Recently a reporter disguised herself as a furry and attended a furry con. She then wrote a piece about it which (IMHO) was pretty damned honest and objective (read it here.)
A few furries are ranting about this being underhanded or dishonest. You know what? They're wrong. Here's what I had to say about it.
When a reporter or news crew hits the hotel housing a furry con, it's like feeding time for the outre. People who I wouldn't let into my house practically line up to spill their stories to the nice, sympathetic reporter. It's as if they think that telling their story will somehow cause the world to suddenly understand them. Does the reporter edit it for oddness? Hell yes. But the interviewees fed them such a steady diet of it that the reporter didn't have to work hard.
Kage and a few others try to run interference with reporters at Anthrocon. Not much in the way of news come out of it. Why? Because the reporters know they're being handled by a pro. They know they're only being given a particular and somewhat sanitized viewpoint. On seeing that, any reporter worth his salt is going to go digging for the 'real' story. Keep the reporters away from 99% of the furries, and the reporters will assume that 99% of the furries have something hidden. So they go looking for that hidden stuff. Eventually, they'll find somebody six sigmas out on the bell curve, and that only confirms their opinion that something was hidden. And who loses? The furries, who get painted with the brush of the most extreme of the crew.
This time something different happened. This woman came in as if she were an insider and wound up getting an insider's view. She liked what she saw. She saw old friends chatting. She saw costumers sharing tips. She saw art. She saw, as she describes it, a family-friendly place. God bless that man talking about his three-year-old daughter, and God bless the reporter for realizing that those two were the average furry.
She never would have gotten that story if she came in openly as a reporter. Instead she'd have been shuffled around by handlers, glommed onto by attention seekers, and avoided like the plague by the very folks who are the best examples of furries.
I'm not a furry in the sense that I don't have a fursona and am not real big on the anthropomorphic art (except Kevin and Kell. Gotta love Kevin and Kell). But I've been lucky enough to get to know the furry community from working Anthrocon and FurFright, and I tell ya, it's a joy and a privilege to do it.
This reporter came in, and by dint of not drawing attention to herself, got to see furries as they are: kind, friendly, fun-loving, practical people who are there to enjoy each others' company. I wish to hell more reporters would do it that way. There would be a lot more laudatory stories, and then a lot less news - because furries won't be looking odd any more.
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