Editorial: The Elephant in the Fandom

NOTE: This post is going to talk about politics. Even if we like to talk about fictional animals, furries are still human beings, and politics is at its heart how humans relate. “I don’t care/want to talk about politics!” is itself a statement of privilege– because that means you are in a position where you don’t need to care– and therefore paradoxical as it may sound that is still a political stance.

It has taken me a long time to write this post, for a variety of reasons, but more than anything else, it has been this post that caused proudtobeafurry.org to go quiet for so long after AnthroCon. As Editor-In-Chief I didn’t feel like I could in good conscience just keep putting up fluffy posts without addressing the issue, but I also had to work out just what it was I wanted to say.

2016 and 2017 have been a rough year in the United States. Our elections were manipulated, all the worst elements of our society were empowered or even exalted, and it has been a near-daily deluge of horribleness ever since. The “alt-right,” which is an over-polite term for a massive knot of fascists, racists, homophobes, and misogynists, have come out from under their rocks and are now waving flags and running people down in the street.

Not going to lie. The situation is bad. Vocal chunks of America are trying their hardest to recreate 1930s Germany, for reasons that range from misguided to downright delusional. The good news is that even larger chunks of America are fighting back– and we have the historical example to realize what we’re up against. The alt-right will go down and go down hard, eventually: the inevitable end for the whole mentality is self-destruction. But the rest of us are still going to have a big mess to clean up by the time it’s all over.

Where does furry fit in to all of this? Well, furry is a geek-heavy subculture, and geek-heavy subcultures are being deliberately targeted for infiltration and subversion. The phenomenon has been widely reported, and Dogpatch Press has done a very good job of breaking it down in particular reference to the furry fandom.

So now we have these people calling themselves “alt-furry.” FFS.

These people have been around, of course. Back in the ’90s when I was hanging out in alt.fan.furry/alt.lifestyle.furry they were around. They were generally spurned or at least ignored, for reasons ranging from The Geek Social Fallacies to a more basic “Ain’t got time for your crap.” But in 2016 and 2017, just as the alt-right was crapping all over American society, these people started crapping all over the furry fandom.

The avowed policy of proudtobeafurry.org is that we celebrate what we like, instead of complaining about what we don’t. But as much as we wish to highlight that which is good, it would be hypocritical to ignore that this conflict is going on around us. We are here to talk about what is awesome in the furry fandom, and that includes Inclusion, Creativity, Positivity, Tolerance, and Love– but that also means we stand in direct opposition to “alt-furry” and everything associated with it.

“It’s just a joke!” and similar rationalizations also get no pass from us. “Pretending to be a jerk” is inherently a jerkish thing to do. Pretending to advocate genocide “for the lulz” is no better than actually advocating genocide. Trolling by its nature makes people unhappy and is a mean-spirited behavior.

We are proud to be furries, and we oppose anyone who would bring the fandom down. Fascists and bigots of any variety are not welcome here until you discard those poisonous views and behaviors– and even then you will have to work to regain the fandom’s trust.

-The Gneech

5 Replies to “Editorial: The Elephant in the Fandom”

  1. I fear the meaning of Nazi is being dumbed down.
    I fear the definition of alt-right keeps expanding.
    I fear that, without changing my politics, I will eventually qualify as alt-right because I’m not the socialist some rabid advocate thinks everyone should be.
    That’s the direction this country seems to be moving in.
    Yours is absolutely the right stand to take… just make sure it is a stand, and not the next step of a casual stroll towards this abyss.
    I don’t want to have to fear you someday.

    1. The word Nazi is being used with absolute precision in the current situation, as it was during the campaign. If people wearing swastikas and advocating purges don’t qualify as Nazi then what would?

      We can and do disagree heatedly and all day long about libertarianism vs. socialism and any other number of -isms and still regard each other as fundamentally having a right to live and take part in society.

      Where it gets dicey is this: that “Republicans” are being conflated with “the alt-right” is because too many of the current crop of Republicans are inviting that. Lord Dampnut calls a protesting football player “a son of a bitch,” but fascists literally murdering someone in the street “very fine people,” and the Republicans just turn away and whistle because they think they can shove any number of things that they know the populace doesn’t want down their throats as long as they have this guy in office. Trump jokes that Pence wants to hang gay people, and the Republicans give uncomfortable chuckles.

      If you don’t want “alt-right” to equal “Republican,” then you have to fix the Republican party, because that’s where the problem is. If you want society to move away from the brink, then take it up with the people pushing us there!

      -The Gneech

    2. nazi: one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis :fascist
      alt-right: a right-wing grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism

      There are Republicans and Libertarians who do not qualify as nazi or alt-right, and you are one of them. You have nothing to fear from me except political disagreement.

      I will do what I can to fight the fascists and white supremacists because they are fundamentally counter to everything I believe in, and I hope that everyone who is not a fascist or white supremacist will do the same, regardless of political affiliation.

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