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Anthrocon in the Philidelphia Inquirer

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The article is entitled A wild hobby brings out the beast in them by Dianna Marder

Take a look.

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Seems like a fairly neutral interpretation of furry to me. It used a few words to seperate furs from "normal people," but otherwise I'd say it made an accurate report of AC. (Of course, only those who actually went to AC, unlike me, can know for sure.) I wouldn't mind seeing more like this in the future.

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I agree, very nice. Obviously the author was somewhat nonplussed, but leaves it up to the reader to make the judgement call.

Heh, I wouldn't quite say that a "small percentage" of furries are into the X-rated stuff.... it's more like, oh, over half? But for the purposes of this article, it's best to leave that be.

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Half?! You are claiming that *HALF* of the fandom is adult oriented?!?

Heh. Not hardly.

Now if your only exposure to members of this fandom are to the ones that draw the camera's attention because their stories have great shock-value, or if you are personally into this fandom because *you* think thats how you have to go about finding your mate, then maybe your opinion can be a bit skewed toward believing that... but it simply isn't true.

Yes, there is a portion of the fandom that is adult-oriented... but it is NOT half. I'd hazard to bet that it is less than one quarter, in fact... but there's no easy way to prove this.

I've been to every ConFurence since inception (that's 13 years, 6 months, and counting) and have been running CF for 3 years now. I have a good idea what the pulse of the fandom is like, and not *just* what's online.

I'm no prude, but I personally do not collect adult artwork. To me, it's about the animal characters in stories, the fantastic artwork exhibited in this genre, and a few social gatherings of the several hundred people I like to call my friends.

I also have nothing against those who *do* like the adult artwork... some of it is quite nice, but since I wouldn't hang it in my house, it simply doesn't become part of my collection.

By the way, ConFurence 2003 will have a Children's Programming track this year. Allison Stern, who runs the Children's program at several California fandom conventions signed on as the Children's Programming lead. This should prove that this fandom is not for adults only.

--Darrel L. Exline

ConFurence will again be at the Burbank Hilton, April 25-27, 2003.  Visit http://confurence.net for more details on this and other events being hosted by The ConFurence Group.

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"I agree, very nice."

Maybe the article is nice in that it doesn't say anything immensely negative, but it sure doesn't have much to say of any weight or value, nor anything particulary positive to say either.

I would rate it "neutral" at best.

Your rating: None

Right.

Granted, my first con was the infamous CF8.... or was it 9? Hard to remember. And that's bound to make an impression.

But after 5 years, closely coming up on 6, in the fandom, I'm no newbie myself. Don't lecture to me about how the fandom started, or how it was at its 'inception' - I am good friends with some of the original CFO crew, and they back me up on this.

I'm sure those who are ONLY interested in adult material are far outnumbered by those who have interest in X-rated stuff as well.

But those who are completely UNinterested in adult material are outnumbered also, I'm sure.

It probably just depends on which 'pulse' you're measuring. If you're into the adult stuff, like me, you tend to notice that, while the adult section of the art show is slightly to greatly smaller than the G/R rated, close to half of the folders and art available in the dealers room are stickied or closed, 'adults only' plastered on the cover.

If you're not into the adult stuff, and - if you don't mind me saying so - you've developed a rep for trying to 'clean things up,' said adult side won't be too visible to you. A good deal of furries are no longer going to CF because of this, frankly, so the cross-section of furs you see there are slightly off, IMHO, from those you used to see, or do see now at other cons/meets like MFM and FC. I know CF isn't the only con you attend, certainly, but if the bulk of your summation/judgement is based on it, I'm sorry, I don't think it's at all representative.

IMHO, YMMV, no offence, I could be completely horse-assed wrong, etc.

'Course since there is absolutely no way to get an 'official' count of how many people can be considered part of the fandom, one can't even begin to develop anything like reasonable statistics.

I think we both give more credence to the sides with which we socialize and associate ourselves.

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Well, first off, the article was good and neutral, which is great.

And it is very hard to gague the amount of people interested in adult material, I agree. I'm irked that people seem intent on being angry at those who want to highlight the cleaner furry, however. Your porn is safe, it'll be there till the end of time folks. ;P

I just leave people to whatever tastes they'd like to persue promoting. Power to all.

Fana McCloud

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HI all,

Well, seeing as how I was standing literally right beside Doc Conway and Loriana during the interview (during which the reporters seemed fascinated by the fursuiters), some of this rubs me the wrong way. Nothing really specific, more of an attitude of sneering condescension at points. Or was I the only person who took their remarks like that?

And something that Kage mentioned to me was that he'd turned several reporters away after learning that they'd heard of the fandom through Vanity Faire or MTV. Other cons might want to take a note from that and try and find out just /what/ the visiting reporters are interested in before granting interviews.

Ardashir

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Oh, definitely. That attitude absolutely comes through in the article. But in comparison to Loaded and MTV.... At least this article makes some pretense at letting the reader make the judgement call.

Your rating: None

Reading this, I had a problem with the same thing. The 'Whatever.' comment halfway through, the "Takes all kinds." at the end... frankly, this isn't terribly good reporting, unless the idea was to leave the reader with that negative impression. Also there seemed to be some inaccuracies - the bit about 1,100 people dressed "head to toe" in costumes, for example. I get the impression the reporter was trying to create a feel to the article with that, but it's kind of questionable.
As for cons screening reporters, frankly, that's a good idea. I'm a professional reporter/editor, and I come across that all over - festivals and sports events provide media credentials and work with the media, the police have media spokespeople that help get the *right* message across... having a media relations person who's at least got some media savvy would be a good way to avoid potential problems and maybe get some better-than-neutral stories out.

-- tony

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There was condecension aplenty in that article. The reporter's 'whatever' attitude to Kage's comments shows clearly that they didn't believe his spin. They used phrases such as 'Conway maintains' and 'Conway asserts' as well. The reporter also sneeringly noted that Kage was unmarried and put quotes around the word 'art' when mentioning the art show.

This was not a good article.

But then, no media exposure for furry fandom is good. We just don't need to be on the public's radar. There's no 'spin' for really good journalists, and a press article is just not the way to explain one's very personal take on why they're a furry.

When it comes to the press, Just Keep Quiet.

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Something else I ought to add -- while most of the (saner) furs at the con supported Kage's efforts at spin-doctoring, there was a small yet vocal group that denounced him for doing /anything/ to get good press. 'After all', as one such told me, 'if you try and hide something from the press, they'll just find out anyway. The fandom is a crowd of deviants, and no amount of good PR will change that.' (And no, they weren't 'Burned Furs' saying it, either).

And of course, had Kage either banned the reporters from the con OR simply let them take photos of whatever they wanted, they would've cursed him then too. Talk about a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation (though I wholeheartedly approve of Kage's efforts).

This does make me wonder -- if most of the fandom either doesn't care or simply wants to flaunt the weirdest activity possible before the cameras, should the rest of us even bother trying any damage control?

Ardashir

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The first FurFest had a media relations staff position, filled by someone who had worked with the media in the past.

FurFest still got creamed. All the material and interviews the media liason set up and provided to the 'journalist' were left unused and ignored in the final version of the article.

It didn't work.

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Who says "most of the fandom doesn't care"? Most people didn't happen to meet the reporter and didn't have the opportunity to affect the article either way.

(I didn't meet the reporter, but I did meet the photographer. He took a picture of the fox tail I was wearing, and my butt appeared on page 3 (4 in the Early Edition). Of course, that hardly counts as "weirdest activity possible".) :}

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I guess there's a problem there, as well... if the media wants to make it look bad, they will make it look bad. But having someone to at least provide the required information, try to guide the reporter in a positive direction, etcetera, is at least something to consider.

-- tony

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i wonder what she ment by "not open to the public" - i've never heard of a fan run convention in any genre not being open to anyone willing to purchase a membership ... well maybe it's that terminology itself that threw her ...
i sort of wonder what she would have written about a model railroader's convention ...
at any rate this while not psychoflattering is one of the more innofensive reviews of furriness in popular media -
popular media not being noted for even handedness in anything that can generate sensationalism by its lack - i'd call her restraint remarkable -
i just wish they'd go out on a limb just once and try to explain to the joe sixpack audience popular journalism writes for that the sanest people in the world are those whose escapes are creative genres and that it's those who don't that go off the deep end ...

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: "not open to gawkers and curiosity-seekers who want to walk in off the street and stare at the weirdos for free."

That's what I read out of that one bit, anyway.

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"What makes grown men want to play with toy trains?"
"Jim Smith of Chicago likes to wear an engineer's cap and imitate the sound of a train whistle as he watches his train chug along the tiny track. Whatever."

:}

Actually, I'm curious to know now if model train enthusiasts got reactions like that in the first days of their hobby.

As for going out on a limb and explaining creative hobbies to the audience, some reporters apparently need the same thing explained to them. The author of this article obviously doesn't "get it".

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