Dogpatch Press welcomes Arrkay of the furry YouTube channel Culturally F’d.
RMFC, AltFurry, Badgers, and a shaken fandom. This week, a sombre Arrkay addresses some big issues affecting Furries, and some ideas to fix it.
The video is the most disliked video in Culturally F’d history, even more disliked than 17 Misconceptions. Still overall, a great response from the community. The comments section had many misinformed and differing opinions but overall everyone stayed respectful, which is all I really wanted. I’m probably still going to turn off comments in the future, I don’t think there’s any value in keeping them open. Another surprise after the release was the watch-time, it matches that of a healthy video with a surprising number of viewers reaching all the way to the end. I was expecting a sudden drop off at points where many people would rage quit. I was hoping that from there I could figure out the exact point people nope-d out, and explore that part of the script more in this article. But it seems people who clicked out did so at a pace like any other video.
Below is a transcript of the episode, edited slightly for a better reading experience.
There’s been a lot of… drama lately on twitter. A convention abruptly shut down due to tax evasion, and a very small group of furries who self-identify as Nazis making more noise than they are worth. Today on Culturally F’d we need to have a serious talk. The last time we needed to chat like this was last winter when we looked at the media noticing furries during the #tonytigergate twitter storm. We’re going to discuss the divide that’s shaking the fandom, and yes, Nazi furs. Defending a genocidal regime while being a talking animal is culturally F’d.
Here are some very differing opinions on the matter:
- May 2017 | What’s Yiffin’? by Gatorbox
- Furry Raiders, Crazy Letters, and Rocky Mountain Furcon by Furry Days
- RMFC Cancelled? My Thoughts by Reinfoxy
- WHAT KILLED RMFC? | BIRD BAWKS #8 by 2, The Ranting Gryphon
- Rooview – Rocky Mountain Fur Con’s Rocky Demise by World in RooView
If you’ve been on twitter, or exist anywhere online alongside furries, you’ve definitely been witness to some very loud tweet activity lately. Even louder than #TonyTigerGate. It’s not our intention here at culturally F’d to point at any specific individuals or the drama that certain furries have been in the center of, with some exceptions. Instead we’re looking at the larger problems that are being presented, and hopefully, what we can do about it as a community.
The summary of events has been removed for your reading pleasure. There’s no new information in the summary. Please see these links if you don’t know what’s going on:
So that was a lot. Just take a second. Breath with me. Ok. Let’s dive in.
So, you may be asking, “what’s the problem?” “Are they really Nazi’s?” “What’s so bad about X anyway?”. The thing that I keep asking myself, is what can I do? How can I contribute something meaningful to the conversation.
Part of the problem, to me it seems, is this division we’ve placed ourselves in. Maybe it’s more of a microcosm of the political discourse at large, but I’m trying to keep the discussion relevant to the fandom. A lot of rhetoric in the furry twitterverse is not done so with enough research. It boils down really quickly to personal insults, which gets us nowhere.
The division is simple, common and is applied to any group of people. Us versus Them. You’re either an SJW cry bully or a Nazi, neither which label are helpful. Us is right, them are wrong. Newsflash. There never was an us or a them. We’re all us, we’re all in this fandom together like it or not. So it’s up to all of us to try to solve this argument and attempt to do so respectfully.
Is Furry too inclusive?
It’s the pride of the fandom to be open to any of the weirdos and freaks of the internet, and providing a safe fan community to engage with. In many ways the furry fandom’s greatest strength is its inclusivity. We legitimize people’s fantasies, and make them feel at least a little bit more normal letting them know that there are other people out there with the same talking animals in their heads. All are technically welcome in Furry. All shapes, genders, political views etc. This has created a beautifully diverse framework of furries from all walks of life. Anyone can be furry, all they have to do is label themselves as such, maybe attend an event or join a chat group. Furry is an open-invite party.
Though, it may seem that this inclusiveness is starting to back-fire on us. In the past we were small enough that if someone stirred trouble, the news spread quickly on who to avoid. These days it’s not as simple. We attract such a diversity of people, we do have lots of examples of very fringe beliefs and extreme views. It’s easy to forget that the vast majority of the group are perfectly reasonable, respectable people when we have such loud and extreme personalities trying to dictate their limited views on the rest of the fandom.
One response to this over-inclusiveness, was the Burned Furs, which Viro and Metriko of Feral Attraction talked about in our Ursa Major award nominated episode on “How you Perceive Porn”. The Burned Furs lobbied against the over-sexualization of the fandom and in a sense they were trying to censure the fandom.
In front of millions at San Francisco Pride! (Thanks: Chrisastro.com)
Censuring the fandom isn’t necessarily bad, I can appreciate the SFW button on art sites and conventions efforts to create an all-ages appropriate atmosphere. But the burned Furs also lobbied against “alternative lifestyles”, like homosexuality and trans people.That was distasteful to a fandom largely made up of LGBT people, so the movement fizzled out after only about 2 years.
What I’m trying to address with over-inclusiveness is how we, as a fandom, deal with bad behaviour. People who harass, online or in person, or individuals whose actions strain the relationship between convention and hotel. RainFurest2016 was cancelled amid allegations of rampant vandalism and property destruction. As Buni put it in his Rainfurest “Post Mortem” article:
“What really killed RF2016 was RF2011 to RF2015. During those years [the convention staff] failed to deal with problem behavior as it started happening… we didn’t work with our venue to discourage bad behavior, and we didn’t create an environment where people who wanted to solve these problems were able to.”
Whose job is it to filter this activity out and discourage these individuals from quite literally ruining it for the rest of us? Conventions are the institutions that glue this fandom together, and make it go much further beyond an art forum or website. Conventions and in-person events make this fandom beautiful, and let us embrace each other in actual hugs and not digital hugs flanked with asterisk’s. Conventions do talk to each other, and some preemptively ban troublesome individuals who were removed from other events. Others, worryingly, not only ignore the warnings from other cons but actively broadcast that they don’t ban people, which is basically inviting those individuals. It’s a bad look for your organization. It is the job of organizers to weed out misbehaving attendees to show them that there are repercussions to their actions, that bad behaviour affects the group and gets events shut down.
Do they exist? Yes. Definitively.
[This exceptional human being mansplanes to an SJW cry-bully why it’s OK for him to break the magic and reveal the SS uniform tucked under his fursuit. It’s totally OK though, I’m sure his Jewish grandmother approves.]
Are they the Furry Raiders? No, not necessarily. The Raiders actively try to brand themselves as all-inclusive, like the fandom at large, and welcome furries of all backgrounds. This is…. contradictory to the actions, words and tweets that some of their membership post on a regular basis. There is evidence that at least some of their ranks self-identify as Nazi-furs, and have even gone as far as to donate money to and try to join real neo-Nazi groups. If they aren’t currently Nazi furs, they were in the near past.
The knee-jerk reactions to these accusations are usually along the lines that homosexuals and people of colour wouldn’t be Nazis. For the most part that’s true, but historically, lookup Ernst Rohm, a Nazi general who was pretty open about being gay and helped lead Hitler to power until other Nazi’s convinced Hitler to arrest Rohm. He would be executed before the war and before outed homosexuals were forced to wear the pink triangle and systematically murdered. As for people of colour, the Japanese were OK enough with Nazis during the war. So please stop saying that LGBT and PoC can’t be Nazi’s, it’s just not the case.
[Not a single comment was made on the above point, which I guess means it’s one of the stronger ones of the video]
About their choice of symbolism.
Pepe the frog is dead, the Nazis killed him. More accurately, they used his image to represent their ideas online. Pepe is registered as a hate symbol and creator Matt Furie worked Furie-ously to win Pepe back as a passive peace loving stoner and not the hate symbol he’s become. “Feels bad, man” Similarly, artists and writers for Marvel have had to explain that the Captain America for Hydra story line is not promoting Nazis, but “alt-right”ers have certainly been using their imagery against the original intentions of the artist:
(1/?) Symbols matter. Popular perception of symbols matter. If you have to explain that you’re not promoting Nazis, you’ve fucked up badly
— (((Jay Edidin))) (@RaeBeta) May 7, 2017
I think that changing a logo to make it less offensive is far easier than explaining over and over and over that it’s not like that. Unfortunately for the Furry Raiders, enough of them have self-identified as Nazi’s that we still need to ask if the whole group are a part of that.
We’re all collectively making this Nazi problem worse. Mostly by calling any racist or conservative a Nazi. If we alienate someone for a racist tweet or stupid joke by calling them a Nazi, it alienates them from the group and into the open arms of real Nazis. No one likes to be called a Nazi, unless they are one. We can avoid doing this by scaling our criticisms back. Still call out racists, sexists and assholes, but then leave or block them. When they realize no one is listening is when they’ll start to reconsider their motives.
You don’t solve racism by denying you are racist. You solve it by admitting your faults and asking questions to learn how to better present yourself in the future. Try to refrain from a knee-jerk emotional defense and try to understand why someone is offended before pulling a free-speech card. Are they an actual Nazi or are they a troll pretending to be a Nazi to get a rise out of you? That’s just as awful as being an actual white supremacist. It normalizes it and emboldens other, real white supremacists. I don’t believe in “ironic Nazis” unless it’s a sketch from British television.
What most people are referring to when accusing someone of Nazi-ism is racism or fascism. There are a lot of white people in the furry fandom, and with that comes a lot of white privilege. We’re seeing this challenged as “SJW cry-bullies” are trying to destroy free speech and censure perfectly legal racist remarks, so maybe THEY’RE the real Nazis! SJW stands for “social justice warrior”, which used to refer to tumblr users who got far too offended on behalf of a group they don’t even belong to. Now it seems to be labelled on anyone who’s offended by anything or even worse, calling out genuine problems. These people are probably outraged for a legitimate reason and calling them cry babies neither helps your case nor contributes any valuable counterpoint. “SJW” creates a false antagonist, a straw-man argument. Placing someone in a fictional role of the constantly outraged and defending people’s actions that don’t really need defending. Do you want your words to make you sound like you’re defending a Nazi, and be labelled a Nazi? Do you want to leap to the defense of a minority or someone who isn’t in the room and be labelled an SJW? I’d be the SJW cry-bully any day of the week.
The language you use matters. Attacking someone online, regardless of what side you’re on, only makes them shut you out and reinforces their ideas. They double down on their beliefs in spite of you.
More people of colour are entering the fandom. As furry spreads its fuzzy arms across the internet in a global hug, people from every continent are getting involved. Furry cannot grow if members of our fandom are actively shutting out furries who are black, furries who are Muslim, or basically any furry who doesn’t fit in with someone’s limited standards.
If all are welcome in Furry, then act like it.
What you can do to help stop this?
Talk to your friends. Speak up if someone makes a racist comment, and talk to them. Small changes make a huge difference. Even if it just lets your friend know that those things make you uncomfortable, at least you can get their assurance that they aren’t serious. And if they were, get some new friends.
Support furs of colour. FurryBlackHistoryMonth hashtag from February was beautiful and shows how much talent in the fandom is coming from people of colour from around the world. Support their art, their video, their fursuit performance, and make them feel a welcome part of our growing community.
Furry is like a family. And some families have that really racist gandpa or aunt or something. Right now, we’re kind of dealing with our version of that. I don’t want to call this “Drama”.
Calling it “drama” belittles these very important issues.
“Drama” is a label the community uses as a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with issues. These problems lie beyond the individuals that are involved and needs to be addressed by all of us.
I want to end on a lighter note and address one individual, The Boozy Barrister or The Boozy Badger. The fandom’s new badger lawyer came in while investigating all this. And after? He stuck around. He changed his twitter image to a Badger and is invited to just about every convention. I feel that this is a sign that overall, the furry fandom is handling these issues well. Better than it might appear on twitter. Better than the small group of bigoted jerks and kids who just don’t know any better want you to think.
Here is something for you guys to ponder in the comments, is this special to Furry? Is there any part of this conversation that is unique to our community or is this a small conversation in the larger discourse in the ‘human’ world? I expect all the comments will be thoughtful and respectful to the other users. I do not want to have to shut down the comments section but I will if I have to. I challenge all commenters not to use the words “Nazi” or “SJW” at all.
So to conclude, RMFC closed for a number of reasons including tax evasion and heightened security costs at the threat of violence. The Furry Raiders are not necessarily Nazis, but enough of their members have very questionable pasts. I believe the problem lies in the us-v-them mentality that has arisen in the recent political climate. We have to be careful with labeling people as it can be counter-productive and likewise we should all strive to be at least a little bit social-justice-warriors to help the fandom grow and foster a true community of acceptance.
This video only represents the opinions of the writer, and does not reflect the opinions of our Affiliates, Sponsors or Patreon Subscribers. Or even Dogpatch.press.
Culturally F’d is not a news outlet, and is subject to being incorrect or bias when regards to communicating the story. We do strive for accuracy and where possible providing links to sources. We encourage viewers and readers to conduct their own research and form their own opinions.
We would like to thank our contributing editors for their feedback: Aberguine, BlackLynk, Fletz, Kothorix, Queenie Deerhart, Nayo.
Comment Response Video and Closing Thoughts
Basically, I felt the overwhelming urge to do and say something. There’s so much happening and everyone is so confused to what to do. I felt a responsibility to use the platform that I’ve built to spread my message and hopefully spread some hope. I’ll admit that it was first drafted under a lot of stressed out anxiety, and a lot of that was scaled back after several revisions and good friends helping shape the script.
Some more of my own thoughts post-video. A few of the comments showed a complete denial that anything is wrong in the fandom. Many still think that racism is not a part of the issue, but personally I have seen way way WAY too many racist comments and tweets from furries about this. Some, understandably, want to ignore the issues outright and wait for it to go away.
There are still an alarming number who are defensive of Nazi’s. Since when were they aloud back as legitimate speakers? After WW2, basically every allied nation reshaped their entire society and government structures specifically to avoid ever giving those people any legitimacy or chance to power ever again. Free speech is super important to Americans, I know that. But it’s only really recently that these extreme views have been given the validation and equal footing that they really don’t deserve. Just because someone dresses nicer, gets a haircut and rebrands as “white identarian” (a real thing someone said in the comments), doesn’t make them any less of a neo-nazi.
Another thing that’s upsetting to me, is that people are still reeling over “nazi-punching”. Yes, sucker-punching people you don’t like is a shitty thing to do. You should check out the top link the research below on “The Ethics of Punching Nazis” which I got from Boozy Badgers twitter feed. What’s shittier is validating people who advocate for genocide, and encouraging them to conceal-carry firearms at furry parties just in case someone gets done putting up with their shitty views.
A fist fight at a school happens daily, it’s easy for the school to deal with, it’s easy to deal out repercussions and even make the offending parties make up after. A gun at a school makes international news and a lot of the time too many people are on the wrong end of it. So many furries don’t see the threat in the tweet about shooting Deo, just because of how it was carefully worded. I see it. And it scares the crap out of me. I would think that the country with the highest number of mass public shootings in the world would take a gun threat more seriously. The Denver Police sure did.
The ethics of “Punching Nazis”: https://www.popehat.com/2017/01/21/on-punching-nazis/
Boozy Barrister/Badget SovCit Breakdown http://www.lawyersandliquor.com/2017/04/free-furry-of-the-land-when-sovcits-and-furries-collide/
Vice Media: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pony-nationalism-and-the-furred-reich-inside-the-alt-furrys-online-zoo?asd%3Futm_source=mbtwitter
RF2016 Post-Mortem http://orrery.prismaticmedia.com/2016/02/20/rainfurrest-2016-post-mortem/
RMFC2016 Footage by The Halloweiners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_k7y7W-VNs
Anthrocon – Arguing against Nazi furs by RNCoyote https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C_zec9f8Gg
ArcticSkyWolf’s Furnal Equinox 2017 Con Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geKcsGK-bmo
Are We The Baddies? – The German Soldiers by Mitchel and Webb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JOpPNra4bw
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