July 29, 2011

Sometimes you might pause to wonder, “Should I really inflict this on people?” And sometimes the answer is a no-brainer: “Well, duh. Of course I should!”

WilfredFor those unfamiliar with Wilfred, a television series running on FX network:

On Wilfred, FX’s Elijah Wood comedy adapted from the Australian original, the titular character is a dog — to everyone except Ryan (Wood), the near-suicidal neighbor who agrees to dog-sit him. To Ryan, Wilfred appears as a walking, shit-talking, hung-over man in a rumpled dog suit. Wilfred exhibits both human and animal behaviors: He watches a Matt Damon movie, then indulges in the urge to dig holes and pee freely around the yard. He gives Ryan some legit life advice (between beers and bong hits), and he also humps stuffed animals. This all raises a number of questions, obviously: How crazy is Ryan? If Wilfred is a dog, who’s smoking the other half of those joints? And if he isn’t a dog, then is Wilfred a furry, a person who puts on a costume, attends conventions, and perhaps gets down in a fur suit?

Yeah, some things we just don’t need to know. And then one day they work their way into general view, and, well, right.

Those who are familiar with the diversity of pornography, or the odd quirks of Generations X and Y, have probably heard of the furry behavioral phenomenon. To me, well … never mind what I think; I’ll plead the Fifth. No, wait. Strike that. I’ll plead the Thumper Rule.

At any rate, New York Magazine yesterday posted its interview with Kilcodo, a practicing furry.

I know, I know.

Last year, The Rumpus interviewed Kilcodo, who happens to be a friend of one of the site’s contributors. Amy Letter, who interviewed Kilcodo for The Rumpus, also offered her thoughts on the discussion and how it came to be:

But when Stephen Elliott sent out an email saying that he wanted to run 650-word interviews with ordinary people who are interesting, I thought of my friend: she’s an “ordinary” person in the sense that if you met her you’d think, “there’s a sharp, talented 20-something who does not flinch to give you her opinion!” And you’d never for a second guess that she likes to dress up like a lemur.

Yeah. Something like that.

A "Geek Tree"No, it’s not that I despise furries; I don’t know any well enough to have that kind of personal opinion. But, more abstractly, I think of people I sometimes see at baseball games, trying to rally the crowd to do the Wave or follow a cheer, and I do wonder about these folks, who seem to be trying to relive their high school days. Maybe they were a cheerleader, or something. Or maybe they weren’t because nobody voted for them.

Naturally, then, when I see furries, I tend to think of cheerleaders in mascot suits.

Thankfully, though, this isn’t about me.

Rather, it’s a brief glimpse into a world that has existed for at least a couple of decades, if not longer, and is finally breaking through into mainstream culture. I make no suggestions about whether or not one should worry about this. Diversity seems to indicate that we regularly need to give fifteen minutes of fame to various people and ideas.

And, perhaps, our storytellers will know what to do with this particular phenomenon. Or have fun trying to figure out what to do.

Either way, have a read. Or don’t. I fully accept that the whole idea might seem a bit creepy and out of sorts.

Maybe I just need to hang out with more people dressed up as dogs and pandas and lemurs.


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