The Good Clown, the Bad Clown, and The Furry Con
Midwest Furfest has come to learn that being the largest furry convention in the world comes with its follies as news broke of an infamous alt-right provocateur, Milos Yiannopoulos, setting his sights on the gathering. After he went public with this, and word started to spread around, the pressure was on for the convention to make a decision on the matter of this particular would-be attendee.
In a statement released by the convention they said that his presence would not be appropriate for the goal of giving attendees an enjoyable gathering experience.
Self-registration for our event does not imply a given individual’s presence is condoned or appropriate.Our full statement is below, along with a link to our Code of Conduct: https://t.co/bf78xOGSOo pic.twitter.com/0CnTi6AbYt— Midwest FurFest ???? (@FurFest) September 16, 2019
In return there have been statements by the banned individual that they plan on showing up to the event anyway. With this debacle covered by many outlets outside the fandom such as the Rolling Stone, it has inspired other far right political actors, such as the Proud Boys, to claim they’ll try and be disruptive of the event as well. Convention security has been working with the venues and law enforcement to ensure that precautions are taken. Furs have been informing other attendees to take necessary steps and be aware when attending this December’s gathering.
It must be noted that non-furries of note crashing furry conventions is nothing new. There is Johnathan Hills who crashed AnthrOhio in his Buddhist caricature, Ice Poseidon who stumbled into Texas Furry Fiesta, Strange Aeon at Furnal Equinox, and of course the Good Mythical Morning guys found themselves in Sydney’s Harbour City Fur Con at their fursuit photoshoot.
And of course, bringing it back to Midwest Furfest, there was one other celebrity who crashed their festivities. So with that I present to you a story of two clowns, one good and one bad, and their differing interactions with the furry convention Midwest Furfest.
The Good Clown
Midwest Furfest 2018 had a surprise guest, who was foreshadowed when a viral video was released around Anthrocon in the summer of that year. It featured a name that, unlike the examples above, people of my age may recognize. In the video, covered here on Flayrah, the Insane Clown Posse headliner Violent J was co-hosting an informational segment with his daughter, Ruby, about being scammed by DHGate into buying a crummy fursuit knockoffs.
Six months later, in Rosemont, the clown had arrived. And while the press had made a big deal about this event when word got out of his presence, there was no red carpet nor fanfare. He arrived just as any other furry fan, through the front door. Except for— those that take the sky bridge— you know what I mean.
The Good Clown had prepared for this excursion. He had his own fursuit designed. He went around with his daughter and took photo ops. He immersed himself into the experience of the celebration and didn’t steal the show, but shared it.
The celebrity could have made a big deal of going to MFF prior to his attendance, he could have announced his pending arrival from on high, but that was never the Good Clown’s way. He's certainly no Kanye, whose recent acts of using his celebrity to crash churches, has inspired some regular Sunday attendees to walk out. Violent J was not going to transform Midwest Furfest into a Juggalo fan meet and greet. He just wanted to head down and see the chaos in its natural state. He was a guest with the distinguished manor of a statesman, despite having the attire of a jester.
But in essence the Midwest is his home, it has had rough times, probably some of the toughest in the nation. Never recovering from the recessions of the 1970s fully, taking on the brunt of the opioid epidemic, and whose territory probably feel they have been abandoned by Democrat and Republican alike. The Good Clown stayed and tried to make the most out of what they had been left with in the home they were dealt.
The Bad Clown
It is when you understand the acts of the Good Clown that we can best define the actions of a bad one. A person who announces that they will be present with the blow horn that is social media. One that informs all their non-furry fans that they will be around and should show up if they want to do a meet and greet.
This has been the actions of Mr. Yiannopoulos. Whose acceptance by the automated registration system of the convention's space was shared around social media heavily on the 13th of September. That Friday, while faced with an unlucky decision, it was not long debated among the board as on the Monday following they had revoked the attendance given out by computer.
So, the bad clown, like the good, got media coverage. But this clown got angry at the jeers and laughs as he wiped off the lemon meringue pie of rejection. How dare people laugh at him! So he has indicated that his own posse would descend upon the gathering, but not to spread music and an outlet of frustration in a healthy manner as the Good Clown would, but for simple and petty revenge.
And while as a political provokator he claims to have the best wishes of the future of humanity in mind, he cannot see the needs of others beyond the front of his nose. These is no political benefit to anyone, other than himself, for giving a threat of trespassing a furry convention. He doesn’t care for the Midwest, it isn’t his home. He doesn’t care for America, it isn’t his home. He does seem to care deeply, though, about his personal power and image. Anything that questions those things are his enemy and will be the wrath of his posse, according to this behavior.
A con of ideology to protest the con
In the final point here, it should be pointed out that the greatest of ironies here for those that empathize with Bad Clown’s plight of not being allowed to be an attendee Midwest Furfest, is that they are typically individuals who are nationalist and believe that it should be a nation’s sovereign right to be able to reject a foreigner from coming into their country due to the history of their behaviors. In essence it is the same group that celebrates Trump when he says America is closed and wants to build a wall to shut out outsiders, who are the ones that are crying foul when furry conventions are not implementing an open borders policy when it comes to individuals such as the Bad Clown.
The difference must be emphasized, however, that if the Bad Clown shows up as an "illegal immigrant" to Midwest Furfest, the board does not have the power to indefinitely detain him in an over-crowded jail cell. It does not have the power to separate him from his children to never see them again. It does not have the power to make him "disappear".
Let no liberty conscious individual with fear of overreach of institutional power be distracted from the fact that only our governments have the capacity to utilize such violent ostracization tactics as those noted above in a manner that would not lead to arrest. If you truly fear being shed from society, you should fear those institutions, not the decisions of a furry convention that only has power over one convention center for one weekend of the year. Yes, even if the government that has those powers is lead by someone you think is on your side.
Furries are welcoming to outsiders generally, we welcome those that wish to come in and enjoy the arts. To discover it and themselves. However, individual conventions do reserve their right to assemble and to be able to assess the background of an individual with a history of disruption of assembly. Especially when the behaviors of said "immigrant" of drawing attention to themselves pre-convention indicated their intent with the convention was selfish all along and would make themselves a public charge through their presence. It must be noted that Midwest Furfest was not the first institution to reject this particular immigrant on those very grounds, as he was barred from Australia.
If it was not their goal to cause a fuss: then would the Bad Clown not have behaved in the manner of the Good Clown?