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05 December 2006 @ 11:06 am
For a while, I've been looking for autobiographies of furs or furry fans (if such a distinction exists), and not had much luck. (Someone is writing one for me now). However, I also found this, which, if not exactly typical, has quite a lot of interest to say about how furry feels from the inside. The same author has recently been decrying the fandom at large on his blog, and would tend to dissociate himself from it (particularly from its sexual wing), but I think his account reverberates pretty well with other things I've read from all kinds of people into this in one way or another.

=== edit 11 Dec ===

Interesting set of comments spawned by this post. Originally I'd been travelling far and wide on the net in order to do my research about the community; it never occurred to me to try and bring the research material into my own blog! Anyway, in the comments here you'll see a hot debate between the current (and now one [edit 14 Dec: two] ex-) members of Burned Furs II. xydexx also announces he's planning to set up his own group as an alternative to BF2. You heard it here first.

On a more serious note, symphonic_rp's posts have encouraged me to think about the terminology I use in this blog and in the show. As far as I'm aware, he's one of only a few people that defines "fandom" and "community" as being fans of the art (the otaku, we might say) and furs-at-large respectively, but the distinction is quite useful, even if there's a lot of crossover between the two groups. In those terms, this musical is definitely about the community, which includes those who are enthusiasts exclusively for the art, but also those who are enthusiasts of fursuiting, lifestyling and, obviously, yiff. Those are the people I've known best in all this, and whose stories are the most meaningful to me, as I mentioned in my early posts.
Morris Stegosaurusmstegosaurus on December 5th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC)
Have you not been pointed in the direction of Wikifur?
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 5th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed. I know it very well (at least I think I do), but I'm not sure I've ever located autobiographical material on it of the kind linked above. Feel free to send me a link, tho, to anything similar. It all makes for great research!
(Deleted comment)
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 6th, 2006 06:23 am (UTC)
Hi, thanks for writing.

I've assumed that someone at some point might ask me not to do this on the basis you've described, but while I have a lot of respect for what it is you do, I don't really agree with your stance. (although you might find the kind of musical you prefer here).

First, you're making quite a big value judgement when you say there are "more important" aspects to the furry fandom. Sure, to some people, quite possibly the majority, other aspects are more important. But not to everyone. The ones to whom the sex is an important and integral part of this include most of my friends who are furs. I am writing about their world. I can see it's not your world, but I can't help the fact that their world goes by the same name as yours (and by titling the show Yiff! I'm at least telegraphing that fact to those that know these things so that those who are repelled by the yiffy side of things can actively avoid it :)). It's no good insisting that "the furry fandom is x" and denying that all these people, my friends, and their interests and their needs exist or are worth articulating.

Personally, I am interested as a writer in the subject of sexual fantasy. Because of the role sex plays in our biology I consider sexual activity a very important and very meaningful part of life, and I connect it with a lot of deep ideas about our identities, about who we think we are, and about aspects of our behaviour as humans that ostensibly seem chosen but actually are biochemically programmed or accidentally acquired somehow. While the musical certainly won't be an illustrated lecture on those topics, they will certainly be bubbling around in the background of it. I mean, sure, by all means tell me you don't think that sex is a serious or 'worthy' subject, but I would have to disagree. Sex is one of the biggest topics, along with the struggle to survive and death.

Having been pompous about that I should make a more modest point, which is that I doubt you need worry tremendously about how my musical is likely to represent the fandom to the outside world. In terms of the number of people who will ever see it, this isn't likely to be huge. Such is the case with nearly all new musicals these days. Most appear, maybe get seen by a few people, maybe even have a minor influence, and are then never heard of again. :) Compared to, say, a newspaper article or a TV show, the ability of this show to affect people's perception of what furry is is infinitesimal.
(Deleted comment)
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 6th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
But the whole point is that the musical is about yiff (inter alia, but yiff is a major plot point). So calling it Fur would surely lead people to believe they were getting the lowdown on Fur instead of a story about something which is really a subset of that. No?

In terms of success, well, who's to say. The most unlikely subjects have made successful musicals, I suppose, but I'm just being realistic. In any given year, hundreds of composers create new musicals, some of them deliberately written to appeal to the broadest possible audience. They can't all make it to Broadway. In fact, few make it past a first reading or production. This is just a fact of life in musical theatre, and to a certain extent you have to do it because you love it, and my view is that if you're going to do that, and you're interested in minority subjects, then you may as well write about what interests you. Certainly people do this as a hobby (and given the rates of pay for all but the most established professionals, you might as well do it as a hobby!)

It's worth pointing out that although anthro characters will appear onscreen in the musical, they are there supporting what is in essence a story about humans. The actors on stage will be furry only in the sense that they are people who go online in order to pursue anthro interests of one kind and another. So, we're really not at all in Lion King territory here.

Again with the value judgements. "Highest aspiration of creativity". They do have sex in great literature, you know. :) There's D.H. Lawrence for a kick off.
(Deleted comment)
▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼: anthrofurryxydexx on December 7th, 2006 03:18 am (UTC)
This is a joke, right?
The effect is blatant sensationalism and shock value.
Um........ yeah.

Don't take this the wrong way, but considering you're currently a liaison for Burned Fur (and all that implies), what makes you think you're in a good position to argue against sensationalism and shock value?
(Deleted comment)
Ash Cairoashmcairo on December 7th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
Re: This is a joke, right?
No, Karl brings up a good point and even I originally gave the thumbs up to Morty if his decision to use the name is to drum up publicity then more power to him for exercising some easy marketing muscle.

O, and as it stands I'm not ready to condemn or endorse this project yet. If anything, I'd like to see a draft of the script first before anyone starts waving any fingers.
▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼: anthrofurryxydexx on December 7th, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
Sorry you feel that way, but surely you realize trying to argue against sensationalism and shock value while being a liasion for Burned Fur is a bit of a contradiction.
nightfurson on December 7th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
Eh... I'd actually dispute that a smidgeon. I've been around the block a couple times, watching communities for trolling, fursecution, drama, positive change, complaints about the fandom, etc... I've been listening to everything I can that has been presented to me.

Whatever the Burned Furs crowd was -before-, there must have been some kind of change since then... it's the first community I've seen trying to improve the fandom without trolling, or crazy amounts of shouting. They're using calm, mediated open discussion and reason. They're also going about this much better than furryrants ever could XD

I remember you made the argument ages ago, saying that if they had changed, then why do they rally behind a name that stands for hate. When someone agrees to work towards your goal, but do it -wrong-, you don't drop them... you -steer- them. When someone has a drug problem and wants to change, you can either help them and watch them improve, or leave them and watch them writhe and die. I'm all for the crowd that chooses to help.

Eh... I'd also compare the Burned Furs group to the furry fandom... just because you feel one person in it gives it a poor image, it doesn't mean everyone else there deserves being labled with that poor image. Also, just because a groups image starts poorly, it doesn't mean they can't change and be better. Saying the Burned Furs image doesn't deserve to change based on it's percieved history, is like saying the furry fandom's image shouldn't change from what CSI portrayed it as. As with both, we hope for change, and work towards it.

I know how you do what you can to improve the fandom... I'd welcome you to listen to or friend the Burned Furs group, and add to the discussions that come up. If you're worried about being associated with it, it's ok not to be a member. Your views could be a valuable addition to it, possibly helping steer it.

Hoping to see ya soon,
Ash Cairoashmcairo on December 7th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: *dissent*
Thank you. What you wrote is wonderful and means a lot to me.
▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼: anthrofurryxydexx on December 8th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC)
Thanks But No Thanks
Your views could be a valuable addition to it, possibly helping steer it.
I appreciate the thought, but as I said before I am not interested in resurrecting a hate group. I've been making my views known there, and the bottom line is that ashmcairo's insistence in using the old group's name, logo, Manifesto, and so on because "it gets attention" (yes, it does—the wrong kind) is more important to him that improving the fandom.

The worst part about this is that y'all don't seem to understand the damage you're doing. Years ago, someone pointed out that the worst thing about Burned Fur glomming on to improving the fandom was from then on "when someone established and known in the fandom starts trying to reign in the yahoos, they've got to worry about being tarred with the brush of being in league with Burned Fur, and the fallout from it."

Burned Fur was a liability then and it's still a liability today, and by keeping all the trappings of the former hate group all you're doing is attracting the same sort of people who made Burned Fur such a liability in the first place and making things more difficult for folks who are actually interested in improving the fandom.
Ash Cairoashmcairo on December 8th, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks
As it stand the original manifesto is currently there only as a historical document and nothing more. The logo and name is still fine by me though. I like the concept behind the original group and a number of the members of the old Burned Fur group that where a pleasure to deal with. Unfortunately, like the furry fandom as a whole, you will have a few noisy individuals who end up shedding a poor light on everyone else. I hope I'm doing my best to control this as I've asked the other liaisons to maintain an open dialog with each other so we're on the same page and also to keep our own egos in check. One of the main reasons I toyed around with the idea of asking for your help is because as you've proven today you do a good job at keeping people in check and we can use that.

Yes, and the name alone gets attention. Now if those people who grudgingly hold onto that old, bad image can take the first step and look beyond that hype then that's maybe someone I would like to help us.
nightfurson on December 8th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks
Ah, noted... when a new group arrives, I'll be sure to be part of it too. Someday I might build one later myself, when my pressence/influence is stronger. Of course, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself... heck, you could start a new group -right now-, if you wanted. You have the sorta following you'd need.

I'd say if folks were holding onto the name -just- for attention, I'd second your opinion to change it. Someone could change their name to "Hitler" for attention, and while it IS a different Hitler, the name provides nothing but negative attention. As for now, we have to work with what we have, untill we have something better.

As for being painted with the same brush, I'd say most people are like sheep, even me. The safest place is with the rest of the herd, but only a wanderer can find a new path. Ussually people follow the prettiest face in the lead, and I refuse to be the prettiest face, or follow it. Sometimes people have to work against the current to move forward.

Eh, I'm gonna shut up now, we're all probably spamming toomuchblog XD
▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼: anthrofurryxydexx on December 10th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks
Of course, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself... heck, you could start a new group -right now-, if you wanted. You have the sorta following you'd need.
Actually, I've already started a new group. It doesn't rely on hate-filled Manifestos or the negative reputation that Burned Fur has "to get attention", but instead is based on reasonable people who want to improve furry fandom. A think starting with a solid foundation is best, plus it was just easier to follow my own advice instead of wasting time trying to get Burned Fur to change.
nightfurson on December 11th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks
! For serious? SWEET! Point me to the place! If it's what you say it is, it has my full support and advertisement, and hopefully involvement.

*happy dance*
Re: Thanks But No Thanks - ashmcairo on December 13th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks - nightfurson on December 12th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Again, Thanks But No Thanks - xydexx on December 14th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Again, Thanks But No Thanks - nightfurson on December 14th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Thanks But No Thanks - xydexx on December 14th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼: anthrofurryxydexx on December 8th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
Say hello to new Burned Fur, same as the old Burned Fur
So long as the folks in charge insist on hanging on to the trappings of the hate group, I feel my observations are perfectly valid.
Ash Cairoashmcairo on December 8th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
Re: Say hello to new Burned Fur, same as the old Burned Fur
You're start to sound a bit like a broken record. While I applaud your tenacity, you would think that after a few ill-fated attempts you would want to rethink your strategy in professing your opinion and getting the public to accept it as the norm.
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 7th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
You know, you could do a musical about African Americans and call it "N****." The effect would be about the same.

No, it really wouldn't. As you've pointed out, the equivalent of "Yiff!" is either f**k or, actually, more accurately, sex. It's not a derogatory term for furs. There really is nothing shocking about sex, honestly. In terms of "making sex the main subject of the literature", well, I'd note that Lady Chatterley's Lover certainly does this.

if your musical is all about sex

No, it's not. Sex is involved as a key element, because that's part of how this works for a lot of people (not you, but a lot of people), but the show is about the experience of coming into the community, and my current plan is that the sexual element will result in some disappointment and upset for the main character, as well as satisfaction at different times.

Again, I understand that this is not how it works in your part of furrydom, and my agenda isn't to try and characterise furrydom in terms other than I know to be true, from where I'm standing (if I were, then I think you could justifiably accuse me of sensationalism or shock value).

But you can't reasonably ask me not to portray what it looks like from here, in terms that work as a musical. That's like me as a Londoner dissing Dickens because he's interested in its underworld, and doesn't focus on the city's higher aspects, its great architecture, its long and fascinating history. London is a big enough subject to be able to talk about in lots of different terms. My belief is that so is furry.
(Deleted comment)
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 8th, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC)
Well, I think there is more than one surface to the whole furry phenomenon, and so this is partly a question of perspective. We have obviously approached it from opposite angles (although interestingly for a similar period of time).

I might add that those interested in why I chose this title and what my intentions and focus are might be interested in actually reading back to the earliest posts on this journal, where I go into some detail about this. You still might not think I chose the best subject, or agree with my approach but you might get more of a sense of what task I have set myself and why.

Incidentally, re. comments in another place, I sincerely hope that I shall be struck by lightning if I ever become "the next Andrew Lloyd Webber". :)
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 7th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
Incidentally, I'm more than happy, if you wish, to put up a link to your account of the fandom on the main page of my site, just so there's some balance there for casual visitors.
(Deleted comment)
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 7th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
OK, have linked that one.
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
> I do agree with you that there is nothing wrong with dwelling on sex, if that is your highest aspiration of creativity.

That was catty.

nightfurson on December 12th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, btw, toomuchblog... I hadn't said it yet, but good luck with your writing and etc... it'll be neat to see what it becomes. I too, am worried about what it -could- be, but we know you understand people are counting on you. Good luck.

Once again, I apologize for the mess we've brought in here. Out of curiosity, do discussions like this normally crop up in your journal? It'd be interesting to watch, or something, if it is. TY for the drama space :p
Tim and Darrentoomuchblog on December 12th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
Nope, it's the first discussion like this, but it's been great research. :)