…a study today revealed a shocking development: Americans are rude bastards. And they realize that they are.
…a bunch of guys on Slashdot, to show their love of the community and thanks to the ones who provide the community center, decide to hold a boycott for some vague reason.
…Penny Arcade posts an anti-furry comic just because they’re pissed off, and anybody who supports furry fandom in the forums is horrifically flamed. I got flamed similarly when trying to defend my right to enjoy hentai anime on MegaTokyo’s forums.
…users conspire to backstab a friend of mine on Harry Potter MUSH for no real reason whatsoever, much as I was railroaded off PhoenixMUCK years ago.
…GSA clubs (Gay/Straight Alliance) across the country feel persecution from students, teachers, parents and lawmakers alike because they dare to want to include everybody and express a message of unity and tolerance.
…and Israel and Palestine both hate each other and kill each other and the rest of the world is getting sucked into their gaping maw, which could result in all of us waking up in a smoking, glowing crater the next day.
Where am I going with this? If you want to read the rant, go ahead. I LJcutted since it’s really long…
(ObUE: UE04 Final now posted, just some word tweaking. UE06 in development for later writing.)
You’d think three airplanes upside the head in New York and DC would change some minds. An act of hate, a large scale one at that, to spur on sympathy and love across borders… and it did work, for all of about five minutes. Then we went right back to business as usual. Community hate, subcultural hate, racial hate, homophobic hate, religious hate… it’s everywhere, every stratus of society, situations small to huge. Welcome to the two minute hate that lasts forever.
But let’s take this down and focus on a purely subcultural level; start small with learning tolerance, then work up to the bigger, more intense issues of hate. I’m going to talk about furry fandom. Because I know a few of you out there reading this make the wrinkly bitter beer face and refuse to accept it, making fun of it with frequency. I know you by name. I’m good friends with you, too.
In what may be a surprise to some, I was an active participant on FurryMUCK for about seven years. I had no idea there was some horrific stigma attached to the place when I went there AS Twoflower… all I knew was it had lots of people, they were very friendly, and I had a chance to cut my teeth as a MUCK coder there. I wasn’t really a fan of the furry fandom, but that didn’t matter; I was tolerant of those who were and felt no hate. I made some terrific friends, I had a lot of fun, and I don’t regret a single minute of it. If not for FurryMUCK, the core of evil nasty badbad furries which needs to be wiped out because it’s gross and stupid and lame, you would not be reading my writing. A lot of my projects were encouraged and inspired by the folks there.
Needless to say, after my time there, I’ve started to bristle a bit whenever I hear someone playfully mocking furry fans. It annoys me. Furry is trivialized and shoved aside in order to make others feel better about themselves — “At least I’m not a furry,” after all.
I have news for the player haters out there: Look on the Geek Heirarchy and despair. Because yes, furry is down there on the list… but so are you. No matter where you stand, there will be someone who hates you, who thinks you’re stupid, lame, weird, gross. Hate is a two way street; while you push someone down to pull yourself up, others are pushing YOU down to pull themselves up.
The only solution is to break the chain and refuse to hate. Refuse to disrespect someone just because of a hobby, interest, origin, religion, color, sexuality, or ANY aspect which differs from yours. Even if the aspect is something which makes you uneasy or disgusts you, you have to break the cycle and accept it. Force yourself to accept it, even if you accept in indifference rather than a warm embrace. Anything else is hate.
Let me give an example with myself.
Growing up in the suburbs of America, I had tolerance shoved so far up my ass it lit up my skull from within. I learned to recycle. I learned to accept the ‘geeks’ and ‘weirdos’ in class — and I saw it working around me, in a lot of ways. As a disabled person, as a diastrophic dwaf, I was supposed to be one of the picked-upon ones who was mocked and hated. But I wasn’t. Only one guy in my elementary school acted like that, and man, when he did he got JUMPED ON (verbally) by the other kids who had respect for me. I made friends, ones I still have to this day (Hey, Josh) and things went okay. I got along with black students, white students, hispanic students, men, women, gay, straight, you name it. I even got along with friends who my friends hated (Hey, Jason).
But that doesn’t mean I grew up niave. If anything, I grew up knowing there was a lot of hate out there. Through images in the media, both of tolerance and hate, and my zest for reading and learning about the world I evaluated everything. And I grew to loathe a bully, one who hates and lashes out just for the sake of causing pain and proving physical / mental / moral superiority over another person. I grew to hate hate; the only form of hate I believe in, technically.
You have to learn this. It is essential, a mandatory way of life. Even if nobody else around you cares, even if they say stuff like “That’s SO gay” or make jokes about niggers and kikes and bitches and fatasses and yes, furries or otaku or gamers or scifi fans. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pebble in an avalanche, it’s your duty to be the kind of pebble with smooth edges that’s unlikely to grate against your neighbor. From there, who knows, maybe it’ll spread… and even if it doesn’t, at least it’s a little less hate in the world. Because lord knows we need some.