by Phil Geusz
©2008 Phil Geusz
About a year ago, a friend and fellow author pointed out to me that hed never written a Furry Persecution story, and had begun a new work to fill the glaring void in his resume. At first I was so puzzled that I had to ask him to repeat his statement; though I am myself the author of a fair number of furry works, Id never heard of furry persecution as a literary theme. Then, gradually, I came to understand that what he was talking about was the most common theme of all in furry literature, the storyline where Norms hate Furs, often for no readily apparent reason, and this conflict is the central driver of the entire plot. My friend was right, I suddenly realized: Hed never written anything like that all. Even more importantly to me, neither had I
The literary upshot of this was a very nice novella by my friend, and a short and novella from me as well. More pertinent to this column, however, is the fact that in writing my works I was forced to give a lot of thought not only to why the furry characters in my tales are hated, but even more significantly, why the theme holds such vast interest to furrydom in general.
Part of the answer is obvious: Not a lot of grown women and (mostly) men are into costuming and drawing and such to begin with, either as admirers or participants. Even fewer have anthro animals as their primary inspirations. So were strange from the moment we leave the starting gate yet thats only beginning to scratch the surface. Ive seen surveys which indicate that as a group furs are highly atypical religiously, sexually and politically. From my own experience, Id also add that furs tend to be unusually gifted in the IQ department, an aberrance which is compensated for by a remarkable degree of social ineptness. In short, were smart; not particularly respectful towards those attitudes and ideals that our society holds most sacred; and not particularly good at smoothing over the hard feelings that these traits create for us. Given these facts, is it any wonder that we fear persecution? Wed be stupid if we didnt, I say! And, as stated above, stupid were not.
But were all adults now, right? Aged and matured far beyond petty prejudices and laughing at those different than ourselves. Of course we are! And if you believe that, Ive got some superb deals on Florida swampland to offer you, for almost nothing down. At virtually every furcon I attend, I worry myself sick about what sorts of reporters are going to show up and what kind of sleaze theyre going to print about us. Our culture understands full well that we furs are not really on-board with much of their agenda, and it deals with us accordingly. If we do not accept their opinions about what is holy, then clearly we must be some kind of Satanists. If we do not accept their sexual norms, were perverts. And if were bursting at the seams with creativity and art and the love of powerful new images and ideas, well, then were obviously fit only to serve as figures of fun.
So I think Furry Persecution resonates as a theme because its real. While Im not accusing the norms of running for the pitchforks and torches just yet, I dont exactly see them treating us like beloved brethren, either. I suppose its understandable, at root. Robert Heinlein pointed out in Stranger in a Strange Land that if you remove a monkey from its troop, dye it pink, and then return it to its cage the others will tear it apart. And, as he also pointed out, theyre absolutely right to do sobecause a pink monkey, by the very fact of its existence, is a threat to all brown monkeys everywhere! Monkey nature may not be kind, but it is practical.
Human nature is more practical than is really good for us at times too, and perhaps we pink-monkey furs understand this truth better than anyone. Thus the eternal appeal of the persecuted fur story, and my eternal vigilance against reporters at furmeets.