1:29am: Two-Legged Animals ver. 2.0
Okay, so I'd really like to actually get another non-furry opinion, but at this point, it would just be procrastinating, so I'll just go with what I got.
Anyway, I'm actually going to move the plot around, and this time, I'm not actually going to worry about spoilers and such, because it could all change around for version 3.0 (and I think they'll be at least that much) anyway.
Okay, first things first, I need to learn the difference between there and their.
Secondly, needs to be funnier. Seriously, reading this thing for myself, I kept thinking to myself, oh no, not more crying. I mean, I think I was thinking that would be the realistic reaction to the events, but reality isn't maybe the biggest concern in a furry slasher, you know? I mean, yeah, I don't want to go full on parody, but their does need to be a bit more humor. I rarely write anything without interrupting myself with a badly timed joke; here is the one time I didn't do that, and the one time it might have been useful. That being said, I'll avoid the whole postmodern thing; I'm going by the notion that slasher movies don't exist in this furry world.
Thirdly, need to work on characters in general, and motivation and consistency especially. Sending Janet into a cave was out of character; I only did that to kill her off. More unforgivingly, though the killer crosses any sane person's "line" when she decides to start killing people, she crosses her own "line" when she tortures Dee for no reason. Of course, part of the problem there was I was muddled on motivation; originally, the motivation was a kind of inspired by Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire," which laments the need to save wilderness by building roads, ranger stations and camping sites right in the big middle of the wilderness being protected. Ranger Anne was a kind of eco-terrorist; torturing her last victim would fit with this motivation. As the story progressed, however, I changed her motivation to pretty much General Zaroff's in "The Most Dangerous Game," basically a hunter getting bored with animals. If that was her motivation, however, she shouldn't go in for torture; she would be interested in "sporting chances" and "clean kills."
Fourthly, and relatedly, I have protagonist problems. Anyone who knows me knows the reason why Dee and Berenice are the survivors know darn well its because they represent my favorite two animals; I make no apologies for this. Where I really messed up was trying for what I like to think of as a false protagonist; set one character up to be protagonist, and another victim, then switch it. I completely failed at this; I don't think I really fooled anyone into thinking Hazel was my protagonist, and Dee ended up being, I feel, a fairly weak protagonist. I didn't even allow her one really heroic moment, that of taking the knife, to completely belong to her; Hazel told her to. That was stupid. Also stupid; why in the hell did I break her leg?
Fifthly, Anne and Andy have to meet up. Since the character of Andy was a late addition, he kind of hadn't figured into my original idea of the ending. Also, as the ending stands, I realized he comes off as an ambiguous figure; I, by complete accident, may have implied that Andy is responsible for Anne's disappearance, i.e., he's now on Anne's side, and is helping her escape. The whole idea behind the character was an inversion of the "killer family" seen in, well, just about anything, from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to The Devil's Rejects; Andy is supposed to seem like a bad guy when we first meet him, due mostly to genre tradtion, only to be revealed to be a good guy. Not an ambiguous figure; a good guy. Confronting his sister would definitely give an emotional payoff.
Sixthly, I got one complaint that the biting off of arms isn't realistic; eh, it isn't supposed to be realistic. I feel like it is an important scene because it justifies not one, but two decisions. First of all, duh, the whole furry thing; biting off of arms is something you can only do with animals, so justifies it. Secondly, it justifies Berenice being a hyena; a hyena would be the only mammal capable of the jaw strength to do that. I've already stated that Berenice is a hyena only because I like hyenas; hyenas aren't exactly a dime a dozen. I'm basically using the biting off the arm to counter off any "why can't we make her, like, a tiger? Nobody likes hyenas, but people like tigers" type arguments. That being said, I think it needs a bit more foreshadowing and a better, more intense reaction than Dee's.
Seventhly, I don't need a B-plot. I, for some reason, thought I needed one with Bert and Angel. I don't. I kind of liked some of the stuff I wrote with them, but I'm cutting that whole section. Besides, now that Anne is no longer an eco-terrorist, there's no reason for her to go around bombing ranger stations.
Eighthly, it was a mistake to send Anne up the mountain with the kids. I think it'll be more mysterious, and therefore scarier, if she just kind of comes out of nowhere and starts killing people without any explanation of motive until Andy all the way in the third act.
Ninthly, my timeline is all over the place. This thing should happen in a day, not the two days I have in my first draft.
Tenthly, Berenice recovers from pretty severe hypothermia way to quick. The onset is fairly accurately researched, but she's walking around fine and dandy the next morning. Also, I'd just like to say that the symptoms of hypothermia are scary in and of themselves, and it is, as far as I know, the only ailment that requires nude snuggling as recommended first aid. Horror movies have really dropped the ball with not using this one.
Eleventhly, Anne talks too much. I don't want her to be a mute figure, but she shouldn't talk so much, either. Oh, and while I'm here, I got one note saying that Anne has a line that suggests a Southern drawl. I can honestly say that wasn't intentional, but I wonder if what you're getting is a bit of a Western drawl, which I know quite a few people with, and which I myself have a very slight version.
Finally, I think I'm going to take the religious thing a bit farther; nobody seemed to mind, though I was more worried about that leaving a bad taste in people's mouths, rather than, say, biting off of limbs. As it stands, it doesn't really do anything; if you're going to bring Jesus into a slasher, you might as well bring Jesus into a slasher all the way. It can be cut in 3.0 if necessary.
Okay, so here's the new outline. Keep in mind, I could deviate wildly from it in the writing process.
I think I'll start pretty darn cold, with Berenice telling that one ghost story that is so old Mark Twain wrote about it, the one where an old lady digs up a finger (in this version, an arm) only to be woken up in the middle of the night by a voice asking "Who took my finger/arm?" It ends on a jump scare that got me the first time I got it; of course, I was in the third grade, so this scene may just be unbearably hokey rather than scary, but it's worth a shot.
Oh, yeah, and in the background, Ranger Anne kills the adult (who I still haven't got a species or name settled on) while thunder rumbles.
Then comes the exposition, which will probably suck until at least version 7.0, but whatever. At this point, I'm adding a new character; Barbera the wolf, and Tommy's sister. When Tommy wanders off and is killed in this version, we now have a much better false protagonist. It's personal between her and Anne.
Now the plot will go pretty much the same way; I'll try and work on Berenice, Janet and Dee's characters. If poor Hazel and Barbera get the shaft, I'll live with it, because they won't. In my first draft, Hazel became the leader; I'll turn that around and give it to Berenice, and Hazel will go back to an earlier idea, that of one of a pair.
That was the other problem with my first false protagonist attempt; not only was Hazel too obviously not the real protagonist, Dee, though weak, seemed too obviously to be the real protagonist. In my next draft, I want to completely and utterly convey to the audience that Dee and Hazel are a unit; I'll probably let them finish each other's sentence. I want it so that when Hazel is the first girl killed off, Dee seems doomed, if brave, if only for fictional conventions (that go beyond horror) that two characters so inseperable cannot survive alone.
So, Dee runs off, obviously doomed, and Barbera, Berenice and Janet reach the vehicle, which in this version must work. I've kind of got a problem here; right now, my solution is to give the keys to Dee (her taking the keys off the dead adult may work as the first whiff of independence, or may just smack of expediency). At this point, I'm adding another new element; Anne has set traps, and I'll kill Barbera off here. Kind of cheap, really, but, so what?
Anyway, now Janet and Berenice are forced to find Dee; however, this time, Dee has got to save herself. It'll be easier now that I haven't broken her leg. I think Dee will manage to push Anne over a waterfall, which will still be Anne's secret lair.
When Berenice and Janet arrive, Anne grabs Berenice, drags her underwater and apparently kills her; she menaces Janet, but then Berenice does her best Jason Voorhees impression and bites her arm off. Janet freaks out, while Berenice goes into her hypothermic stage. Anne is apparently vanquished, slipping under the water, apparently to bleed to death, though the audience will know she's actually licking her wounds behind the waterfall.
Dee must calm Janet, who, though she recognizes hypothermia, is obviously not willing to deal with Berenice. Janet is sent off with the car keys, while Dee is left to administer first aid.
Janet now takes on Angel's role, and then Andy takes on Bert's.
Meanwhile, Anne is revived and looking for vengeance. She makes her presence known first via voice; it'll be a call back to the ghost story at the beginning, which, once again, will either be totally awesome or totally lame. Just got to try it and see.
Dee tries to lure her away from Berenice, who is still unable to run for herself. She ends up running into a fox trap; now I break her leg. This is the point where, in her anger, Anne crosses her own line; the torture scene happens here, but this time is interrupted by Andy.
And here's where I don't know where I'll go; I know Andy will fall into a pit trap, and that Anne will not kill him on purpose. I don't know how I'm going to get rid of Anne yet; I might just have her wander off in grief. I do not want Dee to actually kill her (or even "kill her but then the body vanishes, so maybe she wasn't dead"); at most, she end up falling into the pit with Andy.
So, anyway, that's the plan. Uh, might take a bit longer on this draft than a month, but whenever I finish it, I'll let people know.
7:10pm: Award Bait
Okay, so the furry fandom has the Ursa Major awards. These awards are split into to two segments; stuff made by the furry fandom (books, comics and art) and stuff not made by the fandom (movies and video games). Or perhaps, more cynically, but nonetheless fairly accurately, I should stay the Ursa Major awards are split into gay porn and not gay porn.
I really don't care about the first section because a. it's basically a popularity contest, what with the socially-retarded yet socially-driven furry fandom both nominating and voting, and b. not a big fan of gay porn. Honestly, I didn't really care about the second part either, because, seriously, like it has any real effect on anything. Most of the winners are probably still unaware of the existence of the award, much less that they won anything.
It's not an honor to be nominated.
I used to not care, until last year. Because last year the furry fandom managed to make me angry.
Avatar won the stupid thing. REALLY?
I don't know if the average furry fan realizes this, but, uh the usual definition of the furry fandom not presented by Internet trolls is "fan of anthropomorhpic animals." I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I like my "anthropomorphic animal" movies to have, oh, I guess, maybe, just maybe FRIGGIN' ANTHROPOMORPHIC ANIMALS.
I have no problem with Avatar being nominated; in fact, I really wouldn't have cared if it had won any other year. It had vaguely animalish humanoid aliens. See, the thing is, let's face it, during the average year, the number of truly furry movies that appear in theaters can be counted on no hands. So, honestly, vaguely animalish humanoid aliens is what we got.
The thing about last year, though, was it wasn't a normal year. Last year, we had a movie that featured animal characters with fully anthropomorphic design. Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now, I have gone on at great lenghth on this lj with my personal definitions of furry, and honestly, Fantastic Mr. Fox was not quite furry; it was still a movie that could be described as a children's movie. It was a kid's movie, and furry, by my definition, is not for kids.
But, it was close.
I mean, Wes Anderson is a pretty good director. I liked his movies well before he decided to use talking foxes. And the movie was pretty close to a Pixar movie (more on Pixar later), in that it featured themes that were fairly adult. Not many kids movies prominently feature the line, "I'm pregnant." On the other hand, Ice Age 2 featured an extended Saving Private Ryan parody, so, yeah, what is acceptable in a kid's movie is getting a little weird. And, in the gripping hand, the year that Saving Private Ryan came out was the only year my dad watched the Academy Awards, and he was very upset it didn't win, which doesn't really have anything to do with anything, other than vaguely, but apparently in certain crowds, vague is enough, so whatever.
Anyway, my point is, though it didn't quite reach "furry," (and that is not a point against the movie's quality, as genre classification is only descriptive, not prescriptive), by my definition, it was still the closest movie to "furry" ever. And it was a good movie.
Okay, so it was very furry, and it was very good.
And it lost.
To a movie a lot less furry. Not even close to furry.
I think this says a lot about the furry fandom, and none of it is good. Avatar was a very, to me, "meh" movie. I found it very cynical, actually. The message was feelgood pap, the characters were either all good, or all evil, and the ending was an unearned fairytale happy ending (those last two complaints, by the way, cannot be said of Fantastic Mr. Fox, with its main conflict stemming from an unnecessary act of thievery by the title character, and final shot subtly implying not all is as happy as it seems. In other words, Avatar was less thematically complicated than a children's movie.), and the much ballyhooed special effects were, frankly, unimpressive. The alien character designs had two basic functions; to be as automatically appealing to an audience as possible, yet be just unreal enough that any scenes that registered as unreal could be chalked up to the design, and not the special effects. The characters in Fantastic Mr. Fox were just as believable, despite the director using a known-to-be flawed animation process on purpose for stylistic reason, reasons that had nothing to do with Cameron's characters.
Now, was Fantastic Mr. Fox a better movie than Avatar?
Now, the Ursa Major awards are voted on by, well, basically, in theory, you don't even have to be a furry. You just gotta vote. Now, laying aside arguments that it was less furry, it could be argued, well, I got outvoted, and it could be argued that my opinions are not as valid as the majority of furries out there.
Well, ladies and gentleman, guess what? I have been trained to review movies (and other media), I have been paid to review movies (and other media), and I have won awards for my reviews of movies (and other media). Oh, and by the way, those awards were not won by popular vote.
In short, my opinions are more valid than the majority of furries.
Fantastic Mr. Fox was a better movie than Avatar; furthermore, it was a furrier movie than Avatar.
Now, what does the "furry" award going to the inferior movie from another genre tell us about the "furry fandom?" Well, a couple things.
First, and foremost, and most obviously. The average furry is an idiot.
Okay, next, the average furry is more worried about the fandom's image than the genre's.
Where am I getting this? Well, a couple things. Avatar was a very popular movie. How popular? Uh, the most popular movie ever. I will give James Cameron this much; he is the best director of popular movies ever. There have only been five movies to make over a billion in theatres. James Cameron is the only director to direct two movies in that group; he was also the first (with Titanic, in case you're completely lost), and the only person to do it with a movie that was not a sequel (the others were the finales of the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies and The Dark Knight). For the record, I think both Cameron's movies, plus Jackson and Nolan's movies, all deserve their billions (Verbinski is a great popular director, and Curse of the Black Pearl would have deserved it, but not Dead Man's Chest). Avatar was technically sound, but really a paint-by-the-numbers success.
My point is, it was popular with furries because it was popular with everyone. I mean, PoE was calling it a "furry" movie. Apparently, the furry fandom, because they don't know what they are, agreed with them. (This is probably, admittedly, another reason why I'm angered. They proved PoE right furries. Again. Every time PoE is right about furries, Lion Cub Jesus cries.) But it wasn't a furry movie; it only looked like one. Furries should've been able to tell the difference between the real deal and a lookalike. But, I think, they were so blinded by the popular success of Avatar that they believed the hype, and adopted it as their own in some sort of desperate attempt to be "accepted."
As already pointed out, Fantastic Mr. Fox was the exact opposite. Cameron's movie was almost scientifically designed to appeal to everyone. Anderson's movie, on the other hand, was designed to appeal to Anderson. It was much a more idiosyncratic, personal movie. It, by its very nature, did not appeal to everyone. And it suffered in the box office as a consequence of this. It was actually a bomb, as far as box office is concerned.
And that's more like furry. It doesn't appeal to everyone. It is a failure. As already pointed out, there aren't any furry movies going big (or even going period). Now, normally, I'm the one arguing for furry mainstream success, but, honestly, most furries think that presenting a squeaky clean image to the world is the way to go. Why? I mean, yeah, 90% of FurAffinity is way too extreme for your average left-winger, but we can't lose our edge. I think a really good example is the TvTropes Furry Fandom article's top illustration. Google it. I'm not in the mood to link it for you. Three cute, happy, animal people. They're all friends. Nothing shocking or strange or anything.
What's the matter with this crossie?
The matter is that cute happy animal people has been done. I'd think you'd all be aware of this, but, honestly, after that vote, I have no idea what you people are aware of. It's boring! That isn't furry. The appeal comes from the rough edges; I've confessed a love of the artist tailsrulz' work before, and the reason for this love is not because his art is the same as everyone else's. I loved it because it made me go what is this? He has a very personal style. Its in-your-face erotic while still following a strict code of personal taste.
Seriously, I just looked at that stupid TvTropes page and I can't remember what the species are without thinking about it.
James Cameron is known for directing the most popular, wide appealing movies in the world. Wes Anderson is known for directing movies that are very personal.
From those descriptions alone, which one sounds like a furry? Hint: It ain't Cameron.
Third thing this tells about furries; furries are ashamed of being furries. For the wrong reasons.
I mean, you guys will defend cub porn until you're blue in the face, but I think Fantastic Mr. Fox actually turned off furries because it looked furry. I think maybe there was contingent who didn't vote (or even see) Fantastic Mr. Fox because they were trying to prove (probably not even completely conciously) that it would take more than talking foxes to get them to the movie theaters, I suppose. I mean, I'm a fan of furries, yes, but not so much that I have to go see everything with a fox.
Oh, blow me.
There was that weird little thing where the guy who created Ren and Stimpy posted on his blog about how Fantastic Mr. Fox looked furry, and even put badly drawn furry art next to screen shots (which, if I remember correctly, usually failed to actually look like the screen shots). "And also it's really ugly, like those dancing fat animals from Fantasia," he then posted hypocritically. And I saw that, and thought, God, that is stupid. What is he doing? And I still don't know what his point was, but I think a lot of furries took it very personally, and there was a backlash against Fantastic Mr. Fox. Its like we all set out to prove him wrong by rejecting the movie instead of the correct response, which was to tell him, "Shut up, dude, it looks better than your stuff, and besides you're just cranky you haven't gotten work in like, a bajillion years."
Lastly, and possibly even more obviously than the first thing; furries vote for what they jack off to.
I mean, I started off this entry with one of those jokes that is funny because its true (namely, the one about all the gay porn); Avatar is pretty much scientifically proven, at this point, to be fappable.
Fantastic Mr. Fox should have won the Ursa Major awards. Heck, it should have won the Academy Award for best Animated Feature. The only reason Up won is because it was nominated for Best Picture. The only reason Up was nominated for Best Picture is because they had just extended the number of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10, and they had to nominate something. So they nominated the most recent Pixar movie for much the same reason they gave John Wayne the Best Actor award for the original True Grit; he was okay in it, but it was really for his career. Up was okay, but it was really just a nomination for all the other Pixar movies.
And, really, honestly, Pixar is overrated. I mean, look at its history. They've had critical darlings year after year, sure, but that started with Ratatouille, a delightful little movie about a rat who gives a professional critic a handjob in exchange for never, ever getting a bad review for his studio again. It was pretty good. You should watch it.
Okay, after that, I'm kinda struggling for an ending.
Okay, um, I guess I'm actually going to be voting for How To Train Your Dragon because a. it was really good despite being less furry than Avatar, b. maybe not as good as Toy Story 3 which is about as furry as Avatar, but I obviously have a hate on for Pixar and c. the "furriest" movie of the year would go to Alpha and Omega, but that sucked balls, so, no thank you.
Yesterday, had a huge argument with my editor. See, he wrote a sports column comparing referees to superheroes (slow sports week), and mentioned Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men and Captain America.
So I called him out on that. We're a newspaper, we gotta get our facts straight! So we're across the newsroom, arguing about while the other reporters giggle nervously. Luckily, the composing guy came in and said, yeah, Stan Lee didn't do Captain America.
I reread Noel Carroll's "A Philosophy of Horror; or, Paradoxes of the Heart," of which I've frequently blithered on before (though not always with very good sourcing). It's criticism of the horror genre has greatly affected my own stabs at critical analysis of furry art. For instance, Carroll talks about the "interstitialness" of horrific monsters; i.e. that they often represent two or more antithetical, or at least separate, states of being, a state I usually write as liminal (because it sounds cooler). For instance, a werewolf is human/animal while a zombie is dead/alive.
Now, the point of Carroll's essay is to answer the "paradoxes of the heart," i.e. how can we emotionally respond to that which isn't real, and how can we derive pleasure from 'negative' emotions? The point of my essay is to respond to Carroll's answer to the second paradox, which, I'm sorry, the guy flubbed. I'm okay with his answer to the first paradox, even though it basically boils down to "you don't have to believe in something to be moved emotionally by it," which makes me think philosophers would probably find my "essay" prose breezy. But his answer to "why is disgust/fear in horror not a bad thing?" can be boiled down to "because monsters are so cool!"
First, it may be in order to take a look at his definition of horror, or the "emotion of art-horror" as he phrases it. In a nutshell, fear and disgust as caused by a supernatural monster. First of all, I'll take issue at the use of the word "supernatural." He notes the interstitialness of horrific monsters, and says they break the rules of nature. If a movie features a scary or disgusting aspect, but the "monster" is just, say, a psycho, it's not actually horror. Because there are such things as psychos.
Carroll published his essay in 1990. Historically, since that time, the supernatural in horror has literally taken a gut punch. In fact, it is popular among certain quarters to deny the supernatural any place in horror, to say it weakens the "horror." It's harder to "believe" in the supernatural. However, as Carroll argues, "belief" has jack all to do with emotional response, and in this I am in agreeance with him. That being said, more recent horror fair has backed away from gaudy monsters to straight up human on human atrocity. And, personal tastes aside, these are accepted fairly universally as horror.
Still, Carroll's definition of horror requires only a minimum of tweaking. To be "supernatural," a monster need only break the laws of nature. This rule-breaking is, I think, the key component of a "horror monster," besides the fact that they are scary and/or disgusting. So, a monster need not break the rules of nature; he (or she or it) can also break the laws of man. Okay, maybe something a bit more hardcore than jaywalking is required. I'm talking about unspoken laws, unspoken because they are unspeakable. The supernatural monster sickens by breaking the very rules of nature; the non-supernatural monster sickens by breaking our cultural norms in disturbing and dangerous ways. So, what Carroll calls "art-horror" is can be redefined as fear and disgust caused by a monster that breaks "unbreakable" rules; i.e. natural laws that are literally impossible to break, or human laws that only a depraved monster would ignore (or, frequently, both at the same time).
Before I leave here, one interesting example of this "rule-breaking." Many (positive) critics of Eli Roth's "Hostel," note a late scene in which the hero, while escaping from death by torture, meets a man who is unaware that he is a victim, and assumes he is another torturer. This scene didn't really "do it" for me, but lots of critics have found this character just as disgusting as the graphic scenes of torture preceding and following it. And I believe I can understand why. What disgusts them about this guy is how all-American he is. He's a man who has paid money to torture and kill another human being, but he's, well, excited about it. His reaction is somewhat like a man with a new car; he can't wait to take it for a drive! He is about to do something that causes a gut reaction of horror; the fact that he is so blithe about it is horrible in itself. In a way, the disgust is almost a meta-reaction; the unspoken rules of horror say the monster must act horrifically. The fact that this guy is so "normal" outwardly (despite the fact that he is, most certainly, a monster) is a breaking of a rule.
But, enough of that. The reason I dispute Carroll's definition of horror is because it is essential to his answer to the "paradox of horror." He argues that a fascination with monsters is the root cause of fascination with the horror genre. This fascination diminishes the fear and disgust of the genre. In other words, he dodges the paradox; we don't like being scared, after all. We just really like monsters so much, we're willing to let them scare and disgust us.
Carroll argues that most horror fans are in fact monster fans; the same people who watched "The Howling" and "An American Werewolf In London" in 1981 were also lining up for the original "Clash of the Titans," which managed more monsters than the 2010 remake. Probably true, and also, from a personal perspective, an obvious appeal. I am, after all, a furry fan. I like impossible monsters.
But, history, once again, has not been kind to Carroll's theory. Since the turn of the millenium, interest in the horror genre and fantasy monsters have seen and upswing, completely independently of each other. Since the amazing success of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings Trilogy," fantasy epics have been a staple of the summer and winter "blockbuster" seasons. Superheroes are still popular (and, in a nutshell, a superhero is oftentimes simply a monster that switched sides). And even more traditionally horrific monsters, well, hello "Twilight." Meanwhile, horror, as previously stated, has gone the opposite direction; less monsters, more fear and disgust.
By way of example, a couple of years back two movies featured very misleading trailer campaigns. The very unsentimental, realistic kid's book "The Bridge to Terebithia" was fairly faithfully adapted, with a few scenes that showed the child leads imaginings of their fictional magical kingdom. Guess what the trailer showed? It was presented as a Narnia or Harry Potter ripoff. If Carroll's theory is correct, horror movies should have made similar misleading trailers. But, the horror movie "Primeval," about a giant killer crocodile (a perfect example of a "monster movie" monster if there ever was one), had an ad campaign that went out of its way to avoid letting anyone know there was a crocodile within a hundred miles of the story (which was annoying, because I just about missed a decent giant killer crocodile movie). What I'm getting at here is that these ad campaigns show that "fascinating monsters" is not in the least what motivates horror fans to see horror movies. Perhaps some fans, yes, but not all, or even most.
But really that was an example I didn't need, because it basically proved something I already knew. I, personally, like to be scared. Yes, I would prefer if the monster doing the scaring was fantastic, but I don't require it. But Carroll argues that horror is more than just fear, it's also about disgust. His pointing this out was one of those moments when something repressed that you already knew, but didn't really admit, finally breaches your consciousness. It was bizarrely not unlike Freud's definition of "uncanny." I mean, I'd read Stephen King's "Danse Macabre," where he famously stated he wasn't proud, he'd go for the gross out, but I still didn't really get it until Carroll's text pointed it out. And disgust is a very different emotion from fear. Fear is a negative emotion, but disgust is a whole new level of negative.
As previously stated, I knew I liked fear. But did I really like being disgusted? Well, on reviewing my favorite horror moments, well, yes actually. For instance, the reiteration in Lord Dunsany's "Two Bottles of Relish" that "Yum-Yummo is for meats and savories" caused me to put the book I was holding down in pure nauseous revulsion. And I loved it. Not only is it upsetting in a disgusting manner, it is also pure disgust; no fear is involved.
But, then, if Carroll is wrong, and I like to be sickened, whether or not a monster is truly fascinating me, am I, well, sick? In another essay, I was quite literally ready to concede the point; after all, I am a furry. But, now, I'm not so sure. (And, heck, I don't even really think being a furry makes me "sick," either.) I think I might have it, now, the answer to the paradox of the heart, and, ironically, Carroll covered it before dismissing it, in, of all places, a discussion of Lovecraft's "cosmic awe" theory.
See, in consuming fictions and experiencing the (very real) emotions they cause, we gain the benefits that these emotions engender (and all emotions, even "negative" emotions, produce helpful chemicals that our bodies need) while avoiding their price, say, being chased by disgusting monsters. Carroll, as I said, covered this contingency, but rejected it as "too general" to only apply to horror; it applied to all fiction, which is true.
But in the "uncanny" reveal of the disgusting aspect of horror, I was reminded of another "uncanny" experience; in this case, the revelation that "spicy" or "hot" flavor of foods such as Mexican cuisine flavored with lots of jalopenos are a result of pain receptors in the mouth. In other words, eating very spicy food hurts. And yet, people not only enjoy "spicy" foods, they enjoy the "spiciness" of the food; in other words, they enjoy the pain. Perhaps these people are culinary masochists, but I doubt it. If my theory is correct, they simply enjoy the food, which their mind doesn't (consciously) even register as pain, even though it is.
A less drastic example might be people who enjoy sour or bitter foods, despite the fact that these tastes are designed to warn the consumer of a possible poisonous substance. This is literally a case of personal taste; if the person knows the food is not poisonous, he can enjoy a taste that is normally a warning. In fact, he can even seek these tastes out preferentially. After all eating any food is (to a certain extent) is preferable to eating no food; what it tastes like has no real effect on this, so a person can easily learn to like or even prefer sour or bitter.
Similarly, the fan of horror enjoys the adrenaline rushes of fear and disgust; certainly, there are "positive" emotions that can just as easily fulfill this rush, but, when taken out of context (as in perusing fictions) one emotion is just as good as another. So, obviously, disgust and fear can, and often do, become preferences. Not as frequently as joy, for example, just as sour will never surpass sweet as the "all time favorite" flavor, but it's not sick.
So, there you go. I humbly present the "taste theory" of horror.
Was not even in the running, so don't worry about that. And it was actually a pretty tough crowd. Mostly comics friends and relatives, who maybe didn't really want to be there. So, laughs were tough. Really, the guy who won, one older, more experienced comic and the professional headliner got anything close to what their jokes deserved. I had a decent set that should have gotten more laughs, but, oh well, so did a lot of the comics.
But, uh, yeah. So contests bring out the newbies. It's been so long since someone who obviously doesn't know what they're doing came out that when some nerd started us up with absolutely no idea what a joke is, it actually became quite hilarious. At least for the regular comics. But now to the story. So, a two week new guy comes up on stage, and out of nowhere, equates furries with bestiality without, you know, a freaking punchline. Which is just bad comedy as well as insulting.
It was actually really flattering when a lot of the other comics where just as pissed as I was. Just before the show, we'd been discussing some fursuiters who turned up at a local Ren Fair. I hadn't, and still haven't, seen the pictures, but they sounded like real furries, not guys in animal costumes, and though I was asked, I was able to reasonably convince everyone it probably wasn't a sex thing. (I say probably, because at this point, even I don't know one hundred percent for sure.) I mean, if the guy had just hung out with the other comedians and heard us discussing them, he'd have actually saved himself some face.
Them: WHOOPS WHERE DID YOUR ACCOUNT GO HOW DID THAT HAPPEN I AM NOT GOOD AT COMPUTER
Jesus, PoE and CYD must've had the patience of saints.
We were arguing over whether 2 the ranting gryphon was funny (I think I've done that before somewhere...), and his chances at a non-furry show in California. He apparently did great; yes, his audience was furries who he plugged to on FurAffinity, but that's how comedy works. You invite your friends. Tonight, I am in a comedy contest that I truly expect to lose in, for no other reason than I have don't have enough friends coming.
Which is not to say I don't have friends. They're all out of town, or also in the contest.
Also, that last paragraph is not defensive. Some people might quote Hamlet, but methinks that's my least favorite Shakespearean quotation ever.
At this point, I'm guessing it probably has about lost its shelf-life. I haven't seen it for a while, but then, I haven't been on the Internet in a while. It is essentially void of original meaning, and has been for at least half a decade; a quickly typable collection of syllables that 14 year olds type into YouTube comment boxes without thinking. Except when they're not 14 year olds, which is really even sadder. It is essentially void of original meaning, but not all meaning; it says, simply, "I am not a furry, and you are, and I am therefore arbitrarily superior to you."
And where does this feeling of arbitrary superiority come from? Surely not from any social standing; I distinctly remember being told at PoE that furry is the bottom basement depths of the hierarchy of the social outcasts. Basically, the ol' Geek Hierarchy without the humor. Well, thank you, other anti-social nerds on the Internet, for putting furry in its place. To use a not actually very furry analogy using basement dwelling fauna, socially, we're being made fun for being a cockroach by the rats. At the end of the day, any point made by the rats about our social inferiorities is eclipsed by the fact that both cockroaches and rats are equally likely to bring down the value of a property. Analogously speaking, of course.
Instead, we should look at the original meaning of the words "yiff in hell." You have yiff, in this case a verb meaning "to have sex, but furry," and hell, in this case a noun meaning basically "a place of punishment for immorality." And also the preposition "in," but prepositions don't really count. Of course, there are varying definitions of both words, and my current definition of hell, especially, doesn't begin to describe the full range of implications, but for right now, it'll do. And what it'll do is point up the superiority implicit in the phrase. Despite the fact that most of the morons slinging the phrase around are unaware of the implications (which is a word I have just used too much for this paragraph, but oh, well). The fact that these implications (no kill like overkill!) are not conscious, i.e. unconscious, make them even more important.
Okay, cut to the bone, "yiff in hell" implies moral superiority. Which implies that "yiff" is immoral. So, if yiff is furry sex, is furry sex immoral? Well, actually, uh, it's not possible, so it's amoral; it has no actual moral implications. Now, I better back the truck up here a second and state what should be obvious but probably isn't in that I'm defining furry as "cartoon animals" and therefore yiff as "cartoon animal sex," and therefore, if you think I'm talking about fursuit sex, either exclusively, or in tandem with cartoon animal sex, you're reading the wrong essay.
"In tandem with cartoon animal sex" is such a horribly great phrase, I think.
Okay, so, duh, cartoon animal sex isn't real, and feeling morally superior to it is like feeling morally superior to unicorns ... which is such a bad analogy my ability to create analogies has momentarily gone offline, and I can't think of an analogy to explain how bad an analogy it is. I mean, unicorns are usually so nice, too. But really, I'm avoiding the question, which is this: is it morally inappropriate to use schediaphilic images of a zoanthropic nature for erogenous purposes?
In English, is it naughty to spank the monkey to furry porn?
But is the average YouTube commenter justified in feeling morally superior to furries for this? Well, in an earlier essay/rant/ramble/blog/thingie, I pointed out the differences between Japanese and American attitudes towards the morality or immorality of the unreal. The Japanese reserve judgement; there is no difference between furry porn or something a bit tamer. The only immorality implicit is the relatively mild immorality of pornography. In America, though, and more personally, we can't just leave it at that; the morality of unreal images is an issue. Luckily, the way to determine if a work of the imagination is unreal is pretty simple; if it was real, would it be immoral?
Depends on the content, of course, but for a simple work of furry porn, featuring a sex act between two characters (or perhaps a solo depiction) the answer is unequivocably no. Better clarify; the production and use of pornographic materials would still be considered immoral, but the act depicted would have no grounds to be considered immoral.
Of course, many would consider it akin to bestiality, to put it bluntly. But there are two important factors to show that this is not the case; one, the characters are, by definition, if it's furry, "anthropomorphic." This does not refer to only form; it also refers to the characters ability to reason. These characters, by definition, have the human ability to consent, which is this something animals lack, or, at the very least, cannot truthfully be proven to have. And, two; a bit less philosophically, but bestiality is between a human and animal; the vast majority of furry pornography depicts acts between two furry characters.
Furry does still look like bestiality, however, and that is actually a decent point to bring up. Afterall, furries are cartoon animals; in other words, drawings, or visual representations. And with visual representations, what it look like is, well, kind of what it is. And here is where furry porn does often fall into a moral event horizon. As I said earlier, it depends on the content. Furries aren't real. Well, duh. So, no attribute of an unreal character can realistically be described as, well, realistic.
You see where I'm going with this?
Simply put, describing a dog penis as "realistic," and therefore implicitly "better" on a furry character is simply an excuse for a preference. It is dishonest. Also, it's a matter of taste, and dog penises aren't even in bad taste, they're just tasteless, I mean, they'd be in bad taste if maybe you were making some kind of artistic statement about I don't know what, and I'd respect that, but they're not, you're just jacking off to them, so they're tasteless, which is bad, so stop trying to fool us, we're not stupid, and the really sad thing is a lot of these people really are stupid because they've fooled themselves and they think that the "realistic" thing is really a decent excuse for this kind of thing, and this just illustrates my point which is that the vast majority of the furry fandom has no taste, I mean, really, you guys keep using the word erotic to describe very disturbing things, and honestly me calling those kinds of people stupid is being nice because if they know what they are doing they are being dishonest and immoral.
But that still doesn't make the average YouTube commenter morally superior. I mean, this is the Internet; if the guy wasn't masturbating to something weird and/or morally suspect, it would be kind of strange, actually. Basically, the worst that can be said about furry is that it's proponents have observed a complete lack of taste, taste being the ability to decide when a work still has an artistic (and oftentimes moral) merit, and restrain from producing works that no longer do, or are essentially "tasteless." Which is worse than bad taste; at least a work in bad taste was trying. But, going back to the "yiff in hell" guy, and denizens of the net in general; seriously, shut up.
Some background. I began my career as "Wichita's only furry comedian" (I have been literally announced as that without asking) a bit over a year ago in a small, out of the way art gallery, the Blank Page, run by two MCs who are both, sadly, younger than me. The open mic mostly brought out singer/songwriter people, but those two both did stand up, and were funny, especially when bouncing off each other. Last Halloween, when they pretended to be each other, oh my God.
But, anyway, about three months in, I did ... well, I think I already told you about that. Anyway, did, and still do, furry jokes. Unfortunately, Wichita's only comedy club, The Loony Bin, had its own open mic night the same night as the Blank Page's, so more recently, I've been going there. Good career move. I'm already entered in the Wichita's funniest competition by winning the April monthly open mic contest. But still felt a bit guilty, you know?
Well, turns out there was something up at the old open mic, and my two old comedy friends left the open mic before it folded up sometime last month. So recently, one of them showed up at The Loony Bin, and my T-Shirt became very important to the future of furry as we know it.
Not been doing a lot of ljing recently. In case you haven't noticed. Mostly because I've moved into my own apartment, and have foregone Internet connectivity in exchange for, well, eating food, mostly.
You know how it is.
But even before that, well, it's Mitch's fault, really. He was all nice and stuff, so I decided, okay, I'll go join Crush!Yiff!Destroy!, I'll have fun over there a while. And so those poor, dumb saps got the broadside of my long rambling essays. They were a captive audience, though. It was either me blithering away or some Canadian furry giving us blow by blows of the apparently very happening British Columbian furry scene. Then Mitch decided to nuke the site from orbit around the time, sending many truly wonderful descriptions of Canadian anime conventions (and maybe a couple overly pretentious arguments) to the digital happy hunting grounds.
I tried Vivisector for, like, five minutes, before realizing the split from CYD occurred when Vivisector's founders realized they don't like their humor sites funny, apparently. And I mean not like I don't find their humor funny, but like I don't find their humor, period. There have been more jokes cracked by condemned prisoners being executed (and some of them have been pretty good. More weight! That's hilarious! I bet the Inquisition was just cracking up!).
But, anyway, ... uh, yeah. Where was I?
I hate when I do this. Though not as much as the audience hates it, let me tell you. Whoo, boy.
Okay, so back on those CYD forums (may they rest in peace), there was a guy who was literally hawking a furry show to networks. Zoo U, I think he called it. Basically, guy finds out his father had another child with someone other than his mother. Turns out she was a real fox. *rimshot* So, to better connect with his new fox sister, guy (and his friend) decide to attend college on the planet of the furries. This apparently made it fairly far along the conceptual axis; actually pitched, complete with rough animatics, some of which may still be on YouTube.
The one that sold me was the second one; furry strip joint. It really made me laugh. It just marched right up to the furry thing, and didn't look back. I think it was hilarious. I, apparently, was the only one to get the joke. See, furry is, basically, divided into two groups. The majority, who posit that furry is not a sex thing, and yet produce a lot of furry porn, and the minority, who posit that furry is a sex thing, and yet maintain that there should not be a shred of sexuality in cartoon animals. Now, obviously, that is a gross generalization, but basically true.
Now, these two groups fail to see the humor in the situation for basically the same reason; furry is solely a fetish to them. A fetish that they are ashamed of. So, the first group denies it, while the second group rejects it. This gives them a skewed view of the "mainstream" perception of furry. In both groups, pure pornography and artistic eroticism are seen as the same thing. The first group are likely to describe a graphic depiction of anal intercourse between two wolves as "erotic," when it is pure smut; the second group is likely to see something along the lines of tailsrulz's nude vixens as porn, when in fact they are works of eroticism. A very odd sort of eroticism, to be sure, and truthfully "fetishistic." But not porn.
The problem with the mainstream is that group A is likely to present unwholesome images that would detract from a non-furry's enjoyment. Group B, meanwhile, is likely to present such wholesome images that a non-furry may find confusion as to what the whole fuss is about. We've all seen cartoon animals; there is nothing especially special about them at this point, unless you add something.
Two important points, here. One, this is not to say that an unprepared audience will not have a negative reaction to a merely "erotic" furry work; tastes vary, and furry is not for everyone. I have a generally negative reaction to the stylized (and often eroticized) look of Japanese cartooning; this does not mean I believe that anime is really a flawed artform(whatever I exaggeratedly say here or elsewhere), it simply means Japanese cartooning is not to my tastes. And two, the "added something" does not necessarily have to be sex; it could be any number of things. Whatever makes it pop. Sexuality is just really obvious.
Okay, so what in the heck does any of this have to do with a proposed TV show (and going back even farther, a T-shirt)? Simply put, most furries, of either group, miss the joke because they are only seeing their fetish object, and are reacting guiltily to it. To a non-furry, the furry art becomes a work of camp; a ridiculous object that takes itself seriously. Object is a good word; furry characters are literally just that. Objects. They are pen and ink and paint and pencil lead and other various art supplies; nothing more. They patently can not exist in reality. And yet, they pretend to be real, and to do the same things people do, up to and including impossibly lusting after each other in seedy, if unreal, strip joints. A furry strip joint is funny simply because it is so probably impossible.
And yet, though the furry fandom misses it most of the time and takes this stuff dead serious, it's very hard to find a good piece of furry artwork that isn't busily winking at the camera (as it were). For instance, all those furry vixen pin-ups? They are all, everyone, visual puns. A foxy lady! Groan. But there it is. It's so bad it's good. Much the same way, a furry strip joint works because they're animals; stripping means taking off clothes. But they're animals! They don't need to wear clothes! Groan. Once again, it's so bad it's good. Furry art makes a lot more sense when you realize it's all a big joke. Complaining that the dialogue isn't very funny during the furry strip scene is beside the point. I was too busy laughing at the over the top audacity of the entire premise to even hear it the first time I saw it.
So, back to my T-shirt. I wanted a furry themed T-shirt for my act. So, I bought one of this guy's T-shirts. You know, one with the ill-definedly gendered fox person in a candy-striper outfit. Because I wanted a furry themed T-shirt, but I wanted to be subtle about it. Had to order it online, of course. So, anyway, this guy sees this T-shirt, does a kind of double take (a fairly negative first glance, actually, but it was just a matter of taste) and says "Whoah, that's a furry T-shirt!" and then we get into a conversation about furry to pass the time until showtime.
Here's the thing I would've liked to ask Mr. TV show guy (if Mitch hadn't run for the hills, that is). Did he ever ask any, you know, real people about his furry show? (Okay, I know he asked some people in TV business about the show, but everybody knows TV people aren't really "real" either.) Because a couple years back I actually got into an argument with Unk Cockroach hisself, and I boldly stated that furry could not only be accepted by the mainstream, but would probably get the first person to do it described as brave.
Well, the word my comedy friend used was "fearless," so I guess I was wrong.
But, after seeing this T-shirt, he confidently predicted that we'd be seeing similar T-shirts at the mall within 2 years. Which, okay, isn't really saying much, 2 years to Hot Topic, whoo, but, you know what, it still looks a lot better than a 30 years supply of gay wolf porn, you know?
You know what my first response was, almost instantly. It was out of my mouth before I could stop it, and, God, I wish I could take it back, because there it was, in black and white and truer than true.
Heya furs. My name is Cross(crucifox, crossaffliction, crossie), I am foxy. I am a Christian but don't let that fool you, I am pretty kinky. I am into bestiality, fursuit sex, and I have an unusual obsession with foot paws! >:3 I live in Hooker, Oklahoma. If anyone would like to meet up, I have a female and male husky, neither spayed nor neutered. I am a really sexual person so I would probably want sex on the first date but if you just want a quick yiff then that is fine too. I would love a fuck buddy. I am pretty lonely... =/ Anyway yeah! Just send me a PM if you're interested ^_~
I love how I have two very large dogs. Makes me sound like I have money.
3:53pm: Probably my most racist lj.
I gotta listen to a crappy pop station at work; you know, the kind that doesn't even really extend to a top 40; it kind of plays the top 10 over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
(Don't worry, I just used copy and paste for that lame joke. Didn't actually type it out.)
Now, apparently, there's a song, as far as I know, it's called "Texting." And it's about, well, you take a wild swing at it, how about it?
Kill me now.
Luckily, though, my co-workers are good with the texting and the bringing cell phones that implies, so we don't have to listen to that crap. So we don't. Because they can hook up their cell phones to the radio and make not crappy music play. I'm not sure how that works, but it's pretty amazing. We traded in magic flying cars and rocket packs for cell phones and the Internet.
Unfortunately, can't really escape the crappy hip hop, because, you know, everyone wants to be black, except for maybe black people.
That's probably the most offensive thing I've ever written in my life. Which is saying something for a guy who has a lj full of essays on dog penises.
But anyway, the first day, it was mostly gangster rap, and then out of nowhere, bam, Jimi Hendrix. Apparently, the cell phonist in charge had put on some special shuffle channel, and shuffle hadn't liked me much that day, until Hendrix, anyway. It wasn't my favorite Hendrix song (guess. Come on, you can figure this one out.), but it, you know, rock. But I was really confused at first, because here we go from hip hop to Hendrix, and then back to hip hop, so I was looking for the, you know, common ground here, and coming up lacking. But, uh, this was last month, so, uh, I thought it must have been, like, a Black History Month thing.
Yeah, that was the common ground I finally zeroed in on.
So, I finally figured it out after asking the cell phonist in charge. And she said, oh, no, lot's of different channels, all shuffled together, just seems to be going for the hip hop channel for some reason today.
Well, later on, more rock songs made appearances, and that's my stuff. Especially the classic rock. That's me. Classic hard rock. That's the stuff.
Well, all the sudden, that sort of thing became much more popular; I though fate was just making up to me for embarassing me like that, but, no, my cell phone shuffling coworker noticed I would dig the stuff I dig, so she fixed the shuffle so that's what popped up.
So, I filled out this survey thingy. You get a little thingy, like for when you vote for like, the president. Seeing as how I've yet to cast a vote, this is my first one.
Yeah, I'm lazy. Screw you.
Bush or Kerry? nt
But there was a question, asking who knows I'm a furry. I actually had to punch in "common knowledge." Yeah, about a year ago, that would've never happened. Hell, I was honestly thinking about quitting the fandom. If you can do that. You know what I mean. Just giving it all up. You know, going human, I guess. But I made a decision. I said, yeah, furry kind of sucks in a lot of ways, but I like it. So, yeah, I'm going to stick it out.
But I didn't just go and shout from the rooftops. That's not how me being furry became "common knowledge." No, about July, I made another decision. I got up on a stage, and I told some jokes. It went over all right. See, I've always liked stand up comedy. Or, at least since NBC started airing "Last Comic Standing." I looked at that and said, I can do that. That looks fun. So I did. And it was a very nice open mic night I found, so they would've asked me back even if I did suck.
So, I've been doing stand up comedy for about, oh, nine months now. Every Wednesday night in this little, well, it's an art gallery, actually. Lot's of musicians doing singer/songwriter stuff, occasionally even poetry readings; I'm the only regular comedian, though both the MCs are also amateur comics. Ironically, the place was suggested to me for the poetry; I'm a writer, maybe I'd like to hear some poetry? Yeah, that's not how it ended up.
For a while, I was coasting, and finally, I just died. This was about six months ago. I mean, let me tell you, you do comedy, you're eventually gonna die. It happens. Here's how it went down. I'd had a good performance, and done what I call the "Nala" joke. It's actually on this lj somewhere; "my first crush was Nala ... just kidding, it was the Whoopi Goldberg hyena" and then followed up with some off color lion incest jokes. It did alright, but I never used the word furry, for, well, reasons that most people reading this thing would probably appreciate.
So, I do this set, it does fairly well, not killing, but a few solid laughs, and one of the MCs, he gives me a piece of advice. Direct quote: "Go with the furry thing." I, remember, had not said the word furry. That was kind of scary. So, I totally ignored his advice next time up (I think I was going about twice a month at this point instead of every week), and I also totally died. 5 minute set; no laughs. Oh, it was horrible.
But I decided, right then and there, next week (not two weeks), I'd do the furry thing. Went from total death to killing. I was like some comedy slasher monster. I mean, I had to explain as I went, but when it comes down to it, furry is a pretty funny concept. And it was a pretty young, Internet savvy crowd; they knew enough, and the older folks could Google it later, you know? (I think someone actually recorded my performance, but I've never seen the video. That thing would go straight up on YouTube if it was up to me.)
But, that very night, a local professional comedian, he was out and about, basically advertising a brand new comedy open mic. He saw my performance, my break out performance, and said I had to come. So, next week, I made an appearance for the first time in my life at an honest to God bar, did my thing, and have been, basically, the only comedian to appear at that open mic every time. And, I'm just going to say it, I'm usually one of the better, if not the best, comedians on that little stage.
So, the second open mic at the bar, it turns out a guy who I worked with at Pizza Hut was in attendance. I didn't know this until after my set, which included jokes about fursuit sex (not for me, if only because the giant, not to scale mascot head makes all other body parts look smaller than they already are). So, that's how me being a furry became common knowledge at work. That was really freaky. But, didn't really change anything. My attractive female boss loves it; she showed up for a more recent show, and was disappointed in the lack of furry material (even though it was a fairly furry set; how does a Christian furry make any sense? Well, haven't you heard, there are no atheists in foxholes.).
I mean, I do kind of play a persona on stage; I do exaggerate both furries in general and me in particular in a way that would get me banned from FurAffinity if anybody knew. I think anyone actually aware of my feelings for furry would admit I'm not in it just for the furry porn; it's more hilarious to pretend, though. And furry, oddly enough, does have a bizarre kind of stand up tradition. I mean, I don't know how one goes about getting onstage at a furry convention, but I'd like to do one.
But, I'd also like to do it for real, you know?
Hell, it's not an easy job to get; that being said, in this economy, McDonald's fry cook isn't an easy job to get.
So, I thought I was too late for the "Great Furry YouTube War" then. Well, apparently, I was, like, 2 years early. Okay, so it's been two trolls, but seriously. I'm easy, but when you pick a fight, you know, you pick a fight for then, not the next decade ... and I've got plans for that YouTube Channel. Sort of. I don't want annoying trolls all over it when I start putting up real videos.
1:21pm: A written Freudian slip.
So, anyway, I was at an open mic last night, and a performer observed that liking the Beatles and liking the Rolling Stones is okay, even though there are a lot of people who seem to think they are mutually exclusive in likeability. He compared this to Star Wars/Star Trek.
I liked this observation, so I wrote it down.
Or I meant to. I ended up writing Star Wars/Star Fox. That's one of those funny/scary things, right there.
12:44pm: The First Rule
We walk among you. – FurNation Banner Ad, circa 2004
For reasons that should be obvious for anybody reading this lj, I’ve been doing a lot of research into horror recently, on top of a lot of research into horror throughout my life. Recently, I’ve taken a sideways look at the related, but separate, topic of goth subculture. Looking at this subculture, I’ve gotten a better understanding of subcultures in general, and obviously, this means another overly pretentious essay on furry, and especially, its unique take on the mainstream. This unique take being invisibility.
Furry, at this point, has five definitions (and that’s not even counting “covered in fur”), including a group of people, a type of person, a genre of fiction, a type of fictional character, and a fetish. You’ll notice nowhere in the above lists are the words “fandom” or “fan.” Furry did start out as a fandom, sure, but it has evolved into something else. Possibly something more, possibly something less. I’m not making value judgements. This essay.
Okay, here’s the bs part of the essay where I pretend to be an expert on stuff. A while back, there’s this thing, we like to call it the Industrial Revolution. This revolution was pretty revolutionary, as revolutions go. Somewhere between the American Revolution and the Nintendo Wii. Now, in most of our history books, back in grade school, they liked to talk about all the inventions that made this revolution possible, while, you know, ignoring the biggest invention of them all.
The middle class.
For a system of economics, capitalism has had a remarkable impact on the last couple of centuries. Now, the last year probably won’t go down in capitalism’s greatest hits collection, but it isn’t all bad. We hear a lot about how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but feudalism was super duper to the poor. No wealth gap there. But, I digress. A new economic class was born around this time; people not rich enough to be rich, but not poor enough to be poor.
Any economics expert would probably punch me for that last sentence, but, yeah, kind of like that.
Capitalism, though not given to producing culture in and of itself, is very good at producing culture in response to it. In fact, there’s a school of thought, Marxism, that basically blames capitalism for, well, everything. Everything becomes a reaction to capitalism, and the class structure it causes.
So, with that, goths and furries.
See, the rich, they produce cultures. The poor produce countercultures. And the middle class produce subcultures. Basically, the middle class has it good enough that they don’t have the need to rebel, but they don’t have it so good that they do have the desire to. The textbook example of this is goth subculture.
Goth grew out of a genuine counterculture, the punk music culture, a counter culture that basically celebrated its very poorness, both musically (I don’t need no expensive musical training, I just need three chords and the truth!) and in its fashion (safety pins are cheap). Of course, punk is a textbook case of the class system at work; as soon as punk exploded, many punk rockers became, in a word, rich, and basically what they were fighting against. And punk was no longer a counterculture.
Goth, though it grew out of this shortlived counterculture, was never counterculture. In goth, music was the original inspiration, but somewhere along the way, fashion came into the mix. Basically, goths are known for, if not exactly exuberant, at least dramatic costume. Every day is Halloween, and all. Dramatic costume is not big with the true poor. Add on top of this that goth also has a literary, artistic and cinematic tradition adopted from long before the actual subculture coalesced; learning this tradition requires more money and free time. And time equals money. So, basically, being a goth is expensive.
From a Marxist perspective, this is a bit bewildering. The goth subculture rebels against the main culture; it is, in a word, unsettling. Goths are harmless, but, at the same time, they are supposed to be a bit, well, creepy. But they are spending a lot of capital to be rebels. The Marxist answer to this paradox is that the subculture is a bit like the story of Reynard the Fox. Reynard destroys the system by, in essence, becoming the system.
From a non-Marxist perspective, of course, there is no paradox; there are other things besides capitalism worth rebelling against.
But going back to the Marxist viewpoint, furry is clearly a subculture. It is, in its own bizarre way, a rebellion against the mainstream culture, but it does spend a lot of money. Conventions, costumes and art are the main areas of cash outlay, in furry’s case. Looking at it this way, furry is not unique. Even the transition from funny animal fans to full blown subculture isn’t as weird; as goth shows us, stranger transitions have occurred, and the art is still the single most common flag.
But the single most interesting point about the furry subculture is how it chooses to rebel. While goth and similar subcultures make it a point of pride that they are out there, doing their thing, in your face, furry does the opposite. To make a fairly obvious pop-culture reference, the first rule of fur club is you do not talk about fur club. The fact that this rule is unspoken does not make it unenforced; witness the recent Tyra Banks debacle, in which the two furries featured were ostracized less for engaging in fetishistic behavior than telling someone outside of the fandom about it. Furries kiss. They do not tell.
Of course, this is, ironically, the exact opposite of how furries are often portrayed by other Internet groups; furries are notorious for blabbing on their own forums about their very bizarre shenanigans, but there you have it. The same people blabbing away about their twisted little kinks on the Internet (which, while not exactly private, isn’t exactly shouting to the world, either) would probably never admit so much as their favorite animal to coworkers or even close family members. This, admittedly, may be placing myself in other furries’ shoes, but the fact remains, furries are much more tighter lipped than given credit for. Very much more.
Furries are so secretive, it often backfires. Furry conventions often still have anti-press measures in place that would make a frequent KKK rally goer suspicious. And people get suspicious. Fictional representations still seem to think every furry wears a fursuit to conventions, and many still think that the furry fetish is the fursuit, and not the much more common cartoon animal porn, of which the non-furry, non-Internet-culture-savvy world is apparently completely unaware of. (I suppose that one’s a tossup; I’d rather be accused of jerking it to Krystal porn than partaking in suit sex, but others may feel different.) The reason for this is obvious; fursuits are designed to catch attention, and as such are the only ostentatious part of your average furry convention. And even then, you will never see a fursuit with the suiter’s face showing; the suit may be ostentatious, but the actual person is busy keeping a secret.
(Note to anyone who thinks showing up to a furry convention with an off the rack animal costume will hide you; this is tantamount to showing up at a goth event dressed like the Crow. Especially if your face is showing.)
In essence, furry is a rebellious subculture who’s defining attribute (I mean, other than the animal thing) is complete and utter silence (which is, by the way, the complete opposite of a fandom. When Star Trek went off the air, Trekkies got loud.). Why? Partially, it is true, exposure to the mainstream culture kills, or at least diffuses, subculture. Furries, apparently, knew this instinctively. Partially, it’s the Internet. I mean, the closest thing to a name for the general Internet subculture (I mean, other than “Internet subculture”) is “Anonymous.” And, finally, furry does seem to attract a very shy group of people. But you have to give furries credit (whether you agree with the desire or not), furries can keep a secret. From the Marxist perspective, furries are the rebel spies, working from the inside.
But, then, I’m a capitalist, so for me, this freaking sucks.
2:46pm: Can you wait a week?
I've got 110 actual pages (in a month!), but most of it is rambling dialogue that would totally get cut during any actual change into a physical artifact, so give until next Monday, and I'll have a clipped, stripped version that'll be the my "handout" version.
10:50am: Update on the screenplay thing
Okay, so I'm sixty pages in, or a little over half-way done if I go the full 110 pages like I'm supposed to (and seeing as how I have been keeping to a "beat sheet" religiously, 110 or bust). So, yeah, I'm a little behind in my "done in a month goal," but I'm just proud of myself for writing this much on a day by day basis. Unfortunately, turned out I hadn't planned enough scenes, or long enough scenes, or whatever, and what was supposed to be my third quarter is, well, already finished.
So, I'm having to scramble a bit, and ended up creating a whole new character half-way through; the character of Angel was supposed to basically disappear until the end in her "get help" mission, but I instead sent her into the arms of my villain's big brother. Of course, that would normally mean "bad guy" in this sort of movie, but my inspiration was a combination BTK's family and Lee Harvey Oswald's brother; basically, he didn't know she was a killer, is shocked and saddened to find out, but not really surprised. Allows me to go into my villain's history a little bit, but I'm bound and determined to avoid a "Freudian" excuse, even if that, ironically, would be more realistic.
My original inspiration for a coyote villain was my dad's coyote hunting stories, one in particular, in which a coyote suffers grievous bodily harm and yet kept coming back in a way that would make Michael Meyers proud (or Wile E. Coyote, for that matter) before eventually disappearing into the night without leaving a body; I'm basically writing that story in as a speech for the brother character, because it is creepy as Hell to begin with, and even creepier when you think about a furry coyote character hunting and killing "wild" coyotes.
This, though, necessitated in my mind changing the character of Martin from raccoon to bear; it is still way too freaking obvious, but I realized that raccoons are my dad's favorite animal, and since the villainess is also a hunter, the whole thing started to seem like some subconscious take that at my father, so, yeah.
Yeah, apparently, they needed an old article to confirm that the strip was later named Thaddeus. Still strangely flattering.
Yes, yes, I'm supposed to be writing. I'll have at least 25 pages done by Monday, but I'm finding out why slasher victims are jerks; killing characters off is hard when you like them. So I'm taking a break. Shut up.
12:05pm: Two-Legged Animals
Okay, so I'm actually writing a screenplay. It's actually going decently. For various reasons, I'm not going to post it here, or FurAffinity; if you have any interest, leave an email address or whatever in the comments section. Don't expect anything too soon; it's going surprisingly good, but I don't expect it to be done for at least another couple of weeks. And that's only for the first draft. Right now, I just need to try and explain it to myself, kind of "pitch" it, you know? I've never written a screenplay, but I'm finding myself writing this style easily. Obviously, it's furry, and therefore very visual; I'm, apparently, a very visual writer.
So, anyway, the title is "Two-Legged Animals." This title comes from a story my mom told me about my grandfather. They liked to go camping, and grandad always brought a gun. One day mom asked him why, he replied "Two-legged animals." Mom asked if he meant bears. He said, "No."
Obviously, the title refers to the anthropomorphic nature of the characters, but it also points more to the theme. See, I'm writing a furry slasher screenplay.
Now, bare with me, but the slasher is a fairly formulaic genre. I mean, watch Scream, a movie that pointed out how formulaic the genre is over a decade ago. But that's where the furry aspect comes in; it makes the whole thing "new" again. In theory. Basically, I want to play around with the slasher genre, make it scary again. I know, putting in a bunch of cute animal characters at first would seem antithetical, but I'm partially inspired by the furry "Dracula" webcomic, especially the author's defense of his choice by pointing out the story is old and well known, but you kill off a cute mouse girl, and things change, they become uncomfortable again. Horror movies don't like to kill the dog, or cat, or whatever, because that's a bit "too" far, ironically.
When the entire cast is cats and dogs and whatevers, well ...
Secondly, I'd like to try and play with animal "stereotypes" as well; you get no bonus points for guessing one of the characters is a fox. However, I'm using the (mainstream as well as furry) fox "stereotype" of, basically, "sexy" to basically subconsciously tag her as "the dumb blonde who is going to get killed after having sex, probably with that jerk jock wolf guy." In reality, foxes are monogamous, and this brings me to my next "subversion."
The "final girl" cliche is well known, and well subverted; either the "bad" girl (or guy) lives, or everybody dies. However, I have never seen a slasher with a cast consisting entirely of "nice" girls; an early subversion reveals that all of the four main girls are virgins and otherwise nice, good girls, and furthermore, they are on a camping trip as part of a church sponsored "saving it until marriage" pledge group (though three girls admit, though virgins, they're only here because of they're parents/friend).
On the furry side, I also set up early on the difference between "furry" characters and "wild" animals; there won't be any scenes featuring "wild" animals, but I think it's nice to deal with that apparent paradox early on.
The setting is early fall (Fall Break, natch) in an unspecified area of the Rockies. Characters are mostly late high school age. Okay, I guess I'll run down the cast list ...
Berenice - Hyena, and a Goth. Here because her parents worry about her; they shouldn't, as she's a nice girl, and could very well be the "final girl." As a "tropical" species, doesn't do well in the cold; this becomes important. Named after an old Poe story, which features the titular character's teeth prominently; hyenas have the strongest bite of any mammal, and this fact also becomes important.
Bert and Angel - Young married cougar couple stationed at the nearby (but not too nearby) ranger station, which the killer has planted a bomb in. They survive this because they were out in the woods subverting an obvious cliche. Bert was the only character smart enough to bring a gun, so he spends most of the movie coming to the rescue while Angel goes for help elsewhere. I won't reveal whether they succeed or pull a Dick Halloran ala movie version of The Shining. They're a take-off of recent Parks Service advertisements which featured a ridiculously furry looking family of, well, cougars.
Dee - Fox. A cheerleader, but the only one who's here because she both likes the outdoors (or at least she thinks she does) and the pledge. May or may not be the final girl. Does get the "obligatory tit shot", though for completely plot-driven reasons, really. Named after Dee Wallace-Stone, best known as being the mom from E.T., but also a scream queen who's work included animal themed horror movies like The Howling and Cujo.
Janet - Mouse. Obvious final girl candidate from the start. Wears glasses, but is not "blind without'em." Didn't want to come, because she doesn't like the outdoors, but otherwise totally behind the reason for the trip. Is seen early on with a "Wilderness Survival" handbook, which comes in handy.
Martin - Raccoon and ranger/youth pastor; killed off early, as he's basically only there to explain what everyone's doing up in the mountains. A bit inspired by the old "Ranger Rick" kid's magazine, but wanted to avoid the obvious alliterative name. Thought about making him a bear, but that was a bit too obvious.
Meg - Rabbit. Cheerleader who signed up because Dee did; in opening scenes, paired with Dee in way that was inspired by the two airheads from Final Destination 3, but my pair is much smarter. Could also be the final girl. Takes on a leadership role early on, and for this reason Hazel was an early name for the character, but once again, seemed a bit too obvious.
Ranger Anne - Our villain. Coyote. Like most slasher villains, is everywhere, and sneaky, though in her case, I feel a bit more justified, as she's the only one who knows the area that isn't killed off in the first five minutes. Wears a mask out of tradition (no attempt to hide the fact she's the killer is made; that's an area the furry thing does kind of ruin); my inspiration for the mask is, ironically, Bowser Jr. Motive is not given, only implied.
Tommy - Wolf. Total jerk. Only here because he's the minister's son. Killed off quickly, in a reversal of the "male stalker P.O.V. on female victim."
As of right now, I'm about 1/10th of actual writing down, but my plot is well worked out, and I'm still excited about it. I don't know if it's a salable screenplay, but you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. Worst case scenario, I can find an artist, it could be a decent graphic novel or even webcomic. Could not be a non-graphic novel.
Yeah, so seriously, I wrote a big long essay to break my lj dry spell, but deleted it. Long story. For a long essay.
God, I'm on fire.
Anywho, I'm going to redo my profile soon, so I'll just post the old introduction. As a kind of archive. Here you go. Enjoy.
I was born and raised in the middle of nowhere. Literally. I'm not joking. Nowhere, of course, is the Oklahoma Panhandle. Texas didn't want us, Kansas didn't want us, nobody wanted us, until, finally Oklahoma decided to be nice and take us, before promptly forgetting we existed.
Currently, I go to school at Wichita State University. However, I used to go to Seward County Community College, and I was a Saint, which is easier to make fun of. It would be irony I was a Saint, but I'm actually named after an Irish saint, (no, not Saint Patrick), so it's more like poetic justice. SCCC is in Liberal, Kansas, which is another instance of irony. We're kind of conservative in this area.
I'm a Christian. I have very strong beliefs about Jesus Christ. Just wanted you to know that.
I'm a furry. I love foxes. Some sort of weird obsession. I don't know, I love foxes. I used to post to Portal of Evil, under the name of crossaffliction, but I came to learn that everything about that site I had heard was true, and they all were closet furries without a sense of humor.
12:55pm: AWISE FWOM YUOR GWAVE!
Mostly posting to say I'm not dead, nor am I LEAFING LJ FOR-EVAH! I am, however, experiencing a sudden urge to write in mangled, all-caps English.
So, I met this homeless black guy today. The thing is, I've met him before, almost exactly a year ago. Gave him two bucks, after he asked me if I treat my black friends good. Complimented me by saying I was probably part black, which confused me, because I am so freaking white.
Okay, so anyways, met him again today. He just got a dollar today, but I knew it was the same guy because he asked me if I treated my black friends good again. He didn't recognize me, and I didn't ever tell him. Asked me if I voted for Obama, this time. Truthfully said no, too lazy to vote, or I would have voted for Obama. Satisfied him.
Tried to teach me one of those handshake things that black people and wannabe white people do. I'm really white, apparently. But he was convinced I was a "brother" at heart, and he pointed at a single freckle on my arm as corroborating evidence.
I found that strangely touching.
Fun-fact: LJ's spellcheck does not recognize the word Obama!