bugs Bunny’s pornographic cartoons featuring his characters,

Fred Patten

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Hi Fred,

Would you mind if I reprinted the above post in my Furry History Project? There's some perspective here I've had a hard time locating.

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Please do. I would be flattered.

In fact, I have been meaning to write you about your Furry History Project, Part 3, 1900 - 1940. You do not mention The Roosevelt Bears children's books by Seymour Eaton. They were VERY popular from 1905 to a few years after Eaton's death in 1916. My parents had some from their childhood, and I loved them in my infancy. They were as popular in the World War I period as the Uncle Wiggly Longears books and the Three Billy Goat Gruffs books. I am working on a long article on them for Flayrah. Just Google to get a lot of sample covers and interior illustrations.

http://www.alephbet.com/details.php?record=27471&URLPAIR=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.alephb...

Fred Patten

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I forgot to mention that your Furry History Project also does not mention Cassius Coolidge, whose “dogs playing poker” (or engaging in other human activities such as dancing and playing football) paintings were very popular from 1903, when he painted the first sixteen paintings of this series, into the 1920s.

Coolidge also invented, and patented (1874), the (usually) non-Furry “Comic Foregrounds” that were very popular at tourist parks and carnivals in the late 19th century/early 20th century, where a person can stick his or her head through a hole in a foreground painting and be photographed as a circus strong man or clown, a peasant riding a donkey, etc. These were infrequently anthropomorphic, such as a human-headed fierce lion.

http://www.dogsplayingpoker.org/gallery/coolidge/

Fred Patten

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Thanks so much for the permission and the additional information. I'll try to get all that included in the near future.

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What about Fritz the Cat (1972)? This was not mentioned in the article.

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That's because, as most commenters (including myself) have pointed out, the article was VERY poorly researched, including completely missing information that is easily available via Google.

In fact, you learn a lot more about furry history IN the comments! :D

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Point well taken. ;^)

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I was part of the huge influx of furries in 2008, though I can safely say I was technically furry before then, just not officially part of the community. I think I also know why there was a huge influx of furries as well. Back in 2008, there was a documentary that aired that was talking about future technologies that existed today. One of those things was virtual living rooms and their current day example was Second Life. As part of this, they showed that you could even change your species, and I guess what happened was it just so happened that a lot of future furries watched it at the same time and immediately became interested. I of course immediately joined Second Life when I saw this documentary and I was not disappointed. Changed my life forever and now I'm happy to be a fuzzy butt.

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From this mess of an article and comments, the ONE thing that all Furry fans have in common is Drama.

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Its like the Force...or duck tape! It has a light side, a dark side, and it binds furrydom together! XD

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*sigh* I'll state it: The "Black Sheets" people never asked our permission or our approval to talk about us. Our reaction? The same as it was for a lot of lousy and inaccurate stuff that came out when we got started: We groaned and pounded our heads on the nearest desk-top. Mark AND me.

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The only line I find weird is "furry fandom was a sexual branch of the funny animal fanbase".

Just because there is sex in it does not mean it's sexual. Hell, I have the first half of the Erma Felna comics, and even thought there are some flashbacks and semi-nude scenes, the STORY is not about secks.

Man, what a dumb statement.

Well, I'll be...

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About the author

CannonFodderread storiescontact (login required)

    from Central texas., interested in history

    Furry interested in learning more about the origins and development of the fandom.