Furry Friends

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On Saturday I happened to be in Pittsburgh, watching the TV in my hotel room.  The newscast announced that the annual Furry Convention was taking place in town.  For those who don't know what a `furry' is (and that was me until just over 48 hours ago), a furry is someone who likes to dress up as an animal.  When I was small, they were known as whackos, loonies, and Billy No-Mates, but the world was a much colder, crueler place way back when.  Now, in This Present Age, they are `furries' -- friendly, decent sorts who just want to be left alone to dress up as lions and tigers and bears.

What struck me was the comment of one such furry -- I believe he was a tiger, but I may have been mistaken -- that furry conventions were great because `you meet people without knowing their age, gender, or even their accent, if they choose not to talk.  So you can really get to know people without any preconceptions or prejudices.'

Call me old fashioned, but when I `get to know someone', I like to know if they are male or female, thirteen or ninety five, and from whence they come. Not that I'm prejudiced --- some of my best friends are of one gender or the other, were born at some point, and speak with distinctive voices.   Indeed, far from being `preconceptions or prejudices', these would, in my limited experience, seem to be essential to knowing someone as an individual.

But there's the rub -- these things are essential to knowing someone; and we live in a world where essences are rather modernist notions, implying that our identities are somewhat limited by things beyond our immediate control.  Now we can be whoever -- or whatever -- we want to be.

Anyway, I was left wondering if the furries had ever heard of Facebook.  Seems a whole lot cheaper as a means of self creation and really getting to "know" people (sic) than walking around in a spandex cat suit -- though, I concede it may not be as much fun.

Most suspicious, however,was the fact that Derek and I checked in to the same hotel on Friday night but he was mysteriously gone in the morning.    And yet rumours abound that a giant six-foot pink rabbit, answering to the name of Rhodri and quoting Howell Harris, was spotted in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Posted June 28, 2010 @ 3:38 PM by Carl Trueman
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