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An Open Letter to the Furry Community

Updated on February 1, 2012

So, I've been in the furry community for several years now. Other than the occasional Drama Bomb, furs are really open, furry plurry-type people. I've seen life from a lot of different angles - I've researched so much of the political scene that I now Know What's Going On, I've been into metaphysics for about fifteen years now so I'd probably be really surprised if anything surprised me anymore - and the furry community has to be about the most meaningful thing on the planet. No, I'm serious. Where else are people so dedicated to just plain being fun open and positive? But I was doing some introspection a little bit ago, and had one of those "excuse me, but WTF are you doing" moments. And I honestly don't have an answer to this one. So while this isn't going to be "robble-robble-robble-furries-yiff-in-Hell" or anything, I'm genuinely boggled about something and I'm hoping that some fur out there knows the answer to this.

I can has... moar... furry?

So you MUCK online, you go to a convention and the air is thick with loving bouncy enthusiasm. Maybe you swoop through the room parties, possibly even meet someone you click with. All of this, by the way, is made of awesome. The next day, you stop by the dealer's room and pick up your regulation Ear And Tail Ensemble. And eventually you go back home, where you live, work, and continue to MUCK. Okies... does this make you a fur?

When you work to pay for rent, noms and the all-important Internet access, you almost invariably pay taxes. If you live in the States, that makes you a contributing shareholder of all the lovely, wonderful things our government likes to do. Invading other countries to knock over their governments, CIA drug imports, playing target practice with the Constitution, seizing war protestors' assets, the lot. They sure couldn't do it without your support, right? Like everyone else, furs generally pay their taxes, buy sweatshop-made goods, continue to fund the mainstream media's spiral down the big gurgling drain of Stupid... the lot of it. But we don't seem to be encountering furs going, "Hey, here's a big pile of Stupid that I'm not going to subsidize. I'm not going to be a contributing factor to this Awful Falafel, because I've already made a strong life-decision to be as positive and loving as I can be." No, we don't see that. At least, I don't. Maybe all the furs who are that intentional about living their lives have just been hiding from me, I dunno. But it's like going to a furry convention and finding happy, bouncy joyous furry goodness in a room full of furs who, like, still have the blood of slaughtered Iraqi children on their paws and don't have the forethought to go wash it off first - and everybody just ignores it because they're trying to have a good time or something. And so help me, I just don't get it.

"...if DIck Cheney slapped on ears and a tail, would that make him a fur?"

Aren't these mutually-exclusive choices we're talking about here? To the extent that you choose this really positive caring approach to life, you pretty much don't choose to be the opposite. Now I know we just adore being cozy, and furs now have a scene where they can retreat to and be cozy and happy and that's a billion different shades of fabtacular. But what I've been seeing is that we're choosing to be positive and happy, and so we don't generally stand up and go,

"Uhm, 'scuse me. That thing over there? That's really really wrong. I'm not going to be a part of it, because I really think it should die a horrible fiery death in a plague pit of rabies. Personally."

And I think we don't usually do that because we like to stay positive. But how positive is it, really, to take an active part in making terrible stuff happen and then pretend like we're a Play-Dough Fun Factory of Happy by acting like we're not? This is an exaggerated example to illustrate, but if Dick Cheney went to furry conventions and slapped on some ears and a tail, would that make him a fur? Maybe we all have to decide that one for ourselves. But I... think not. Personally.

I so get that people who find the furry community come into it and go, "Pfwew!" and sit down and soak in the cozy while they catch their breath from the World of Massive Stupid that's right outside the threshhold. And then once they plunk themselves down there, they stay there. Usually for the rest of their lives. But wait, what? This is retreat! We have something awesome and wonderful, right? Shouldn't we be regrouping and taking it outside, back to the people stuck in the World of Massive Stupid, and fixing stuff? Wouldn't that be the embodiment of like everything we're choosing to be and do in the furry community? What we've got right now is great, but when we don't do better it's like seeing someone in this little paper fursuit designed by the same company that brought us those flimsy hospital gowns that don't close at the back.

There's so much that we could be doing. The furry community, if it weren't so adorably humble, would boast one of the biggest collected assemblages of thinkers, designers, artists, programmers, engineers and just plain geeks in the known universe. Instead of developing a new module for Linux, we could be crafting new, better, and stable models for society and then letting them take root in ordinary everyday society because they'd just plain work better. The average Joe out there is just as miserable as you were, but lacks the capacity to come up with anything better. You don't, and these better models are in great demand out there! Do you really think people started using Windows because they went, "Hmm, Linux looks pretty stable and effective, but I think I'll throw a huge wad of dough over to some conglomerate that will utterly savage my computer because that sounds like a lot more fun!"? Somehow I doubt it - and if the Bush years were any indicator, people were just as out of options politically as they are technologically. Couldn't we give them some?

More to the point - and here's where things get interesting - couldn't we sell them some? Take Wolfpack for example. A while back I had the idea to get people together on a website where they could post corporate and political wrongdoing, and there'd be a fund attached. If people chipped in fifty or twenty bucks to a given cause, the fund would fill up and we could get an attorney to have their corporate charter yanked. People hunting in packs, taking down corrupt corporations and seizing their assets, and then getting those seized assets back as a return on their initial investment. How many people could retire and slay huge juggernaut corrupt corporations for a living instead? Stuff like this can work - why aren't furs doing it? Granted, my effort flopped because I'm not enough of a Drupal geek to be able to create the modules I'd need to get a website to do that - but I'm willing to bet there are furry Drupal geeks. And graphic design geeks. And political buffs. We... really could make a difference. And given how much demand those alternative options are getting to be in out there in the world, we could create systems (websites, programs, social movements, and so forth) that would make all kinds of great things happen and instead of scraping by to make rent and buy another case of Top Ramen, we could be tremendously financial successful because the rest of society would be rushing to participate in whatever great solutions we'd built. And then you wouldn't have to choose between being Happy and Rich.

So, that's the conundrum that's got me baffled. Why aren't we taking the furry... philosophy, if you want to label it something, and living it out there in the world? World of Massive Stupid needs skritchies, and these people are so miserable that you can practically name your price and they'll come bounding over to you like a drunk fox to a dance floor. We may be terribly neurotic and distant and have learned to hide away from the world because we've gotten by now that it's painful. But we're also incredibly brilliant, creative and sociable and can inject joy into a situation 'cause it's fun. That World of Massive Stupid out there? Yeah, that isn't. And we can make it fun! If we've learned to do that with our own lives, we can certainly bring it to the people who haven't found it yet.

I wanna hear you Murr!

Furs: Does this make total sense, or am I just nuts?

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    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Firefox, that seems like saying, "You shouldn't judge someone just because they're a murderer. You should tolerate and accept them in their choices, because everyone is free to have their own opinions." If you support a choice, you become just as much a party to it as the person who actually carries out the act. People who wear real animal fur or leather are often looked down upon in the furry community, because their choices are directly against the cute and cuddly, animal-friendly ideology that's such a large part of what furriness embodies. Similarly, if someone is living a lifestyle that makes them a party to human (or animal) rights violations, I don't know that it falls into the territory of "freedom of opinion".

      You don't encounter animals in the wild choosing things half as unconscionable as what many humans accept today as valid. Beyond that, I'm puzzled why you think it's within the realm of valid opinion for people to choose things that harm other people or animals, but then suggest that I'm not entitled to the opinion that those choices not valid as part of furriness. If society accepted that idea, mass murder would be considered permissible, but anyone suggesting that we have a trial for them would be socially chided for being "overly judgemental" about people. I don't think a society could last very long if it did that, because people would realize that not only doesn't it work, the results were not what they wanted.

      Furry is awesome, and I think we deserve to have it stick around to be there for people. If furry's primary value to you is that any and every choice is considered acceptable no matter who is harmed by it or how unconsensually, I'd suggest that you may not have a good understanding of the values that furry can have. I mean, there are people with that mindset in the hippy scene, the rave scene, and the BDSM scene also, but they're not the majority of any of those scenes... and they're typically condemned by the majority within those scenes for degrading the scene and diminishing the public's opinion of what that scene is about.

      I agree, a large part of the point of Furry is that we can be imaginative and free with our sense of what to be, yet I'd also suggest that it's a given that the silent understanding is there that it's limited to what doesn't cause harm to others against their will. In fact there aren't many social groups that accept nonconsensual harm to others, it's just that people by and large don't often seem to consider anymore to what extent that goes.

      Our laws say that if you're complicit in a crime, it makes you a party to that crime, and that seems like a fair rule of thumb with moral choices as well.

      So if someone who's a party to mass murder isn't, for all intents and purposes at least, a "bad person" as a result of that choice... then who is?

      Thanks for your response though, Firefox. You did make me think carefully about what Furry is and why in more specific detail, and that's always good.

      Be well,

      - Satori

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think that the Furry Community cannot be summed up with one set of ideals. The whole point of the Furry Community is that we can be whatever we want to be WITHOUT judgement. Yes, it is great to embrace the ideals of being a good person and trying to positively affect the world around you, but we all do it (or we should) in our own way. Not everyone has the same opinions you do about the country we live in, but does that make them bad people? Who are you to lay judgement upon anyone and deny them the title of "Furry"?

    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California


      That as a pretty well-thought-out response, and I appreciate it.

      I'd posit that in order to affect the kinds of change you want, you need to become credible in the eyes of the people around you, not the eyes of the machine. I mean, I'm on the street working offline and under the table because I know that feeding the machine that hurts myself and others is always bad. Does it slow me down? Sure! But the alternative is to become a sort of accomplice in causing harm to myself and others. Whether or not anyone "catches" me at what essentially amounts to a form of treason, it's still wrong. So I refuse to do it because it's wrong, and it would stand against the principles for which I live.

      A couple of thoughts to consider: The system exists to serve the people. That's how it was made. That we now find ourselves forced to serve that system against our wills makes the current state of the system out-of-bounds in the minds of most people if they ever thought about it, because that amounts to slavery. And the average person knows that slavery is wrong. So, the harder this system pushes against us, the more credibility it loses. All that's required is for people to draw the attention of more people to that point, and to provide better alternatives. Essentially, the more it throws at us the more ammunition we have in demonstrating to others why the system doesn't really deserve to keep going as it has been.

      It also increases public demand for better alternative solutions. If everybody's miserable, your target market for solutions you may come up with increases tremendously. Worth considering, if you're looking for strategies to get by materially without continuing to underwrite an errant system.

      Finally, keep in mind that projects like Wolfpack demonstrate a sort of approach whereby you can serve that kind of public demand for relief and profit from so doing; which means that when the system has made itself an enemy to the majority of people, you can find approaches that allow you to prosper not by feeding the machine, but though creative dismantling of it. Another way to say this is that when a system itself becomes an outlaw, the public desire to dismantle it results in a kind of bounty situation where by serving that demand creatively, you can prosper.

      All it really takes is some creativity, some introspection, and one very intense refusal to become complicit in the harm the system causes. Once you've crossed "Subsidizing the system, even just temporarily" off as an option, tons of alternative solutions begin to form.

      I've learned by now that when you're right about something, and when it's something big enough, all you really have to do is live according to your beliefs and others will take notice and choose similar approaches themselves. Like wallflowers at some high school prom, nobody wants to be the first on the dance floor. But if you are, many will follow your lead.

      Be well,

      - Satori

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Actually, I'm starting to see this surfacing in the fandom, as well as just about everywhere in any non-mainstream ideals. We are becoming awakened to the state of things, unfortunately, the actually taking action part is hard. Way hard. The mainstream mass-marketed media age of information has so distorted the truth that a lot of the time even those who consider themselves to be doing the right thing have been lied to.

      So at the bottom, we have to be mercilessly finding the real truth at the bottom, then we can weigh in on the facts of the matters, consider solutions and only then start to take any positive action.

      The simplest solution to things I have found is cutting back to what you can grow yourself. That's my goal. Unfortunately, in order to affect the sort of change I need to, I must become credible in the eyes of the cogs of the Machine, which means I have to feed the machine. I need to amass an ever larger amount of ever more worthless currency in order that I might get a professional education so that people will listen to me because they beleive me to be an authority.

      I often strongly desire to remove myself from the grid entirely(freeganism much?), but in doing so, I will be forever unable to reach those still trapped within the machine, and be unable to directly impact the machine. I can't sit by doing nothing and waiting for the machine to collapse, but at the same time, by the very virtue of wanting to alter the machine from within, I must feed it.

    • neonline69 profile image


      8 years ago from Chicago

      I'm glad that someone actually did an honest article about the furry community. Kudos Satori.

    • pay2cEM profile image


      9 years ago from Nashville

      What a fun, creative, and informative article! I am furry, hear me ROAR!

    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

      See, it's good that people tell me these things. I'd never have known, otherwise. D'you think getting an SUV might help with that?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You're a self-righteous moron.

    • Satori profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

      Selkit, I think you're right. People today in any community seem to have a lot of... static inertia. Maybe instead of making talky-noises about the issue I should formulate a better approach, and then just promote it. Where would 2 be if he just sat around thinking stuff up, but never went public? In checking in on this issue with a lot of furs, it seems like a lot of them are ready to take a little more of an active role in this kind of approach to life, some others aren't, trying to get everyone moving in the same direction is a lot like juggling cats, but if I start a movement to do this a lot of furs are ready to jump on the bandwagon.

      Looks like I'll be taking my own advice on "offering people solutions", and starting with the furry community.

      Thanks for your insight, Selkit. It's always appreciated.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There are a great many ways this notion makes sense, and not just for the furry community as a whole. People themselves are squeamish about action, and they are afraid of attempting to make progress. Make a wave, get sued. Make a wave, get fired. Make a wave, get prosecuted. Society itself frightens people out of any form of action nowadays, and furry fandom offers a comfortable refuge. Not everyone in fandom has the spine or courage to do the right thing, or to contribute, or to even open their eyes. They have a warm blanket, comfort, comparative safety within the binding restrictions of society and all its flaws...

      In short, the courage isn't to be found because the comfort is. Personally, I don't know if I have been doing the right things lately. What I do for a dayjob nowadays is by no means easy, but in the long run it may very well make a difference ecologically, a big one. My eyes are open, I see our problems, and while I can't take on the world, the least I can do is pick up a chisel and take a strike at the boulder. Maybe the rest of the fandom will grab a tool and strike a chip too. It doesn't take much individually.


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