The F word, without the N word
The furry fandom has a problem. At least that is what is heard when you go onto Twitter, Youtube, or any other social media gathering on the internet these days. As the United States continues to have moments of harsh self reflection as to what their country and leadership represent, the frustrations of those in the fandom from the states has seemingly turned inward on itself.
Many are debating over free speech, its boundaries, and how it is under attack. There is one large article by Rakuen about it on this site, and another by the creator of Dreamkeepers on DogPatch Press. In addition, one particular furry comedian who has received heavy criticism as of late, 2 Gryphon, has decided to join the group of Alt-Furrys in posturing opposition to those that would oppose his views on what freedom of speech should entail.
However, my definition of exercising free speech is a bit different than most would see it. For to me, the meaning of exercising here is not the commonly defined physical exertion required to talk, but instead to expose and cast out the demons schakeling one’s soul and community in hopes of ousting it from the spirit and freeing them from those binds.
So in that sense, let’s strap in and prepare for the long and painstaking process of this exorcism of free speech and its relationship to furry fandom.
The N/F ratio: Responsible coverage of speech
I would recommend giving David Lillie’s article a read, if not to understand what the definition of irony is.
In it he argues, quite accurately, that a particular radicalized white supremacist movement have been utilizing association tricks in order to give themselves a leg up on their opponents. In essence they take advantage of the fact that their organization is the most extreme version of freedom of speech. This means when many article writers put the pen to paper to talk about this topic, it is the default go-to example of the most abhorrent extreme examples of this freedom.
David argues that when people are using that four letter N word in tangent with “free speech” that eventually the human brain will wire itself to tie the words together. So when this occurs the person begins to subconsciously believe that a group that is against the freedom of individuals are actually the champions of it. So where does the irony come into play here? Let’s look at the article’s content, or more precisely, the words that it uses.
The “swahili coconuts” are mentioned 26 times in the entire article. The words free or freedom, on the other hand is utilized 9 times. Another fun fact? The word free or freedom was only used one time in the entire article where it did not share the paragraph with those abhorrent bunch of coconuts. And his paragraphs are short! I blame this on the habits of a comic writer.
So if you add up the words free/freedom (9) with all the times the fuehrer's fuzzy tree nuts are mentioned by their common 4 letter terminology (26) you get a total. Take the number of times the four letter word for those that swaddle themselves in their Swastika (26) and divide it by that total we got earlier (9 + 26 = 35). We get a percentage of 74.6% (26/35).
Let’s compare this to Flayrah article by our resident growlithe. He mentions the fuhrer's fascist frolickers a total of 12 times. He mentions freedom a total of 58! Good lord, Rakuen, you sure you’re not an American with that much freedom verbiage jammed in there? This gives us a ratio of 18.46%. This one is better, though one would note it was still not very well received at the time it was written. I would argue that in this case they used the word freedom in there so much it came off as a bit preachy.
However, preachiness is far preferable than what happened in the Dreamkeeper writer’s version of the free speech article. While his article accurately noted that the neo-coconuts were milking a tactic of word association with freedom to tie their organization with said freedom, David did nobody any favors by doing the very exact thing that he was warning his readership about.
So it’s important to emphasise that fascists do not believe in freedom. Instead, they want to build a cult of personality in the government to kneel to. Someone who works not for the well being of all people, but for the well being of their most loyal subjects. One could call it a government for brown nosers, which may explain why they like wearing that color. Because, hey, if you have no other skills to provide, then promote a government whose only demand is something as simple as never saying ‘no’ to the guy in charge. Unfortunately, for those who have a tendency to say ‘no’, such a government will try and influence your social and financial status based upon your loyalties to the symbol and to the dear leader. In such a society, freedom of speech is invariably crushed under the fear of consequences. Not just minor opportunity losses of who will be your friends over your beliefs, such as the fandom is dealing with now, but if the very government itself will take your life for them.
So how do you prevent the word association game that the fascists play? Well, if you weren’t paying attention to this section you can also use your own verbiage tactics to counter those giving a handy to Hitler’s ghost. Just don’t use the N word to describe this group. If like Candyman, Bloody Mary, Beetlejuice, or Voldemort; saying their name invokes their presence, then just don’t say their name. That doesn’t mean you have to do the dodgy eyes and come up with some serious synonym phrase for them either. Pick your favorite derogatory slogan from this section, or come up with your own, it’s fun for the whole family. The ultimate goal would be to get that number as close to 0% or 100% as possible; Avoid 50%. Also work on spacing of the words keeping the topics of freedom and fascism as segregated as possible.
So now that we got that out of the way, let’s discuss the recent radicalization of some segments within our fandom.
Len Gilbert - A “Nationalist Populist” in his own words
So let me get this out there so the record is perfectly clear. The leader of the Alt-Furry group, Len Gilbert, appears to be quite the Nazi.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
I hear some of you saying.
There’s that N-word, clearly you’re just one of those Social Justice Warrior commie leftists who will call anyone and everyone who disagrees with you a Nazi.
First, put a pin in that statement.
Second, anyone who has read my words over nearly a decade of writing for Flayrah would know that is untrue on its face. I do not throw labels onto people, I allow people through their action or inaction to show me the content of their character. Even then, I typically wait to allow for the individual themselves to reveal how they label themselves to back up anything I see that’s notable.
Also, unlike Patch and others on the more activist side of furry press, I have never called 2 the Ranting Gryphon a member of the Fuehrer's Flunkies. My reasoning is simply this: being a crappy comedian doesn’t make one a neo-Nazi, but crappy comedians tend to attract neo-Nazi fans. If anything, I would consider the gryphon a mixture of a Bojack Horseman character, thirsty for a social clique to call his own within a changing fandom and culture (including the drinking problem), and the naive Papyrus from Undertale, ready to hug it out with characters who may very well be on a genocide run.
So where does my blatant definition of Len come from? Where is my evidence?
Well, Kothorix, a furry Youtuber who is famous (or infamous depending on who you ask) for doing interviews with furries who are seen as controversial in the fandom did an interview with this very same Mr. Gilbert. Given what Len is known for, of course, the question did eventually come up around the fourteen minute mark. It was a simple question: “Are you a Nazi?”
When watching the response linked to in the embedded video below, I want you to keep in the back of your head some famous words Samuel Conway said during his “Furries and the Media” panel when talking about the topic of people having sex within the fandom.
Notice how I didn’t say ‘no’.
There are a lot of interesting points to bring up in this interaction.
First, Len didn’t say “No.”
Second, instead of saying he wasn’t one directly, Len utilized a smokescreen tactic to try and appeal to those who have been falsely called one to try and imply that all such statements are falsehoods. He in essence is allowing such a viewer to lie to themselves about who Len is instead of Len directly having to do the dirty work on that himself.
Imagine if the characters in the classic children’s tale “The boy who cried wolf” were anthropomorphic. A wolf dressed in human garb approaches the sheep and a villager confronts, “Hey, are you a wolf?” The wolf answers, “Oh, well you villagers should know that whenever you hear the word wolf that it’s just some label being thrown around haphazardly. I mean, look at the boy over there calling it out at anyone and anything. So clearly the word has no meaning.”
As the story informs us in our youths. Even if an individual calls out a threat falsey does not mean the threat is non-existent.
Third, Kothorix at the start of the question had indicated confidently he already knew what the response was going to be. By the end it was clear he was caught a bit off guard by the response he actually got. Perhaps he was looking for the words “no” or “of course not” in there, somewhere, anywhere. In the grand scheme I can’t tell whether the poor dragon interviewer was confused by all the words that just got thrown at him and didn’t want to appear unread so kind of just let it go, or if it was more concern about the fact that the answer was not quite what he had in mind and wanted to change the topic as quickly as possible.
Other things I note about Len Gilbert is that in the entirety of the interview video he doesn’t talk about furry content or the general fandom all too much and that most of the conversation revolves around his political views. He has no fursona to speak of, instead choosing an anime styled character who wears German-esque military regalia of a particular era as his avatar. One of his statements revolving around the hearts and minds of the kids turning to ‘his side’ of the political spectrum is particularly chilling and should remove any and all doubts about his purpose in the furry fandom, to utilize the tools of anthropomorphism to radicalize the youth of today just as anthropomorphism had helped shaped our more benign worldviews when we were younger.
He doesn’t seem concerned about the polarization of politics in the fandom or society in general as much as he gushes about his dreams of a furtherization of tribalism in future generations. You can basically hear his voice titillating in bliss as he describes this abhorrent scenario:
I’m not interested in where the puck is, or where the puck has gone, I’m more interested in where the puck is going. Right now we are at what I would call peak millennial. The furry subculture is about as millennial as it’s going to get. I like to call myself the world’s oldest millennial. The millenials are going to cycle out of the fandom, and in some cases they already are a bit. And Generation Z, as we know them, is cycling into the fandom.
We don’t know alot about Gen Z yet because most of them are teenages and high school kids. They are also tribalistic. They are also very political. But their tribalism and politics are less about lifestyle and more about the demographic group that they belong to.
I’ll give you a very profound example.
There was a poll of highschool kids on, if they could vote for president, how they would have voted. They broke it down by race, and the amazing thing was that 80 to 90% of whites voted Republican. That’s Amazing! That is such a huge break from their Gen X and Gen Y peers. It’s a huge break!
What does that tell you? It’s tells you— it’s profound! It’s profound in the sense that white folks in that age are voting as a voting block in the same way African Americans are, in the same way Muslims are. That they’re voting with that same level of coherence.
To him I say, if that is where the puck is going, then be prepared for a goalie with a steady hand and a quiet eye to see these attempts for such a crass goal. And if that puck’s advancement is adverse to the goalie’s own motivations, such as the bettering of humanity as a whole and not in part, then you can rest assured that goalie is not going to let that puck advance any further.
Take a leader like this and add in evidence that members of this group are literally humans in wolves clothing by a Newsweek article where a real bonnfied neo-nazi who does not identify as a furry worked with the Alt-Furry group to plan an attack against Califur which resulted in logistical issues and forced the convention into a one year hiatus.
The most damning link between white supremacists and alt-furries is Nathan Gate, a young alt-right neo-[Swahili Coconut]. He does not consider himself a furry, but he helped create and moderate the alt-furry Discord channel. (He also set up the AltRight.com server for the news and commentary website run by alt-right leader Richard Spencer). Gate even organized the campaign against the Califur convention in Pomona, posing as a local reporter and calling the hotel, while mobilizing alt-furries to do the same on Discord. At the rally in Charlottesville, Gate recorded a two-and-a-half hour live stream of the day’s chaotic events. In the stream, he is surrounded by neo-[Swahili Coconut]s in white polos, armed militiamen and even David Duke, one of the country's most prominent white supremacists.
So much for the freedom of assembly loving alt-right.
For this section, I leave you with this quote by 2 the Ranting Gryphon about the death of the fandom and why the furry fandom is (or was?) dead in his eyes in a video he had made in the fall of 2017. When reading this remember that the one quoted had recently joined Len Gibert’s group indicating that he sees it as a quality furry group.
However, if you show up in a full fursuit with comic books and an interest in furries, but you have a MAGA hat on? ‘Nope get out, you’re a Nazi, you’re a Racist.’”
Given what is known about the leader of Alt-Furry by his own words and the reveal by Newsweek, is it any surprise that an ever growing group of furs have seen the gryphon’s criticism as a double standard? By his recent embracing of the alt-furry, whose community is primarily connected to their political identity and not their furry one, any weight in which he criticizes furries in more left-leaning groups of similar behaviors falls flat under hypocrisy.
Even worse for the gryphon, if the comedian’s goal is legitimately to mend the social divides of the fandom, then he has through his actions promoted a community leader who gushes over a future where the very opposite occurs. And he isn’t the only one who may be going to down the wrong path for what they believe is a proper reason.
The Importance of Proportional Media Coverage
Patch from DogPatch Press recently made a Twitter statement in regards to the Fuhrer loving furries and their saturation rate within the fandom.
It's extremely difficult to get mistaken for a "nazi" if you aren't actively promoting ethnostates and race propaganda, wearing their uniforms and kissing up to others who do. The 0.1% of fandom who do are usually the ones crying "the fandom is 'split'" https://t.co/umZXzDXeUE
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) June 12, 2018
In this tweet he is trying to boost the morale of furs who have become exhausted by the feeling that there are what appear to be too many ‘coconut antics’ in the fandom these days. Also he wants to disuade a talking point used by the alt-right that the fandom is splitting down the middle.
He had to remind his viewership that these guys are actually a very verbose minority, gaming the internet systems to seem larger than they are. To me, this is the main reason that these abhorrent individuals are interested in the fandom. Even against the social grain we were able to grow from a shunned culture, exploited for laughs, to one that is treated more fairly by the media. These white nationalist groups want to know how to do the same. Any other feigned interest in furry I feel is a red, swastika wearing, herring.
But one does have to reflect why Patch’s followers may think the fascist threat may be a bit larger in the fandom than it actually is, and why Patch has to remind them this is not the case?
So, I went through DogPatchPress, his news site, to find all articles published by Patch O’Furr himself to get a count of the number of articles that included Nazi, Confederacy, the Alt-Right, and other topics surrounding white nationalism and compared it to a count of those that didn’t revolve around those topics. I excluded book review posts marked as being done by Fred Patten (Patch ghost-formats those on his account since Mr. Patten isn’t all that tech savvy and doesn’t have the markup language skills required for internet formatting his own works). One-off guest posts made on the account are counted. I counted articles for 1 year: June 20th, 2017 to June 20th, 2018.
One surprising thing was that there was no grey area during the sorting process. Either the article was fully dedicated to right-wing radicalism or it was not. At the end I was left with a count of 25 articles revolving around white supremacist movements, alt-furries, and the like and 77 articles about other items. This means that about 1 in 4 articles (24.5% to be precise) that were published by the Patch O’Furr account in the past year were about the group for furs he says comprises 0.1% of the fandom. Below are two pie charts to show the differences between these two numbers.
So if the writer believes that the group comprises so little of the fandom at large, why write so much about it? Well, it probably stems that these organizations present a real physical threat to the writer, so he feels it important to weed out said individuals, no matter how small their presence is. I mean, an organization of lawful evil foundations like fascism is certainly the antithesis of the chaotic good that makes up the base of the furry fandom, so it would certain invoke an immunity response from those that fall in that square.
However it is important to understand, despite the reach of one’s platform, words can only go so far. Repeating information over and over, no matter how correct, can make one appear from a point of weakness. It’s in essence the concept of utility theory in written form. The value that comes from reporting on the despicable behaviors of a group declines with each report if nothing new is seen. Those that trusted the first report see the same information and it may solidify their beliefs, but those who don’t trust the author won’t believe them even if they write it a million times.
What I am trying to say here is instead of re-writing a new article to bring up the similar issues already written about, just reference the older material in case people didn’t read it when it was new.
This is why this article is so long, I didn’t want it to be a drip feed and thus bring the percentage of coverage up, making it appear that I’m obsessed with this faction of the fandom. I wanted to collect as much information as possible and rip the bandage clean off. So this will probably be the last time I do comprehensive coverage of this sort of general politic on this site, short of an arrest or criminal event committed by said groups. Instead I will focus my time on the content that furs came to the fandom for on Flayrah.
Because unfortunately, despite our good intentions, there are uncomfortable questions that media needs to ask themselves that can quite frankly make us uneasy. We who journalize would like to believe that we write stories about facts, just note the events that are actually occuring, and that those articles have no influence on future events or how people behave. However, let’s take a look at some of these scary questions:
- If we write about an uncommon belief or event frequently, does that raise the uncommon to something that people grow used to? Or manifest the belief it is more common than it actually is?
- People are interested in the weird, the strange, and the unusual. It is a good way to draw attention. Furries of all people know this.
- Because of the above point, it is tempting for press of all stripes to post more articles of the unusual to get more views.
- If people do grow used to it, will they grow numb to the presence of the oddity?
- Many would argue that Trump took advantage of this very first question to obtain more press coverage. He would say provocative things to get more free press coverage. Its success in the election has influenced many copy-cats. Basically that’s what Alt-Furrys and Alt-Right groups are, those who utilize Trumpian tactics so that they gain popularity similar to Trump’s methods.
- If a furry is looking for fame, but has no other talents, then infamy could be the easiest route. So are we being used as an end to a means?
- If the above is true then joining the alt-furry group gives you a 1 in 4 chance of getting featured in an article written by Patch O’Furr. All without having to go through the hard work of writing a furry novel, learning to be an artist, or performing in fursuit.
- Thus, this risks growing Alt-Furry from being a group of just abhorrent white-nationalists to include narcissistic egomaniacs who have no interest in their politic.
- One particularly dark example of this infamy press tactic outside the fandom is school shootings. There is a theory that press coverage that is centric around the shooter can create a cult-of-personality around people who commit such heinous crimes. Thus inspiring future actions by people looking of easy fame.
- Suicide through Sadism, what I call this Western phenomenon, is where self inflicted suicide is seen as passive and cowardly. So a suicidal person who believes this will instead kill other people in the hopes that they take as many people with them before their own life is taken, by themselves or another.
- The day 2 Gryphon had lost me as a fan of his comedy was when he had promoted one of these suicide by sadism perpetrators on his livejournal post called “Be a Tiger”.
- We in the media need to figure out ways as a society to make these paths less appealing to people including:
- Focusing on the stories of the lives taken instead of the life taker.
- Socially honoring those who commit peaceful suicide so that it is seen as a better action than committing it sadistically.
- Not releasing any statements from the killer, and any press seen as doing so should be punished by their consumers.
Ethics like the above were something an old user of Flayrah would debate quite often on some of the more controversial articles here. Xxydex was once an active member of this site, back in the pre-2010 days when it was more a sort of reddit messaging board than a place for longer form non-fiction pieces on the fandom. That change had come in the form of GreenReaper taking the Editor in Chief position in 2010. It was this change in direction and the new style which had gauged my interest and brought me in as a reader, and eventually a writer, to now an editor.
The squeaky pony was none too pleased about the change himself. Primarily due to some contention between himself and GreenReaper in the past due to Wikifur pages revolving around the inflatable community. At least that is what I had heard, I never understood the whole beef between the two back then. However, another thing he didn’t like were the news features that made the fandom look bad. Particularly the occasional article about bad furs being arrested for sexual crimes.
Back then it was a different world, with the older individuals in the fandom on guard over the media and their desire to make us look like deviants, younger furs like myself at the time were a little less guarded and I felt it would be irresponsible for us not to report when someone in the community did wrong. That not doing so would make it seem like we were trying to cover for our worst members to those outside the fandom. The squeaky pony was afraid of the opposite, people using our own logs of bad behavior making the world at large see us as deviants.
To say the debates between Xxydex and myself grew heated would be an understatement. In those days as soon as things got going between us, the entire comment section would brace for what would be a slew of passive aggressive slugs being lobbed over the internet wire. All leading up perhaps the lowest point: where he had used a diagnosis of bipolar I had received as a point against my ability to make sound and rational arguments.
Why does this throw the entire fandom under the bus? Are you saying Mitch is the entire fandom? If you believe that I'm sorry for your loss.
If I had a website whose goal was to make the entire furry fandom look bad, I would loath Flayrah's existance. Because if you come to Flayrah, you may see an event that might make "the fandom" look bad, but you'll see it surrounded by reviews of good works, and stories of those who are good. It'll drive traffic away because, as I already proved, people in general don't want a site that's mostly negative unless they're mostly negative themselves (which is a loud minority as it always has been).
Which brings me to the next point. Why is it you only choose to comment on the negative stuff? You seem to have nothing of kindness to say. Even on articles where good furries are killed you seem to be pretty silent, but see fit to come here to point out every time one of these articles come up.
Face it Xydexx, your behaviors show you thrive on this stuff at least as much as the ones who you ire. Seek psychiatric help, lest you loathe yourself.
"Seek psychiatric help, lest you loathe yourself."
Heh. Right back atcha [Xydexx links here to my LJ post about my diagnosis]. It's always ironic when people crazier than I am offer an armchair diagnosis.
That’s right, the same guy on Twitter who promotes only allowing “good people” in your social circles and can come off as if people are either good or evil with no lapses between the two, had his own lapse into the darkside. Using someone’s mental diagnosis to try and strengthen his argument on something other than its own merits. Now to be fair, I included my lead-in statement which is arguably also low-brow and wasn’t necessarily positive or empathetic to those going through legitimate mental health issues, which lead to his counter statement. Such interactions aren’t things I’m proud of, but they happened.
So why am I even bringing this up? For petty vengeance? To show some sort of ideological hypocrisy about the fallibility of individuals in Xydexx? Well no, that’s not the primary reason (but it is a nice bonus). It’s to prove another point. As low and vicious as our verbal brouhahas got, there was a word that was never used by my adversary to describe me.
Remember that statement I told you to put a pin in? Let’s go back to it.
If you disagree with them, then they’ll call you a Nazi
This statement is a classic example of an “if...then” statement. Those of you in technical fields know what logical statements are and how to analyze them. For those not familiar I would suggest this linked webpage to brush up on this. If anything I think this section may inspire someone to take a college discrete mathematics course; which was the most useful, and favorite of the math courses I took.
To sum it up, you seperate the statement into two parts, the “if” and the “then”. If the first part is true, and the second part is false, then the whole statement is deemed as false. In all other cases it is either true, or cannot be proven false, in which we assume it to be true. Basically the statement is presumed true until the ‘if’ case provides us the conditions that we can prove it’s true or false (innocent until proven guilty of being wrong).
So let’s take the two parts of the statement:
“If you disagree with them”
Is true. I showed an example of Xydexx and I disagreeing. Xydexx fits within the scope of them for he is one of the most vigilant anti-fascist voices on twitter at the moment and therefore falls within the group being defined as ‘them’.
“Then they will call you a Nazi”
False. At no time in any of our moments of uncivil disagreements on the future of Flayrah or furry media did the squeaky pony call me a swahili coconut. He only called me a plain old regular nut.
Therefore the entirety of the popular statement utilized as justification by the alt-furry is deemed as false. I disagreed with them, and they didn't call me a Nazi.
But of course this is where language like this gets hazy because they could counter that Xydexx isn’t the ‘them’ they refer to, it’s just as long as one person does it then the statement is true. But I think this is where discretion is needed. If one person commits a fallacy why does everyone else in the world have to own it as if they did it themselves? If that’s so then, well I have another statement to do the logic test on.
“If you disagree with a Furry Raider, then they will call you a communist.”
The if part of the statement is true. I made a video in which I had disagreed with the premise of the banner and said that the symbology was too close to the coconuts for most people’s likings. So if one really didn’t stand for what that symbology stood for, then get rid of the banner and pick up another one. I also had suggested that Foxler take up the name Fox Miller, since that is what he told the press his name was inspired by and not a combination of Fox and Hitler. I mean Mr. Miller is a Star Fox fan it seems, so I thought it would be quite a reasonable request to change his name to Fox, but…
“Then they will call you a communist”
So yes, Perri Rhodes, the Visionary Director of the Furry Raiders concluded that my request of them made me a communist. Below is a part of a comment they had left in the video.
Seriously, I don't understand how any self-respecting American would back the agenda of a violent terrorist organization marching under real Communist flags, against a fur bravely standing up for his rights at no small risk to himself, simply because you're carried along with some unreasoning hysteria artificially built up around the symbol of your own fandom on a red background. Who does an American journalist have a responsibility to oppose, real Communists attacking freedom of speech, or furs obviously being falsely accused of being [Swahili Coconut]s who stand up for free speech? Please, for the sake of our future, take some time to give that a serious ponder.
Because, yes, suggesting that a furry just change the name they gave themselves based on the very etymology they presented is a classic Marxist move. My video’s purpose was to help their group to stop being “falsely accused” in a very simple way. Clearly though the logic in Perri’s argument is not sound, it makes the ‘then’ portion of my statement true, and thus the statement as a whole is also true. If you disagree with a Furry Raider, then they will call you a communist.
I also want to take this opportunity to add that after I was accused of being a communist, I didn’t become one. I didn’t start putting the hammer and sickle on my Twitter handle. I didn’t start reading Lenin, Stalin, or even the big mustachioed Marx. I didn’t start waving around arrowed flags, or anything of the sort. Despite the false labeling, I did not change to fit the image another had given me.
Which is why it always makes me scratch my head when people start changing their behaviors due to the name another calls them and then they blame the one that gave them a label on said behavior. Because if someone giving you a label then makes the person that label or pursue that path, then me not being a communist nor pursing that line of political ideology after being called one makes that statement false.
But hey, they’re free to call me whatever they like, it’s their first amendment right after all. And I’m not talking the speech part. The freedom of religion is there for those that need to believe there are grand cosmic communist conspiracies against them to give them a sense of purpose. In speaking of freedom, we should probably get back to talking about an important concept surrounding it.
Freedom of Speech is more than just words
When talking about freedom of expression, it is important to look upon the history of the individual promoting it, when they promote it, and how they promote it. This more than any measurement can highlight whether there is a weight to one’s words or if they are merely a glorified carbon dumping. When 2 the Ranting Gryphon was removed from his platform at Anthrocon, he lead a cry that the fandom was attacking the spirit of free expression by losing his platform.
However, we need to look back and ask, are there other examples of those in fandom that would be a more blatant example of censorship? You don’t have to go too far. Only about a year prior, the creator of the documentary Fursonas was permanently banned from, at the time, the largest furry convention. His crime? Releasing his project to the public which had utilized some footage from that convention and the board disagreed with the spirit of the film which had some pretty sharp critique in it’s commentary toward the their chair Kage.
I had found this action quite concerning. A filmmaker that was a furry themselves was banned permanently for a crime so heinous that after Trump’s election most of the fandom had forgotten this film existed. Or as Crossaffliction here notes, under the release of Zootopia, whose art book beat the documentary for best furry nonfiction in the category’s pilot year.
Even back then my thoughts were construed to the following questions the fandom should ask itself regarding free expression:
- What threat is Dominic Rodriguez to the proceedings of Anthrocon since what has been published has been published?
- Kage is still the Chair of Anthrocon, so clearly even though the movie was critical of him it did not do lasting damage to the reputation of the individual, convention, or the furry fandom as a whole.
- Did the punishment fit the crime? Should we be giving members a proverbial convention death sentence over behavior that was not disruptive to the convention’s function or operation?
- Why are all organizations founded on the internet into the concept of “binary law” where one is in good standing or banned with very little warning or punishment in between?
- Wouldn’t it be better to have him suspended from the con for a finite time like 5 years for the violation of media policy?
- Shouldn’t their work be recognized as one by a furry, thus we shouldn’t treat him as a hostile outsider looking to “destroy the fandom” but instead bring a different viewpoint of it?
In the meanwhile, what was our self-proclaimed gryphon champion of free speech doing? Well there was a few comments that phonetically stuck out as belonging to him.
“I'm FUCKING triggered!
Dominik Rodriguez - FUCK you! You greedy scandalmongering POS!”
This idiot is just damn negligent - plain and simply[sic]. He's just like "ah my audience is smart enough, they will look past three decades of misinformation and see that this portrait of the Fandom ISN'T representative of the Fandom."
Openly shitting on Uncle Kage - a man who is just GENUINELY working his ass off to set the record straight about Furries - and portraying him as a kind of dishonest Troll!
What the actualy [sic] fuck, Rodriguez? What the fuck?
Why is anyone defending this garbage?
He literally operates from the premise that SELF EXPRESSION and "BEING CAREFUL about how to portray the Fandom" are two opposing things.
What is this guy smoking? I'm just... so damn... disappointed about this shit...
2; anonymously “advocating” for the free speech of a documentary maker
So for anyone wondering why I, as someone who advocates for freedom by using my actions and not merely my words, had more of an ‘eye-roll’ approach to when 2 the Ranting Gryphon was deplatformed from Anthrocon, his history of behaviors like the above are why. Where was he when someone he clearly disagreed with was making a critical video about his friend Kage? Apparently praising the decision designed to censor intra-fandom criticisms utilizing a rule that was originally designed with the intent to prevent extra-fandom exploitation by a vulturous press.
Mr. Gryphon certainly wasn’t defending to the death Video the Wolf’s right to say it. Sadly for the gryphon, hiding behind his position amongst the fandom elites didn’t save him for when eventually the pendulum swung back in his direction and knocked him square on his arse.
It is plainly obvious to most observant parties that Mr. Gryphon has only clung on to the first amendment and free speech advocacy as of late to try and decry his waning platform within the fandom. Because when the Gryphon had actual power to stand up for the freedoms of those whom had less, he did not. I can be fairly certain, given this evidence, that if 2 had not lost his stage presence within the fandom that he would still be as indifferent to these types of freedoms of individual furries when it came time to do more than just speak.
It also has to be noted that there is also an important difference between 2 Gryphon’s removal from his platform at AC and Video’s ouster. No matter what Kotherix and others will have you believe, 2 is not banned from Anthrocon like Video was. He can still attend and hang out with friends, but he refuses to. The optics of this action can easily make it seem that he doesn’t care to attend a convention unless he’s important or on the stage. That without him up there he finds no value in the fandom’s institutions. The fandom, in this light just seems to be a means to an end to him.
Of course it is at this time his fan base will beg to differ. That he is not attending the convention because he is afraid. Because he fears that a large hate group is taking over the fandom, waiting to jump out of the bushes and crack his skull the minute he steps foot upon the convention floor.
However, once again, you need to take a step back and look at the larger picture. A few months ago I critiqued a tweet that he had made indicating that hate crimes were less frequent than drowning pool fatalities. I had indicated that the scope of the two were not equivalent as the pool statistics he referenced were for the entire continental United States and the hate crime statistics were from only major metropolitan areas. I had made a longer version breakdown video of this on my Youtube channel.
In response the gryphon had made a video (to my surprise) and moved the goalpost. He indicated that I had helped him prove his point because he didn’t compare fatalities to fatalities in his original statement, in which the official recorded tally was seven in 2016. So he tied it back to his original tweet’s premise, you shouldn’t be afraid to live your life because of hate crime, because hate crime is rare.
At least, that was his argument in Bird Bawk #9. A few suns set and rose to bring us Bird Bawk #10. As I had managed to predict in my video, the Gryphon would eventually debate himself. I couldn’t have expected that it would be in the very next video in his series that he would counter the arguments made in the one prior.
In Bird Bawks #10 he uses his words to spread fear that there is a hate group that is destroying the fandom and that it is those that oppose the alt-furries, which is ironic that someone could destroy something already declared dead by the gryphon a few months back. But let us be clear, the people he refers to include those in the fandom like Patch and Xydexx who may be flawed individuals, as covered earlier, but they are not in any FBI or Southern Poverty Law Center recognized hate group.
After all, that is the standard that we set up in Bird Bark #9 about hate crime statistics, isn’t it? That we use official statistics to talk about actual occurrences instead of personal feelings? Because if we are going to consider it a hate crime just on the word of the alleged victim and not from the actual police report, then that seven number becomes quite a bit higher. In fact one of the articles referenced on my video’s sources indicated that there were about a score of transgender related homicides that were not officially recorded as hate crimes where the witnesses felt that the motive could have been hate motivated.
But I digress, if hate crimes are hate crimes just because the victim feels they are, then well, I’ll have to accept 2’s apology on using inaccurate statistics in his video response to me. What was it he said in his video? That being the victim of a hate motivated homicide is lower than getting struck by lightning? And yet that same man in that video, trying to tell me and other furs not to be afraid of hate crimes because there are larger dangers out there to be concerned of, is using that very same fear as an excuse to his audience as to why he no longer goes to conventions.
I mean what, does being a member of the Alt-Furry require you to jam a lightning rod up your arse, and that’s why the Gryphon is so fearful for them? I guess that gives a whole new meaning to the word Blitzkrieg.
2 is arguing that the cat is both alive and dead. That hate crimes are being over pushed by the lefty social justice warriors as an issue, but for people like himself they are a very real thing and are influencing his decisions. Human beings don’t live in the world of quantum physics, the box is open Mr. Gryphon, look in the box and tell us, is the cat alive or dead? Because between the 9th and 10th Bird Bawk videos, you seem to be saying that hate crimes are both an over exaggeration and a very real and imminent danger.
However, this is getting a bit off topic. It can be easy to get distracted in details surrounding cults of personality. So much so that this is what American politics has become as of late. So let’s get back on topic before we conclude.
The problem’s roots are outside the fandom
If one thinks about it, every politician currently in governmental office has used tactics to get hired that have separated families. Using ads and rhetoric they tear apart mother and daughter, father and son. They use their fears of the world around them to get them to get us to fight one another over their fears, and don’t care about the consequences as long as it results in them winning. So the fact that the United States government would now go one step further and physically separate families as of late could appear as shocking and appalling. However, I would argue that it is the inevitable conclusion of our continued course of divide and conquer politics.
From my understanding, when political parties were first founded, they were supposed to be about the assembly of people to try to figure out which direction they wanted their government to go. As time has gone on and the party apparatus has manifested itself into our system it feels as if their function has changed. That political parties instead are how the government assembles in order to subvert the will of the people from their position of power.
Let’s take for instance when 2 Gryphon or others in the fandom call themselves “centralist”, however many don’t see them that way. They could argue, correctly, that their positions did not change over the course of the years. I mean, 2 could note that he is just as horrible a comic today as he was back then. So what did change?
The Republican Party is now the party of Trump. Since it is, it has dynamically shifted the way people see left and right in this country. The alt-right is the right, as much as they would like to try and lie to themselves and to the public to see them as the outsiders in the discourse. In turn this has thrown the classic Conservatives, Libertarians, and fiscal hawks to the curb. All that’s left in the right is godless, excessive, decadent, cults of personality.
And something else changed as well. This “new right”, because they can no longer be called “alt right” since they are the ones in power in the government, is the only administration in my history of listening to 2 that he has not criticized as vehemently as those that criticize the administration. Since Donald Trump identifies as a Republican, then repeatedly protecting him from critics will begin to make you be seen as one regardless of what you label yourself. Believing in religion, or Jesus, is no longer a prerequisite, in fact it’s a hindrance. For your Lord is the government as noted by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”
Back on the shifting definition of party, this isn’t the first time there has been quite a massive change in the beliefs of the left and the right. Lyndon B. Johnson had changed the definition of ‘left’ from “racists” to “race traitors” almost overnight in his support of the civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Many would argue this was a more positive change for that party, but at the time it was certainly a risky venture.
But what I’m trying to say is, that the people should have more control over their party and the government should have less control over the people’s priorities by using their own tribalism against them. The freedom of assembly was made for the people to assemble to change their government, not for the freedom of those in power to conspire to shape their people through the party apparatus. The decisions the government makes should be pragmatic, and the mistakes they make should not be able to be excused by the mere existence of another party within the government.
Until this foundational problem is fixed, politics will continue to spiral into its cult of personality. It will continue to be exploited by foreign governments whose own governments suffer from the same afflictions. And until this occurs, this illness will continue to slip into the fandom as well. While many have been fighting the political fight inside the fandom, those fights will be for nothing if the world outside continues down a more authoritarian route. It also can't be all too effective, if as Patch notes, only 0.1% of those in the fandom are part of this problem.
Which is why I will be spending this summer and contemplating all I’ve learned about politics, peoples, systems, networks, and other such things to come up with a prototype 28th amendment for the United States Constitution which will redefine and solidify the political party as a place for people and not as a bullwhip of the government. Because the two party system has eroded at a three branch government so that there are only two branches: the Republican and Democrat branch. Who are now trying to bend as many rules as possible to make themselves the only branch, and eventually one of them is going to succeed, and it will be the most underhanded of the two more than likely.
Until we reinforce the system so that the three branch system can work as intended again, efforts made within the fandom will merely be putting a bandage on a wound that needs stitches. This very issue we are facing with the party system was warned to us by George Washington, the first US President, on his parting words, and thus the words I will also part with:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."