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January 7th, 2002

I Don't Wanna Argue About This, Sheesh

Well, the pawpeteers are all ticked at me and Akeakami now, apparently, for being annoyed at them. KuddlePup was so upset by my note to the FPS list that he called Uncle Kage, who sent me a "Why are you attacking these guys?" note. He says that what I wrote was harsh; I don't see that, myself.

I understand the pawpeteers are trying to do something nice, and I admire and applaud that. But I also think that they are unintentionally doing something harmful as well, and I couldn't just let that go by and not say anything. I don't want to ride the Good Intention Highway without at least pointing out the window once and a while and saying, "Are you sure this is the correct route?"

Here is what I posted to the FPS list. Note: The "secret agenda" comment refers to someone else's earlier post. BTW, I stole a line from Ramalion in this post, but that's because it was such a good line it was worth stealing.

***BEGIN MY POST***

Well, this is the last I'm going to say on the subject, I think, but I don't think anyone thinks there is a "secret agenda" of any kind.

I'm sorry that Herbie and Yappy have been put in fear of their jobs solely for just being who they are, and I'd certainly hate for anything bad to happen to them. However, if your bosses are that eager to fire you, they're going to find an excuse sooner or later, no matter _what_ you call yourself.

Anyway, actions speak louder than words. To hold something that looks like a furry con, walks like a furry con, and quacks like a furry con, but go to great lengths to avoid calling it a furry con, is dissing furries by action, even if not by word, no matter how much you say otherwise, or how much you may want to believe otherwise.

Heck, in the show's announcement, they wouldn't even mention furries by name. We are a "certain group," apparently. Would it be cool if blacks or jews or gays were treated this way? Yes, furry is just a hobby or an interest, not a race or a "culture" in the proper sense of the term, but the same basic principles apply.

FWIW, I hope the event goes well and a good time is had by all. But everyone involved in the event should at least be aware of what they're doing, and not kidding themselves. "You're welcome to come, we just can't talk about you in public," is not a happy, inclusive message. Sorry.

-The Gneech, shutting up about it now

*** END MY POST ***

Was that harsh? I tried not to be insulting or personal in any way. Anyway, this is what Uncle Kage said to me:

*** BEGIN UNCLE KAGE'S NOTE ***

Dude, I got a call from Kuddlepup. He read me the email you sent to him.
Wasn't it a little harsh? All these guys are trying to do is create something
for all those folks who got screwed by the cancellation of FSB. I don't
understand why people are flying off the handle just because the fellows don't
want to use the word "Furry" to describe the gathering. So what if they
prefer to use the word "anthropomorphics?" They way people are acting, it's
as if it is some terrible affront not to proclaim the word "FURRY."

Anyway, KP was pretty upset by the tone of the email. I just wish there was
some way I could talk to people. Get them to step back and listen. "Guys,
these fellows are trying to do something for the furry community. All they
want to do is try to avoid using a word that has gotten some very heavy and
some very negative connotations added to it of late." Is that really so hard
to accept?

Am I missing something here? Is the word "Furry" so sacred that to fail to
use it is a call to arms? Please explain it to me.

*** END UNCLE KAGE'S NOTE ***

And finally, this is what I wrote back to him.

*** BEGIN MY REPLY TO UNCLE KAGE ***

Erf. I tried to keep it as calm and un-harsh as I could make it. And I'm not calling anybody to arms. It wasn't a flame or an attack; it was a statement of opinion.

The "heavy and negative connotations" you refer to are only there because they were grafted on by people who don't know and don't care what they're talking about -- and changing to a different word isn't going to change what those people think! They're just going to attach those same misbegotten opinions to the next word you choose to describe yourself.

The word "furry" is not sacred; it's just handy. But it doesn't matter what the word is. If the [insert term of choice here] fandom started calling itself anthros, in six months we'd be seeing "look at the anthro freaks" pieces instead of "look at the furry freaks." That's because the people in question just plain _don't like who we are_ and never will. Throwing the word "furry" away just makes us rearrange ourselves to please them.

Look, I'm all for making a happy event to be nice for the people who got screwed by the FSB problem. I'm expressing annoyance at the fact that because some jerk at MTV or Disney or wherever has "negative ideas" about furry, that we should all just back away, apologize to them for existing, and put ourselves out to the whims of their pleasure.

Look at what you wrote here:

"...these fellows are trying to do something for the furry community."

Except they're not. They're "trying to do something for the [insert something else here because 'furry' is a dirty word] community." That annoys me, and I felt it important to say so. Having said my piece, as far as I was concerned, it was over.

I've never met KuddlePup and wish him no pain. If you'll send me his e-mail or other contact info, I'll speak to him personally and let him know that I'm sorry if my comments hurt him. Or I'll post a big "I caused people pain, which saddens me" message to the FPS list. Whatever you like. However, my basic opinion remains the same. If you let the other guy define you, you'll always lose.

*** END MY REPLY TO UNCLE KAGE ***

So that's where it stands; Uncle Kage's annoyed at me, the pawpets folks are all upset, and I'm tired. The worst thing about it all is that at the core of things, all of us want the same thing, which is to just enjoy what we enjoy and have fun. We have a common enemy, which is the assholes who are trying to make The Behavior Formerly Known as Furry something to be ashamed of. We just have different ways of fighting back against it, I guess.

-The Gneech

Hopefully, This Will End It

Well, I posted this to the FPS list; hopefully it will help soothe ruffled feathers.

***

I have been informed through a third party that what I posted last night has made some of the organizers of the "Pawpet Megaplex Funny Animal Convention" particularly unhappy. Since I would frankly rather have a seguaro cactus forcibly inserted into my left nostril than to cause pain to any of the good folks involved with the Pawpet Show, I would like to apologize for this.

Recent events have got certain of my hotbuttons particularly sensitive; but the truth of the matter is that the event could be called "Eunyce and Momma" for all the skin it will scrape off of my nose, and it's not worth getting into a big flap about. As has been mentioned, the event is being organized by volunteers who simply wanted to arrange a good time for people left in the lurch, and to kibitz about the language used for such a thing is hardly gentlemanly behavior.

For what it's worth, I'm going to plug the heck out of the event on the Suburban Jungle site and do whatever else I can think of to make it a big, great success, in the hopes that everyone will have fun. Regardless of what I think on the use or non-use of the term "furry," it is a very cool thing that the organizers have done, and I'd like to give them my full support.

-The Gneech

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