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Opinion: Redefining furry

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Furry is nowadays often defined as containing anthropomorphic characters — a slight change from the earlier definition of "fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters."

Obviously we have gone beyond being exclusively mammalian, but even the current definition needs some expansion, and could more clearly distinguish between what is and is not furry.

Searching for a new definition

There are two things to keep in mind when attempting to define furry: first, what is considered furry, from which you must distill the common element; and second, not to pick the things you want to be furry, but to look for the underlying theme distinguishing furry from related interests.

Crossaffliction recently called for more criticism of furry. In it, he too tried to define furry and came up with a set of three rules:

  1. The majority of the characters must be anthropomorphic animals. Humans are allowed, and a human character can even be the protagonist, but they must be a distinct minority. Animal characters must be presented on the same level as any human characters.
  2. The level of anthropomorphisation should be both physical and mental. Bipedalism is a must.
  3. The genre of funny animals is not science fiction, or at least not hard science fiction. Anthropomorphisation should not be explained — at most, it should be vaguely hand-waved, as with fantastic "magic" or the ever popular soft sci-fi catchall, a "virus." That said, funny animals can be applied over a basic framework of soft sci-fi, like the space opera."

These rules were near-unanimously rejected, either for missing the point or being too restrictive. The first is useless in judging a character. It would deny a work that, for example, followed a set of anthropomorphic characters in our world as they sought acceptance and integration. The second is mere personal opinion and runs counter to a huge amount of what is considered furry. Many furs do not insist on bipedalism, and I doubt any taur fans would grant that point, though a mental shift is usually present. The final rule is unnecessary; often there is no need to explain anthropomorphisation. It just is a feature of that world. I have not completely dismissed his essay, though, and offer this as a reply.

Furry is a mixture of human and animal traits

An obvious starting point for a new definition of furry is the old one. Anthropomorphic characters – the most important aspect – are automatically included. However, anthropomorphism is the application of human characteristics to a non-human entity. Creatures such as werewolves fall outside that definition; yet probably most would consider werewolves furry.

Transformation can be considered furry, and indeed a werewolf might be indistinguishable from an anthropomorphic wolf, but there is a difference in the path they took. A wolf with human traits attributed to it is an anthropomorphic wolf. A werewolf is a human with animal traits attributed to it, making it a bestial human. The result might be the same – but when you know the starting point, you see that they are different things altogether, and that their function in art or literature will likely be different.

The real-life aspects of furry, from fursuiting to mimicking animal actions such as purring and meowing, are also adding animal traits to a human starting point. This leads to the first change in the new definition; furry is not only about anthropomorphic animals, but also about bestial humans. It is the mixture of human and animal traits that is appealing, regardless of the starting point.

Furry requires a non-anthropomorphic starting point

Though the path to furry can start from human or animal, that there is a starting point is important. The idea of both bestial or anthropomorphic characters requires that you are adding traits which did not originally exist. A wolf walking upright is anthropomorphic because it is walking upright; a monkey doing the same thing is not, because walking in such a manner is normal for it - no new characteristic has been added.

This is only really important when considering fictional creatures. How to Train your Dragon won an Ursa Major award for 2010, but it should not have because there is no anthropomorphism. The dragons neither look like humans nor have human intelligence. At best they are more intelligent than most animals, but there is nothing to measure them against, as dragons are not real.

While an anthro wolf will be measured against a real wolf, a dragon appears in a story in their normal form. Even the dragons of Eragon are not furry because they have gained no human characteristics. They have human intelligence but that has not been added to a non-intelligent dragon; it is what dragons are in that world, in the same way that a real-life monkey is not anthropomorphic.

Further examples come from Pokémon. Pokémon is closely tied to furry, but in canon it is not furry. A pokémon such as Lucario might physically appear as an anthro jackal, but that is just is an aspect of Lucario itself. If you gave a Pikachu a human-like body it would be furry because that adds to the characteristics of a Pikachu, measured against its canon appearance.

Why are pokémon, digimon, dragons and other creatures associated with furry fandom when they are not furry? Simply put, there is enough of an overlap of interest that they have a noticeable impact on each other. Most pokémon used in fan fiction are anthropomorphised. Dragons may not be, but the idea of an intelligent non-human creature has the same appeal, whether in its canon condition or due to anthropomorphising a real creature.

This further expands our definition of furry to characters with a mixture of human and animal characteristics - some of which are not present in the 'real' (canon) version of such a creature or character. Without such a requirement, anything with some human character overlap will become furry, regardless of whether there is anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism must be a significant feature

We now have the basic framework to define furry, but it is not complete. How much new characterisation is required? Most furs would accept human intelligence as sufficient, but this is only one trait. Crossaffliction cited a human-like body, but having a tail is not enough to make something furry.

To qualify, the characteristics must have a significant impact. Human intelligence has such an impact on an animal; adding a tail to a human does not. This is obviously a personal judgement as there is no definitive measure of importance; however, I am confident most people can accept this principle. This point also serves when deciding if a specific work is furry or not: are the furry characters a significant part of that work?

Conclusion

I have tried to argue for a new definition of furry: as describing a character who is possessed of a combination of animal and human characteristics in such a way that the new character is significantly different from the character's real or canon form.

I hope this improved definition, drawing from what is currently considered furry, will help distinguish the topic from related interests.

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Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (7 votes)

I don't mean disrespect in any way here-- this is a nice, well-written article whose author clearly means no offense to anyone. But it seems to me that furry is such a slippery concept that it's probably indefinable in any meaningful manner beyond "It involves anthropomorphism". There are at least three (and probably more) reasons for this. One is that furry is a sort of light-colored spot awash in a sea of gray. It blends indiscernably on all sides with other concepts and ideas. If we defined furry to be "1" but not "3", for example, the next thing you know someone would come along having written a story or created other art about "2". Then, while the debate was still raging, someone would come along and create "2.5". And so on, ad infinitum.

The second reason is that people project their own wants and needs into furry. To them furry is whatever they wish it to be. I can't see their definition as any more or less legitimate than anyone else's.

The third reason that furry defies definition is of course that there are no recognized authorities in this fandom. Where no one's in charge, no hard and fast rules or definitions can ever be made to stick. Thus, there can never be a meaningful resolution.

I'd also like to mention here that I too see need a great need for more critique of furry art in order to spur growth, particularly in the literary arena (which is my personal area of interest). However, I don't see a great need to define furry in order to accomplish this goal. A story is a story is a story, and can be critiqued perfectly well _as a story_ without making special allowance for its furry provenance. I don't claim any expertise in the visual arts, but suspect the same is true there as well.

From time to time these urges to define furry roll around, and they generally end up achieving nothing but hurt feelings and broken friendships. I don't know why there's such a strong perceived need for a definition, but clearly some individuals are uncomfortable in the absence of one. For my part, however, I'm content to surf the chaos. After all, said freewheeling chaos is a major part of what I love most about this fandom. Putting a restrictive definition on furry could only demean or lessen it.

Nor do I see it happening any time soon.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

Well no wonder you were so pissed off at me.

I never meant everyone should stop reading or writing furry stuff; I simply meant the genre I was defining is not well served by non-visual mediums. Whatever everybody ends up calling the thing I was talking about, it was a previously undefined genre, and possibly the only one the fandom has had an active hand in the formation of.

And, heck, my definition does not exclude the possibility of prose; it just makes it extremely difficult to reach its goals. That is why I am "sceptical," not "opposed." It would take a high level of descriptive skill to really pull off.

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I was never pissed off, and sincerely regret it if you thought I was. I just wanted to make my point in a forceful way. E-mail and forums such as this one are notorious for leading to misunderstandings of this sort. Please forgive me for this one!

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I was using "pissed off" in an exaggerated manner. You seemed mildly annoyed at best.

Though the continuing flock of one-voting anonymous cowards would seem to suggest some ill will from someone.

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Maybe you should come up with a new word or phrase to describe it then, so people won't see you as trying to redefine categories already in common use or trying to prescribe what interests are allowed under established names.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

The need to define furry is so you know what you are talking about. If we don't mean the same thing when we say furry then there is even more possibility for conflict. You also can't say you like furry or are a furry when you can't even tell someone what furry is. I haven't tried to restrict furry, I've tried to define it and neaten up the blurry edges.

In the absence of an authority we have to convince people that a certain definition is more useful than the others. Whether you admit it or not the definition of furry is important. That's why when you go to anthrocon or an FAQ on various furry sites one of the first things they talk about is 'What is furry?'

"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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"That's why when you go to anthrocon or an FAQ on various furry sites one of the first things they talk about is 'What is furry?'"

My standard answer, for what it's worth, is "Come and see!" Furry is something that goes far beyond words and therefore is one of those phenomenon you simply must experience in person to understand and appreciate.

Truly, I don't see the need for a definition beyond "It involves anthropomorphism".

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Well, for myself, I find some joy in defining things for the sheer joy of defining things.

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Well you can say come and see but that's not really a description. Would you really respect someone who, when you ask his hobby, says, "You'll have to come look because I can't describe it?" If you can't tell someone what it is how do you know you really like it? And if you don't know what it is how do you know you are actually enjoying it and not something else?

The need to go beyond just involving anthropomorphism is because that is insufficient. It misses out a lot and isn't clear. It's like defining cricket as a game with balls. Yes it is a game with balls but that's not all it is and not every game with balls is cricket.

"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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It's the ancient lament. Just because there's a perceived problem (or in some cases an indisputably real one, as in the case of world hunger) doesn't mean there's an actual solution. But then I'm a pessimist. =;)

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There does seem to be a certain aspect where you need to get involved for it all to fully click, you get this instinctive feel for what furry is, which words can fail to articulate.

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I've heard this referred to as vocabulary by my art major brother.

Stephen King devotes an entire chapter to this phenomenon in his book Danse Macabre, about the horror genre. He argued that horror was often given bad reviews not always because they are bad movies, but because many mainstream movie critics don't like horror in and of itself, so they are biased against them to begin with, and this is compounded by their avoiding the genre and never developing this "vocabulary" for good horror.

King pretty much argued that fans are, in fact, experts.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

To go on your colour splotches, I think everything has a grouping but there's always going to be the stuff on the edge which is harder to define. Like you can have splotches of green and blue next to each other, at the very edge you get that colour which people always argue over whether it's one colour or another. This happens in a lot of things, you've got music genres where you know who are the core bands that make it up without doubt and then you get these bands that are on the edge where it's harder to figure out where they lie, often they're cross-over genres. Course there is the argument that people should not be obsessed with trying to pighole a band into a genre.

I think if there was one important aspect I was to amend to "It involves anthropomorphism" I would insert the word animal in. Anthropomorphism only means applying human traits which would leave the door open to anthro cars and transformers and such, which to me there's no ambiguity about it, they're anthro but not furry.

That said, "It involves animal anthropomorphism" and any other definition will throw up spanners if you say have a robot that's shaped like an animal.

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It's a thoughtful article.

It'd be nice to also have an article looking at the various uses of the word 'furry'. It's one thing defining it, but I think there's also something to be said about it's linguistic use. Furry has been used as a noun, an adjective and a verb and there are various meanings behind it.

There is furry used as a noun to define one's self and the collective, furry the adjective to describe one's self and others, furry the verb in implying what one or another is doing is 'furry'.

I recall on a thread talking about furry books and I threw in 'Watership Down' into the list, than someone came out saying he didn't want it to be associated with furry cus it was written for a general audience and didn't want it associated with the fandom. It was then that it occurred to me that when you describe a film/book/comic as furry people can generally fall into 2 groups (and all sorts of stuff inbetween or out of the box). When I describe something like 'Watership Down' and 'Animal Farm' as furry I usually meant in the sense that it features animals so it will be of interest to anybody in the fandom. The replier as describing something as 'Furry' as being something made within the fandom for furry interests. Personally I'm too lazy to describe something as 'of furry interest' and just use 'furry' as a shorthand because I presume people can understand the difference between what is mean when it is applied to mean 'of interest' and 'produced for furry consumption'.

Going back to the article you have written up Rakuen, I'm personally quite relaxed about furry. I said earlier somewhere that it's something people grow to have an instinctive feel for, so trying to describe it is a challenge but I applaud you for giving it your perspective.

Whilst reading the comments, I was reminded of when I made smart playlists on iTunes, sometimes I would want a particular theme/feel or genre of music so I'd use rules to include and exclude and filter the collection down, but there's often something that escapes these filters or something would get unintentionally excluded. This is sometimes the perilous risk when trying to describe it down in words.

Personally I'm not too bothered that technically werewolves are humans with wolf attributes and I understand where people come from when they talk about dragons and aliens. It's being a little pedantic but I welcome you exploring these aspects.

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Your 'verb' is actually an adjective. But all that works fairly easily once you can define what counts as furry. A furry (person) is a fan of characters that are furry (also called furries). That's why it's a furry fandom. But to get the other meanings you need to first have what counts as furry. I don't think there's a real reason for differentiating between 'of furry interest' and 'furry.' Nowhere else do we worry about if something was made for a specific reason or not, just whether it fits the category. If you are talking about music you sort it into a genre by looking at what defines the genre, not asking what the band was intending to do.

"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'm not particularly fussed whether something is of furry interest or made within the fandom for inner consumption either, though other people seem to throw up a hell of a fuss.

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I don't understand that. Something can be furry and other things at the same time. Let's just say a guy draws anthros cause he really likes them but doesn't even know about furry. Then he finds out about furry, calls himself a fur and keeps doing the exact same thing as before. Those people would call his later work furry but not what he did before he even knew about it even though there's no difference. That just doesn't make sense.

"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 don't understand people in general.

Mind you this talk of retrospective kinda reminds me of debates we use to have at school about if a child dies in Africa before a Christian mission can spread the word, is the child condemned to damnation.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

While I appreciate the elegance of defining furry as a mixture rather than a one-way transformation, I see anthropomorphism as a form of uplift. As such, I don't really consider werewolves furry, at least when represented as degenerate humans.1

Pokémon are based on real animals, not created from thin air. It's unclear why they should be disqualified merely because a large proportion of their world's animals are anthropomorphic. The world is part of the story and should be considered relative to ours.

The dragons in HTTYD were always as they were, but the townsfolk's impression changed. Initially they were seen as monsters. Over time it was recognized that they were intelligent creatures with desires similar to those of humans - a process of anthropomorphization. As for their intelligence, consider the moment when Toothless decides to teach Astrid a lesson about disrespecting Hiccup (and himself) by acting like the monster she expects, and gives a knowing grin when she hugs Hiccup and apologizes. That's a pretty high-level thought-process there.
1 Ironic, after setting up WikiFur after writing about The Blind Pig universe - which involves the transformation of pure humans into retrogressive hybrids, often to deleterious effect.

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I remember you talking about that scene when the Ursa Majors list was announced; I had no idea what scene you were talking about. Your interpration is ... debatable. I always thought he was acting like a threatened, then jealous animal in the scenes; I believe animals are capable of feelings of jealousy. His later grin is, yes, anthropomorphic, but anthropomorphic in a way that would make the Bond film Moonraker an example of furry. My interpretation is that it is a simple joke, as was the headshaking pigeon in the gondola scene from Moonraker.

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But they aren't always necessarily degenerate. It could be a better form, more in touch with nature. That point also was argued for through actual furries dressing up at cons and such. That is the movement of human to animal in an undeniably furry sense.

You can argue for pokemon that way but I think that will let too many things into furry that shouldn't be there. From Yetis to Aliens and such.

Someone's changing impression is not anthropomorphism of something. It's just a realisation. I think you'll find the vast majority of the dragons did not display any sort of intelligent behaviour. I can't comment on your example as I don't remember that scene clearly.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

Furry is nowadays often defined as containing anthropomorphic characters

Correction: Anthropomorphic animal characters.

a slight change from the earlier definition of "fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters."

This is nothing new, however. It's been understood that furries are not exclusively mammalian for more than 15 years. Likewise with the idea that furries must be bipedal. Talking animals (e.g., My Little Pony) count as Furry simply because they're animals with human characteristics, even though they're zoomorphic.

Why fix what isn't broken?

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (6 votes)

Furry has no true definition. Its a smorgasbord of things.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I see a lot of people trying to give more precise definitions of furry, but end up often drawing some artificial lines in the process. You talk about picking based on underlying themes and not say what someone wants out of furry, but then draw a line that is more superficial than an encompassing theme. It seems like a vast majority of furry interest does not care about the particular origins of a creature, but the final result. There are furs with interest in specific types of origins, but they fall all over the spectrum. It also seems kind of awkward to have a work that would be labelled furry, only to have it potentially de-labelled if a sequel reveals the origin stories of a character(s).

Also, it seems funny how picky some can be when dealing with chimeric creatures, where certain mixing of traits are ok, but others are not. When mixing and matching traits of creatures, there is no more clear cut line between "This is based on a real animal" and not. There is a whole spectrum from intelligent/talking forms of an animal, to something heavily based on that animal, to something inspired by the animal, to something inspired by a general class of animals or multiple animals. Saying there is some clear cut-off point here isn't looking at the themes, when any of those can heavily cover themes central to large parts of furry interests. And such a cut-off really only ends up in pointless arguments about various details and exceptions while not really accomplishing much even if settled.

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What do you mean by more superficial? I don't think my definition goes all that deep. I've kept it broad. Also the way I made my definition means the origin isn't really important. Unless you are referring to the need for a non-anthropomorphic base?

I'm not picky with what you mix. All things we make up will be based on other creatures but if the link is obviously a modified x then it is furry. A dragon is based on a lizard but a dragon character isn't. A dragon character is based on a fuzzy concept of a dragon. That name will tell people what you mean even if they don't know what it is based on.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

My only criticism of your criticism of my criticism is that the three rules are that they are not my three rules of furry. They are my three rules of funny animal. My definition would actually be even narrower; it would add a fourth rule, that of "erotic objectification," or, less Orwellianly, "fetishization." Heck, let's go nuts; fourth rule could be simply stated as "Girls got boobs, and not just to tell them apart from the guys, if you know what I mean."

This is why bipedalism was important to the definition; I think it is a defining trait of funny animal. Whether or not it is a defining trait of furry is debateable, but it would effect my definition of "fetishistic funny animal."

I'd like to propose a metaphor for the different goals of Rakuen Growlithe and myself in our differing definitions. These definitions are like foxes. There are 21 species of fox, covering 6 genera (mostly. Fox taxonomy is actually a pretty rapidly changing field right now. But this is a metaphor, so let's not get into it, okay?) Rakuen Growlithe is defining what a fox is. But when most people talk about foxes, they are more than likely referring to the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, and probably not Blanford's fox (no offense to Blanford's fox fans, or Mr. Blanford himself). It wouldn't be to hard to find someone talking about Arctic or fennec or even gray foxes, but usually, fox without an adjective means red fox, while other foxes must have the modifying adjective to avoid confusion.

Rakuen Growlithe, seems to me (and please correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth), is searching for Furry with a capital "F" while I am more interested in furry with a lower case "f." Furry furry, or even F. furry. Basically, it's all furry, I'm just trying to find the furriest furry that ever did furry.

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If you are going for even narrower criteria then I'd be even less in agreement. I see your fox explanation though. I am trying to do the overall definition. I suppose people must then be very clear about what they mean (why we need definitions >.>) and yes, I am talking about the overall concept of furry.

"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 was honestly thinking a while back we should maybe bring back yiff. Yes, it's a stupid word with negative connotations. It fits my definition perfectly!

Also, you seem to have picked up my anonymous one-voter friends. Hopefully this doesn't mean they are infectious.

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What do you mean bring it back? Yiff never left. I use yiff all the time. But there is a nonsexual part of furry as well.

I noticed the 1 star voters. :( They aren't as annoying as the general lack of votes. I guess it just means people disagree with me. That isn't surprising though but as long as they take the time to think about what is being said I'm hoping it's worth it.

"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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Also, you deserve something a little less flippant, but whether or not you agree with my definition is beside the point, because you are doing what I hoped for. You are providing your own definition, but more than that, you have illustrated a thought process behind that definition other than "that's the way it is." You're thinking about furry, not furries. Seriously, thank you for having the balls to share your opinion, and put your name next to it. And keep with the submitting, both news and articles, and especially reviews; your contribution list puts mine to shame.

I even liked your analysis of Kistelli, over in the comments on my article. Sex, death and foxes! Fantastic!

Godd bless, don't let the anonymous cowards get you down, and have fun!

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I agree with about half you said.

You should not have included "RL" in your article. What makes you a fuhreh IMO is the interest in fuhreh characters. What you do with your life outside of that, is your own freaking business.

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But the real-life part is done because of the interest in furry characters.

"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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And what if you don't do those things?

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Then they don't apply to you. I never said you had to do them to be a fur.

"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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Then don't put them into the definition!

Problem solved!

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>.> You didn't read very well then. I defined furry as "a character who is possessed of a combination of animal and human characteristics in such a way that the new character is significantly different from the character's real or canon form." There's nothing about fursuits there. That would be the people being a furry which would be the fans of things that are defined as furry. i.e. A furry fandom.

"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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Well, it is confusing to outsiders.

And you know what outsiders think of us.

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Any attempt to define anthropomorphism is going to be problematic because of what anthropomorphism is. It isn't a dead thing, a definition on a page somewhere in a dictionary (despite the fact that it may be in some dictionaries). It refers to the process of humans relating to other things and that process is ongoing and evolving.

Human beings don't even have themselves figured out at this point. The way they relate to other things is also in flux. This does not mean that attempts to define anthropomorphism or "furry" are futile. But attempting to settle on some sort of "clinical" definition that can be referred to as an absolute guide is chasing smoke and shadows.

You won't find two people on the street who agree entirely on how human beings relate to animals (most humans in most cultures haven't even yet accepted that they -are- animals!)

Now step in and examine humans who are actively engaged in the process of mixing themselves - or fictional characters - with "animal" traits; the confusion, constant exploration, and redefinition is going to multiply.

This is also why attempts to lock down a definition of "anthro" or "furry" will invariably put scores of people off within the furry subculture itself. Because no matter what definition you try to devise, there will be many who are furries and legitimately do not fit neatly into one's definition.

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"there will be many who are furries"

Could you clarify this statement?

I don't want to start defining people, by any means.

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No... anthropomorphism is attributing human traits to non-human objects/creatures. How humans relate to other things is something else entirely.

Just because people don't agree on something doesn't mean there isn't a correct answer. There are people who don't accept that people are animals but they are just wrong. You can't say that humans can't be defined as animals because not everyone accepts it. Those people that don't accepted can just be ignored because what they are saying has no evidence to support it and is just not true.

Furry might be changing all the time (though not that fast) but I never said you have to have a constant and unchanging definition. Whatever definition of furry we make applies at the current time, like the one about furry being about mammals is now out of date. People make sure they have a proper definition of lots of things, like evolution even though that has to be changed as they discover new things.

If there are things that don't fit into the definition of furry then they just aren't furry. It's that simple. If they later become a large enough aspect of the fandom then the definition might have to be changed to include them but your definition does not have to accommodate every minority group. To even say that they are furry and just don't fit the definition means that you have some idea of what furry is or else you couldn't say that. That thing that you won't say is your definition of furry and those people do fall within it. You aren't randomly flipping a coin to say if they are furry or not.

"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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Can I just start by saying that Crossaffliction, Rabbit, and Rakuen Growlithe have been posting very well thought, well expressed, intelligent discussion and debate, which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and which is part of what prompted my to create my account and post today.

(I've been part of the fandom and community for several years now, but only just stumbled upon your little corner of the internet today.)

-I refuse to enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.-
~'Tis better to be thought a fool and remain silent, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!~ (
**We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We ARE spirtual beings hav

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Actually, Anonymoose, with all due respect. The discussion is not regarding the definition of "anthopomorhism" which IS in fact already clearly defined and most of us learned it's definition in English class potentially as early as fifth grade or middle school. It is a discussion about the heretofor broad and at times difficult to express, articulate, or adequately define term "furry". However, the disctussion DID involve how and if the terms "anthropomorphic" and "anthropomorphism" or the inherrant qualities inferred by their usage should be included in said proposed definition of the term "furry"

Also, while I realize this may come across as flaming, it's really not, if you're going to attempt an intelligent argument, you'd best be prepared to succeed, your poor attempt at defining "anthropomorphism" in your retort rendered your entire argument moot and impotent.

Thus:
an·thro·po·mor·phism? ?/?æn?r?p??m?rf?z?m/
[an-thruh-puh-mawr-fiz-uhm]

–noun
an anthropomorphic conception or representation, as of a deity.

(I.E. The gods of the Eqyptian pantheon who were animal headed men and women sometimes with other features [claws, talons, wings, tails, etc] of their representative animals)

an·thro·po·mor·phic? ?/?æn?r?p??m?rf?k/ Show Spelled
[an-thruh-puh-mawr-fik] Show IPA

–adjective
1. ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity.
2. resembling or made to resemble a human form: an anthropomorphic carving.

Also, an·thro·po·mor·phous.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Origin:
1820–30; anthropo- + -morphic

—Related forms
an·thro·po·mor·phi·cal·ly, an·thro·po·mor·phous·ly, adverb

—Can be confused: ? anthropocentric, anthropomorphic, homocentric.

***source = dictionary.com

-I refuse to enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.-
~'Tis better to be thought a fool and remain silent, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!~ (
**We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We ARE spirtual beings hav

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>I have tried to argue for a new definition of furry: as describing a character who is possessed of a combination of animal and human characteristics in such a way that the new character is significantly different from the character's real or canon form.<

The whole concept of "canon" is meaningless, it's just a handy way for companies to manage intellectual property and it has nothing to do with the way most artists invent characters. What's a canon form dragon? What's a canon form wolf? Or a canon form human for that matter.

In my opinion this definition is not new, it's again the same thing people have attempted for the last 30 years with no results: making up an abstract definition based on one's own tastes and then using it as a label to tell what's in and what's out.

Crossaffliction's article was about going the other way round, i.e. figuring out the rules (if any) by looking at *all* the art which people call "furry", trying to find the common elements, and crafting a definition which covered as much of them as possible. Proceeding by exclusion simply doesn't work. His conclusions were still sketchy but that's the method to follow if you want to find useful definitions.

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o.0 What? I did the rules from what is considered furry. He didn't. That's why I put each point along with the main supporting ideas. I didn't proceed by exclusion. I went there and said here's why we include, here's why we include this, here's why we need this etc. I actually made that completely explicit in the article when I said. "There are two things to keep in mind when attempting to define furry: first, what is considered furry, from which you must distill the common element; and second, not to pick the things you want to be furry, but to look for the underlying theme distinguishing furry from related interests."

Perhaps you don't understand canon either. Wolves and humans don't have a canon form. They have a real-life form because they actually exist. Dragons don't have a canon form because they do not come from one particular series, they are a general fantasy creature that exists, and differs, in a variety of human cultures.

"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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Even I don't fully understand Rangifer's compliment; I think the only thing I could add was that I went about considering what non-furries would consider furry (basically, what is created by furries), rather than what is considered furry by furries (a lot).

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This you see is why I refuse to self-identify as furry, and will till my dying day.

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Instead of trying to solve problems, run from them,- it always works! :3

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Well, then I, personally, look forward to the day you self-identify as a furry.

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When I actually start producing quality content (drawings).

And only in the right company.

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I was replying to Desiring_Change.

You might get the joke better now.

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And why does furry need to be redefined?

Simple answer: It doesn't. It only comes off as elitist. There's no need to do this. Furry is whatever you make of it.

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Exactly, though rest of world may disagree...

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I can not see any logical reason for looking for a new definition of Furry, other than to be able to tell certain fans, "You don't belong here."

Furry is a fandom. It is, of necessity, defined by what the fans like.

When writing my own history and definition of Furry, I took 2 criteria to be inviolate. The Ursa Major Criteria, and what Furry fans themselves regard to be part of the fandom. I made a point of showing that Lassie is in no way anthropomorphic, and wouldn't normally be considered a Furry. But if a fan says "Lassie is part of my Furry interest," this can not be legitimately argued with.

Another thing you must realize is that Furry evolved from Funny Animal Fandom, and still contains Funny Animal Fandom as a part of all that has been built around it. Hence, you can't create a definition without considering the rules of Funny Animals, which have nothing to do with Science Fiction, bipedalism, or credible origins.

Basically, when people start talking about redefining Furry, what they're saying is they want to make a new fandom specifically for what they like, and the rest of the fandom be damned to some other region of geekdom. This has never worked before, and it will never work in the future, because the fandom simply is not capable of cooperating with it.

We like what we like. We call Furry what strikes us as Furry. Telling a Furry that something he likes isn't Furry is a good way of getting your head bitten off. It's extremely ill-advised. You're trying to take a term that belongs to all of us and set rules for it that the community wouldn't even get to vote on, because the community is never found all in one place for a proper vote.

On the other hand, it's perfectly legitimate to create a sub-group of Furry Fandom for a specific interest. I'm sure we already have a Sci-Fi Furs group. This group can get together and discuss what they consider to be legitimate Furry science fiction literature, and thereby define a segment of the Furry interest. But they have no authority over the rest of the community.

My definition, for anyone who hasn't seen it before.
http://spectralshadows.livejournal.com/46979.html

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The idea about a subgroup has to be the smartest thing I read here in some time (my own posts do not count :)

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From your conclusion: "The fans themselves only over analyze it because outsiders insist on seeing something sinister or depraved in it, and therefore Furry fans have to be able to explain themselves."

Bull.

This is a benefit of analysis; it is not why we choose to analyse it. We choose to analyse it because we are fans; I don't understand how you can be a fan and not have some personal definition that will exclude something. Science fiction fans are still arguing over what constitutes science fiction, and most likely will be until the universe contracts (or some other apocalypse appropriately science fiction-y). And God bless'em for it; at least I can tell they actually give a shit about what they're talking about.

Besides, why are you the only one to get to write the essays?

"Especially if one has created something worthy of taking a place in this prestigious history."

The furry fandom has created jack, and you know it; the fandom has had no effect whatsoever on the mainstream. When J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek, you know he was thinking, "Boy, I hope the Trekkers like this. If they don't like it, to a certain extent, I will have failed with this movie." When Gore Verbinski directed Rango, you know he wasn't thinking the same thing about furries.

Nothing is being made for furries by non-furries. Furry, as a genre, for all intents and purposes. does not exist outside the Internet. Your definition, and every broad definition with it, is an attempt to camouflage this fact, probably mostly to yourself.

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Constructive criticism FTW!~! :3

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What I meant by fans don't over analyze it is that a fan, subject to no peer pressure, will file things wherever he wants to, without giving it a second thought. Not every fan in the fandom is hearing this discussion or gives a flip what the rest of us think is or is not Furry. Some fans in this fandom may not even have internet access or have any contact with other furs at all. So they've nothing to prove to anyone. They just file things where they enjoy finding them.

Others are just sensible and realize that it doesn't matter what other furs think. It's still their collection and their own mind. They're free to view Furry any way they want, regardless of who it ticks off. And since a fandom is pretty much made by fans, you can expect a certain amount of inconsistency.

Fan 1: "Pokémon does not belong in your Furry section."
Fan 2: "I'm not moving it. You're not changing my definition of Furry."
Fan 1: "But think about it. Pokémon is something else."
Fan 2: "You think about it. I don't need to. I know Furry when I see it."

Sure, some of us love to analyze it. That doesn't mean any conclusions we come to mean a flip to anyone else. And they're certainly not going to click with everyone else.

Why am I the only one who gets to write the essays? I'm not. The Furry History Project is open to contributions from others. Folks can always E-mail me to suggest changes. Many, many furs have contributed to it. Also, now that it's on Live Journal, you can write your own essay and just tack it onto the bottom of any page without even asking me.

The Furry Fandom has indeed created Jack. It's a web comic that won an award from outside the fandom. Something general web comic fans looked at and said "This is the best."

For a fandom that expects everyone to achieve something on their own without money or the support of big organizations, some of us have produced miracles. Some of us have big dreams that we're putting our entire lives into.

Maybe we haven't accomplished enough to satisfy you, or even ourselves, given what some of us dream of accomplishing, but disregarding such achievements as we have managed to accomplish against all odds hardly seems appropriate.

And if you consider how little Anime Fandom or Star Trek Fandom or Dark Shadows Fandom or Doctor Who Fandom have contributed to the mainstream, Furry Fandom has done more than all of them put together, simply because we have the freedom to create our own titles and concepts. In terms of creativity we're more of an art movement than a fandom. We don't have to ask anybody's permission to create something with the object of our fandom.

I wouldn't say we should be satisfied with what we've accomplished - not by a long shot. We can and will do much, much more in the future, just as soon as we get past these negative attitudes that are holding us back. We have not yet begun to embrace our potential. When we do - when we drop all this negative, limiting thinking and start pulling our resources into organizations that can produce and distribute professional quality products, there will be accomplishments that will blow your mind.

I don't agree that nothing is being made for us in the mainstream. Maybe not just for us. Mainstream marketers have to take into account multiple markets to maximize profits. But I hardly think the producers of films like Kung Fu Panda are unaware of us, or how much we contribute to their profits. That's why they kick the bar up a little with each new Furry movie that comes out. They know Furry sells, and when they find that big Furry property geared for older viewers, they don’t want it to come out of nowhere.

Our way is being prepared for us. The mainstream is gradually conditioning the public to see Furry as normal and interesting. And it is entirely possible that sometime in the near future a property that came from the fandom will be purchased for a mainstream production.

My essay isn't meant to camouflage anything. It says right at the beginning most people don't realize the relationship between these things. It's meant, among other things, to be a demonstration of the market that exists, how profitable it's been in the past, and what a goldmine it could be to anyone who finds the secret of how to cash in on it.

In other words, I'm not interested in sitting around lamenting how much time we've wasted and how little we've accomplished. I'm interested in working towards progress. I'm saying, "Look at all these people who were successful because of the object of our fandom. There's no reason any of us shouldn't have such aspirations, if we've got the skills and determination to go for the gold, and a fandom that believes in itself enough to back us up by pulling us over those hills that are too high for us to climb on our own."

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Okay, first thing, sorry for posting what was more or less an emotional rant, then ditching the subject. Something came up, so I couldn't really participate.

Second thing. This.

The Furry Fandom has indeed created Jack.

This is funny. It genuinely made me laugh.

Though there are two problems with this example; Dave Hopkins pulled his own comic from the Ursa Major Awards in 2009 because he doesn't want to be considered furry (which is bull; Jack is a furry comic, though the fact that a furry webcomic artist doesn't want to be associated with furry should say something), and two, a webcomic hardly changes my assertation that furry influence does not extend beyond the Internet.

The Furry History Project is open to contributions from others.

Well, I didn't know that. So I'll genuinely apologize for the "why are you the only one" comments.

Maybe we haven't accomplished enough to satisfy you, or even ourselves, given what some of us dream of accomplishing, but disregarding such achievements as we have managed to accomplish against all odds hardly seems appropriate.

This sounds good, and I want to believe it, but I need examples, man.

Also, I'm not angry at the fandom (and let's be clear, you don't post "emotional rants" unless you are emotional about something) for not accomplishing enough, I'm angry for what I perceive is the lack of trying to accomplish anything at all.

A good example is the Bitter Lake fursuit movie. So, somebody makes something, and they don't even reach beyond the fandom. Surely there's some local film festival somewhere that'll play the darn thing. Personally, I don't think the "fursuit" movie will ever catch on, but a lot of very stupid stuff gets played at film festivals. But they didn't even try to get it placed somewhere.

And then you talk about an art movement ... wouldn't that call for much stricter definitions? Let's not get too pretensious here, says the guy who has posted a 4,000 word essay equating furry cheesecake with a religious experience. Okay, let's get pretentious, but an art movement calls for even more verbiage, not less.

But I hardly think the producers of films like Kung Fu Panda are unaware of us, or how much we contribute to their profits. That's why they kick the bar up a little with each new Furry movie that comes out.

I will agree that the bar has been continually raised for animated movies in the last decade, but that's because they finally got their own Academy Award, and something to actually compete for. Animation is doing pretty darn good, yeah; award winning, critically acclaimed and blockbusting directors such as Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, Gore Verbinski and even Steven freakin' Spielberg are doing animated movies now. And furry, I'm sorry, has nothing to do with it.

And the comments on my own review of Kung Fu Panda 2 that the average furry is, apparently, not only not contributing, but darn proud of it. There are four commenters. One poster did agree with me that furries should watch both Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango, one wouldn't be caught dead watching Kung Fu Panda 2, and another sets a landspeed record for breaking the Godwin Rule by calling me a Nazi for even daring to suggest he might like either movie. Finally, the fourth poster was me.

And don't even get me started on the Fantastic Mr. Fox debacle. Yeah, you realize that was a box office flop, right? So, where were the furries on that one?

Finally, on "normal" and "interesting." Oh, honey, no. Why would you list those two words together? We do not want to be "normal," which is synonymous with "boring" or "uninteresting." By listing those two words together, you contradicted yourself.

I think the world is ready for furry. Not because it's "normal," but because it isn't. It's, you know, different.

But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?

Finally, I've asked for help with my aspirations. Very specific aspirations. These were so uniformly dismissed I honestly can't even bring myself to reveal to you what they are, because I know you will reject just like everyone else in this fandom already has.

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"furry influence does not extend beyond the Internet"

Well, that depends on which definition of the word we're working with. If you mean Furry, as in the fandom, we influence the economy, particularly in Pittsburg. That is where fandoms tend to have the most influence in the real world - where they throw their money.

If you mean Furry as in The Object Of The Fandom, we don't reach beyond the internet to influence it. It reaches in to influence us. But then we tend to take its influence and do our own things with it, which may in turn have more influence on us. But, in general, fandoms don't have influence outside of their sub-culture. If we were influencing anything out there we'd be a very unique fandom indeed.

For the most part fandoms are used and exploited. They aren't looked on as creative forces. Of course, our fandom is a little different. We work harder at being a creative force in spite of the norms that apply to fandoms. We create our own characters and stories, rather than depending on Walt Disney or Steve Galacci to do it for us. And some of us have the thought that since we own our own characters and stories, we have a right to be getting them into the mainstream outside the internet and enjoying some of the success those who get Furry characters professionally published enjoy.

Trouble is, if you do get successful in the mainstream, you become distanced from the fandom on the internet. It's like a kind of automatic exile, because you're no longer a struggling fan, you're a successful professional. So, if a fan becomes successful in the mainstream, or goes to work for a mainstream movie company or something, we wouldn't be able to see that as the fandom having influence outside the internet. We see it as fans becoming part of that which exists outside the internet that we want to influence, but can't, because those who remain on the internet have little to no professional credibility. We remain to the outside world that fandom full of amateur wanna-bees who exist to be fleeced but not heard.

"This sounds good, and I want to believe it, but I need examples, man."

Examples of accomplishments? Well, I've got about 2 long boxes of comics that have come out of this fandom. There are at least a few writers who've either been published or have self-published. There are even some Furry artists who have gotten professional illustration jobs.

But what constitutes an accomplishment in this day and age? Do I have to reach for the success of a Richard Adams or Richard Bach to consider myself accomplished? Or, if I find myself the owner of a popular net serial that lots of people read, is that accomplishment enough? Is the mere fact that I taught myself to write against all odds and expectations an accomplishment?

I don't know. As good as some of us are, we're still a fandom of amateurs. There aren't too many of us quitting our day jobs to do this stuff, but even so, we put every spare minute we can into it, we work constantly to improve our talents and provide you with pretty pictures and a good read, in spite of obstacles that professionals can afford to pay someone to face for them. Is not every day that we keep going in spite of the odds against us an accomplishment?

I certainly hope so, because I've given my whole life to this thing. Whatever I'm doing, it had better be worth something. Even if it only ever entertains the fandom on the internet, just on the off chance that it will never go any farther than that, I'd better be able to think of that as an accomplishment.

Of course, that doesn't mean I want to limit myself to that. If someday I can sell a lot of books in the real world, I'm certainly not going to decline. But you know, it's not the 70's anymore. The market is not out there the way it used to be. The market for what I do is pretty much in here. That's why we have a Furry Fandom, so the people who like the kind of stuff I do can find it. Why is it only an accomplishment if I can manage to work yet another miracle by selling my stuff in a market that doesn't want it?

Think of somebody who's a successful Soul artist. Their record gets into the Top 10 on the Soul chart, but never crosses over to the Pop charts. Is that failure? Or is that success in one's chosen market.

My goal for feeling accomplished is to get an Ursa Major - an award from my chosen market, my chosen audience. I don't ever expect to see what I do sitting in the best seller rack at the local drug store. I don't regard that as a reasonable expectation of success for someone who deliberately chose to work in one of the smallest of niche markets.

"I'm angry for what I perceive is the lack of trying to accomplish anything at all."

I know what you mean. I've often run into people of extreme talent with lots of potential in their repertoire of characters who do not write stories or draw comics. They just create character after character and do nothing with them.

Sometimes I feel like saying, "If you're not going to do anything with that character, can I have it?" Actually, that's become a new thing in the fandom. Artists are creating characters to sell. And then the people who buy them aren't doing anything with them either.

This is evidence of a great truth one must come to realize about Furry Fandom. People like me who put their whole being into Furry creation are pretty rare in this fandom. For most Furries, no matter how talented they are, it's a hobby. It's not their day job. It's something they do for fun and relaxation. They don't really expect it to take them anywhere. And this is normal for a fandom.

I spotted this right away when I first came into the community. And I said I know just how to fix this. We need to create some kind of site that will help put directionless artists together with directionless writers so they can inspire and motivate each other to create something of significance. But, nobody was interested, and the idea was promptly forgotten.

On the other hand, there are other people like myself in this fandom striving for big ideas. But they don't have a lot of training, their skills are limited. They just need help, and they can't get it, because everybody in this fandom is busy with something of their own and just doesn't feel they have the time to offer the extensive support some need.

The community is exactly the opposite from what I expected when I came in. I thought The Furry Community was this huge art commune, and I was going to come in here, lay out my project, and people would just be falling over themselves to join the team that was going to work on it. I thought I'd get so much interest and collaboration that the thing would be finished by now.

But that's not what we've got going here. What we've got here is a community dominated by people who are so not interested in accomplishing anything serious that they're content drawing cheesecake pictures for watch points. They just don't look to the fandom for higher aspirations. They see the fandom as something that helps them get through life - not something that's necessarily taking them somewhere.

But, that's the masses of the fandom. Under that are the minority of artists and writers who have the big ideas, and are doing the best they can with however little they've got. Those relative few are the ones you need to look for if you're going to take pride in the fandom for imaginative reasons.

It's just like in regular society. Those special people with all the potential, who should be at the top being supported and patronized, will be found at the bottom being obscured by an oblivious mediocrity.

"A good example is the Bitter Lake fursuit movie."

I can't say I understand the reasoning behind that. I've only seen the trailer, which has no dialogue and makes it impossible to judge if the film is good enough to pitch to a general audience. Maybe they wanted to see if Furries would buy it before they went for the hard sell.

If you think it's good enough, keep putting the screws to them to try screening it outside the fandom. If it means enough to you to go to the trouble, find a festival for them. Your encouragement and enthusiasm might make all the difference to their confidence in taking such a chance.

"And then you talk about an art movement ... wouldn't that call for much stricter definitions?"

Furry as an art movement kind of started with Beatrix Potter. It was just a matter of one person made a fortune with what we today call Furry art, and right away hundreds of people wanted to do that too. Nobody sat down and discussed how it should be done. Nobody wrote any list of rules.

Same deal with Felix Salten. He kind of established the Furry novel, but again there were no rules or definitions discussed that implied George Orwell's very different approach to the Furry novel was not legitimate. And then down through history with Richard Bach, then Richard Adams, then Tad Williams. They all did it differently. No one ever felt they needed rules or definitions.

Same deal with Furry comics. Funny Animals were able to freely evolve from Bugs Bunny to Albedo because there were no rules or definitions set in stone. There was only limited perspectives of what was possible that fell away the moment somebody went beyond them.

And the fandom today is just the same. It is a progressive art movement, constantly building on the past, and perpetually waiting to see what new innovation or combination somebody is going to come up with. My Little Pony/Powerpuff Girls. Radical, unheard of, beyond anticipation. But that's the kind of wacky innovation that revitalizes this fandom.

What I do in my own attempt to progress The Furry Art Movement is dependent on having the freedom to mix and match elements without having to clear it with some authority if this is kosher for Furry. Throw together any unlikely combination of elements you can think of, and watch me chuck them in a blender, cover the concoction with fur, and make it work.

Bambi/Doctor Who/My Little Pony/Star Wars/The Secret Of NIMH/Pink Floyd/The Get Along Gang/The Plague Dogs/The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway? I can do that, because the Furry idiom is so fantastically free - adaptability without measure, and the ability to treat the most implausible situations with a seriousness you wouldn't dare attempt in any other field of the arts.

What we need is more imagination to take advantage of that fantastic freedom - not rules to take that power away.

"I think the world is ready for furry. Not because it's "normal," but because it isn't. It's, you know, different."

The world is ready for Furry because it's normal, as in something the mainstream has enjoyed and spent tons of money on for hundreds of years. It's like an old friend they’re always happy to see come home. But by the same token, Furry's long lasting appeal has a lot to do with the fact that it is always different.

Every time it goes away, it comes back different. It comes back at the cutting edge of where the fantasy world is at the moment. That's what we have to offer.

I can't speak for anyone else in the community, but I know that's what I'm looking forward to - that moment when the world is so desperate for something different that they turn back to Furry and say "Show us what you've got." And shame on us if we're not ready with something that will blow their hats off.

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Okay, first of all, I did read your entire essay, and it is actually very helpful. Your conclusions and my conclusions are different; you made a nice list of furry antecedents that should be looked into by furry fans (my view) or a nice list of furry that should be looked into by furry fans (your view). Either way, it comes out the same.

I disagree that fandoms do not effect culture; there was that one guy who painted pictures of people in fursuits who called himself a "meta" fan. I guess I'm a "meta" fan of the Trekkers, because they were able to turn a canceled show into cultural touchstone. Besides, your assertation is defeatist; you say furry can't, I say furry hasn't yet.

For the most part fandoms are used and exploited. They aren't looked on as creative forces. Of course, our fandom is a little different. We work harder at being a creative force in spite of the norms that apply to fandoms. We create our own characters and stories, rather than depending on Walt Disney or Steve Galacci to do it for us. And some of us have the thought that since we own our own characters and stories, we have a right to be getting them into the mainstream outside the internet and enjoying some of the success those who get Furry characters professionally published enjoy.

Actually, this is a good point to make. I have a streak of conservatism running up my backside a mile long, and this strikes what I sometimes refer to as my "inner Nazi" as akin to "tree-hugging hippie crap." But then I also have a streak of liberalism running up my backside just as long, and my "inner hippie" is all like "hey, man, harsh. Just dig it, man." My inner hippie says "man" a lot.

Translation from Badmetaphorese: I'm conflicted on this one.

Basically, what your next paragraph puts pretty well is the "punk paradox;" punk music originally "fought the man," but when it became popular, became open to criticism that it had become just another face of "the man." In other words, furry could "sell out." However, it wouldn't be quite so bad in furry's case, as furry is a "subcultural" phenomenom, meaning it is still an aspect, if marginalized, of mainstream culture. I get the feeling if you object to anything in that sentence, it's the word "marginalized."

Furry, to me, is a playful (and therefore "postmodern") rebellion against the prevailing mode of anthropomorphism in modern American culture (despite a lot of influences being worldwide, the movement seems to have been primarily American in the early stages). This "rebellion" still fits in the parameters of modern anthropomorphism; "furry" does not wish to destroy what it is rebelling against (as punk subculture, to a certain extent, did). This is Marxist criticism I'm using here; furry is a product of a capitalist society that produces people who are affluent enough they don't need to rebel, but not so affluent that they do occasionally want to rebel.

If my understanding of Marxist theory and what furry is is correct, then furry "going mainstream" would not destroy it, primarily because it is not the intention of furry to destroy mainstream culture; it thrives on it, as many furries, including you yourself, have pointed out.

Now would probably be a good time to point out my "fox species metaphor" which is somewhere in this articles comments; you should find it and read it. I am coming to the conclusion that this may be the best way to relax the tension our opposing views. I still believe that a specific genre of anthropomorphics came into being in the 80s that was specifically called "furry" by both its creators and original witnesses, and that this genre was something, if not entirely new, at least combined elements of former anthropomorphic genres in new ways. I still believe that this genre should take the name first, and I therefore label it "little furry." That being said, these elements did not coalesce in a vacuum; you speak of "Furry Umbrellas," I speak of "Big Furry" or "Furry with a capital F."

Of the question of "accomplishment," I think I should point out my very intense personal geographic isolation. I live in the Oklahoma panhandle. I live in a town of less than 2000 people. That is pretty sad, but then when you consider the fact that this town is second largest city in my area, things become clearer. In fact, the majority of my surrounding area is classified as "unsettled territory" by the US government.

It is 400 miles to the nearest comic book store. Ditto for the nearest bookstore (not exactly the most literate people, Oklahomans), chain or otherwise, since the economy killed a local Hastings this March (which was 20 miles away, anyway). 20 miles to the nearest movie theater, with only 8 screens, so you can forget about anything not a guaranteed blockbuster. Basically, if you can't get it at Wal-Mart (not a store known for it's wide variety of underground entertainment), forget it. And the Wal-Mart is also 20 miles away.

Your WikiFur article states you're from the Northeast. You're from a megalopolis. I'm from a wasteland.

Our definitions of "mainstream penetration" are going to be a bit different.

It's a bit harder for me to easily get "self-published" novels or a trunk full of comic books of any form. The Internet, obviously, assuages this problem somewhat. But it's still not the same as actually, you know, being there.

But, then, omigosh, did you just go on a freakin' rant! Okay, I want to play on your team! Okay, so you kind of contradicted parts of earlier posts, but sign me up anyway! Seriously, let's network. I'm helping you out, whether you want it or not. What are you doing with the "Spectral Shadows" thing? (There was a comment in my earlier post asking you what you were doing; I hadn't read your essay yet, so mea culpa.) You might have shot yourself in the foot putting online, but what's the next step? How can I help you, what do you need, what do you want? I'm serious.

Contact me on my lj (links on my profile) and I'll do what I can. For the record, I still think you're naive, you really need a proofreader, and I don't know if I'll like what you give me, but, darnit, your heart's in the right place, so I'm giving you a shot. I am serious.

Okay, moving on.

The Furry Art Movement is dependent on having the freedom to mix and match elements without having to clear it with some authority if this is kosher for Furry.

Well, good point and well made, and it goes back to the Nazi/hippie metaphor. I don't want to crimp a style; I never meant to say (in my article) that this is what furries should do, I was merely pointing out that this is what furries have done. If they want to do something different now, I suppose that's their prerogative; I just feel like we're abandoning one form without really giving it it's 15 minutes of fame.

I can't speak for anyone else in the community, but I know that's what I'm looking forward to - that moment when the world is so desperate for something different that they turn back to Furry and say "Show us what you've got." And shame on us if we're not ready with something that will blow their hats off.

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree on the whole "normal" thing. Personally, I didn't spend a year doing open mic comedy as "Wichita's only furry comic" to be thought of as "normal." And let me tell you, if you can do my "atheists in foxholes" joke in Wichita, Kan., the epicenter of the Bible belt, and get really impressive positive reactions, you can do furry anywhere.

So anyway, I'd mostly say "preach on, sister" to your final paragraph, with one quibble. We can't wait for the world to turn to us; we've got to get the world's attention. Now.

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"you say furry can't, I say furry hasn't yet."

Actually, I think we're on the same page about more than we realize. We just have a bit of a language problem.

"Furry, to me, is a playful (and therefore "postmodern") rebellion against the prevailing mode of anthropomorphism in modern American culture"

When I started my Furry project back in the 70's, I wasn't rebelling against the anthropomorphism that already existed, because what already existed was the reason I was interested in working in this field in the first place. If there was something I needed to rebel against it was society’s perceptions of Furry as a children's thing.

At the time I was aware that there were all these people, like Crumb, Tezuka and Adams, who had knocked down sections of the wall that prevented Furry from exploring its potential. And I thought, this is groovy. I'm going to pick up my axe and go to work on my section of society's wall. That was the nature of The Furry Rebellion that opened the way for everything Furry Fandom is today.

"Furry is a product of a capitalist society that produces people who are affluent enough they don't need to rebel, but not so affluent that they do occasionally want to rebel."

It's not really about how much money somebody has. Generally people rebel because of oppression or because they've got something to prove. Back when I started, every idea in the Furry idiom that wasn't meant for kids was radical. You had to prove it could work, and you had to withstand the constant opposition of your peers who thought you'd be better off doing something where the odds would be in your favor.

Actually, that hasn't changed much in 35 years. But at least now there's a community a fur can turn to for encouragement.

Anyway, the oppression factor is still society. An ambitious fur always has something to prove to society. And society always tends to feel like they'd like to see you fail. That is, until you succeed. Then they want to say they knew you when.

"I still believe that a specific genre of anthropomorphics came into being in the 80s that was specifically called "furry" by both its creators and original witnesses."

Well, I'm one of those witnesses, and you probably read something in my essay that supports your theory. But just in case you missed it, I said, in the 1978 section, "When trying to explain the nature of the genre I was writing in, I needed a simple term to evoke the common element that linked Bambi, Watership Down and Jonathan Livingston Seagull into their own unique genre. And "Furry" was the term I came up with. They were Furry novels. They had a certain quality, a Furriness, if you will, due to the unique perspective of intelligent talking animals."

So, yeah, I do remember applying that term to a specific type of story that came into existence in the 1920's, and was enjoying a revival, not in the 80's, but in the 1970's.

But as I moved into the 80's, I sought to progress the genre I was working in by combining it with Science Fiction, cartoons, Gothic Horror, Progressive Rock, religion, philosophy - anything I could work into the mix to aid in the originality of the overall concoction.

And that remains, to this day, the formula for the Furry story. You take any elements you like from any area of entertainment, personal life, religion, military service, hobbies or whatever, throw them into a blender with some anthropomorphic animals, and bang, you're writing in the tradition of the original witnesses.

"But, then, omigosh, did you just go on a freakin' rant!"

No, there were no rants in that. Just the ramblings of someone who was severely in need of sleep.

"What are you doing with the "Spectral Shadows" thing?"

I think that's best determined by reading it. I'm not that good at squeezing a 32 serial saga into a nutshell.

But if you mean what am I doing in terms of publication, it's a net serial that has to be published on the net, because it's too big for books. It's adventures in modern electronic publication.

Must stop for sleep now. If you're really interested you can follow me on Live Journal or Fur Affinity. Links available on my profile.

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In your essay, you talked about the "Rowrbrazzle group," and kind of dismissed them; as you point out this is an ongoing project since the 70s, well, it might be a bit of sour grapes. Actually, small, insular groups like that are usually the mutagenic element in art that creates something new. I mean, through no fault of your own, you kind of missed the boat (according to prevalent "furry" theories).

However, you are claiming here your work predates the "Rowrbrazzle group." And I don't have any reason to doubt you. Your use of the term to describe Watership Down and its literary kin would therefore take precedence. Unfortunately, your own essay kind of shoots that one in the foot when you freely admit that this genre did have another term ("allegorical literature") that predates yours ("furry novel").

So, what we have here is a bit of nomenclatural murkiness due to the casual use of a term by writers not entirely using it seriously; "furry" is a cute word used by title-makers and ad copy-writers and movie reviewers just to be cute, rather than as actual genre signifier. A modern example would be the recent Furry Vengeance movie; I doubt the title was an attempt to appeal to furries, or to label itself as any sort of genre.

In other words, I'm again forced to point out that furry may not be a good term to label any genre, whether "my" genre, "your" genre (obviously neither genre is really yours or mine; I just mean the genres we respectively described) or any other sub-division of stories that use anthropomorphic animals.

It's not really about how much money somebody has.

Actually, in Marxist theory (which is what I was using), it kind of is all about how much money somebody has; that's a major problem with Marxist theory. I am in perfect agreeance that there are perfectly fine reasons to rebel other than your place on the money food chain, but I don't really know any critical theories that deal with this kind of thing other than Marxist.

So, uh, yeah.

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"you are claiming here your work predates the "Rowrbrazzle group.""

Rowrbrazzle started in '83. I started conceiving Furry stories in '75, a year before Vootie.

"Unfortunately, your own essay kind of shoots that one in the foot when you freely admit that this genre did have another term ("allegorical literature") that predates yours ("furry novel")."

Allegorical literature is the section of the library where talking animal literature tends to be found. But there's a lot more to allegorical literature than talking animals. I was putting a name to the subset of allegorical literature that's specific to talking animal stories.

And I did this at a time when I was highly influenced to think Furry literature was required to be allegorical, philosophical and spiritual. As a matter of fact, when I later started to add science fiction to my mix, I was actually critsized for cheapening my genre.

I would take those 3 major novels with me everywhere I went - Bambi, Watership Down and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. And I would insist that if somebody wanted to read my stuff they had to read these books first. Because everybody who read my stuff who wasn't familiar with those books thought I invented the whole concept of talking animals for adult readers.

But even when I got people familiar with those books so they'd understand I was working in an established genre, they'd still come back astonished at what I had written. They'd want to sit and talk for hours about how they interpreted what my characters had said. And how amazing it was that they were getting all this spiritual inspiration from a bunch of talking animals.

So when I started talking about adapting the work for science fiction, my readers were like, "How can you do that? How can you taint this classy genre of yours with that trash?" And I just shrugged it off and said "Don't worry about it. Whatever I draw into this genre will become just as allegorical, philosophical and spiritual. But I can't be content to just copy my predecessors. I have to have an eye, not only towards promoting my genre, but taking it to its next creative phase. And the genre can not progress unless other things are added to it."

The most prominent icon of the fandom I know of who started out around the same time I did was Reed Waller. He didn't come up with the term "Furry." But he had a very similar attitude. He didn't like people thinking that he invented what he did. He wanted people to know he was working in this long established genre called "Funny Animals," and he was just taking it to its next phase.

And these were the kind of people who came together to lay the ground work for The Furry Community. In general, they did not consider themselves inventing something new. They were promoting and furthering things they considered to be already firmly established. And the only time they wanted to hear words like limitations or boundaries was when they were trashing them and moving beyond them.

And it was because we were so proud of our established genres and the way we were progressing them that the outside world looked on us with an awe and respect that is unimaginable to the young Furry of today, because the community has lost it's true history and replaced it with a mythology that the outside world can not relate to.

This notion that we who were active during those pioneering years had some kind of limited vision of what Furry should be is a big part of that detrimental mythology, coupled with the notion that nothing that existed before 1980 is part of what the community’s about, or that we should only be concerned with things made by the community for the community.

It's because the community has done that to itself that the young Furry of today can't stand up in the face of reporters or family and state with unwavering pride, "I am part of something with a long and culturally renowned history." They can’t whip three best sellers out of their back pocket to show people that what they're doing is not only respectable, but potentially lucrative.

Now, it has never been my policy to ask the community to back up and start doing anything based on the way I used to do it. But if it is your intension to look back and try to recapture something of the spirit of the pioneers, don't do so in search of standards or limitations, because that is not what we were about.

As far as we were concerned, Furry was beautiful because every wall we knocked down opened up so much unexplored territory. And if today Furry has become stale or has stopped getting the respect it used to, it's only because Furries have stopped looking at the walls as something to be knocked down. Or because they lack power to knock down walls without the weight of their genre's history to back them up.

"A modern example would be the recent Furry Vengeance movie; I doubt the title was an attempt to appeal to Furries, or to label itself as any sort of genre."

Actually, "Furry Vengeance" is an awkward title that I don't think they would have chosen if the producers didn't anticipate some kind of pop culture relevance. It's likely that they had some kind of confused notion of what the word represents in pop culture. But it's also important to realize that "Furry" has been used to refer to animal societies since the early 20th century. So, in the absence of a realistic explanation of the object of Furry Fandom, some people might think we're a fandom for animals in general.

Some folks in England might hear the term Furry Fandom and think, "Ah, the little furry folk. That's part of our culture, you know." Some folks in America might think, "How interesting, a fandom for our furry friends." And, of course, anyone who grew up with Sesame Street has some idea of what Furry means.

That's one of the things I try to get across in the essay – that we didn't invent this word, we appropriated it. And anybody who hears about a Furry Fandom, or a Furry market (as we were described in The Financial Times) is likely to assume a connection to one of those older uses of the word.

Under the circumstances there's no reason to assume Furry Vengeance wasn't specifically being pitched to us as a test. Hollywood producers have heard the noise. They know we’re a market. They know we have money. They’re interested in exploiting us, but they don't know how.

What this fandom will come out in mass to spend money on is very hard to get a grip on. But I anticipate we will be seeing more odd things with Furry in the titles, as the media attempts to catch our attention. But I'm hopeful that they'll do their homework and eventually attach that word to something more obviously anthropomorphic.

"I'm again forced to point out that furry may not be a good term to label any genre"

Furry is an excellent word. Why do you think so many of us came up with it naturally, rather than through peer interaction?

If I knew of a word that was more perfect, I might be inclined to switch. But any new word that someone suggests tends to throw in a limiting factor and change the nature of what we are.

Actually, I remember back in the 90's watching the comic book companies wrestling with what to call the genre, once Funny Animals started to be seen as being in appropriate for a genre that was no longer overly concerned with being funny. They tried Anthro, Morphic, and maybe a couple of others. But there was no massive relating to any alternative terms except Furry.

If you look at the cover of the latest issue of Furrlough, you'll see Funny Animals and Furry are still duking it out. So, if we're going to drop Furry, there's nothing to go back to but Funny Animals. Which doesn't work because too much of what we do is not funny – it's just Furry.

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Thanks for the clarification on the "allegorical literature" genre label. I don't know if that's an area you should work on clarifying in your essay, or if I just skimmed it.

And I did this at a time when I was highly influenced to think Furry literature was required to be allegorical, philosophical and spiritual. As a matter of fact, when I later started to add science fiction to my mix, I was actually critsized for cheapening my genre.

That's a stupid criticism to make; R.C. O'Brian's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH clearly brings sci-fi elements into the mixture while still retaining the elements of the, well, let's call it "classic furry novel" for this post, anyway.

In general, they did not consider themselves inventing something new.

Well, this speaks pretty well to the various "early" or "proto" or whatever furries' characters. Still, something new was created, by accident. That's probably how it's supposed to happen. In fact, setting out to create a "new" is actually probably less likely to create something new.

You aptly describe the danger of drawing lines in the sand as far as genre definitions go. Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it, though in this case "doomed" only means "do something not new and embarassingly claim it is," thankfully.

That being said, I'm nothing if not stubborn, so will continue to try and define walls, which I am of course perfectly willing to allow artists to tear down as they see fit. You can't break the rules if you do not know them; you can't know the rules if you are unwilling to discuss them.

It apparently took two months and another writer's article, but at least the discussion I wanted finally took place. And I don't feel the genre is stale, right now, though perhaps the genre is not getting enough respect from it's own fandom, if I can soapbox for a paragraph or two. I think you've already expressed a lot of this yourself, so I don't need to rehash it. But I will add that in another article's thread this week, another furry worried about furry being laughed at.

I am not saying everyone non-furry will look at furry and act solemnly thoughtful. I am saying that fear of ridicule is a stupid reason for what I sometimes feel is a tendency for furries to actually hide furry from non-furries. Let me be clear; I'm not calling for "squicking the mundanes." But furries seem sometimes, well, downright ashamed of their own genre.

They’re interested in exploiting us, but they don't know how.

Kind of the vague feeling I got with the whole Furry Vengeance title thing; I wasn't in the boardroom meeting when the title was picked, so I can't say for a hundred percent certain. Heck, I don't really know much about the movie other than it was generally regarded as bad and the title. It could have been the title of the first pitched screenplay, for all I really know.

But it did seem like the kind of movie that would come out of a boardroom rather than an actual creative process. And I'd be willing to bet furry came out in discussions at some point. Hopefully, though, the next time they don't try to lure us out with such obviously poor product.

As far as the word furry is concerned, I'm only saying it may be not very conducive to "tight" definitions; changing words for another term now would be like changing horses midstream. We're stuck with it, but, fortunately, I like being stuck with it and would probably fight if someone walked in and said we've all gotta be "anthranimal" fans or something.

Actually, "anthranimal" does have a kind of ring to it. Maybe I should trademark it ...

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"That's a stupid criticism to make; R.C. O'Brian's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH clearly brings sci-fi elements into the mixture."

True, but I didn't become aware of that one until the movie came out some time later. Still, it's interesting to note that the notion that Furry should go sci-fi was one more thing a lot of people working in the genre came up with on their own around the same time, without any kind of peer influence to do so.

It almost seems that the genre has a life of its own, and will send its muses to inspire its authors to move in certain directions. But that's one of the things I liked about it at the time. It did seem magical back then. And, of course, it was the 70's. Folks were more inclined to believe in cosmic inspiration in those days.

To this day, if my story is not writing itself, I will say I must have lost faith with my muse or something.

"Still, something new was created, by accident."

The trouble with that is more than one thing was created. "The Rats Of NIMH" is still pretty down to earth allegory, but specifically aimed at children, more so than the other best sellers in the genre. So you could say O'Brian was moving Furry towards a new kind of more serious children's literature.

My idea was to give Furry the freedom of Doctor Who. So that characters could get in a ship and go to various planets where they would encounter a different allegorical situation in each novel. While Steve Gallacci was pushing space opera.

Meanwhile Reed Waller was inventing the "Slice Of Life" thing, which again is extremely allegorical, but not concerned at all with sci-fi.

While Art Spiegelman was forwarding straight forward Furry Allegory in comic book form.

And, though I'm not sure who was the first to demonstrate it, a strong element of sword and sorcery fantasy was interjected.

Then there was Josh Quagmire. And I suppose you could call what he did parody, or keeping Funny Animals funny, but a wee bit more sexy.

If you look for one element that was common to all of this, the only thing I see is the one thing that's hardest to get away from when doing Furry of even a moderately serious nature, and that's allegory. The creation of which I believe is attributed to Aesop, at least in the sense of using animals as a vehicle for it.

Whatever anyone in the genre was doing, it was kind of involved with taking something else and saying, "This is what this would look like if you did it with Furry characters." And I don't think we could rightfully take credit for inventing that.

All I see that really changed as the calendar turned over into the 80's was that the progression of the Furry genre, which had been advancing since the early 1800's at least, went to its next logical phase, adapting itself to the pop culture of the time.

The 70's were a time of heavy philosophy and deep thinking. Furry had adapted itself to that. The 80's was the first decade where adults were given a social ok to be interested in sci-fi and fantasy. So Furry adapted itself to that too.

I don't think Furry has ever lost that essential need to adapt to the times, but in the 90's there was a period of confusion, in which pop culture went grunge, and Furry had a hard time adapting to that. But still you started to see things like Swat Kats and Biker Mice From Mars that depended less on cuteness, while the comics market clung tightly to the skirts of Anime Fandom for support.

Then pop culture seemed to completely collapse at the end of the 90's, and in the 2000's there seemed little for Furry to latch onto and adapt itself to, other than society itself, which was dissolving into a haze of internet based stupidity. Of which Furry Fandom itself became the ultimate allegory.

The world just couldn't see how bad things were getting, even when that Goth girl was killed in England, until they saw the faces of the Furry trolls on YouTube.

Now all that's over, and we're in a new decade. What will pop culture give Furry to adapt to this time?

So far I have seen evidence that people are in search of what they've lost in this decade. On TV, Furry toons have returned to the cuteness of old. My Little Pony is taking the world by storm, and Furry Fandom has latched onto it in a big way.

Possibly this decade will be where we get to experience the renaissance of Furry, where all that it has accomplished in the past is revisited and reprised as the world heals from the pain of the last decade, and needs to be reminded of the good things that once were. And then, in the decade to follow, Furry will continue its natural progression.

So, anyway, yes. You can be shallow about it and say we invented the idea of combining sci-fi with Furry back in the late '70's/early ‘80's. And you can focus on that as if it was the most important thing that was ever done with the genre. But I think that is missing the whole point of what gives Furry its sense of validity.

Furry is Aesop's baby. And it's not just about entertaining ourselves. Almost as soon as this community started coming together, people started realizing we couldn't hang around these anthropomorphic allegorical animals without them teaching us something about ourselves.

That's the only constant I have ever observed in regard to Furry that did not change with time.

"I am not saying everyone non-furry will look at furry and act solemnly thoughtful. I am saying that fear of ridicule is a stupid reason for what I sometimes feel is a tendency for furries to actually hide furry from non-furries. Let me be clear; I'm not calling for "squicking the mundanes." But furries seem sometimes, well, downright ashamed of their own genre."

Yes, if there is one thing I'd like the newer Furries to learn from my success in sharing Furry with non-Furries, it's that pride in the genre is essential. If people see you acting like you're ashamed of what you do, they won't be able to see it as honorable.

It's not enough to just throw on a "Proud To Be A Furry" T-Shirt. You have to know why being a Furry is something to be proud of.

You have to be able to rattle off names like Lewis Carroll, CS Lewis, Felix Salten, Richard Adams, Walt Disney, Osamu Tezuka. Names that carry with them a history of accomplishment and acclaim, projecting yourself as being part of an honorable tradition.

And that doesn't only work towards getting respect from others. It works towards building respect for yourself. It's like, "Hey, there were once these great luminaries of literature and entertainment, and their torch has been passed to me." How can you not take pride in that? How can you not want to learn all you can about the history of your genre so you can have a chance at doing Furry better than anyone has ever done it before? So that you can have a chance at seeing your name added to that history to be an inspiration to the Furries of the future.

It makes all the difference in the world to honestly believe in what you're doing. Sure some people will laugh. Some will think you're crazy. People will be forever telling you there's an easier way to make a living. But there's hardly a successful artist in history who didn't have to put up with that. That's just par for the course. But it's always the artist who believes the strongest and perseveres in spite of all discouragement who earns the last laugh when his or her dreams are validated by success.

One additional thing I think is important to note, is that back in the formative years we were not only experimenting, but enjoying a good bit of mainstream success. Actually, I’m understating the matter. Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize.

There wouldn't be a community large enough to support the genre for some time. Actually, to this day, things that depend exclusively on the community tend to fail. So, upwardly mobile Furries have always known that the true measure of success is transcending the fandom and creating something you don't have to be a Furry to get something out of.

The mainstream is not automatically Furry unfriendly. The only difference between the mainstream and the fandom is that the mainstream doesn't embrace things just because they're Furry. It embraces Furry projects that show them something they can relate to.

In the entertainment world, Furry is an adjective. You can put it in front of anything that seems important to the mainstream at the moment. And if the mainstream finds your Furry portrayal of the subject relevant, you will win their fascination.

Don't worry so much about pleasing the fandom. As long as what you do is Furry, at least some segment of the fandom will like it. But if you're going to be approaching people on the outside with your stuff, the fur is no longer the selling point. They're going to be focusing on what your Furry characters are saying. If it's a serious work, does it stop them in their tracks and make them think? If it's comedy, does it make them laugh?

The mainstream is not concerned with the fandom. They're concerned with the quality of individual products. If it's good, they will buy your Furry art, and your Furry books, and anything else of a Furry nature you produce that mainstream consumers can relate to.

In that respect, nothing has changed. If you're good enough at what you do, you can still have a best seller, or win a Pulitzer Prize. But for some reason the fandom will try to convince you otherwise. They'll turn your head around backwards and get you thinking the mainstream has never embraced anything Furry before. They'll discourage you from drawing any parallels between what we do and anything the mainstream might relate to. It's called self-defeatism. And its whole purpose for existence is to hold you down.

Fight self-defeatism with knowledge of your genre, your area of the arts. Have some idea of what you want to accomplish. And if you don't already have them, go out and get the necessary skills. But remember that life is too short to waste one minute of time worrying about what idiots may be laughing at you. If they laugh and you cry, you lose. If they laugh and you remain staunchly dedicated to your goal, you’ve already won something – your own self-respect.

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the fact that a furry webcomic artist doesn't want to be associated with furry should say something

Self-loathing is a terrible thing.

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And God bless'em for it; at least I can tell they actually give a shit about what they're talking about.

This seems to be an awkward conclusion and possibly motivation (which I think has come up before) to draw from those that argue over definitions of fandoms in general. While there are quite a few people who want to better understand the fandom and common interests they are in, there are also quite a few who argue for more selfish and ulterior motives. This comes up in a lot of group of fans, including furries and sci-fi fans, where they are really arguing on the basis of dislike of source material, or dislike of some stereotype of fans of the particular source material, or not wanting to associate with more mainstream intersts, or to boost their ego, etc., despite material they argue over having the same overlapping themes and interests as is used to otherwise define the particular fandom.

And it is additionally awkward if you mean to imply the inverse, that those that don't argue or care about the definition don't actually care about the fandom or aren't invested in their interests, as that would be quite wrong in many cases.

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I'll probably read your essay (or parts of it anyway) later but I'll still reply now.

This is not about making a sub-group or making furry as what I like. This is about looking at what unites the concept of furry and then using that as a criteria for something to be furry. There are things I don't like that I consider furry (chakats for instance) and there are things I do like that I don't think are furry (pokemon being the most obvious). Definitions like this won't be determined by a vote anyway and I wasn't trying to make a final declaration on what is and isn't furry. The purpose of this was to propose a possible (and I think better) definition of furry. Once people know about it it's open to debate and can be best suit what is furry and will obtain legitimacy through use.

I don't want to go into too much on why it is important to actually define what is furry. I think I've probably covered it previously in the comments and Crossaffliction has also made the point quite clear. I'll try appeal to the need to define furry using an example instead. Let's take the case of bestiality that was just reported. To me it's not furry, and I imagine the same for you. However to some outsiders it is and, according to "what Furry fans themselves regard to be part of the fandom" it could be. Furry and bestiality are not mutually exclusive (although some furs seem to have this weird idea that they are) so someone can have an interest and practice both. If someone considers bestiality to be part of the furry fandom you have no way to disagree with them because you consider furry to be whatever furry fans want it to be. If you aren't willing to accept that then perhaps you will see that furry does need to be defined.

"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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How come you are the smartest person here?

I want to be smart too! :'(

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I don't think Anime Fandom has any problem differentiating between art and actually raping school girls. Likewise, Furry Fandom doesn't have a problem differentiating between art and actual animal abuse.

I suppose if videos of animal abuse exist, somebody might file them in their Furry section. But, like the fellow in question, he'd probably soon be arrested, and his collection scattered to the four winds. And if that fellow had posted pictures of animal abuse to Fur Affinity, he would have been gone faster than Dragoneer could snap his fingers.

My observation is that the fandom turns such criminals into the law, and therefore is vocally opposed to any such expansion of the interest. It's not any kind of grey area.

Try another one that some Furries do seriously support - Shamanism. Should some Furries include religious videos in their Furry section? Try telling Furries they shouldn't do this, and watch the fandom divide against itself and prepare for civil war.

And most won't be fighting because they're into Shamanism. They'll be fighting to protect their own right to define Furry as pleases them.

We've been through this numerous times in the past, and no good has ever come of it. Fandoms do not have governments or laws that make decisions like this. You can not just arbitrarily define the fandom for anyone else. All I could do was try to include everyone's definition into one, and even that is not unproblematic.

For everyone to be happy in a fandom you have to leave some room for flexibility. Furry fans, especially, need room to be individuals. We are anything but a bunch of conformists here. And you'd be surprised what a small percentage of the fandom would be comfortable in the tiny dimensions hinted at in the original article.

I'm a Furry sci-fi writer myself. I couldn't function in those dimensions. Furry is about having the freedom to kick dimensions to the curb. I'm not interested in joining some elitist writer's clique, or being forced into it with some argument about how if I don't other Furries might include animal abuse in their Furry interests.

I have more confidence in the fandom as a whole than that. I know the number of people in this fandom who honestly love and care for animals way out strips the nut jobs who abuse animals. And the indignation of those who love and care for animals will never allow this to be a comfortable place for animal abusers.

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Firstly bestiality is not necessarily animal abuse. It can be abusive but doesn't have to be. It's also not illegal everywhere so not everyone that does it is a criminal.

Some furries do seriously support bestiality, whether as an aspect of furry or not. I'm not saying they don't get a say in deciding what is furry and what isn't but that if furry is a concept that is to have any meaning it needs to have an accepted and workable definition. Letting people choose for themselves what to include and exclude is not workable and renders the idea of furry immaterial. You aren't being forced into anything either, there is a need to have a proper definition and everyone gets a say in what that is but that doesn't mean it's just anything goes.

"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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If you feel you need a workable definition of Furry, I wrote one, Anthrocon has one, Ursa Major has one, Wikifur has one, Wikipedia has one, quite a few other Furries on the internet have written one. And, if all else fails, you can always go right back to the dawn of the community with the intro page of alt.fan.furry.

Basically they all boil down to a single premise. We're "The Anthropomorphic Animals Fandom." And that definition seems to be working quite well for us.

You say, "Letting people choose for themselves what to include and exclude is not workable and renders the idea of furry immaterial."

We have always been a progressive fandom, subject to constant evolution and experimentation. We mix material freely to come up with new concoctions, and that is how we keep the output of the fandom fresh.

We do not exist in a box. We do not all do the same things. We do not work from a recipe of specific ingredients. Furry is an adjective. It can not function if it is not free to be added to other things.

What you're suggesting would take away all the potential for creativity and innovation, locking the fandom into a sealed breadbox where it would quickly grow stale, because it could never grow or advance.

If freedom means Furry must be immaterial, so be it. It's better to be immaterial, than to be impotent.

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Which brings us to the old-as-the-world wisdom: there cannot be absolute freedom.

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Definitions can change over time. You don't seem to get that. Just because we define furry as something doesn't mean forever stuck like 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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As a future anthropologist, I cannot agree more.

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Did I not say it was a progressive fandom prone to constant evolution? Furry changes all the time. But it can never change the foundation it's built on. And no one fan gets to dictate how it changes. It changes by an unwritten consensus of the whole, via whatever is influencing the community at the time.

Right now My Little Pony seems to be influencing it, and in exactly the opposite direction you want it to go in. The community is being inundated with interest by people who are being drawn in via one of the titles your rules would most likely exclude, pulling the community towards inclusiveness with a force that is not going to be slowed by one little growlithe with delusions of power that no one Furry possesses. Particularly when the growlithe himself would probably be excluded by his own proposed rules.

The whole premise of this business is wrong. Knowledgeable Furries have no trouble at all explaining their interest, or referring somebody to a page that already exists which does. Newbies may not yet understand how it's defined. Furries who never leave one specific neighborhood of the community may have a skewed definition of it. Yours being a perfect example. But on the whole you're too late to effect the kind of change you're after.

I think this debate first happened 30 years ago. And maybe somebody comes along and revives it every 10 years or so. But all they accomplish is to throw the community into political turmoil for a while, cause a lot of fighting that brings the fandom a lot of unfavorable attention. But after all that settles down the fandom goes its own way, totally disregarding everything that was fought over to go with the flow of wherever Furry interest is being drawn at the moment.

Another thing you need to consider is that 30 years ago the community was small enough that what one person said or did could have an impact. It's not that way anymore. The community is too large now for one person to throw a lasso around it and guide it in a certain direction.

Also, you need to consider that all the definitions fans have contributed to the internet are not going to disappear. You can always write your own personal manifesto of what you think Furry should be defined as. But it will never be any more than one oddball perspective among hundreds.

Those that are really interested in learning how to define Furry will read them all and look for the places where most of them tend to agree. Anything unique to your definition will either not be noticed or dismissed due to overwhelming opposing consensus.

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I don't like to be "the pessimist", but from what you wrote I conclude that your suggestion is "to do nothing".

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That is exactly what I'm suggesting. Furry isn't broke. Don't try to fix it.

Furry is doing quite well at the moment. We've managed to overcome an ungodly mess of wrong, that was caused by exactly that - people trying to fix Furry when it wasn't broken.

It's a fandom. It follows its object, not the opinions of individual fans. It's about what the fans like, how they choose to have fun with the object of the fandom, and whatever creativity the object of the fandom may inspire. Those things are not subject to mass control. They are all personal choices.

Therefore you can not take personal choices away from the fandom without harming it. When you do that, you stop people from having fun. And when fans are not having fun, they're not happy. Which means they're either going to leave, or they're going to be fighting with whomever they conceive as having ruined their fun.

We don't need any more of that. We've had quite enough of it. We're enjoying relative peace in this decade, as compared to the last one. We're having fun like one should be able to in a fandom. Even our public reputation is leveling out because people can see us having fun now.

That's the image of a perfectly functioning fandom. Leave it alone. It's doing fine.

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Still, Lassie doesn't count.

She is a regular dawg.

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Not when she's in a comic book, or on the radio.

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Oh, that...

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Furry isn't broke. Don't try to fix it.

Actually according to, oh, the entire rest of the Internet, furry is broke.

I guess that's another concern and reason I did post the original story. If we do not define furry, they will.

This is not entirely fair of them, admittedly, but then they have such a long history of giving the furry fandom a fair deal. Your response (and we both know you were going to make it) is that we shouldn't care what they think of us, but, you know what, furry isn't Switzerland. Perhaps I do care a bit too much about what non-furries think of furry, but that doesn't mean a lot of furries don't care enough.

Your own fairly naive, pie-in-the-sky posts claiming furries are actually affecting multi-million dollar movies in any significant way is just one example of this ignorance of the non-furry view of furry.

I hate to break it to you, on the Internet, we've lost the battle. By labeling something furry, you have opened it up to accusations of questionable value to non-furry "netizens."

The relative ignorance of the non-Internet geek crowd is, in this way, a blessing as well as a curse. We want to reach these people, and if we give these people some wishy-washy, vague answer when what they want is a straight answer, they will go to the only other group who can. And those people have not, historically speaking, been very nice in their definitions of furry. And there is no reason to believe this will change anytime ever.

And people aren't going to accept "anthropomorphic animals." As you yourself have pointed out, there is nothing particularly special about them; humanity's been doing it for a while. And here's where your comment about "normal" just drives me nuts. Why would you even say that?

The rest of the world doesn't want us to be normal. They want us to be different. They like different.

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Exactly the "rest of the internet" finds no value in furry stuff. I mean, /4/chan never used My Little Pony for memes...

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Okay, so the other day, I saw one of those, and it was labeled "I watch this show for the plot" and supposed to be ironic and funny, haha, but the picture was of a bunch of the pony's butts, and that was maybe the creepiest thing I've ever seen on the Internet, which is saying something.

This post doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion.

I just need to share my pain.

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It's not that I don't give a flip what the people on the rest of the internet think or say. It's that I don't give a flip what trolls and gossiping idiots say. You couldn't get them to care if you tried a thousand years. The effort is a pure waste of time.

For the folks on the internet with the intelligence and enough interest to actually want to grasp what Furry is, I spent literally months of my life working on The Furry History Project. Which was, before Furtopia went down, linked to both the Wikipedia and Wikifur Furry Fandom articles, had been translated into several languages for branches of the fandom in other countries, and may have had a lot to do with why so many people began to actually catch a clue while it was there.

Now that it's been relegated to live journal, it's not quite as accessible, and oddly, people are suddenly trying to wind back the clock to the confusion that existed before.

But that was exactly why I wrote the thing and spent so much time getting input on it from other Furries. I wanted to create something that explained what Furry is in no uncertain terms for anybody who wanted to know, or for anyone who needed to explain it to somebody.

It still exists. It belongs to the community. If you think it's wishy-washy in some way, tell me about it, and I’ll see if I can tighten it up.

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The only reason we should give a flip about what the trolls are saying is because they could spread their gossip and whatnot very easily.

I'm saying we've got to get to the third group (i.e. those not trolls and those not furries) first, before they do. An actually fairly appropriate metaphor would be that the trolls are the virus, and we've got to get the rest of the world vaccinated before the virus spreads farther.

Right now, though, the Internet is rife with viruses (see, I told you it was fairly appropriate!), so it is kind of fighting a losing battle. So, we have to find (to abruptly switch metaphors, which is bad writing) greener pastures beyond the Internet.

I think you mostly understand this; what I think you may be missing is how bad it is on the Internet.

As far as the list/essay, though, some proofreading may be necessary, and also, Dracula, really?

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Oh, yeah, and Spider-Man is hyphenated.

And not really furry ...

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Hmmmm. Well, it seems you comprehend that the damage that exists on the internet has already been done, and can't be undone, because we can't eradicate the archives of Crush Yiff Destroy, Burned Fur, Encyclopedia Dramatica, 4-chan, Something Awful, Live Journal, YouTube, Wikipedia, and untold other sites which have preserved material designed to totally confuse people about the nature of the fandom, some of which is over 10 years old, but is still read today by newbies, sending their heads into "The Fandom Is Being Overrun By Hacks And Pervs, Whatever Shall We Do" mode.

Just last weekend I ran into a newbie who was in "Whatever Will We Do With All These Trolls On YouTube" mode, and I had to explain that The YouTube Furry War was long over, we won, and the videos he was seeing had already been effectively countered.

Indeed, if something is broke, it's the internet itself, which needs to be set so that it purges that kind of nonsense at least once a year. Or at least clearly marks it as "Old Meme." But Furries unfortunately are not in a position to fix the internet itself. Wise Furries just learn after a while to take the internet with a grain of salt, and carry on just being happy fans.

But I think you grasp all this. And you're thinking the way to get around this is to reach people beyond the internet in the real world. Well, the way to do that would be with a documentary film about the fandom. But that idea scares Furries just as much as anything else, because the fandom knows that such a documentary will focus almost exclusively on fursuiters, will include embarrassing songs by Corsi, will totally fail to get across the object of the fandom, and will just leave us looking like "Those weird people who dress up in animal costumes" to more people who have even less reason to care.

So, given the potential disasters that have been proposed in the past, we've learned that it's far better to leave those who have no reason to care in blissful unawareness of us.

The problem is that the truth of what we are is boring and disinteresting to anyone but a Furry or potential Furry. To even get somebody who’s not a Furry to look in our direction, you've got to sensationalize things - make out there's some huge controversy where there isn't one. Which, by itself, puts doubts in the minds of the uninitiated. And even then, if you spend the whole documentary trying to explain the truth, it's not going to eradicate the doubts you yourself created in promoting your film.

And then you can expect G4 and half a dozen other shows geared towards the gossiping masses to pick up on the doubts you've created and spin-off innumerable efforts to prove those doubts are all founded.

So, you see, bad things happen when any fandom thinks itself so important as to have to force awareness of itself on the general public. Because there's no ratings value in the truth, and no more common sense on the outside than there is on the internet.

So the fandom has just gotten used to understanding this doesn't work. Therefore we've stopped trying to reach out to the general public. We don't go out of our way to explain ourselves. We just put gobs of money in their economy and act real friendly and sweet when they encounter us, and then they don't care about controversy. They just see us as another group of geeks who aren't anything they'd ever want to be, but who have at least found ways of making their presence desirable and beneficial to society. And that is exactly the reality of the situation. That's all the general public needs to know.

"and also, Dracula, really?"

Yes, really. All things listed are not anthropomorphic works. Some are listed as influences. And that entry is clearly marked as such.

Same deal with "White Fang." It's not anthropomorphic, but it's part of the sequence of events that opened the way for the Furry novel.

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The YouTube Furry War was long over, we won

Well, I don't know if anyone can really be said to have won anything; trolls weren't fight for something, they were just fighting to fight, until they got bored.

Furries actually proving something to anyone but ourselves is a dubious claim at best, and essentially beside the point of the trolls, who weren't really out to prove anything, either.

Love your description of the documentary. "Embarassing songs by Corsi."

My feeling is that we don't sell the furries to the masses; we sell the product. Let's face it, furries don't, by and large, have a lot of charisma. Oddly, furries seem most interested in selling themselves; join the fandom and you'll meet such wonderful people. Wonderful in this case meaning mostly normal people with unspectacular personal appearance at best and a distinct tendency to be nerdy/geeky in both the positive and negative aspects of those words.

Furries, as your essay points out, spend a lot of creative power camouflaging their own banality and (let's face it) often unattractiveness with the concept of "fursonas." There is an odd mixture of what would appear to be self-loathing (and probably often is) and self-pride in the way they hide their real selves in most "furry to furry" interactions, but expect the public to accept them for who they are. It's a paradox.

Probably the key to selling furry is to simply sell furry, not furries. Let's face it, most people may never want to be a furry; your essay's assertation (which is common in the fandom) that anyone who likes anything with talking animals is a furry is, well, distasteful to a lot of non-furries. What I would like you, and the countless other furries who share your viewpoint, to see is that you don't have to be a furry to enjoy furry.

Simply put, "selling" the furry product should not require a commitment from the "purchaser." I myself would like to sell a furry movie; if a non-furry sees this movie and still has no desire to call his or herself a furry, that's okay with me. I'm more worried with whether or not he or she enjoyed the darn movie. I'm not interested in recruiting; I'm interested in entertaining.

I'm going to bring up Trekkers again; I have all 11 Star Trek movies in my DVD collection (including such turkeys as Insurrection and The Final Frontier; boxed sets have drawbacks), but I do not consider myself a Trekker. These creators didn't fail at their mission just because I decided "Trekker" wasn't my label; they sold their product to me. I approved of it.

You talk about "furries in denial," and I agree with that sentiment, up to a point. Furry fandom is still a fandom; fan is not short for fandom, it is short for "fanatic." Scads of non-furries out there may have an interest in our product, but there is a big difference between "mild interest" and "fanaticism." Admittedly, furries, and any other fans, should probably come short of actual fanaticism, but there is still room between the level of some guy who likes to watch Scooby Doo reruns when he catches them on "Cartoon Network" or wherever and a furry fan.

But there is nothing wrong with selling a product. I think providing a good product people enjoy will boost the furry fandom's reputation; however, if it doesn't, and people still think we're horny weirdos or whatever, I don't particularly care if they buy and enjoy the product.

Also, just ignore the Dracula comment. It was meant to be a joke. Same thing with the Spider-Man thing.

Though it is hyphenated.

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"Well, I don't know if anyone can really be said to have won anything"

What happened was that the trolls made such a fuss on YouTube that they pissed the YouTube community off. The community told the trolls they were sick of it and didn't want to hear it anymore. The trolls couldn't get their jollies anymore and moved on. There was a Furry victory celebration video. And in the aftermath a memo circulated around the internet that bashing Furries was no longer considered cool.

Now when anyone starts to rag on us, they're told "Bashing Furries is so last decade."

As for what we won, we won a chance to finally have a happy community where fans can have fun being fans, if we can just get the fans to accept the notion that the persecution years are over so they don't go around stirring up more trouble.

"My feeling is that we don't sell the Furries to the masses; we sell the product."

We have a product? It would be nice if we did, but most of us aren't producing anything salable. Plus, even if we were, there's no market out there to sell it in.

Furry used to depend on the comics market. We did reasonably well there, but that crashed and is not likely ever going to make a comeback.

Animation is the only logical market for Furry with any vitality left in it. The day Furries make their own movie company and start producing marketable films we'll have a product. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

My idea would be to sell the object of the fandom. Produce a documentary about the history of anthropomorphic animals. Get them established in the minds of the public as a recognized field of the arts.

This I think would help us immensely, because most of the misunderstandings that exist stem from anyone who does any kind of piece on us avoiding an explanation of the object of the fandom like the plague, rendering us that weird fandom for . . . what? Itself?

Get the object out in front of the public. Let the object sell the fandom, like every other fandom on Earth does.

"There is an odd mixture of what would appear to be self-loathing (and probably often is) and self-pride in the way they hide their real selves in most "furry to furry" interactions, but expect the public to accept them for who they are. It's a paradox."

I don't think Furries expect anything from the public but to either leave them alone, or allow us to entertain them. Fursonas are generally used for communicating with other Furries who understand a person's need to be seen as a fox, or whatever.

Yes, there's self-loathing in the fandom. The fandom is attractive to people who find therapy in being relieved of their real world appearance and/or disabilities. But I look on that as a good thing.

If the fandom can function in a way that gives some semblance of a life to those who would otherwise not have one, then the fandom is more than a fandom. It's a service to humanity.

"your essay's assertation (which is common in the fandom) that anyone who likes anything with talking animals is a furry."

My essay doesn't say that at all. My essay says being a Furry is a choice. It defines Furry Fandom as, "The conglomeration of people around the world with a particular interest in Anthropomorphic Animals great enough that they would term themselves a fan of such."

"you don't have to be a furry to enjoy furry."

Ok, if Sonic is the only anthropomorphic title someone likes, that's a Sonic fan, not a Furry fan. If someone likes or writes a novel with talking animals, but otherwise is not into anything else anthropomorphic, that's not a Furry. Though fans will call anyone who writes a talking animal story a Furry author. But that's something different that does not imply the author is a Furry - just that they contributed to the genre.

To qualify as a Furry, the person's interest must be in anthropomorphic animals in general. It's when the Sonic fan says, "I think I'd like to find more animal characters like Sonic" that he has need of Furry Fandom.

Still, he can say I'm just visiting Furry to see what it has to offer. I don't consider myself a Furry yet. But he can't start saying "I'm a fan of anthropomorphic animals, but I'm not a Furry,” because that's all a Furry is.

Well, he can say it, of course. But everyone within ear shot will know he's a Furry in denial.

It's entirely possible for someone to come into the community, set up a FA page to display his anthropomorphic animal creations, and state that he is not a Furry, if he can profess to not being particularly interested in other anthropomorphic characters.

Furry is a title for extreme fans, not for the casual. Not for the person who says "I like cartoons in general, both Furry and non-Furry. I just come to The Furry Community because some of the toons I like are here."

Furry is for the person who says, "I come to the Furry community because I'm obsessively interested in the animal toons.”

Still, one always has a choice of what label they stick on themselves. One can avoid calling himself a Furry, even if he's the biggest anthropomorphics addict on the internet. But, via his interests, every Furry is going to assume he's a Furry. And when they casually refer to him as one of their Furry friends and he barks at them "I'M NOT A FURRY!!!" - a Furry will get all choked up and form big tear glazed eyes as he asks, "We like all the same things. Why don't you want to be my friend?"

"I myself would like to sell a furry movie; if a non-furry sees this movie and still has no desire to call his or herself a furry, that's okay with me."

Everyone who watches Kung Fu Panda is not a Furry. Everyone who likes Disney movies is not a Furry. The general public has been enjoying Furry movies since 1937 without developing a Furry addiction.

Well, most of them don't, I assume. I can't honestly say that was true for me. Disney hooked me for life on the stuff.

"I do not consider myself a Trekker."

I don't either, though I too have a box set. But here's a real twist. I write science fiction, but I don't consider myself a science fiction fan. I don't watch Star Trek and Doctor who for the science fiction. I don't watch Dark Shadows for the Gothic horror.

But I do watch My Little Pony because I like anthropomorphic animals. If it was My Little Human, it could be exactly the same story, and I'd have no interest in it. That’s being a Furry. But the Pokémon fan who can say "I only watch this show because it's Anime" is not being a Furry.

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Admittedly, I didn't stick around for the ending of the Furry YouTube War myself.

Um. Kinda got bored with it...

but most of us aren't producing anything salable.

Ah, but aren't we? Has anyone really tried? You're getting defeatist again; I have been told by a self-styled "4chan oldfag" that he expected to see furry have a major presence in Hot Topic within two years (he actually meant that as a compliment. Hot Topic may not be the greatest way to the mainstream, but it's a start.)

This was about a year and a half ago; seeing as how a furry artist has recently sold artwork for a T-Shirt to Wal-Mart, his estimate was fairly accurate, even conservative.

I mean, what I'm getting here is that a member of an anti-furry website has more confidence in the marketability of furry than a, you know, furry.

Heck, selling t-shirts works for rock bands. You may just be overthinking this.

As far as animated movies are concerned, once again, you may be thinking too big; a furry animation studio may be overkill, but a furry independent picture may would probably work wonders. To return to a previously dropped thread of our conversation, Bitter Lake is, I am in agreeance, probably going to ... not work, exactly.

But, on the other hand, if you're going to go to all that work to make the stupid thing, it seems pointless not to try to find some kind of distribution other than directly to furries.

I think it is a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about; we have plenty of salable product. Unfortunately, most of it is sold directly to furries without any exploration to see if there is any other market.

I mean, yeah, porn comics featuring dragon rape, probably best to keep those inside the furry (or, better yet, just stop making them). But something like the Xian Jaguar piece I analysed in my article; slap that on a T-shirt, and I could probably sell it.

I mean, I wouldn't. Copyright and all. But I probably could.

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Furries should make more NON-pr0n comics.

That would be a good start.

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What you should do is license it. I've often bemoaned the fact that my walls are lacking in Furry posters. Well, admittedly I've never tried buying them from Cafe Press or DA. But I think if you started a poster company and licensed some of the community's better art examples, you could find quite a market for them.

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Minor digression 'cause I've seen this mistake twice recently. You mean uninteresting not disinteresting.
Uninterested = not interested in
Disinterested = unbiased

"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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If the rest of the internet has ignored the previous definition, why do you think they would care about any other definition that comes from within the group? Why do you think it is the definition that is the source of problem, as opposed to the nature of people within or outside the group?

The rest of the world doesn't want us to be normal. They want us to be different. They like different.

The majority of the world just doesn't care one way or another. Unless there is some overlap in some interest they have, they don't care, and maybe will vaguely remember whatever stood out from something they read once upon a time, if anything.

For many others, they don't want just "different," they want different in way that puts someone else below them, so they can make fun of, or get at ego boost looking at what they think are weird losers to make them feel better about something. Such a people won't accept any definition from within a group, except for parts that help form such a negative view. The rest they will fill in themselves, whether from worst case scenarios, disproportionate aspects, or just out of nowhere. And this category of people on the net probably well outnumbers furries, so people from the do-not-care category have a higher chance of bumping into them than an actual furry.

So if what you are trying to fix is the broken definitions used by people like that, you are not going to fix it by just trying to make a new definition yourself. If anything, that will just give them new fuel to further twist whatever definition and view they want to take.

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So, if a problem cannot be solved completely, we should not try to solve it at all?

That is a logical fallacy.

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That is also not what the post you are replying to says.

It is not saying to avoid solutions that only partially fix the problem, but to not bother with solutions that don't help fix the problem at all because the solution is focused on something that is not the source of problems (for a specific problem as stated). Especially if there are any costs associated with it, such as in this case massive amounts of discussion, potential drama, the need for more qualifiers or confusion if trying to deviate far from what is a simple definition.

In other words, this isn't saying you should avoid plugging a leaking drain to slow the leak because it might still leak, it is saying it is wasteful to replace a non-leaking facet to fix a leaking sink drain.

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If the rest of the internet has ignored the previous definition, why do you think they would care about any other definition that comes from within the group? ... So if what you are trying to fix is the broken definitions used by people like that

Because we are not trying to reach them; we've already lost that battle, and should move on.

Instead, I am saying we need a better front for those have little to no idea what we are; the ones that aren't already lost, and we should concentrate our efforts on.

For many others, they don't want just "different," they want different in way that puts someone else below them, so they can make fun of, or get at ego boost looking at what they think are weird losers to make them feel better about something. Such a people won't accept any definition from within a group, except for parts that help form such a negative view. The rest they will fill in themselves, whether from worst case scenarios, disproportionate aspects, or just out of nowhere. And this category of people on the net probably well outnumbers furries, so people from the do-not-care category have a higher chance of bumping into them than an actual furry.

In other words, they might make fun of us.

Well, duh.

Grow up and get over it, dude.

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Grow up and get over it, dude.

Wait, in the previous post I say that changing the definition won't accomplish much to change the opinion of such people so we shouldn't waste effort on it, in response to a post where you claim a primary motivation for changing the definition should be how others view furry because the definition is somehow broke for some of them. How does that make me the one that should get over it, if I am the one saying move on? It also still doesn't explain how it would help with any of the groups, or why we should waste time and other issues on it when you haven't even suggested why it is the definition that is broken in the first place.

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Actually, the definition isn't broken, according to the trolls, it's us that's broken. It just kind of struck me as funny that Perri would say "furry is not broken" when there are so many "furry is broken" claims on the Internet.

I don't know, what were we arguing about, again?

I'm serious. I was really angry there, apparently, what with the "grow up" thing, and now an hour later I'm all like, what?

You won this subthread. If you were, like, competing, I guess.

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I don't know, what were we arguing about, again?

It looked like you were arguing fixing the definition would help fix the perception of furries on the internet, and I don't see how it would. There seems agreement that it won't affect the trolls. But I also don't seem how changing it from the common definition would affect the large "don't care" category, which at best would considering knowing about furry as trivia, or how it would help reach those with an actual interest better, considering most would probably learn of their interest by example, and not definition.

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Actually according to, oh, the entire rest of the Internet, furry is broke.

Actually, according to ignorant people who don't know any better, furry is broke.

People are ignorant about a lot of things, but running away and hiding has never been the solution to that problem.

By labeling something furry, you have opened it up to accusations of questionable value to non-furry "netizens."

By labeling something furry, you have opened it up to accusations of questionable value from ignorant people who don't know any better. Fixed that for you.

Stupid people say stupid things about furry all the time. Guess what? It doesn't make them right, it just makes them stupid.

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Try and communicate with these people. You might be, I don't know, ignorant about them.

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There are people with legit complaints about things, but when you talk about "The internet" as a whole people are going to take the worse examples it has to offer and use that as the measuring stick.

It's why more people ALWAYS approve of the President then the congress. Because the people being asked aren't going to ask "Do I like MY representative, which should be the only member that's any of my damn business" they are more likely to ask themselves "What is the most controversial figure in the congress and why do I hate them"?

This occurs with anyone asking about a group. A majority will base their answers off the worse examples, so yes both of you are doing this here. He is basing "The internet" off of its worse members. And they are basing the state of the fandom because of it's worse participants. A kind of group projection pessimism.

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There is no dictation! That's what I keep saying. You seem to think I've tried to tell people what furry is and that they have to accept that. I put this out as an alternative, as a catalyst to encourage people to think what makes something furry. If you go back to my first reply to you I said (in a rather horrible sentence that seems to be missing some words) that the definition gains legitimacy through use. I agreed, way back then, with what you seem to be wanting to tell me. That just suggests you didn't even listen to what I said.

MLP isn't pulling it in any direction. Yes, it has an influence, though I doubt anywhere near as big as you think, and yes it draws people in but I have no problem with that. MLP might not be furry but it's certainly close and it overlaps. That overlap is important. You can like MLP and furry without the two being the same and they can co-exist together. Little kids that like MLP are not furries because MLP is not furry. But that doesn't mean you can't get from MLP to furry. I have no problem with that and cross-over genres exist all over the creative world.

If someone bothers to read all the definitions I would hope they have more of a brain than to just accept the common bits and ignore the rest. I would hope that they can look at the different parts and see which ones actually are important. If things worked the way you think it would be impossible to progress. Anything new would just be melted into the closest existing thing.

"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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That's how progress works. A thing moves forward, just picking up influences and absorbing things as it goes along.

MLP is Furry, because Furry connects with anything that includes anthropomorphic animals. MLP fandom exists independently in its own right, as does Watership Down Fandom, Starfox Fandom or Sonic Fandom. But Furry is a different kind of fandom, not concerned with specific titles, but rather what kind of characters they have. Therefore, the minute you include an anthropomorphic animal in something, you connect it to Furry, whether you're aware of it or not.

MLP Fandom is for people who like one specific show that includes anthropomorphic animals. Furry Fandom is for people who like anthropomorphic animals in general. And since you would have to kick out probably more than half of the community to dissolve Furry's connection to Watership Down and the classic Funny Animals of the 40's, not to mention all the 80's and 90's cartoon fans who are still here, you can't possibly come up with any logic for saying MLP isn't just as Furry as any of the rest of it.

My observation is that people who want to exclude things that are obviously Furry aren't interested in doing the research and drawing the comparisons to the other things the fandom is built around. They just want to dictate their own tastes. But just about anything you seem to want to exclude has precedent via other things the fandom has embraced big time.

Also, to see the extensive embracing of MLP by this fandom, one has only to look at Fur Affinity and see the flood of MLP avatars, or try to go to some center of Furry activity on Second Life and not find MLP avatars there.

Basically, you make a lot of bold statements. You say this isn't Furry, and that isn't Furry, but you don't provide much precedent for your logic. If a title is to be declared "Not Furry," you must be able to show that the fandom has never embraced a title for containing the same elements before.

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They embraced Avatar (over fantastic Mr. Fox), which is not anthro animals, they are just aliens... So because they 'embraced' it makes it furry?

No, it's still just aliens...

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A community of people that likes fantasy creatures that display both human and animal traits also happens to like alien creatures that display both human and animal traits? I don't get why that is so surprising to some. I think lines are quite artificial when some people draw them between what counts because it meets some threshold amount of real animal basis and what doesn't count because it is a made up creature with many of the same traits. At least I assume you are not making a blanket statement that all aliens are excluded like some do, as that would exclude Star Fox...

Why does it even need such a sharp boundary and can't be something fuzzy? So you could say that something is quite furry, but not part of the core canon, or that something else is only furry-ish, instead of arguing over placing everything into a "furry" and "not furry" bins.

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Was just posting it so cross-affliction wouldn't have to :)

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Spider-Man may be hyphenated, but crossaffliction is not.

Other than that, though, this is the greatest post in the history of Flayrah.

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Actually, Avatar is one of those things I describe in my essays as being in the Anthro ring that circles just outside The Furry Umbrella. ALFs can be a hard call, but if a fan wants to reach out and pull one under the umbrella, that's ok for them. It doesn't have to effect how anybody else views the situation. But, if we find a substantial portion of the community doing that, a researcher like myself can't ignore it without demonstrating bias.

Notice I also made it a point to make clear that what the fans demonstrate the Furry interest to encompass doesn't have to make sense. For example, dragons and unicorns isn't logical, nor are morphs. While a number of insect derived aliens in Star Wars are logical, but not widely demonstrated as a subject of great interest in the fandom.

Avatar strikes me as illogical as well. But then, maybe I'm not looking closely enough at the Avatar species. Or, maybe like Elfquest, there's something about the spiritual aspect of Avatar that appeals to some Furries.

Of course, then you could get into, "Is spirituality a logical aspect of The Furry Interest." I can see where there's a historical precedence for it, but I think most people who aren't historians wouldn't. While those who are into Furry primarily for spiritual reasons probably don't give a flip whether it's logical or not.

Still, why anyone would think Avatar is more Furry than Fantastic Mr. Fox is beyond me. My guess is that which is more Furry had nothing to do with the difference in acceptance of the two films. I think it was more that one was a Hollywood blockbuster and the other was stop motion animation. And no matter how well you do stop motion animation in this day and age, it just won't be able to compete with the standards viewers have become accustomed to.

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Obligatory: Avatar sucks.

This statement was not related to the subject being discussed.

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My guess is that which is more Furry had nothing to do with the difference in acceptance of the two films. I think it was more that one was a Hollywood blockbuster and the other was stop motion animation. And no matter how well you do stop motion animation in this day and age, it just won't be able to compete with the standards viewers have become accustomed to.

Actually, even by stop motion animation standards, Fantastic Mr. Fox was substandard. The fur and hair on characters shifted between shots for animation in the process of the animators moving the puppets; this is an old problem in stop motion animation that has been solved.

However, this was not actually a flaw in the movie; director Wes Anderson wanted this to happen. He liked it.

This is probably more the reason why both furries and other movie-goers responded to Avatar and dismissed Fantastic Mr. Fox; James Cameron made a movie designed to appeal to everyone. Wes Anderson made a movie that appealed to Wes Anderson.

This would seem like I'm casting aspersions on Anderson, but Sonious can tell you where my sympathies lie.

I mean, seriously, at least vote for The Princess and the Frog (which, while deeply flawed in a way the directors did not intend, at least made up for it with some fairly brave storytelling and medium choices) or even Up, which was totally overrated but still a better movie, artistically, than Avatar and at least contained talking dogs.

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You don't have to absorb into something for it to have an effect.

Connects with does not mean contains. I know they have similarities and I know they have overlap but that overlap does not mean they are the same thing. Your definition of furry never goes anywhere because you say if a fur considers it furry then it is. And if its got anthro characters, it's furry. But you never stop to define any of those. Looking at MLP, does it have anthro characters? I say not at the level that would make it furry because there is no non-anthro unicorn or pegasus. A character like Twilight Sparkles is how the series creators envision unicorns, as intelligent horse-like creatures. I think the canon form of creatures takes precedence over just grabbing anything you want.

I'm not trying to avoid research or dictate my own tastes. I'm saying that just because something is currently featured in the fandom doesn't mean it is a part of the fandom. The human body has thousands of bacteria in it and can't survive without them. They are totally a feature of it and influence but that doesn't make those bacteria human.

I lay out the way my logic worked. Look at the fandom and find the criteria that make something furry and then really look at them and what is involved in the fandom to see what actually fits and what is just related. It's a way to see what the unstated essence of furry is.

You say as long as it's been accepted by furry it's furry. That's ridiculous because your whole criteria is self-defeating. If you start the fandom again like that you will have nothing that is furry yet and since nothing has been embraced yet you won't have any guide on what to get. That's obviously ridiculous. Furry started as a collection of things that fitted some criteria and I'm trying to best describe them.

"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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It started out as a collection of things that fitted some criteria.

But then Internet happened.

No one could do anything.

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"I'm not trying to avoid research or dictate my own tastes. I'm saying that just because something is currently featured in the fandom doesn't mean it is a part of the fandom. The human body has thousands of bacteria in it and can't survive without them. They are totally a feature of it and influence but that doesn't make those bacteria human."

I found this one funny because it reminded me of someone pessimistically saying "People are always going to thing furry is sexual."

I asked them why.

They stated that if they did a google image search they would find a sexual image on the first page.

I told him to search "human", and notice that there is an image of chromosomes. If someone says that furry is entirely about sexual things because of one image, that would be the same as a person who thinking that means that chromosomes ARE humans because they got that in return from Google images.

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There is no strong "NO".

"So, is it some kind of sexual thing?"
"Well, not entirely..."
*walks away*

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No, furry itself is not about sex.

Furry is about the anthropomorphic and animals. Meaning animals become more human. Sex, however is part of humanity and culture. Thus of course there's going to be that kind of anthropomorphic as well.

Humanity, with all it's flaws and nuances is anthropomorphism in the fandom. There is never any absolutes in this world, and those that can't understand culture and humanity and that pointing to an example to enshroud an entire group should never hold any power other then feeding and clothing themselves.

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It's been argued by some critics that sex isn't always about sex.

It could be about power, or money (those darn Marxists again) or whatever.

Actually saying anything is about anything other than what it is about is risky.

Says the guy who once equated furry cheesecake to a religious experience.

(Have I already used that line? If I'm repeating jokes, I apologize.)

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Stranger: "So, is it a sex thing?"

Furry: "No. It's an art and literature thing involving the kind of characters you've seen in cartoons and comic books."

Stranger: "Someone your age reads comic books? Are you retarded or something?"

Furry: *walks away*

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As life has taught me OH SO MANY TIMES, walking away is admitting defeat, both in the eyes of the other person, and to yourself.

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Admitting defeat as in that you agree you're retarded, or admitting defeat that no matter what you say the stranger is probably going to be a unintelligent mudhole?

Because in the example above I think the later is certainly true. Sometimes saving you time and breath is a victory for your time budget.

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Sometimes = not always.

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Right, because there is something called variables especially when it comes to human interaction, in this case it is clearly the individual is a mudhole, sometimes it might be your perception of them just makes you think they're a mudhole when they're not. But saying reading comics makes one retarded, no, that's not perception. That's fact.

So in the example it is ALWAYS. In another example it could be something else.

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However, actually CHANGING that person's OPinion with a clever argument, is MUCH more rewarding. Even a "mudhole" can sometimes be manageable.

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There is actually more precedent for My Little Pony than just what the fans want.

History bears out that the fandom didn't begin from any one starting point. It started from the coming together of different ideas, one of which was the literary aspect, which at the time was predominantly focused on books like Watership Down that were about intelligent ferals.

Another was the Funny Animal aspect which encompasses all animal related cartoons and comics. Yet another was the sci-fi aspect of animal related ALFs and animals "Uplifted" by science.

Furry is the fandom for all those things united. And there's no way of getting around My Little Pony being included due to its Funny Animal classification, as well as its connection to the type of talking ferals that are a staple of Furry literature.

You can't get away from it. Any definition you come up with that excludes My Little Pony must, of consequence, exclude Watership Down, Bambi, Lady & The Tramp, along with 2 tons of other material, among which are some of the main items that support Furry's claim to being a culturally significant art form.

Ok, how does one determine if an MLP is the object of our fandom strictly by its character attributes? First of all, it's a pony. That means it has the animal aspect covered. But does it have human attributes?

Well, it talks, and in doing so, demonstrates human reasoning. But it doesn't stop there. Look at the way its face is designed. Is that a pony face, or is that a face designed to communicate emotions and character to humans?

Where does the pony live? In a house. Does the pony have aspirations above and beyond what could be expected from a real world pony? Indeed it does. In fact, there's very little pony about this My Little Pony.

But you can go even further. What happens when this pony needs to dance or otherwise needs to do something only a bipedal creature can do? Is it handicapped in the manner of a real world pony? Or does it just stand up on its hind legs and do things?

In other words, this pony is so anthropomorphic it's not even a pure feral. It's a toon, a Funny Animal. And the former name of Furry Fandom was Funny Animal Fandom.

So, really, the fact that the revival of My Little Pony was overwhelmingly embraced by Furry Fandom is incidental to the question of whether MLP is Furry or not, but quite significant in determining the kinds of anthropomorphics that have overwhelming appeal and support in the fandom.

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MLP is a tricky borderline case but at the moment I'm excluding it because the canon forms in the show are mostly not of real animals. They are 'ponies' and if they were just ponies it would be furry but there are also dragons, unicorns, pegasus etc which are not anthro because they have no non-anthro form in our world. So I think it's probably better to lump the non-special ponies with those characters.

That canon feature is why excluding MLP doesn't affect as much as you think. Watership Down, Lady and the Tramp and Bambi all have characters that have a non-anthro version in our world. That's what's lacking for unicorns, pegasus and dragons. The majority of the things in MLP are completely fictional. Because they are fictional they haven't been anthropomorphised.

If you really wanted to disagree with that then perhaps argue that the original conception of a dragon or unicorn will act as the non-anthro form and then MLP dragons and unicorns are anthro with respect to that. That would be discussion that could move the definition forward. Just saying ponies are anthropomorphised is not helpful because in the main characters only Applejack and Pinkie Pie are ponies with real world equivalents. That's 2/7 of the main characters that are furry.

"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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But then couldn't one argue that Dragons and unicorns themselves, being fantasy creatures based upon real world creatures (pegasus a horse, and dragon a lizard) but usually given intelligence that is not animal like are in fact anthropomorphic in their conception alone.

By your standard you realize that Growlithes don't exist and therefore your own character is unfurry.

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Actually, I can't believe we've gone this many posts without someone pointing that out.

Or that my own avatar doesn't fit my own posted definition of furry, for that matter.

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European dragons weren't given intelligence as far as I know but you could argue that. That's the sort of debate that Crossaffliction and I wanted to happen.

And yes, I never claimed pokemon was furry. I explicitly used pokemon as an example of something that isn't furry but is very closely tied to furry. Although, since my character represents me and gets my mind, it winds up becoming furry due to having human intelligence.

"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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What you're suggesting is that there's some commonly accepted standard that a creature must be relative to some known animal type to be considered Furry. Such a standard has never been widely accepted in the fandom.

The argument is further flawed because every pony has equine as its base, and therefore is relative to something that exists in the real world. A pony is still a pony, even if you put wings and a horn on it, as well as giving it a human voice and facial features.

Dragons also have a basis in reality, as they were most likely inspired by dinosaurs and/or various types of reptiles.

And a growlithe, as well, is derived from a dog.

Again, you're implying the fandom is so sterile it doesn't have the freedom to absorb or invent new types of fantasy animals. Yet, every time you add human characteristics to an animal character, you create something that has no relative counterpart in nature.

Where in nature is there anything that looks like Krystal or Minerva Mink, Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker?

Where in nature do you find Chakats?

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>where in nature do you find Chakats

Nowhere. And thank God for that! :)

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I didn't claim there was such a standard. What I did was propose one. You said furry is anthropomorphic animals. Anthropomorphic means it has human characteristics given to it. If an anthro wolf were real (to use our current terminology), it wouldn't be furry because it wouldn't be anthropomorphic because you wouldn't have added any human traits to it.

Any creature you make up will have been inspired by something else. So if we accept that dragons are furry we will have to accept that Klingons are also furry. Perhaps that's what it should be but I can't help thinking that's not satisfactory.

I'm not implying anything of the sort. I'm asking whether mythical creatures, particularly those that far predate the fandom, should be considered as though they were real. Indeed such a canon rule might be interpreted that any imaginary species is not furry, precluding a furry making his or her own species, but in such cases we could accept it as furry seeing as it is being created for the furry fandom.

"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'll admit, you'd have a hard time selling Klingons to me as Furry. Casting logic to the wind, I just don't perceive any animal in them. They seem just a variation on humans.

But, by the same token, it doesn't represent any kind of problem to me if I find Klingon art on Fur Affinity.

Actually, I have a parody song that makes sport of how human all the aliens on Star Trek look, and how that seems so naturally implausible.

Move over to Doctor Who, and you'll see some more obviously Furry ALFs.

"I didn't claim there was such a standard. What I did was propose one."

Well, I think it's pretty obvious there is considerable apprehension and opposition to what you propose. Maybe it's not such a good idea.

It certainly would be unprecedented for any fandom to just redefine itself so drastically. Particularly a fandom like ours that has always been concerned with defining what we are, rather than what we think we ought to be.

I don't think you realize what a drastic change you're proposing, and what extreme measures would be necessary to get the fandom to go along with it.

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I'll admit I have almost no knowledge of Star Trek, it's just an alien race of which I know the name. But I think you got the point so it doesn't really matter.

I'd be okay with alien art on FA, I'm pretty sure there is a bit of it already. In any case it would have that relation. I think you just want to be very inclusive of things.

I don't think it's that dramatic of a change. As I've said I don't think pokemon is furry but I'm perfectly happy to see and contribute pokemon work on and to FA. (The majority of what I draw and write is pokemon) Even if it isn't defined as furry it has an influence of furry, is related to furry and is enjoyed by furs so there wouldn't be any change in the type or range of artwork available on furry sites. The only real difference is that there would be more of a distinction between 'furry' and 'furry-related'.

That wouldn't even affect the people involved because, as you pointed out, a pokemon (or MLP) fan is a pokemon fan first and only a furry if they have a greater interest in anthropomorphics. If pokemon isn't furry there is no effect on the fandom because those that are only interested in pokemon aren't called furry anyway and those that are currently considered furs will have the necessary interest in anthropomorphics.

You might then ask what the point is, apart from the earlier discussions on need for a definition. If MLP is furry then liking MLP is liking furry and that means a pure MLP fan is a furry if MLP is furry. So this change would improve the naming of people in that those that get called furry actually are 'more' furry.

"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 couple posts have mentioned parallels between the definition of science fiction and furry, while others mention a need to improve the definition for sake of explaining furry to those not within the fandom. It is kind of interesting to compare the ledes from the respective Wikipedia articles though. The furry fandom lede, with only three sentences, manages to include the commonly stated definition, address an alternative use, and give examples of what anthropomorphic can mean (despite having its own article). While the science fiction lede is longer, but more vague, with a lot more talking in terms of abstracts, and a bullet list of examples.

This is not to say that the Wikipedia ledes are the best possible written introduction to the two things, but they do get the gist of the topics, and given the nature of stereotypical internet users, have been worked on a fair bit. And while one is referring to the genre and the other the fandom, they both seem to capture the subject of both as fandoms and as genres.

In this sense, in terms of simple, concise definition to give to someone outside the fandom, furry is doing quite well with the common definition, considering how people are able to pick up an idea of what sci-fi is by example and without as concrete of a definition.

Of course it means there will still be discussion of the details of defining characteristics, both from those trying to better understand the fandom, and from those just trying to make their interests look more true/authentic/better than someone else's. But I don't see why that would need a sharp border between what is and isn't furry, as opposed to softer, fuzzier borders, or instead considering dividing things into sub-genres (sci-fi certainly has enough disjoint sub-genres).

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A good example to your statement: the short story "Port in a Storm" by Robert Carspecken is featured in a furry anthology "Best in Show", yet it can also be described as "science fiction".

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When one speaks one's mind openly, there is always a good chance some people would end up angered. Behold, for this is about to happen here; I am going to give my opinion on some participants of this discussion:

Rakuen Growlithe is correct when saying "anything goes" is not wise. However, he is wrong in wanting to exclude anything non-bipedal. It was never a standard for animal cartoons for example. There had been both bipedal and quadrupedal intelligent animals in literature. And, surprise - surprise,- both kinds of stories tend to have the same fans! Excluding quadrupedal characters is also VERY limiting.

Crossaffiction is mostly right about everything. Public image is important, and if we do not control it, someone else will. Do you want someone who doesn't like you, doesn't KNOW you, to tell the public about you? Taking the action into one's own hands is the best decision almost every time; "if you want something done right, better do it yourself!"

Perri Rhoades is absolutely correct about defending non-bipedal characters. However, she is wrong about the "anything goes; fans decide what fits" philosophy. Any fandom is open to new members. Now, imagine new people coming in with completely different ideas on what "furry" is or should be. Do you REALLY think any fandom could survive that? ANY club, ANY group depends on its members agreeing on something. If there is no agreement, there IS no group. There MUST be some agreement, or else the group dissolves. Such philosophy is destructive in its nature. It's like multiculturalism: IT DOSE NOT WORK. People will always form groups based on opinion; like-minded individuals will always side with each other. And somebody will always end up being excluded from some group. You cannot have a group for everyone.

To all:
1. Why all this comparing to Star Trek and anime fandoms? Both have very easily defined criteria of what either is. If it is drawn in Japan, it is anime; if it is set in the Star Trek universe, it is Star Trek. We have problems defining "furry" to this day! Not saying it cannot be defined, just the fact it is miles harder.

2. Why is everyone treating 4chan like it is some kind root of all evil? There are all kinds of people there; it is open for EVERYONE.

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the court, Mister Twister VS Mister Twister:

Topic: Survivability of a group

"Perri Rhoades is absolutely correct about defending non-bipedal characters. However, she is wrong about the "anything goes; fans decide what fits" philosophy. Any fandom is open to new members. Now, imagine new people coming in with completely different ideas on what "furry" is or should be. Do you REALLY think any fandom could survive that? ANY club, ANY group depends on its members agreeing on something. If there is no agreement, there IS no group. There MUST be some agreement, or else the group dissolves. Such philosophy is destructive in its nature. It's like multiculturalism: IT DOSE NOT WORK. People will always form groups based on opinion; like-minded individuals will always side with each other. And somebody will always end up being excluded from some group. You cannot have a group for everyone." -Mister Twister

VS

"2. Why is everyone treating 4chan like it is some kind root of all evil? There are all kinds of people there; it is open for EVERYONE."

So you just destroyed your whole argument by stating that ANY group can't survive while being open to everyone, and then stating /4/chan is open to everyone... and /4/chan is still around...

I rest my case...

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However, Chan Of Four is not a group. It is a gathering. Like-minded anonymous individuals tend to stick to one thread at a time.

Also, *clap - clap!*

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It's not an group, it's a word synonymous with group.

http://thesaurus.com/browse/gathering

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My limited vocabulary aside, you know what I meant.

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What you miss is that it's not anything goes in the sense that anything that doesn't in some way involve anthropomorphic animals will be accepted by the group. It's anything goes in the sense of we're about anthropomorphic animals in any shape, size or description anyone can come up with that the fandom embraces as interesting.

We do have a foundation to build up from that provides a subject the group almost universally agrees upon - anthropomorphic animals. And we have, in the past, had people come into the community and try to tie us to things that didn't involve anthropomorphic animals. But in the end the community wasn't interested enough in them, and they didn't stick.

The fandom does indeed have a huge turnover of membership. And any time something causes an influx of new blood into the community, there are slight shifts in prevalent attitudes. But for the most part they tend to be beneficial shifts, particularly in recent times.

The landscape has changed a lot in the last 36 years. Things don't look anything like they did when I started out. But that's not unexpected. We were geared for change, evolution, progress, experimentation. As an elder Furry I would be more offended if nothing ever changed than I am by the changes that have been made, as bad as some of them are.

But that's what's good about the new blood. The new blood tends to heal the damage from past bad ideas, and gets us moving forward again in a direction that helps keep Furry in step with modern times.

That's why Furry never quite becomes a nostalgia thing. Because we don't have the limitations or dependence of Anime Fandom or Star Trek Fandom. All we have is the basic concept of anthropomorphic animals, and their history to build upon as we see fit.

Anime Fandom has no choice. If Japan puts out bad Anime, the fandom has to eat it. If Furry Fandom puts out bad product, any fan is free to say "I can do this better," and give it their best shot.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that Furry Fandom puts out a lot of bad product. That's not unexpected in a community this large. But the only hope of anybody here doing something better is the freedom to come up with better ideas and concepts. Their minds must be free to go where ours have not. What a shame it would be if they could not further explore, because we had locked them into the territory we were familiar with.

10 years from now, you won't recognize this community. New blood and new ideas will have taken over. Hopefully new motivation to put the freedom the community offers to more profitable use. That idea does not scare me. And I wouldn't want to do anything to get in their way. I wouldn't want anybody forcefully stuck at any one point in this community’s evolution.

Furry isn't good enough yet. It hasn't even scratched its potential. Haven't we done enough to hinder the advancement of our own art form with our stupid flame wars and fandom politics? And here we are talking about what basically amounts to telling Furries how their allowed to dream. And you think this is somehow going to be beneficial to us?

Also consider this. People are not going to change their dreams to suit your rules. Once you've made all these rules and made at least 50% of the fandom's output "Not Furry," where do you expect those people to go?

Is it not better to keep your own standards to yourself or to your sub-group, than to politically exile people who aren't hurting anybody, and aren't in any sense unwelcome by the majority of the community? Haven't we learned from the past what a stupid thing it is to open that can of worms?

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I said what I wanted, and read every single post.

I have nothing left to add, except maybe that Perri Rhoades and Crossaffiction were both very smart and made best points.

I see no point to continue this conversation.

P.S. Fantastic Mr. Focks >>> Avatar

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Nope, ONE last thing to add! :D

Maintaining your public image IS important, both IRL and on the Internets. You SHOULD give a hoot about what ppl think; unless you are planning on moving to an island lost at sea, chances are you ARE going to live with them for quite some time.

That is all (for now).

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Well, how can I not five star a comment that contains the line "crossaffliction is mostly right about everything."

It's so true.

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Um... because the idea of mine he disagrees with was actually yours.

"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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.... ???

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You said, "Rakuen Growlithe is correct when saying "anything goes" is not wise. However, he is wrong in wanting to exclude anything non-bipedal."

I never said that. My rules were made to allow quadruped furs.

"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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Then you made it look like you did.

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Commenting on his rules I said, "The second is mere personal opinion and runs counter to a huge amount of what is considered furry. Many furs do not insist on bipedalism, and I doubt any taur fans would grant that point, though a mental shift is usually present."

Immediately on introducing that idea I was against it.

Near the end of the essay I said, "Most furs would accept human intelligence as sufficient, but this is only one trait. Crossaffliction cited a human-like body, but having a tail is not enough to make something furry." and, "To qualify, the characteristics must have a significant impact. Human intelligence has such an impact on an animal; adding a tail to a human does not. "

How much more explicit could I be?

"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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Here's a hint: write less, and your points will be much more clear to all the ppl who did not have enough sleep.

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What? I was very much in favour of quadrupeds being considered furry. Crossaffliction said bipedalism was important I disagreed with that right in the first section of my essay.

"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 think My Little Pony will be the death of us all. Because I'm looking at that and thinking to myself, "Oh, crap, that is quadrupedal funny animal." I think my understanding of "funny animal" may have changed a bit.

Perri Rhoades' essay and list (plus Fred Patten's essay which was recently linked to on the Furry News Network and furryne.ws) could definitely come in handy before I wrote my piece (though I'm actually pretty sure I ran into both years ago, but only vaguely remembered them). Unfortunately, my Google-fu is weak.

On one hand, I believe Patten's essay supports my assertations fairly well; however, Rhoades' essays and posts very clearly bring what I'm trying to accomplish into a more historic perspective, which my essay does certainly lack. I specifically wrote the original piece to encourage discussion; it was never meant to be the end all, be all. And, of course, your piece brings yet another perspective to the table.

I don't know if anyone but you, Perri Rhoades, Mister Twister, Sonius and me are reading these comments (and admittedly, reading through nearly a 150 comments, some approaching essay length themselves, is an almost Herculean task in and of itself), but hopefully this discussion will foster future discussion, or better yet, even inspire new exploration of the genre or genres or whatever of furry.

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Heh. I didn't read the arguments between you two that closely. It was long and mostly seemed to be inconsequential stuff. :p But I'm pretty happy this has so many comments (most commented story award, please?) and you get your desired discussion.

"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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5 stars = your award.

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a student and Growlithe from South Africa/Austria, interested in science, anime and power metal

I'm a fur from South Africa, now living in Austria, who got into the fandom through my interest in pokemon and writing fanfiction. Outside of furry, I have spend a lot of my time in gaming (particularly Dota 2) and science.