Battalion Article on Furry-dom

by Simo

When I advise the parents of elementary school-aged children to take the kids' "college fund" and use it to buy themselves that new car, or room addition, or new home in a better neighborhood that they've been sacrificing for their kids' "future", you need look no farther than this article from The Battalion, of Texas A&M University, on Furry-dom: Get Furry: Aggies Unleash Their Animalistic Nature By Sonia Moghe for explication.

The level of journalism of my niece's third grade class "newspaper" is light years ahead of that of The Battalion. To refer to Get Furry as bullshit is to elevate its status.

When Brendon Jones gets ready to leave his apartment, he puts on his pants, his shirt and his dog collar. Without the collar he feels upset; almost as though he has no identity.

Jones, a freshman computer engineering major, goes by Sakanz - the name engraved on the metallic blue bone on his dog collar - and is one of thousands of Americans who identifies himself with a group of people that calls itself the furries. He describes furries as people who like to dress up as animals and interact with each other.

"I'd say being a furry is like being something that you feel is more yourself than being a human," Jones said. "Some people identify more with animals than humans."

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So far, so good: Mr. Jones seems to be a regular Furry fan, with, perhaps, a touch of "lifestyler", right down to the computer "geekiness". There are Furry fans who do wear collars or other personal items that announce their fandom affiliation who aren't quite into the whole lifestyler scene. It's all down hill from here. "Jones said that a majority of furries are homosexual or bisexual, and often engage in sexual activities with each other while adapting the mindset and donning costumes of specific animals." Did he now? When Mr. Jones is describing the routine aspects of Furry-dom, and his own Furriness, he is quoted directly. However, this revelation is not quoted. Now, I don't know about you, but my Bullshit Detector is going into "red alert" status right now. Did Mr. Jones really make such an outrageous statement? Does this "reporter" bother to ask for a clarification here? Does she even question Mr. Jones' presumption to speak for "a majority" of his fellow Furries? If not, then why not? This is a pattern that occurs in this article. Whenever Mr. Jones has anything to say about the fandom that's merely explanatory, then he is quoted directly. Whenever something that is deliberately inflammatory is insinuated about the fandom, these statements are attributed to Jones, but never quoted. This is highly suspicious, to say the least.

"Two furries rubbing up against each other is called 'yiffing,' and they sometimes make noises that their chosen animal would make."

No! That is called "skritching"; "yiffing" is something else entirely. "Jones describes himself as being an 'otherkin', a person who believes he or she was an animal in a past life and still carries its spirit" At this point, the article loses every last bit of credibility. To ask us to believe that someone who is into Furry-dom to the point of being somewhat of a lifestyler, who knows what "otherkin" means, and yet doesn't know the difference between "yiff" and "skritch" is asking way too much of our credulity. If you're going to use the terminology, at least get it right, dumbass. This so-called "reporter" has completely blown it. It is obvious that she is pulling this shit straight from her ass.

Next, we are treated to the thoughts of the ex-roomie, Alex Harder: "'I was probably a (jerk) when he moved out,' Harder said. 'I was really scared. I didn't know what to do. I told him I couldn't live with his lifestyle.'" So we have the testimony of someone who is, by his own admission, quite hostile. Now, of all the students attending this institution of "higher learning", are there no other acquaintances who could have provided another perspective on Mr. Jones? Why were none of the other comp-sci students interviewed? One suspects that these folks were interviewed, but their stories were ignored when they provided nothing that could be used to smear the Furry.

Of course, it would be one thing if this were limited to some students writing for a campus fish-wrapper. One can not expect college students, straight out of high school, to always exhibit that level of professionalism expected of the experienced journalist. College is supposed to be a learning experience. However, how can one possibly learn when the faculty joins in:

Arnold Leunes, an A & M professor of psychology, said that because many furries are homosexual, and their behavior could be an alternate way to manifest their sexual preferences.

"It strikes me that there's a sexual motive," Leunes said. "It's not easy being gay in this society. (This) might be an attempt to find a little gentler touch to the whole thing. Americans aren't too at ease with sex anyway."

Because people like Jones and some of his other Furry friends became involved as furries when they didn't fit in with any particular clique in high school, Leunes thinks their furry antics may be an attention-grabbing mechanism.

"Kids tend to be outrageous sometimes, " he said. "That's one of the nice things about being young; you can do some crazy, outrageous things."
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Excuse me, Perfesser Dipshit?! Is it within the bounds of the ethics of psychiatry to be offering a diagnosis without having so much as interviewed the "patient"? Where the fuck do you get off telling me and lots of other Furries that we have "sexual motives"? There are a considerable number of straight-as-a-laser-beam Furries. There are quite a few happily married-with-children Furries. There are quite a few Furries, of all orientations, who have no problems with sex whatsoever. These are the majority of Furry fans. If you'd bothered to look for them, you would find them with ease. Now, I won't say that there aren't any Furries who don't have "sexual motives", or even "issues". Just as there are Anime or Trekkie or Sci-fi fans who have their own little kinks, quirks, fetishes, and odd sexual hobbies. On the other hand, there are also lots of Furry fans who are in it simply because they have an affinity for anthropomorphic characters. As there are also Anime, Trekkie, Sci-fi fans who are in their respective fandoms simply because they have an affinity for those works/genres. As Freud pointed out: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". What Leunes did here is unethical, and he should be reprimanded quite severely by the Board of Regents.

So what brought this whole thing on? OK, apparently there's this freshman, Branden "Sakanz" Jones, who has somehow managed to piss off a rather sizable percentage of the student body at A&M, or so I've been able to gather after some Googling. I don't know what this is all about, and I could not care less about campus politics. You decide to use the campus rag for some payback. Now this isn't a very nice thing to do, and its level of maturity is strictly Junior High. What you geniuses forgot is that Texas A&M is not its own, insular little world. Perhaps twenty years ago, it was, but not any more. Now your problems with Sakanz was your own business, until you uploaded it onto the 'Net. When you did that, you made it the business of the entire world. And, in the process, you defamed a world-wide fandom, calling it a "really gross and perverted fetish" (your exact words). Furries exist in most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and probably elsewhere I haven't heard of yet. We represent every age demographic, not just "kids" seeking "attention". Some of us are straight, some gay, some bi. For the most part, we are socially well adjusted and sexually secure. And, no, we do not have promiscuous sex in fursuits. Indeed, fursuiters make up about 10% of the fanbase, and the majority are not into fursuit sex.

This fact obviously slipped your minds when you decided to air your dirty laundry in front of the whole GD world. In the future, I hope you do better.

This entire article would be forgivable had it appeared in some high school "newspaper". By the time one is ready for college, it is to be expected that this cliquish crap of the "kewel" kids ganging up on the "geeks" should have been out-grown. These are not unruly teen-agers dealing with the adolescent struggle of self-definition. These are young adults. Is it too much to expect at least some signs of maturity? Where were the Battalion's faculty advisers? It should have been this adviser's job to point out the unacceptable nature of this article, unless the desire is to turn the Battalion, which advertises itself as an "A&M tradition since 1893", into a scandal rag of the same caliber as Loaded. To all the A&M alumni: do you want to see your tradition reduced to this level?

These are our future leaders, our future journalists? Dog help us.

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