A Furry Walk of Fame?
Jerry Beck on the Cartoon Research website has posted news that in April, animator Paul Terry and his Mighty Mouse were among this year’s inductees added to the New Rochelle (New York) Walk of Fame, just outside of the town’s central Public Library.
The plaque emphasizes Mighty Mouse (who is a lot more famous than Paul Terry). A past honoree is Walter Lantz, the third animator of Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit and creator of Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Homer Pigeon, and many other cartoon animals. Terry and Lantz have a connection to New Rochelle; Lantz was born there, and Terry’s studio was there.
But this raises the point of two recent Furry Halls of Fame: the AUSFA-administered Furry Hall of Fame, for notables of Furry fandom like Steve Gallacci, Stan Sakai, Anthrocon, and Sofawolf Press; and the ALAA’s Hall of Fame, for notables that have led to Furry fandom like Bugs Bunny, Walt Disney, and the novel Watership Down. All that they get are an attractive trophy or a certificate. What if there could be a real Furry Walk of Fame somewhere?
Does Pittsburgh like Anthrocon so much for generating several million dollars into the local economy each year that the city would be willing to add a Furry Walk of Fame somewhere near its David L. Lawrence Convention Center? The addition of a new plaque each year could be coordinated as an Anthrocon highlight. Such a Walk of Fame would become a permanent Pittsburgh memorial to the Furry subculture, not just a one-week event. Honorees could be selected by a joint committee of Anthrocon and the Pittsburgh municipal government.
About the authorFred Patten — read stories — contact (login required)
a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics
[comment removed on request]
Works as impressive The Lion King, Maus and Watership Down do not need any pats on the back from furries to validate them. Indeed, evidence of their worth is precisely because they endured without any special pleading.
This could be taken as a statement opposing the concept of any Halls or Walks of Fame. By definition, anyone or anything important enough to be selected for a Hall or Walk of Fame is going to be important enough to not need any Hall or Walk of Fame status.
Nevertheless, to speak of one of the best-known Walks of Fame in the world -- Hollywood's Walk of Fame sidewalks -- there are reports that tourists can be heard saying every day at some star, "Who is or was So-and so? I never heard of him/her."
I think the commenter was suggesting that such works do not need special recognition from furries - while we are fans of such works, so are many non-furries, and they would have been successful without them. Such an argument might also be made towards the Ursa Major Award's movie category, which has invariably recognized commercially successful works.
However, while such awards do highlight individual works and creators as examples, they are not intended as general validation, but to celebrate achievement in a particular field of endeavour. A Furry Walk of Fame would in effect be saying "these people's works exemplify what furry fandom is about", just as Hollywood's stars exemplify entertainment.
Of course, this raises other issues. It seems likely that either Anthrocon or Pittsburgh's municipal government would be unwilling to celebrate certain furry works or artists, regardless of their prominence. As this is in effect a juried award, the identity of members of that jury would also be of importance - the organizers could of course select themselves, but running a furry convention does not necessarily qualify you to select the best works within or contributors to furry fandom, any more than running an art website makes you qualified to judge art.
I am assuming that if the Pittsburgh municipal government does approve a Furry Walk of Fame, it will be because the Anthrocon proposes it to them; and that any selection committee will include Anthrocon committee members if not Dr. Conway himself. They would not be expected to select any honorees that they do not approve of; you might say that the committee will have veto power over potential honorees. I would expect that if this project goes through, the Anthrocon committee will get lots of suggestions of honorees from its attendees. Duplicates of honorees in the AUSFA and ALAA Hall of Fames? People or characters or movies or TV series or Furry games like Pokémon that are not in any Furry Hall of Fame yet? Notable Fursuiters? That will be up to the committee. This will mean extra work for the Anthrocon staff, but they should be willing to take it on since it will mean a greatly increased visibility for the Furry culture in Pittsburgh.
One point that I have not addressed is whether there is sufficient anti-Furry prejudice in Pittsburgh that a permanent Walk of Fame could be expected to be regularly defaced. That is something else for Anthrocon and the city to consider.
One other thing I just thought of: Anthrocon has moved several times before. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that it might move again. It would be unfortunate if the convention were to leave such a walk behind, and it would make it harder for Anthrocon to use their ability to move as a bargaining chip if one existed.
Well, I suppose that there is no furry convention that theoretically could not move to a city with a larger venue, leaving a Furry Walk of Fame behind. The Anthrocon does not seem likely to leave Pittsburgh anytime soon, though.
What are the next cities that might be suitable locations? Chicago, where the Midwest FurFest meets? San Jose, with Further Confusion?
Since this topic has been ignored for over a year, I assume that Anthrocon and the Pittsburgh municipal government are not interested in it. Has anyone discussed it?
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