So I've had my eyes opened tonight. There's absolutely no point in making an attempt to defend the humor on Something Awful to a crowd that believes, simply, that all their humor from white end to black end is intended to defame and attack anyone in their sites of laughter. Nevermind the Photoshop Phridays or Horrors of Porn or anything else on the site—all which exists is the Awful Link of the Day and the Something Awful goons that perpetually attack the Internet with "hurr hurr internet serious business lol!!!!!!"
Supposedly, people have been fired from being mascots because it's been found out, via the Internet, that they were furries. The blame of this is the fact that Something Awful released their names on the Internet. Their full names, apparently, accompanied with pictures. (For some reason I find this hard to believe, but if someone can link me with proof, I'd really appreciate it.) For the situation at hand, let's assume all of this is 100% true.
Boss goes to Internet website, sees name of his worker. Thanks to the mass media talking about how kooky and crazy those furries are-- what with their fursuits and bestiality and all-- he freaks out, finds out his furry costumer is a fucking freak-- and not a family man-- and fires him. What, exactly, happened here? Who does the responsibility lie upon?
Let's start with the boss-- total fucking dickhead. He fired someone based not only on what he assumes they do in their private life, but from totally slanted and misrepresented information. Most likely, he watched TV or read it somewhere, or heard it word-of-mouth or gossip, that these WACKY FURRIES don their WACKY SUITS and participate in WACKY SEX. Considering the Average Joe flips out at the mention of anyone who's gay that just so happens to be male, it'd be understandable-- though unfortunate-- that Average Joe Boss would panic, since he's trying to hold a professional and FAMILY ideal (can't forget family because FAMILY IS SO GODDAMN SACRED!), blam, say goodbye to Mr. Pervert from the record books. No loss for him, because hey, as far as he knows, he just dropped a possible child molester or some bullshit defensive tactic to defend his called-out irrational politically-driven office move. Is the boss at fault? Fuck yeah. He's at a fault because he fired the guy.
But is he the only one? Let's look at what this kooky Internet website did. A satirical article on the situation at hand-- probably zombies eating the representative of the Yorba Linda water district and mass-attacking scientology churches-- followed by a link to photos of crazy people doing crazy things on the Internet! One photo in a string of many is of a horribly made "fursuit" doing a wacky pose! Under it is a description: "Joe Blow poses for the Internet in his disgustingly yiffed-up fursuit! The angle of this photo hides the SPH, however." Jerk-Boss thinks to himself, Oh god. Joe Blow? Holy shit let me check my rosters. Holy shit! Joe Blow! EEEEEEEEEEEEERASE! I have to talk to him about this in the morning about his new FIRED STATUS! Is the site at fault?
Yep. But not for the guy getting fired. (Before you suddenly contract Internet Rabies, continue reading.) With humorous misinformation improperly interpreted by the boss, backed up by mass-media money-making slants, this was a catalyst for getting the guy fired. While it's not entirely the website's fault the boss can't interpret irony without verbal tone, it is their fault for further misreporting the stereotype. Although, to play Devil's Advocate-- taking this stance is what catalyzed me writing all this, by the way-- stereotypes are one path to humor. While not the greatest path, the stereotype is constantly used to make jokes. Regardless, though, it was possible to take another approach, and the Internet website was irresponsible in both posting the guy's real name online and taking an improper approach to humor. They got the ball rolling for getting the guy fired, but weren't entirely at fault. God, that was too much analysis.
So where did both the boss and the Internet website get their information? Well, stereotypes happen for a reason, so for the Internet website, let's say the Internet. We can't say the same for Joe Average Jerk-Boss, though, so for this guy-- and since we've already pinned blame on Internet website-- let's say "media." The media, ever since the first Teddy Roosevelt, has been about making money. Money, money, money. Of course we can't say it's all about the money, but it sure is the main focus. Spin machines, red and blue, you name it, they've got it, and it's Spinsationalized™.
Here in the United States, we live in a world of Puritanism. Kill a cop, steal a car, participate in gang warfare, steal millions, spend millions, go above the law and conquer the world, bang a prostitute SUGGESTIVELY-- hey, that's all fine and dandy, and you might make the third page or so of the newspaper. (Especially the latter if you're a famous figurehead and only rumors spread.) But if they've got HOT, SPICY PHOTOS, and if it has anything to do with sex, PREPARE FOR FRONT PAGE FAME, BABY!
We are obsessed with sex because we're not allowed to talk about sex. Everyone thinks of sex as some super-sacred object only to be held by gloves at room temperature in a purely white room with 30W lights shining at 45-degree angles in the winter time as to not harm it whatsoever because it's just that pure. So it's no wonder that the main focus of the furry fandom from the media's point of view-- and in my opinion sometimes, within the fandom as well, though for different reasons-- is sex. Sex sells, as the saying goes, so the media focuses on its big baby profit-- hot dickings.
A while ago, the infamous special Sex2K: Furries and Plushies came into the face of the world. KROQ, a local radio station, had specials on these wacky people who "love animals" and "have sex with stuffed dolls" with "these crazy things-- no, seriously!-- called 'strategically placed holes' (gross!)" The media pounced all over this once word got out-- but they didn't look into the art and media, they didn't look into the strong sense of community, of acceptance, or of collective intelligence of the community. Who fucking cares? That doesn't sell! They focused on the sex. While they never directly said "all they do is this you guys it's gross oh man," it was implied by the fact of pure focus on these facts. Sex2K? Sex. KROQ special? Sex. Vanity Fair? Sex. Sex, sex, sex.
So is the media at fault? Fuck yeah. But not for getting the guy fired. They are the ones who improperly reported the name of the furry fandom-- they're the ones who created the "knowledge." But why are they not the ones at fault, you may ask? If they're so high up on the chain, why are they not the ones who are truly responsible? They didn't get the guy fired. They are ultimately responsible for the reaction that caused him to be fired, but not for the actual action of firing. Profits before people was the motto they adopted, so fuck all what happens to the people for our focus on this one thing. They are responsible for the misinformation that lead to the act, not act itself.
So in the end, who fucked up? Who's at fault?
The boss was a gigantic cockholster for not researching into it further or even talking to his employee about his thing on the side. "Tell me about furries," the boss could have asked. "Do you know what they say about furries in the media?" he also could have asked. He fucked up by not being responsible.
The Internet website took their information for the sake of humor, but it ultimately led to the demise of someone because of their irresponsibility with the power of anonymity on the Internet. Is it that fucking hard to find the eName of someone? Dude, most furries refuse to go by anything but their Internet names! Is that hard to use a pseudonym? The Internet website fucked up by being irresponsible.
The media is full of douchebags who adopt a policy that was mocked by Kids Show on the very same network which exploited its interviewees. Profits before people. Sex sells. WE NEED TO GET AS MUCH GODDAMN ADVERTISING OUT THERE AS WE POSSIBLY CAN, FUCK ALL WHO GET IN THE WAY. The media fucked up by not being responsible.
The misinformation thing is what bugs me the most about this. It continues to happen. Ultimately, no one defends themselves. All they do is sit back and whine, whine, whine about how they're being used and abused by this Internet website, by this Jerk-Boss, and by this mass-media machine. They sit on the Internet and bitch and complain about how their lives are being destroyed.
Well perhaps there’s a reason for that.
While I don’t agree with what this should be, you say this fandom is your life? You say it’s what you strive for? You say this is who you are? Yet you sit back and you let these people impale you with bullshit? You let people take you for a ride?
Maybe if you stopped trying to shut everyone out of your special little world and tried to get people to understand who you are. Maybe if you'd put your foot down and gently stick your fist in the mouth of those who refuse to report anything but misinformation and lies. Maybe if you put out your own information, mass-reported to those who don't understand. Maybe if you opened your eyes and accepted your mind. Maybe if you realized those without ears and mind are worthless to keep close.
You are irresponsible. You let people walk on you. You let people tell you who you are. You hide and cringe and swallow the words of those around you who complain about you only to go back to your circle to complain about the very person who forced in those words. While you are not the one at fault for being who you are, nor are you at fault for the person making fun of you, you are ultimately at fault for allowing them to do so.
It’s pretty goddamn rare that I ever see a press-release that shows us in a truthful light. It’s rare that I ever see someone attack those who attack them. It’s pretty goddamn rare that I see people making attempts to mobilize people into a position of verbal defense of some kind. It’s rare that I will see a furry stand tall and be proud of who they are without the superficial bullshit of the word “proud” and actually be proud to the point of taking a stand for what they believe is right. It is pretty god damn rare.
Break the circle. Stand up for yourself. Then maybe you won't find yourself in these ridiculous victim-like situations.
You are at fault.