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Indycision: Programming plan for IndyFurCon's 10th year causes backpedal

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (6 votes)

Being a con's programming director may sound easy on paper. You take a bunch of panel submissions, and assign them to rooms. However, there are a bunch of logistics involved. Like the conflicting interests of the panelists, who want to attend other events themselves, or making sure there are no schedule overlaps by knowing which rooms are available, and when.

And now to that list of concerns we can add: Making sure that inviting a particular headliner won't cause interpersonal issues with other performing talent who'll be attending.

IndyFurCon, a furry convention that takes place in Indianapolis with a Hawaiian theme this year, found itself in the midst of a gnarly programming snafu last week when it began to announce its guests for this year's gathering.

In order to celebrate their tenth anniversary, there was a decision to try and bring back the special guests they'd honored in all their prior years of operation. Things have changed in that decade though, and one of the returning alumni, 2 Gryphon, was seen as being too controversial. This led not only to Internet outrage, but other performers to back out of their planned attendance.

A performer portrayed problematic

Soon after the barrage of guest announcements was released on Twitter, it didn't take long for people to notice that 2 Gryphon was invited to partake in the events at the convention (though the tweet has since been deleted). For those unfamiliar with him, he's a comedian whose style in the past few years has been less about humor than making controversial statements to inspire outrage in others, particularly around the topics of trans* rights and suicide. After his removal from the programming schedule at Anthrocon 2017, he's had issues finding performance platforms.

Following this, he joined a group known as the Furry Raiders, a controversial alt-right group of furries who have leaders like Fox Miller, who is currently awaiting trial for inappropriate action toward younger individuals, and Len Gilbert, who has gone on record of wishing for more inter-political conflict in society and the fandom during an interview with YouTuber Kothrix. More details on this can be found in the article written here.

After 2 Gryphon joined this group, it wasn't long after that Eurofurence informed him that he would not be able to perform on their stage. So it may have been a last-ditch effort of the Gryphon's desire to bargain for stage presence that caused him to contact IndyFurCon's programming in the fall of 2018 in order to try and get a slot.

For if he had a shot anywhere, it would be with the volunteer Programming Director of that gathering, Huscoon. A figure who is also known for controversial tweets, including perhaps his most infamous in wishing for Boston to suffer a follow-up to the Marathon Bombing that had occurred there.

Performers are not chattel

While perhaps Huscoon could have predicted the backlash from the Internet for the decision to include 2 Gryphon, which was hotly contested decision even internally with the board, he was perhaps not ready for the blowback to the con schedule he'd been working on.

It started with Boozy Badger, a lawyer furry who'd been adopted by the fandom not long after Rocky Mountain Fur Con's collapse in 2017, when he had written about the Sovereign Citizen-style letter sent to Deo by a member of their board. The sardonic and humorous take on the event from an (at the time) outsider's perspective was well-received by the fandom, and made him an overnight furry celebrity. Since then, he's taken on a badger fursona and has been to a surprisingly high number of conventions. He's been featured on many panels throughout the northeast United States' furry convention scene.

But in the case of this year's IndyFurCon, Boozy withdrew himself from being a panelist. Citing that his own child is trans*, he felt it necessary to take a stand to not associate with an organization that would give someone a platform who had used their voice to deny his child's rights. His full statement is in the tweets below:

Not too long afterwards, other performers came forward to say they would not be attending the convention in August, including animator and amateur comedian Xander the Blue, who noted that if his close friend Alkali chose to go, he wouldn't join him, despite a tweet from the convention indicating otherwise.

A Gryphon defrocked

Following the contention and the loss of talent, the IFC board said they were in discussions about the situation. It wasn't too long afterwards that the board reached their official statement on the matter, and withdrew 2 Gryphon from any programming.

Whether the performers who previously withdrew themselves plan to return - now that the situation that catalyzed their exit has been resolved - is unknown at this time. However, given the upheaval, the programming director will certainly have to work hard to rearrange the convention's schedule as a result of the wipe-out. What impacts it will have on attendance is also unknown.

Currently, IndyFurCon is the fourth fastest-growing convention in the Midwest, not the fastest as Huscoon had stated (see the first comment below for a breakdown). This blunder certainly won't help the ambitious husky-raccoon to have the gathering reach that particular goal. The local furs of Indiana are hoping that this affair won't have a negative impact on their convention's future.

Time will tell, as she always does.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Growth Statistics of Midwest Gatherings:

  1. AnthOhio - 647 in 2017, 862 in 2018 = 33.2% growth
  2. Midwest Furfest - 8,771 in 2017, 10,989 in 2018 = 25% growth
  3. Motor City Furry Con - 1,314 in 2018, 1,611 in 2019 = 22.6% growth
  4. IndyFurCon - 1,214 in 2017, 1,412 in 2018 = 16.3% growth

This is why numbers are important ;P
http://www.flayrah.com/7636/ghosting-attendees-problematic-trend-conventions-hid...

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (16 votes)

I still find such behaviour very troubling. It sets up an all-or-nothing situation where there is no room for disagreement. Of course, one might argue that is just certain disagreements where people will not have any involvement with others but that's not too much better. Even when there is disagreement on one or two, even major, issues, there are many more issues where people are no doubt in agreement.

I might have missed the clarification on whether Boozy and 2 were meant to share a stage at some point or whether they would be doing different things. I could understand not wanting to do an event with 2 but refusing to even go to the same convention where he is performing seems a bit ridiculous and perhaps not the best potential response. I would think better responses would be an open debate with 2 or a separate event discussing what might be wrong with his views. Both those options offer a learning opportunity for attendees whereas not attending doesn't really solve anything. It has done nothing about the problem and just furthers divisions.

"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: 4.4 (9 votes)

You're acting as if people haven't been informing 2 why his beliefs could be problematic on the regular for the past few years and he just dismisses them outright. He's kind of always been this way, it's just seen as more prominent these days as people have gotten to know him over the decade.

Eventually people who you're not going to reach, you give up on. Otherwise you're allowing your time to be wasted. That's how I think many who are critical of 2 see it.

As far as the situation, it is an unfortunate damned if you do, damned if you don't one when it comes to attendance.

If it declines: 2 fans will say it was because he was stonewalled, and 2 critics will say it was because Huscoon wasn't fired.

If it improves: 2 critics will say it is because the board did the right follow up, and supporters will say that his critics overestimated the issue.

In other words, no matter what happens one will not be able to point accurately to the factors involved in any attendance delta and will make the assessment in the way that meshes with their ideals.

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (16 votes)

I didn't say you needed to convince 2 of anything. My point is there is a wider group of people who are open to discussion. I think it was Richard Dawkins who said something along the lines of you probably will never convince your opponent in a debate and you aren't trying to; the person you are really trying to convince are those in the audience who have not fully made up their minds.

"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: 1.8 (10 votes)

He did recently ask on Twitter what he can do to make things right. This is, correct me if I'm mistaken, 3 conventions that have severed ties with him now, right? That's a hat trick. That's supposed to be a wakeup call if nothing else is. Since I'm a complete unknown in the fandom I've been considering reaching out to him because I'm not affiliated with any real organization, I'm not even on any Discord servers right now, I'm about the closest thing to a neutral party he could talk to about this, and because I've been more or less following him since the early days, my memory of his "evolution" is pretty long. I could ask him things no one would think to ask.

But you've already debated him, so I'm asking, in your opinion, am I just going to be wasting my time here?

It's like, I do feel some sympathy for him, because he is far from the most egregious of the fandom's more outspoken members and yet his sheer (what appears to be) self-unawareness bordering on deluded arrogance is in some ways more repulsive than anything he's actually said.

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (14 votes)

Oh no, freedom of association! Time for pearl clutching!

There isn't a "division" here. There's one asshole nobody wants to see and a handful of out-of-touch cronies who tried to sneak him in under an umbrella concept which promptly got the others associated to ditch it.

Isn't freedom great?

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

The anon above did make a good point about why the other people invited, like Boozy, decided to ditch out. It's not even just that 2 was also invited, it's that the defense of 2's invitation is based on the invitation of people like Boozy, lumping them with 2. That's the "stage" they're meant to share.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

While I am broadly sympathetic to the freedom of association idea, there is the question of how free it is. Because if person x is pressuring person y not to associate with person z, then person y isn't really free to associate now, are they? There is explicit pressure to change who other people are associating with and its hard to see a compelled choice as free in any meaningful way.

Though I suppose I have myself not joined certain groups because of the presence of other people that I'd rather avoid. Although I suppose the difference there is not that I wouldn't associate with people or groups that associate with that person, because I would and do, but I do not want any contact with them for personal reasons. I think that is also quite different to avoiding people because of different beliefs or values.

"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: 1.6 (7 votes)

Poor helpless damsels like *checks notes* Boozy Badger need a white knight to defend them!

Predictable flip flop: Boozy was the one doing the compelling. Because he totally did that.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

I don't think Boozy needs your concern about whether his actions were motivated by his actual principles or Internet peer pressure.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

"But if somebody thinks something different than myself, they are clearly under peer pressure to do it. If only they thought more like me they would be seen as free from the concept of peer pressure." seems to be a common take these days in certain circles. And yeah, kind of silly.

On the other paw, the whole 'freedom of association' from my observations, is a farce. It is not something guaranteed by the government (or any government really). I have to pay taxes to the government, even if I don't want to associate with them. If you stop paying taxes to the government you'll see how quickly you are forced to associate with it. All governments are founded on the basis of involuntary association.

Now is it a standard of politeness among individuals? Sure. But some people have clearly chosen to disassociate with the freedom of association. Example you choose not to associate with the local union, you're a scab, scab. And scabs get picked.

Your rating: None Average: 2.1 (8 votes)

"But if somebody thinks something different than myself, they are clearly under peer pressure to do it. If only they thought more like me they would be seen as free from the concept of peer pressure." seems to be a common take these days in certain circles. And yeah, kind of silly.

Pathological cynicism and what I like to call LOLbrow culture make pretty shitty bedfellows, which is why I choose the former.

On the other paw, the whole 'freedom of association' from my observations, is a farce. It is not something guaranteed by the government (or any government really). I have to pay taxes to the government, even if I don't want to associate with them. If you stop paying taxes to the government you'll see how quickly you are forced to associate with it. All governments are founded on the basis of involuntary association.

But the fandom isn't a government. It needs to stop pretending it is. Or people need to stop looking to its critically flawed, addled, narcissistic and self-interested "leaders" to play one in real life.

I'm surprised 2 hasn't pointed out the problem a lot of furries have with Growly being accepted by AC while he's rejected by them. But then after listening to the Kothorix interview while trying to get a sense of how this guy really thinks... Man, I gotta wonder if he himself realizes how wrong it is. At one point he rambles about how the Nazi party "was just like any other party", and I physically had a reaction similar to when you watch someone step on a rake and get smoked in the face. Just the way he said it.

Now is it a standard of politeness among individuals? Sure. But some people have clearly chosen to disassociate with the freedom of association. Example you choose not to associate with the local union, you're a scab, scab. And scabs get picked.

At least that's still a choice. Not sure it's a great example when you can't choose to be a scab where there's hardly any unions left. And furries have a choice to support conventions or not support them. It's hard for me to see why they're still so relevant in an age where if you want to be accessible to your audience anyone can stream, set up a Patreon, etc. It seems like a much more intimate experience than just them being on a stage somewhere and maybe they'll talk to you at the bar or wherever later.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

That's a fair counterpoint for the tax thing in that individuals should not have the same exceptions for their privileges that governments have. I shouldn't be able to force taxes out of people like a government can. It's morally dubious for governments to force their citizenry into doing that due to place of birth, it should be seen the same if individuals are doing that.

I often argue that "innocent until proven guilty" is a government restriction that is put on the institution that doesn't quite fall on the individual. Because while the state says the O.J. Simpson is innocent by that standard, they cannot force the individual to agree with them. However, the individual is not legally allowed to take action in the government's stead on their belief the process failed.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (5 votes)

But why should governments have any sort of special status? I don't really see living under a government is different than living in a mafia-controlled area. Someone says they're in charge and you don't get any say in it. Government is nothing more than some people who decided that they should tell people what to do and now punish people who disagree with 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~

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Well, for a start, they're keeping the mafia away. ;-p

The justification for most of today's governments is that they are the agents of a kind of "social contract", through which we all benefit - by restricting those who would harm others to their own advantage, and maintaining public goods which exceed the capability or desires of an individual (including things such as "clean air").

The vast majority of people benefit from such cooperation, and so it is in their interest to maintain it. Even those who're expected to contribute more than they get may benefit, because the alternative could be others taking everything. (There's usually something in here about happy, healthy, educated workers being productive as well.)

A modern variant of this is having the goal of improving social equality; trying to raise the lot of those with the least. Of course, even if you agree on this as a goal - and not all do - how you go about it is up for debate. For example, do you sterilize all the people with genetic defects, to avoid producing more disadvantaged citizens? Or maybe because this harms those who exist further, there is a better option, such as genetic matching, adoption, or gene therapy? Should professional police and judges act to maintain society; or are citizens expected to take the law into their own hands?

Conventions act as a form of government in this sense, but arguably a rather weak one, given that about their worst punishment is exile - which perhaps isn't as big a deal as it once was, given that there are now so many of them. (Certain conventions share information, but their own sovereignty may limit the impact, just as it does in real life.)

Fan websites are similar. Membership has costs and benefits. If you don't like the one you're in, or they don't like you, you can join a different one - or make your own; but if it remains just yourself, it probably won't be a great website.

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

The problem with the social contract justification is that it's not really a contract because its not something that you enter willingly, it is something that is enforced. There's no possibility to opt out. Everyone on this site has internet and probably thinks it's a good thing but if an ISP came to your house, said we're giving you internet and this what you have to pay and if you don't you will be punished, we would consider that a bit problematic, even if you were planning to get internet anyway.

"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: 1.5 (8 votes)

But you can opt out when we're talking about the fandom. You don't need conventions. Seriously, you don't. Shit, I could probably come up with a bunch of arguments as to why nowadays you might be better off without them, saving our ever dwindling funds in this late-capitalist hellscape being chief among them of course, but I can't be bothered when you immediately jump to a half-assed example of ISPs forcing you to get internet and pay for it if you were planning on doing it anyway.

You know what, I have a new theory about what's wrong with the fandom. It's vitamin deficiency. That's gotta be it. I tried living off nothing but hard boiled eggs and coffee for a while and my brain went to shit too. I was writing all kinds of 'tarded arguments about things. I was dropping things a lot too. I'm a pilot now! =D

Try eating a banana or something.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (4 votes)

I wasn't talking about conventions, the conversation moved on a few posts ago.

"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: 1 (2 votes)

and you just showed why GR allows cub porn on inkbunny. congrats.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Eh, dude, the real reason is because he's into the shit himself. Sorry, it's the truth. Same reason it was allowed on FA for so long and why that "referendum" was a complete waste of time. These sites are and always have been more about the owners/inner circles base desires than the wants and needs of the community.

Your rating: None

What? I do not follow that at all.

"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: 1.6 (7 votes)

If you want fewer people like me in the fandom which I'm guessing you probably do, yeah, might want to outlaw adoption. But anyway thanks for typing all this shit out for Rakuen but as you can see it was all for naught. You tried your best, he didn't get it, whatever. Try simpler words spelled out with baby blocks next time.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Damn two people can't have conflicting viewpoints on abstract concepts on here without you doing this shit, bro

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

The thing is a government can become something that is worse than the mafia if it isn't kept in check. Sure it has an immune system designed to help protect people from organized crime. But fascism is an auto-immune disease which is also funded by tax payer dime.

Now the early statement of people being being unable to disassociate from a government isn't true in all cases. There is the ability to renounce citizenship.

It's just in most cases you'll have to pay to do it. So you can only do it if you have the means to. And I think some of us here have the means to, if haven't done it already. At least two have lived in two different countries for an extended period.

I think it'd be better if more people had said opportunities as it may help make the relationship between the individual to withdraw from their government even stronger, but sometimes you wonder if they're building walls for a reason other than keeping people out.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

I think you've very much misunderstood me. I did not say, nor do I have any reason to think, that Boozy was under any pressure but that he and others put the con/organisers under pressure to not associate with 2 and so undermine their freedom of association by enforcing a penalty on 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~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

In that case, I don't think there's been an unethical or unhealthy amount of social pressure put on their freedom of association.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

It sets up an all-or-nothing situation where there is no room for disagreement

Disagreement: Joe Biden is the best candidate for President. Person 2: No, Bernie Sanders is! Person 3: no, Kamala Harris is!

Not a disagreement: trans rights are human rights; trans people should have their, many times medically necessary, transition to be covered.

an open debate with 2

a jackass like 2, or donald trump/alex jones/any of their followers isn't looking for debate. they're looking for ways to further indoctrinate their slobbering bases and have the "see, i'm 100% right. anyone who disagrees is a hater"

Your rating: None Average: 4 (7 votes)

I may be wrong, but as far as I know '2' isn't actually banned at any conventions. He's just not being welcomed as a performer. I'm pretty sure that if he chose to go as just a regular attendee, he'd be allowed even at the conventions that won't let him perform. He chooses not to attend under those terms apparently. I see nothing wrong with that. IFC probably should have been aware of his less than stellar repuation at this point, but they got the message fast. Of course this won't be enough for the mob of arm chair social justice warriors that will want to extract every last bit of blood and drama from the situation.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (4 votes)

At least one of them, IFC IIRC, asked him not to attend, though didn't outright ban him, and 2 said he would respect that. For some reason I feel like it's even more prickish to feign politeness by "nicely asking" someone not to show up rather than just telling them outright they're not welcome. It's both weak and disingenuous and I wouldn't put it past them to ban someone who showed up after being "disinvited" or whatever the word should be and then turn around and be like "well we did ask nicely the first time!" I think my problem with it is 1) it puts an extra emotional burden on the person being "not-banned" because they have to exercise extra restraint, which actually makes it more punitive, and 2) it allows the people making that decision to tell themselves they're better people because they "didn't technically" censor or discriminate or whatever bad thing they think they might be doing (or more likely are afraid of being accused of). And as always I assume it's that unique brand of paternalistic cynicism the fandom's self appointed leaders tend to have, thinking lesser furries (i.e me) will be too stupid to see through it and will actually congratulate them on their benevolence and compassion.

I've seen forums act the same way, saying things like "we wish you success to seek elsewhere" instead of saying "you're banned" and sincerely believing it makes them better people when they ban people for the same petty reasons as any forum.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Which forums

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

Nice try.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

It's not censorship to not offer him a stage or forum at a private event. That's what people seem to forget. No convention is obligated to act as a public soapbox for anyone and not doing so is not censorship. Nor is anyone obligated to listen to somebody else's 'public speech' even when it's being done in a forum where it is a right. Just saying.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing