Hello there and welcome to October's episode of Digging Up Positivity. This month we have a whole bunch of animation news, lovely charity items, and a passionate animated weasel from Estonia. Plus more news from the fandom and beyond!
Video from Thabo Meerkat, transcribed
Welcome to another edition of Digging Up Positivity! This episode is dedicated to the many volunteers that make all those amazing conventions and charities possible. But besides them, we are covering some animation news and other (maybe otter?) tidbits!
I was browsing my Google news feed, as people who read non-fiction writing tend to, and low and behold, a news article from Rolling Stone came up entitled Will Furries Ever Go Mainstream? The reporter reviews his experiences while attending Midwest FurFest last December.
It’s a good piece that poses the question of whether our fan club, that has grown to the size it has in Rosemont, will garner mainstream attention - or acceptance. It's also long, and coming from me you know that’s saying something.
Like most coverage deemed “positive”, they do seem to marginalize the adult aspects of sexual expression in the fandom pretty quickly by saying that it was not the “main aspect of the fandom”. However, like most clever furs they snuck in a risqué quote about foxes:
dozens of six-foot alligators, snakes, lizards, and other assorted reptiles scramble to pose for a group photo.
On the floor, about three dozen foxes lie on top of each other in a “fur pile,” orange-and-white limbs and bellies knotted together on the ground.
I see what you did there Rolling Stone. You should be proudly ashamed.
But back to the concept of going mainstream. It isn’t a new question within the fandom which can bring excitement or concern depending on who you ask. We claimed it was happening when Disney used the word “anthropomorphic” to describe the world of Zootopia.
However, I would like to claim that, yes, we are entering the mainstream, whether we like it or not. I even have evidence that we may already be there.
A non-furry organization is asking the fandom to have a fursuit creator design a pair of costumes in time for Anthrocon 2020. This will be a commission for their cat mascot "Fiddlesticks". This feline character is used by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in order to inspire children with the beauty of music. They are looking for a pair of suits (copies) that can fit multiple performers. One will be for travel, while the other will be a home body suit. They'd also like to be able to accessorize, such as adding a suit jacket.
Those fursuit creators interested can find more information and apply using this Google Form. So if you are a fursuit designer in search of work, be sure to fill out their application. If you know one, forward them the form to fill out.
Designers of the Phillie Phanatic 'sculpture' have threatened to terminate their copyright transfer after 35 years, per a lawsuit filed by the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
Initially we leased the Phanatic to the team for appearances and paid a royalty to them for the licensed products we did. The first year of licensing we did over two million dollars in sales in the Philly area. Eventually we had a number of successful programs with teams who wanted to be able to control of the characters and were able to enforce the copyrights so we sold the Phanatic and then others to the teams.
Many made light of the mascot's pending "free agency", with the Washingtonian promoting a move to D.C. But for teams in a similar situation, such disputes could mean serious payouts - at least for lawyers - and given the time periods involved, the issue might soon touch on works in furry fandom.
It can be difficult to raise money for good causes. In doing so, a bit of creativity can be king. So in the late 1990s the New York Fire Department had created an interesting idea to titillate some interest in giving money to help raise funding for their organizations. This calendar of heroes would be a yearly staple for the Big Apple, each month having one of their own posing with a warm smile, usually shirtless. This idea has been emulated by other firefighting organizations following its success.
Whether this was the inspiration when Artwork Tee when they decided to round up a bunch of fursuiters for their idea for their own charity calendar, I am not sure. What is certain is that these costumed furs will be far less exposed than their firefighter counterparts. In fact they will be quite heavily dressed in their animal costumes as they try to "Save the Baby Horses".
A free to view documentary series, edited by Eric Risher and directed by Ash Kreis, was released on Kreis's Youtube channel AshCoyote. Her channel covers nonfiction topics of the furry fandom, while also doing streams of games of furry interest. Funnily since that’s the same kind of content my own channel covers it may seem strange that I’d want to promote their work, however in the non-fiction business it is important to encourage more sharing of information than less. Plus her production value is much higher.
Today we’re going to go over these seven videos. If you like these, then it you should consider throwing a few dollars toward their GoFundMe campaign to produce a full length picture about the fandom they plan on doing. It has 13 days left and is all or nothing, so they have to hit at least $20,000 to get any funding from the campaign. As of writing they don't have much more to go to reach that goal with over $18,000 raised at time of publication.
Zweitesich, a fursuit "designer label", released their first line of partial fursuits to the general public on April 16th. The three available designs are currently being sold for $6,000 apiece, and were advertised in a similar way as designer clothing brands Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger. The product launch, like that of a large sea-faring vessel, ended up with a lot of shattered glass on the ground, as many in the furry community did not receive the promotion fondly.
The Zweitesich brand name is a German compound word that means "second self" (zweites + ich). At first there was speculation that the price and advertising schemes were so tone-deaf that it was coming from an outside group, looking to cash in on fursuit fans. The ads were being done through a new social media account that hid its ties to whoever the designer was. However, the speculation was proven wrong when the actual fursuit creator stepped forward and apologized for the marketing mistakes. It turned out to be AlbinoTopaz, whose previous fursuits had broken records at auctions, like "Lavender Corgi" which had sold on FurBuy for $8,025 in 2014.
What started with a well intentioned creative spark by a furry to take a mass produced WalMart animal costume product and teach young ones how to express themselves in designs of their own creation turned into an unfortunate swarm of saltiness and virtue signaling by InfoWar fans.
The doors to this interaction was open when WalMart’s official twitter account responded to a furry expressing their desire to do a video on modding of their Maskimal products. Once the positive interaction of a corporation with the furs was made, the Joneses stepped in to voice their offense at the situation.
Season 6 of the popular "Battle Royale" shooter Fortnite is launching September 25, this Thursday, and for the second season in a row, the first teaser image released by Epic Games features a new character wearing an animal mask, in this case, a Deadmau5-esque DJ wearing a llama mask, after the Season 5 teaser featured a kabuki-inspired fox mask teaser.
The next Season 6 teaser image featured a cowgirl (the "Wild West" type of cowgirl, not the furry type, unfortunately), but it wasn't until the third and final teaser image, that things got really furry with an apparent werewolf character featured, seen above.
Update: The llama DJ is named DJ Yonder and is the tier 1 reward for the Season 6 Battle Pass; the werewolf is named Dire and is the tier 100 reward, and features further unlockable styles (he is unlocked as a human but most players will already have enough experience points reaching tier 100 to unlock his werewolf form when he is unlocked). Season 6 is also introducing Pets that players can carry on their back to the game; a dog, chameleon and baby dragon will all be unlockable in the pass.
Late last year, Nightf0x, an individual who I have done furry panels about journalism and non-fiction writing, had his first furry piece published by DogPatchPress. Prior to his publication he had spoken with me about doing a review and offering advice on it. In this piece he discussed his feelings of a furry’s class and how that weighed more at a larger convention like Anthrocon where he didn’t feel such a thing at his more local gathering of Anthro Weekend Utah which has an attendance around 10% the size of the Pittsburgh gathering.
My main critique with this piece was that I had noted while he was speaking from his experience between the environments of smaller conventions against larger ones, it did not highlight, nor go into depth, why he felt that the larger one had more classism in it. There weren’t any major examples on classist behavior observed which would have sold the concept better, but instead all the article did in the end is note that it existed.
Little could have anyone suspected that in the last weekend of July, a convention from Syndey, Australia would provide us with a new neologism that would elicit more groans and eyerolls than even the infamous words of “yiff” or “popufur”. This word would become known as the highlighting of elitism, particularly that of fiscal abundance. More ironic is that the convention that coined this phrase was even smaller than the Utah convention at an attendance cap of 300.
This word is “fursuite”. A word put forth to the press by the chair of Harbour City Fur Con. It was defined as meaning “a fursuit that is cheaply made”; giving the example of a costume that is being worth less than $5,000. What followed in its wake was a stark look at classist behaviors at the small Syndey gathering, and the fandom at large.
As repeated media victims we furs are always on the lookout for furry references— good, bad or indifferent— on TV and elsewhere. There are two distinct styles in which our fandom is covered: bluntly by name, and more subtly. It’s easy to identify the former, but sometimes it’s more fun when they don’t use the 'F-word' to describe the group in which they are referencing in their content. In those instances, it seems more a stealthy shout-out for our animal-ears only, designed to fly over the head of anyone who doesn’t get it.
Today I wish to go over some of those moments in furry media that seem to hold general fandom idioms and how fun 'situational nuance' can be.
A video released last weekend caught viral attention both inside and outside the furry fandom. In this presentation, a member of a rap group known as the Insane Clown Posse talked with his daughter about being swindled by an online marketplace selling inferior fursuit knockoffs.
Violent J of the ICP and his daughter, introduced as Ruby, discussed their personal experience with an online retailer of OISK, a seller on the website DHGate. The family-friendly breakdown goes over how the final product differed greatly from what was advertised on the site.
The well-produced skit is a good conversation starter, particularly when it comes to the topic of these organizations that would take advantage of the dreams of future fursuiters by siphoning money in return for low-quality costumes.
This week, the furry world was rattled by news from the fandom’s bidding site of Dealer’s Den when a record setting bid closed out a battle to acquire a fursuit from the highly in demand Made Fur You. The final bid came in at $13,500 dollars by Desafinado, a fursuit collector who already has two to their name made by Mischief Makers, dropped the wad of cash to secure their third. They plan on making a horned cat character named Sage with it. They have done an interview over the transaction with Dog Patch Press that can be found here.
If anyone was curious as to what the suit will be. This is the character I am looking to get done. I was debating between this one and my bunny; but there are some other makers I would prefer to have my bunny done by, so Sage is the choice. pic.twitter.com/fzy1kzto55— Desafinado (@DezziFae) January 30, 2018
The transaction has brought up many critical statements. In those they note that the amount of money is the amount of a car, or a sizable down payment on a mortgage. Of course, such comparisons to practical commodities overlook the fact that the purchaser in question may already have shelter and a mode of transportation that they are secure and happy with. Finances are a very personal thing, and it takes some perspective to realize that there is always someone out there who will make a less practical financial decisions in the world when they are secure in the needs department. In fact many furry artists bank on this.
Well, if you're familiar with the concept of Betteridge's Law, then you should already know the answer to that question. Hint: it's no. However, it's certainly an odd question to even present without a reason. So why ask?
Pousta, a Spanish language news site that covers fashion, design, music, and trends, posted an article about an early “fashion” of 2018 (Spanish). It covers a recent Internet meme around the consumption of detergent pods, and particularly its growth because of a video. This video is one of a furry YouTuber named Majira Strawberry with fellow fursuiter Arrin. The video ends with Arrin cooking a cheese pizza decorated with detergent pods.