Forget for a moment your humanity. Your species is suddenly a non-factor in your personhood, and you are merely an amorphous blob of nerves and emotions with wants and needs and likes and tastes and passions, and once you’ve stripped away all semblance of humanity save for its artistry and drive, you choose your shell. You choose sparkling scales, or fur and whiskers, the shape of your toes and the timbre of your voice, your nonverbal vocabulary and the physical and emotional utility of your tail, should you choose to have one.
Now imagine that all of your friends have done the same: a ball of passion with a skin completely of their own choosing. How much easier would it be to find the people you want to spend the rest of your life in a room with? When passions are distilled with the bond of humanity no longer being the glue of your societal mores, but something different, something chosen and unique among you and yours.
Welcome to Anthrocon.
Kevin (whom I quote often enough that all of my local friends now know that “Kevin” = “Corey’s friend from New York that no one else has ever met and very well might be imaginary”) put it extremely aptly:
Once you’ve found ‘your kind of people’, it ruins your patience for merely okay, slightly incompatible company
"Curation" is an unpleasant word lately for a myriad of reasons, but when immersed in a subculture of people whose passions overlap with yours in a specific way, the friendpool from which you curate suddenly makes “bad choices” much more seldom. There are fears of echo chambers, for sure, but when you choose who to surround yourself with by taste and not by geography or graduating class, you tend to strike gold more often.
And that’s the thing about the furry subculture - it’s a pre-set curation of people who like creative things. I don’t have an aversion to the word “fandom” in this context, but “fandom” to me implies an admiration or reverence of something outside of you, of something you didn’t participate in - something you are merely a “fan” of. Furry is much more than that.
What really makes this subculture different from others, like the comic book subculture or Star Trek-kies, is that instead of being fanatical about the work of another person who is famous and legitimized in the culture, furry is entirely user-created. Anyone can go into furry, draw art, get friends, wear a costume, and become relevant in the culture. People are talking about art, and artists, and the way people draw and make costumes.
I don’t suspect that this comeraderie is unique among the subculture I’m in. Sports fans gather to root for a driving force that everyone in the room has agreed to being “the good guys” - and I’ve seen that bond run strong, though I’d argue not as deeply seated as some others. And I bet the stories people bring back from WWDC will be retold with similar fondness - shared interests and passions make for a great ice breaker and, later, bonding agent.
But since this is a community that I’m active in and damn thankful for, I’m gonna boast. I’m privileged to get to spend pockets of my life with the most talented and creative and kind individuals on the entire planet.
This year in my room alone there were established comic artists, photographers, brush pen superheroes, sound engineers, and a guy who flew straight from Japan to give us teriyaki locusts to eat and to wear a pink Doberman suit.
With a heart on its butt.
At risk of my opening thoughts being construed as nihilistic: The absurdity of humanity is wondrous and unending. And sometimes, we like to pretend that we’re not human - by getting drunk, and dressing up like animals.
You should seriously try it sometime.
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