This is an essay by Jim Doolittle, who published it on the Cornwuff Press website in early 2001. It's a well-reasoned essay that sums up the problems of Furry fandom so well, and lays out exactly what needs to be done to solve them. I wholeheartedly agree with and support it, and recommend it to anyone interested in improving Furry fandom.
For months now, I have been hearing tales. Tales about how the fandom is a shitpot. Tales about how the fandom 'isn't like it used to be'. Tales about how spooge is the only thing worth drawing because it's the only thing fans want. Tales about how no one in their sane mind would want to call themselves a furry, because furry means this, or that, or something else that is wrong and depraved.
Recently, a favorite artist of mine up and left because of these tales, and because of the fact that there is (perhaps unfortunately) a large amount of sexually-explicit artwork in the fandom. This upset the artist, it seems.
I could blame those who draw spooge. I could blame those who buy it. I could blame the lifestylers, the gays, the lesbians, the FurryMuck addicts, the plushophiles, the zoophiles, the TS'ers, the Burned Furs, the Freezing Furs, the Furs for This, the Furs for That, or any number of the 'usual scapegoats'. But I don't, because often they aren't the problem.
the ruiner's got a lot to prove
he's got nothing to lose
and now he made you believe
the ruiner's a collector
he's an infector
serving his shit to his flies
—Nine Inch Nails, Ruiner
The ruiners are one of the problems. You can identify a ruiner very easily. The newsgroup alt.fan.furry is filled with them. They're the people who flame endlessly, complain about fandom's (so-called) problems, whine, bitch and moan, yet actually contribute nothing of a positive nature. Another example of a ruiner is the unidentified party who called Confurence 10's hotel, and informed the staff that Confurence was nothing but a cover for pornography and other vices, causing Confurence staff to run about in panic trying to deal with last minute hotel demands.
These people contribute nothing to fandom. Nothing at all. They are only around to destroy. Yet, people believe the lies and exaggerations that are spouted from the ruiners. I often wonder why they still bother associating with fandom; they clearly don't like it. The standard answer I receive is something along these lines, "I like [furries/anthropomorphics/funny animals], and I'm pissed off that the fandom has [become whatever they think it has become]." They somehow believe that his justifies their flaming of anyone who doesn't agree with them. If they can slip in a few personal attacks, that's just as well.
It's gotten to the point now that furry conventions have to be very cautious in their planning to avoid tiny loopholes for the ruiners to take advantage of. Whether this is a good or bad thing is left up to the reader to decide, but it certainly adds to the organizers' headaches.
In short, people who complain endlessly, yet provide no viable, positive solutions to the problems they complain about are part of the problem. Hyping the negative doesn't do anything to improve fandom's image. If anything, it worsens it. There is a large difference between honest, open criticism, and the nasty lies and exaggerations that the ruiners try to pass off as criticism.
There is a lot of crap I don't like in this fandom. I won't try to deny that. However, I've taken a completely different approach to solving them than the ruiners have. I create the things I want to see. I run this e-zine. I'm working with authors on a couple of print publishing projects. I'm on the con committee for Midwest FurFest. These are all activities which, in their own small way, contribute positively to that conglomeration of random interests that we call furry fandom. Instead of pointing to all the bad things and drawing attention to them, I try to point to all the good things, and create my own.
For someone who really wants to see good things come about in furry fandom, it's the only path to take. Leaving in disgust is not the answer. Whining is not the answer. Playing petty politics against people you don't like or agree with is not the answer. The answer is to create the things you want to see in fandom. Support like-minded people. Refuse to play the ruiners' game, and finally, remember the most important rule of furry fandom: Have Fun.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. —Dale Carnegie
Xydexx's Axiom Of Fandom Enjoyability