The State of the Furry Fandom

The State of the Furry Fandom

Postby Doink on Sun May 21, 2006 4:12 am

Lately I've been wondering about just what kind of shape the furry fandom is in. I just finished reading the Crush Yiff Destroy archives because I thought they would be funny, but now I'm pretty depressed. It's depressing that there's so much crap on the net, depressing that I can still be shocked even after reading The Dark Tower and Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted, and depressing because the CYD writers have become so dead inside that they can no longer distinguish the good from the bad in the fandom.

Ralph, thank you for not drawing porn. I mean it. These people have sucked all the fun out of eroticism. It's like heartbreak, only on a more symbolic level. :cry:

I came into the fandom because I liked the concept of talking animals, not to jack off to some obscure fantasy that would make vultures physically ill. I'm just glad to know there's a place where that can't hurt me in any serious way (this forum).
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Postby Reignbow on Sun May 21, 2006 4:33 am

Yeah, there's a lot of really terrible artwork out there; some of it physically preposterous, some of it just mentally odious. Regrettably, furry comics seem to be a major attraction to people with very strange tastes. Still, there are a couple good ones out there.

Strips that are mostly harmless:
Kevin&Kell, Namir Deiter, Ozy&Millie, Funny Farm, Faux Pas, Inverloch (if that counts as furry), Vincy&Arty, VG Cats (cartoon splatter).

Strips that are not quite as innocent but still good in my opinion:
Jack, S.S.D.D., Closet Coon, Six Pack of Otters, Fur Piled and maybe Umlaut House (despite the terrible art).
Caveat emptor!

Doink wrote:Ralph, thank you for not drawing porn. I mean it. These people have sucked all the fun out of eroticism. It's like heartbreak, only on a more symbolic level.

I resolutely refuse to imagine an NC-17 version of TotQ. In that sense, I would like to add my own thanks to Doink's.
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Re: The State of the Furry Fandom

Postby Lwj2 on Sun May 21, 2006 5:23 am

Doink wrote:Lately I've been wondering about just what kind of shape the furry fandom is in. ...

I came into the fandom because I liked the concept of talking animals, not to jack off to some obscure fantasy that would make vultures physically ill. I'm just glad to know there's a place where that can't hurt me in any serious way (this forum).


Ralph, I'll add my thanks here. Not because I'm into "furry" at all.

You draw/write good stuff. Technically, the artwork is very well executed. [I despise "art" that requires the aid of a p-shrink to figure it out.] Your story lines are well done.

In short, you do the kind of stuff I grew up with -- I'm referring to strips like Walt Kelly's <i>Pogo</i>. I'm not a gamer, but I've been around them for years, I appreciate the gaming jokes in <i>UTLT. Questor</i> is neat, I enjoy your story lines. <i>Nip & Tuck</i> are just plain fun.

So, sir, a "VERY WELL DONE" from me.

V/R

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Postby Dapple on Sun May 21, 2006 5:41 am

I like a great many furry comics, and concertive comics as well, but when it comes to sexuality, I don't like authors who stik there head in the sand and prettend it doesn't exist. Whether or not that sort of content is, and always has been up to the author. But in life, peticularly adolesnce sex, and romantic feelings are almost unaviodabe. Ralph handles this by showing us Quentyns romantic ideal in Meribeth. It's not evading the topic, while keeping it clean and cute.
In short many authors compromise themselves, start showing content that could pass for porn, or evaid the topic in there story line which usualy just makes it less interesting. You shouldn't avoid it, but you shouldn't be a pornagrapher.....unless you set out with that intent in the first place.
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Postby RHJunior on Sun May 21, 2006 6:39 am

Submitted for your consideration....

The anthropomorphic fandom is a peculiar thing.

There are tens of thousands of anthropomorphic fans, who attend multiple conventions all over the United States and Europe. However, all the fans can testify of feeling like they were the only ones out there. The discovery that there is an entire fandom of similar people comes as a relative shock.

One of my favorite stories of "discovering the fandom" was told by Herbie Bearclaw. On a whim he typed in "anthropomorphic" in a search engine. And spent the whole night on the web in stunned amazement. He literally called in sick the next day and spent the entire next day online too... his quote was priceless. "I was like Tarzan seeing other human beings for the first time!"

All I could say was "testify...."

Everyone in the fandom goes through that. First, it's

"Oh my GOSH, there are other people like me???"

But then you start to see some of the sex, and profanity, and vulgarity, and in some cases outright weird sick freakishness, and your question is

"O my GOSH, am I like THESE people???"

Rough times, rough times.

Okay, first off, let's be fair.

This nonsense was old news all the way back when *I* first found out about the fandom, back in the 1990s. It's an issue so old it has moss growing on it. And it is nothing peculiar to the anthro fandom--- despite what sad little creatures like the makers of "Crush Yiff Destroy" might like to claim. Sci Fi, Fantasy, star wars, star trek,LOTR, Harry Potter, Renfaires, the Society for Creative Anachronism, comic books, ANIME--- No matter what fanbase you consider, they all have their freaks, weirdos, sickos, pervs and losers, and those who would exploit them for profit, damn the consequences. Fandoms are gatherings of social oddballs--- and when you have a gathering of SOCIAL misfits, the MORAL misfits won't be far behind.

Get this one fact of life down: <B> Fandoms have freaks like dogs have fleas.</B> And as long as we all live in this wicked old world, there will be more of them looking to latch on and burrow in under the fur.

The Furry Fandom seems to stand out more in this problem area for a couple of very basic reasons.

First of all, it's a relatively new fandom: only about 10- 15 years have passed since its first convention was assembled. The Star Trek fandom, by comparison, has been here for around twice that long. People being people, and people being DUMB, panic at anything new. Recall if you will the pseudoreligious crusade against Harry Potter.... preachers and church ladies and Kyle's Mommas gathering together to save America's children from.... a fairy tale, no more insidious or diabolical than the ones they themselves were raised on. One which they wouldnt have even noticed if it hadn't commited the damning sin of being POPULAR WITH CHILDREN. I swear, if kids could organize and think ahead, they'd never have to eat brussel's sprouts again. All they'd have to do is organize a Brussels Sprout Fan Club and ninnyhammers would be falling all over themselves to "save de chilluns from de corruptin in-flu-ence ub de Brussel Sprowwwwts ub de DEBBIL, ayyyy-MEN."

Second, fairly or unfairly, for the most part "funny animals" have been associated with <I>children's entertainment</i> for many generations. This tends to creep out people who aren't exactly steeped in broader culture. Consider the culture shock that the introduction of Anime caused. Its more sophisticated and mature themes (mature in the sense of complex and adult, not LEWD), its frank portrayals of violence, and its exploration of more complex issues freaked people out hardcore. The creator of Astroboy expressed his frustration at the censors in America: in one cartoon Astroboy fell from the sky and smashed to pieces on the ground. He was of course reassembled in the next scene, but the censors panicked and asked him to remove "the gratuitous violence." His comment was to the effect that, Here these people were at the time, sending their sons over to spill real blood in Vietnam, yet so hypocritical they were desperate to keep their children at home from seeing even FAKE violence in a cartoon! The notion that a cartoon should portray violence as causing pain and suffering rather than wacky stars and tweeting birdies was anathema.

Likewise the notion that talking animal characters should be three-dimensional and show complex, adult personalities and natures and be used to tell sophisticated and mature stories, rather than simply being sexless kewpie dolls aping childish parodies of adult behavior, is largely still anathema to western culture. ( This of course isn't helped by people who's notion of "mature" only gravitates to their groin, and who think the best way to make a hip, whole-family cartoon is to throw in lots of fart, poop and titty jokes.)


Third, when the first fan conventions started forming, the founders succumbed to the twofold trap.

The first part of the trap was the "Inclusiveness" trap; the fatal misperception that they were somehow obligated to be open to "ALL KINDS,"so long as they had some vague connection to the furry fandom. Having been excluded by others, they were guilted into thinking that they had no right to be exclusive themselves.
The second part of the trap was the "finances" trap, or "this has gotta pay for itself" argument. Turning people away, regardless of the reason, was turning MONEY away, money without which they couldn't pay the bills to keep the convention open. And hey, as to porn--- sex sells, right? It's worth compromising ourselves for a little desperately-needed fast money, right? So they turned a blind eye to the more bizarre and abhorrent behavior, and made special arrangements for the prurient....
And people who you wouldn't want in your homeowner's association in a million years, walked in the front door and claimed the place as if it were theirs by right of birth.

This is changing now, slowly, but it is changing. Convention chairmembers are getting stricter about what sort of shenanigans they'll let go on at their conventions. Quite a few permanent bans have been handed out. And at least two conventions, CACE in Canada, and Megaplex in Florida, have begun with a no-adult-material policy in place--- a heartening development.

Contrast and compare with your typical anime convention.... where the "adult" dealer's table leaves no fetish unturned and the public behavior of some of the cosplayers would make a Cenobite go "Whoa, hey, sorry, not my bag, man--" and run for the exits.


Slow changes.. but they're there.

It might help also to keep this in mind: a specific linguistic divide has finally surfaced.

An ANTHROPOMORPHIC FAN is someone who is an aficionado of books, movies, comics, and other entertainment featuring humanoid or "funny animal" characters.

A FURRY is someone who dresses up as an animal and goes on MTV to talk about their sex life with their plush toy collection.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Sun May 21, 2006 8:19 am

In that case I am an anthropomorphic fan, not a furry.
Ralph, I once came across a petition called Burned Fur. I did not sign it because, while it made some good points, it also went too far in the homophobic direction for my taste.
When I found out Yahoo classifies my site as a sexual fetish site becaue it was on the Transformation Web Ring, I tried going back and re-reading it to think again about signing it. But I found out it was defunct.
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Postby DracoDei on Sun May 21, 2006 8:46 am

(Edit: SOME of what follows I readily admit I have said before, but I do think it bears repeating.)
Dapple wrote: But in life, peticularly adolesnce sex, and romantic feelings are almost unaviodabe. Ralph handles this by showing us Quentyns romantic ideal in Meribeth. It's not evading the topic, while keeping it clean and cute.

Your grammer is a slightly spotty here, so please pardon if my response turns out to be something of a non-sequitor.
First, on the subject of sexuality and Ralph... Quentin and Meribeth NOTHIN' try Ben and Lily! And to a lesser extent, Ma and Pa Todd, Of the things you mentioned, the only thing either of these couples seem to be lacking is the adolencent part (and for that we have the chaste Thelma and Tuck). Ralph made a decision (and I think the right one from a plot perspective) to have Quentin be highly ineffectual in his pursuit of Meribeth. In fact, all we actually know is that he likes a WIDE VARIETY of things about her beauty, and has run into some problems. Ben and Lily's pursuit of eachother was and is highly successful in the sensual and sexual dimensions. As I have said before, a very good example to stand in the face of all this junk out there.
Which brings me to my next subject: Kevin and Kell. I once had the good fortune to see Holbrook at a small convention, and ended up thanking him for creating the 'Anti-Yiff' character... Kevin, the 'stud-muffin' who is also totally faithful. Note also that Kevin and Kell are noticably kinky in some of the strips... but the way it is shown is tasteful and appropriate both in the specific kinks (well, at least relative to the setting) and the low level of explicitness with which they are portrayed. The second is obvious, and for the first I will repeat a saying my younger brother once passed on to me 'Kinky is when you use a feather, perverted is when you use the whole chicken.'
Following this train of thought, I would say that for people who identify strong with their furry avatars as iconic representations of their personalities and personal ideals, and POSSIBLY, MAYBE for ex-furry porn addicts that going to the marriage-bed (edit: some of the time) "in fursona" can be a matter of "it's all good".
(Unabbashed semi-plug) Come to that, I know another Christian Furry Webcomic artist who has an image/character that represents who-ever his real life wife will be, if and when. His character is only her on-again off-again boyfriend (IOW they aren't married in the comic). He has kept her personality carefully bland in certain regards so that it won't contradict whatever woman he will gift with that image perminantly (might be more meaningful between the two of them than her ring!). The strip in question is "The Changing Workplace", it is currently in re-runs, grinding its way slowly through the plot arc that won my total loyalty to it as a work worth supporting with my words and very occasionally with my pocket-book. Ben may have the market nearly cornered on Christian Furry Eros, but Oren has the market on something much more important (the way of salvation WITHOUT MAKING IT TOO CORNY or discontinuous from the overall plot) almost equally cornered with this one plot arc. http://www.taur.net/~ottercomics/tcw/. The only competition he has, that I know of, is from "Untitled", which, being a less humorous strip, is even less silly, but only really spends one or two pages on the subject, and doesn't go into the "why's" of it.

Critiques/rebuttals welcome (grabs the shell off of Verne from "Over the Hedge" and ducks inside it).
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Postby DracoDei on Sun May 21, 2006 8:59 am

Addendum: I am unsure as to to what degree Lily might be the icon of Ralph's hopes for a future wife... and no, the fact that she is a 'looker' is irrelevant... wives are supposed to be beautiful to their husbands, that is just a fact. The actual physical appearence of the lady in question is, at most, a minor detail, especially to someone with a good imagination for seeing Truth before them rather than The Facts.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Sun May 21, 2006 10:16 am

BTW, thank you for the distinction. I have changed the word "furry" in my website to "anthropomorphic" in describing the stories I like.
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Postby Sharuuk on Sun May 21, 2006 12:54 pm

Not trying to stir the puddin' here, but just exactly WHO created the linguistic divide between Furry and Anthro?

In a somewhat parallel 'universe' here, I consider myself a "Trekkie"...NOT a "Trekker" or "Star Trek Fan". A "linguistic devide" somehow got created over these terms and self-rightous, or self-conscious nimrods started squalling "I'm NOT a "Trekkie", I'm a "TrekkER"!!! As if being called a Trekkie was somehow an epithet. I'm pretty sure that the media created the term Trekkie, (I may be in error here, so anyone with different info please jump right in.) as a maybe snide reference to all Sci-Fi fans, Trek fans in particular. Yet, somehow, my love of STTOS and most of the subsequent spin-offs made the term a badge of honor for me.

That said, I consider myself a 'furry' fan as well as an Anthro when I explain to mundanes just what my interest in humanized animals is although I'll NEVER be seen on MTV, fursuit or not, talking about my sex life. IMHO MTV serves no particular socially redeeming values to begin with so fursuiters sharing their most twisted sexual fantasies on national TV comes a no real surprise.

RH hit the nail on the head when he said that every fandom is going to have it's whack-jobs and freaks. But I'm not afraid of someone calling me a furry as a curse word....as far as I'm concerned, they are just putting both their ignorance and discrimination on public display and are to be ignored.

It's no different than when some stick-up-the-butt, tight-assed, hyper "conservative" gives me a ration of sh*t for doing the make-up/costume contest thing and demands that I should "act my age" (turned 56 May 5th) and stop making a fool of myself. WTF???

My answer to them has always been that they're just raggin' on me because they don't have the guts to "let go", and have a bit of wholesome, harmless fun with a very popular fantasy.

I'm a Furry and a Trekkie, NOT a freak, and I proudly wear both labels.

S'aaruuk
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Postby RHJunior on Sun May 21, 2006 3:08 pm

Tom Mazanec wrote:In that case I am an anthropomorphic fan, not a furry.
Ralph, I once came across a petition called Burned Fur. I did not sign it because, while it made some good points, it also went too far in the homophobic direction for my taste.
When I found out Yahoo classifies my site as a sexual fetish site becaue it was on the Transformation Web Ring, I tried going back and re-reading it to think again about signing it. But I found out it was defunct.


I don't know where you get "homophobic."

Of course that's the favorite brickbat flung at any group that rocks the boat these days....

I was one of the original sign-ons to that particular group. No, it was not homophobic.... considering the objectives of the group--- improving the image of the anthropomorphic fandom--- was apples and oranges with the issue of homosexuality, it didn't even come up.

What did come up, however, was the tiring, irritating point that the members of the group wanted to slough off the pervs and freaks and lunatics and the bad press they brought to the fandom.... <I>But they didn't want to give up their porn.</i> I and one or two others continually made the point that this was like complaining about horseflies but refusing to shovel out the stables. What did they think ATTRACTED the sickos in the first place? But too many of the members made "mature" art on the side to ever get any consensus.....

The group wasn't homophobic. No. But they certainly were <I>christianophobic.</i> I discovered far too late that Charla Trotman, the founder and figurehead of the group, was a vicious little cat who spewed toxic sewage in random directions and intervals, solely for her own amusement. First response to meeting me online... literally the moment I joined channel... was to post the header "MARY: JUST ANOTHER F@#$%ING UNWED MOTHER."
That was her most polite comment of the evening.

I left the group that same day.... within a few weeks they just crumbled apart. Charla Trotman, in a fitting piece of irony, disappeared entirely from the web and the fandom she'd disrupted. I wish her good luck and effective therapy for whatever condition drives her nasty little personality.

But, for what it's worth, it's my feeling that Burned Fur marked a turning point in the development of the fandom community as a whole. People were getting sick of the nonsense, and Burned Fur was just the underlying discontent coming to a head. After its brief day in the sun I noted that certain desired changes were taking place discreetly in the conventions and forums and IRC servers.... people were figuring out that catering to perverts and freaks wasn't beneficial, and were changing course appropriately.
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Postby Doink on Sun May 21, 2006 4:00 pm

Wow, Ralph, I guess reliable people are rarer than uncooked meat.

reignbow wrote:Strips that are mostly harmless: VG Cats (cartoon splatter).


Umm, you might want to put that in the second category. Just a heads up.
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Postby Namrepus221 on Sun May 21, 2006 5:10 pm

VG Cats doesn't even fit into the realm of "anthro" comic in the first place. Scott says in his FAQ that he created the characters based off his own two cats even before he knew there was such a thing as "furry".

Leo and Aeris aren't furry by any stretch of the imagination...and neither is Pantsman.
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Postby The JAM on Sun May 21, 2006 5:51 pm

Thank you, Ralph, for portraying love and sexuality in a clean and tasteful way.
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Postby LoneWolf23k on Sun May 21, 2006 8:13 pm

Well, I'm not going to be a hypocrite.. I'm a Furry, and unashamed of it. Yes, I like furry porn; straight, lesbian or gay.

But I don't obsess over it to the point of everything else. I love the Redwall series, "Cats Don't Dance" is my favorite animated movie of all times, and the RHJunior trifecta of webcomics ranks as #1 on my list of favorite webcomics of all times.

And I respect that not everybody's into the porn: an artist doesn't have to draw porn pictures if he doesn't want to, and I respect and admire Ralph's dedication to his principles.

We're not all creepy jerks.
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Postby DracoDei on Sun May 21, 2006 9:52 pm

LoneWolf23k wrote:We're not all creepy jerks.

I don't beleive that anyone said that ALL partakers of furry porn were 'creepy jerks', simply that most of the 'creepy jerks' were a attracted by the porn. More to the point is that some people might beleive that you are causing yourself and probably some people very close to you at least somewhat of harm. I don't feel like analyzing any further than that... especially not at this time. As for some indeterminate later time, I might or might not. I just thought it good to try to direct this discussion in a positive direction, to the best of my limited abilities.
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Postby Calbeck on Sun May 21, 2006 11:49 pm

Several points:

1) I'm a Furry, not an Anthropomorphic Fan. "Anthropomorphic" includes The Brave Little Toaster and anything else NOT human which exhibits humanlike characteristics. Changing the terminology in order to say "I'm not with THEM" impresses no one not already in the fandom --- just like no one outside Star Trek fandom cares about the difference between "Trekkie" and "Trekker". I'm not about to change how I refer to myself every time someone hijacks the terminology. First thing that happened when people began declaring themselves "anthro fans", was that dedicated porn producers like Impudenum began referring to THEIR wares as "anthro" and "anthropomorphic". You cannot outrun a bad reputation with a name change, so you'd best be ready to stand up and defend yourself no matter what you call it.

2) When people flip out about the porn in the fandom, I simply point out that we're an all-ratings group, from G through X, with no central control beyond that of the individual creators. There is no specific "canon" that defines what "furry" encompasses, except that it involves animals with a human level of intellect --- so anything from "Watership Down" to "Space Jam" to "Fritz the Cat" is legitimately "furry". You get what you look for.

3) Crush Yiff Destroy was created and is operated by people who burned out on the fandom long ago and now spend their time haranguing the sort of people they used to be. Same for http://www.furryfans.com. Their objective is to have a few laughs at other peoples' expense, period, and they'll happily make things up to do it. I can personally attest to this, having been the "priest" that "married" Mitch Beiro and Minerva Mink. The entire thing was a send-up from start to finish, an hour-long string of jokes, rotten puns, and skits including a faux duel. No one who watched it could possibly have thought it was serious --- but CYD published an article attacking Mitch Beiro on grounds that the wedding was supposed to be real.

4) Burned Fur was NEVER anti-gay. I was a member, and I can direct you to every official statement that ever came out of the group, and none of it suggests that gays have no place in Furry Fandom. SOME members --- literally one or two --- did indeed say things on public forums that could be taken as anti-gay. But a large percentage of the members were, themselves, gay or bisexual. Boiling it down, Burned Fur's position was "Got kinks? Then get a room and stop scaring off the mundanes!".

And if anyone wants to know WHY Furry Fandom has more than its fair share of X-rated types, it's specifically because there was a long period when it was marketed AS a sexually-promiscuous lifestyle in order to attract more people to the founding convention --- ConFurence. CF's founders advertised the convention in sexually-oriented magazines, with the direct result that many people began attending CF with the expectation of expressing themselves sexually.

CF did not just accept promiscuity, it promoted it. Lewd acts and displays routinely occurred in public areas, even when CF8 was held at the Knott's Berry Farm hotel. Complaints were routinely ignored or rebuffed, even when they came from people who were highly revered throughout the fandom. CF did not publish any guidelines regarding public behavior until the last few years, when it was being actively boycotted by hundreds of otherwise regular attendees. Meanwhile, virtually every convention in Sci Fi Fandom has published public decorum rules for decades, knowing fans can get out of hand otherwise. CF's attitude was that they did not want to rock the fannish boat by implementing rules.

From almost the beginning, when the press has covered the fandom, it has covered the sex aspect which was seeded by CF's founders, and most of this initial coverage occurred at CF itself. This resulted in a vicious cycle where each new article attracted more people interested in sex and --- not much else. These would include new artists and writers who produced more sexual material, resulting in more articles about the fandom's sexual aspect. And so on. The Internet has accelerated the pace at which this occurs.

Today, many Furries are surprised to discover that the fandom has other things to offer, or that it originated as a subset of Comic Book Fandom.

What it all comes down to is that this is the way the fandom was marketed to the outside world. So long as people refuse to speak up and market what the fandom actually IS, it will continue to be thought of in the terms that it has been branded with.
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Postby Calbeck on Sun May 21, 2006 11:53 pm

Namrepus221 wrote:VG Cats doesn't even fit into the realm of "anthro" comic in the first place. Scott says in his FAQ that he created the characters based off his own two cats even before he knew there was such a thing as "furry".

Leo and Aeris aren't furry by any stretch of the imagination...and neither is Pantsman.


No, Pantsman ain't furry.

But the only difference between Leo, Aeris, and any given furry character is that Leo and Aeris were not created BY furry fans. That's it. So the art style and content is not what's being used to define VG Cats here, but rather the question of whether the artist is inside, or outside, of furry fandom.
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Postby Atarlost on Mon May 22, 2006 2:48 am

As someone almost entirely outside the furry culture I'm curious as to what the term covers. I can think of several examples that may or may not qualify. Which are and which are not furry?

Werewolves
Engineered species (Freefall, uplifted species in Schlock Mercenary)
Aliens concieved as completely unrelated to terran animals (Wookies)
Wizards' familiars
gods (The Zeus-Europa incident)
Anthopomorphic non-mamals or anthropomorphic cetaceans
There are also some miscelanious properties that come from outside furridon and aren't clearly associated therewith, but seem to fit the obvious defenition (Planet of the Apes, Wargs as portrayed in The Hobbit, if cetacians qualify then some of the Pern books)
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Postby Richter B. on Mon May 22, 2006 4:47 am

Definatly ralph and calbek have stated some deep words
in this thread and it has made me go back and rethink some of my
veiws on things...
All i can say is as it's been like trying to boat through mined waters
when going through the fandom grounds....
some of it is gunna shock ya and some other stuff is gunna make ya
start doing some deep thinking.
this place is one of those places that makes me rethink stuff.
and i got to say I like it cause it's got some good people like calbek
ralph and all of you other people on here who don't bad mouth but
actually write in a meaning full and deep way
so I will keep on reading on as times progress.
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Richter B.
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