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Burned Furs was the name of a movement to counter public acts of perversion within the furry fandom which was active from 1998 to 2001. In November of 2005, a new group was created using the same name and logo as the original, by persons unaffiliated with the original group. BFII has since changed its name to Improved Anthropomorphics specifically "to avoid further confusion and drama".
Founding and history
The Burned Furs were founded in 1998 by Squee Rat and Eric Blumrich, because, according to their Mission Statement, "Anthropomorphics fandom is being overrun by sexually dysfunctional, socially stunted and creatively bankrupt hacks and pervs."
Of the four statements published by the group, two were by Squee Rat, one was by Peter Schorn, and the last was by Mike Beebe (as shown at http://burnedfur.mv.com/main.html). In point of fact, Eric's personal commentaries on the fandom as a whole were well-known for years before Burned Fur existed.
The group was composed of, in the words of Squee, "furs who have spoken up against fandom perversion and been 'burned at the stake' for it." Most of these disputes occurred on USENET in the newsgroups alt.fan.furry and alt.lifestyle.furry.
Negative press coverage of the fandom, including articles in which furry convention attendees discussed these and other sexual practices with reporters, as well as their intent to use the conventions to promote their lifestyles, caused further distress amongst those not wishing the fandom as a whole to be associated with such practices. Many originally-prominent members of the fandom left or otherwise sought to hide public knowledge of their involvement with the fandom in order to avoid possible backlash in their personal and professional lives.
It was in this pre-existing atmosphere of mutual intolerance that the debate over the furry fandom's public image was waged, and subsequently buried under rampant acts of (often mutual) demonization. Burned Fur was, if anything, a symptom of the schisms that had been raging in the fandom to that point.
Burned Fur beliefs
Many disputes over the exact nature of Burned Fur beliefs arose. The group was often accused of wanting to impose some sort of anti-sexual vision on the rest of the fandom despite many members of the organization being creators of furry erotica. Certain members of the group were intolerant of gays, Christian Furs, obscure fetishes, and/or erotic artwork; these were generally held up as examples of overall Burned Fur ideology by various of the group's opponents. For example, when Burned Fur founder Hangdog made homophobic and libelous remarks on alt.fan.furry in August 2000, he refused to apologize for them. The only Burned Furs to comment on this did not denounce him, but rather made excuses for his behavior.
In more general terms, the Burned Furs were intolerant of persons promoting their unusual kinks or ideologies via the press, particularly when this gave the appearance of representing the furry community as a whole.
Throughout the Manifesto, Squee Rat made clear that personal fetishes and unusual lifestyle choices were not a problem if kept as a private matter, in private areas and within the law; she opposed the public flaunting of what most would consider socially-unacceptable behaviors. In particular she derided the small minority of fans who insisted that a person could not be "furry" without, for example, having an "animal spirit" or practicing Veganism.
Many critics considered Burned Fur a hate group due to the Manifesto's harsh tone and the production of a number of t-shirts bearing the slogan "I don't have a lifestyle, I have a life".
The group was mentioned in underground media articles with Disinformation.com and the Philadelphia Weekly (in the latter case, four years after the group effectively dissolved). Burned Fur has also been written up in Lore Sjöberg's now-defunct Brunching Shuttlecocks.
In the case of the Disinformation and Weekly coverage, the focus of the articles was about the sexual fetishes to be found in the fandom, with Burned Fur being mentioned specifically as opposition to these practices. The Weekly author ended with the hope that the Phillie Phanatic (a sports mascot) would be abducted and gang-raped by fursuiters at a convention. The Disinformation author concluded his article with the statement that furry fandom "truly has something for everyone...to stare at with a peculiar mixture of horror and intrigue".
The latter author later wrote an article for the Greenwich Village Gazette attacking certain of the Reform Party's Election 2000 candidates, including Burned Fur member Scott Malcomson, who was running for Governor in Arizona. The author also attacked him for roleplaying a unicorn character on FurryMuck and drawing erotic furry art.
Threats of violence
Burned Fur was often accused of threatening and making physical attacks against their opponents, including death threats and sabotaging convention events.
One known case of a Burned Fur actually threatening an opponent was the maintainer of the Burned Fur homepage, who during a heated flamewar in 1998 said he would "put his fucking head through a wall" if he ever met Xydexx at a convention. Another Burned Fur member, GothTiger chimed in and stated he would "like nothing better in the world than to watch mister too-many-consonants get what's coming to him."
Burned Furs also displayed intolerance for Eric Blumrich: Hangdog threatened him on the Yerf newsgroups and was summarily banned: "The next time I see you I will kill you with my bare hands." Burned Fur Scott Malcomson noted that Blumrich "hates, apparently, for the sheer pleasure of hating," and noted Blumrich's extremist attitude was one reason many Burned Fur members left the group.
Despite these two incidents of heated words, no Burned Fur ever attacked any person, nor were the sabotage claims ever supported beyond allegations.
As soon as Burned Fur launched, it was subjected to harsh criticism. Some of the opposition joined a group called Freezing Furs, which considered Burned Fur a hate group. Other opposition groups included Nonaligned Furs and Furry Peace, which were formed on the basis of inclusion and non-alignment in the factional conflicts. Aside from producing websites and link buttons meant to indicate solidarity amongst members, none of these groups are known for having done anything specific to advance any particular agenda.
By the time Burned Fur was founded, individual convention-goers were already boycotting ConFurence due to lewd behavior that the convention's organizers insisted on turning a blind eye to. CF was finally turned over to Burned Fur member Darrel Exline in 1999, resulting in the claim by Burned Fur members Hangdog, Scott Malcomson, and Major Matt Mason that this would make it a "Burned Fur convention.". Many who believed that Burned Fur existed to "kick all the degenerates out" shied away from the convention altogether. Attendance levels continued to decline until ConFurence officially closed its doors on April 27, 2003.
By about 2001, the Burned Furs had faded into history, many of them having left furry fandom altogether, and the countergroups formed to oppose them became defunct by default.
Points of discussion
Ironically enough, once abandoned, the original "Burned Furs" website was picked up by a pornography merchandiser. Some claim it was because the domain contained the name and keyword "furry", but there has never been any evidence of this. The more likely explanation is it was picked up because it is common practice for pornographers to purchase expired domains regardless of content.
- Fur - Lore Sjöberg, Brunching Shuttlecocks (15 August 2002)
- Xydexx rec's "Threat of Violence?" Judge for yourself. 1999 April 28 post by Hangdog on alt.fan.furry. Retrieved 2011 January 30.
- Original Burned Fur website, archived by Wayback Machine
- This Sordid Little Business (The Furry Manifesto), Squee Rat, 1998
- Archived copy of Burned Fur Mission Statement
- Philadelphia Weekly: Fur Better or Worse
- Disinformation.com: Furry Fandom
- A somewhat amusing discussion of the implications of the Burned Furs by the Brunching Shuttlecocks
- Burned Fur: Retarded Infighting Trainwreck! Part 1 - Part 2, Computolio, Crush Yiff Destroy, 2004
- Baked Furs (group)
- Improved Anthropomorphics
- Ladder Trick, a column by Nick Mamatas, which mentioned Burned Furs in 2000
- Mirror of Burned Fur website
- Burned Fur on Google groups
- "An Appeal to Mark Merlino"
- "6 Shallow Graves? more like 26 now": an example of an anti-Burned Fur thread