1. says

    I don’t get weirded out by the whole furry thing the way other people seem to do, and I’m not sure why. It’s not my thing, and I don’t think I’ve met more than a handful, but I can’t recall ever having the “Ohmygodjesusohmyjesus” reaction.

    Now, pirate lolitas, on the other hand. . . .

    Actually, if I met any, I’d probably acclimate to that style too. It’s certainly cuter than “ninja lolita”, a clothing style which just makes people invisible.

  2. Peter Ashby says

    I blame the Interwebnetthingy. You see previously the crazies were sad, lonely people, then the ‘net came along and made it easy for crazies to find each other and remember there is safety in numbers, and affirmation too.

    I hereby nominate PZ as Lord High Internet Censor, able to dispense taste as well as judgment. Only thing is, he’d have to move somewhere like Hawai’i. Well where else could we build him a rock cave with bubbling lava pools?

  3. True Bob says

    Yeah, the furries. I find them more disturbing now that I’ve seen some. Of the entities in that vid, I like the luchadores best, probably because every day I get closer to that pear-like body shape.

  4. says


    I can’t recall ever having the “Ohmygodjesusohmyjesus” reaction.

    I’ve heard theists say things like, “For someone who doesn’t believe in [my] God, you sure do use his name a lot!” — in response to exclamations such as “Oh my God!” My response to such persons is that a) I did not use a name (e.g., I did not say “Jehovah”), I used a generic descriptor, and b) I merely expressed the ultimate level of disbelief (i.e., I could just as easily have said “I don’t believe it!” but it wouldn’t have captured quite as well the degree of my disbelief). Saying “Oh my God!” is like saying, “I just cannot believe this shit!” Plus, it has a nice ring of irony to it when used in conjunction with, say, some new Bush statement about caring for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free… or about the environment… or education… or whatever. Then, I could just as easily use it to mean, “This is utterly ridiculous! What a load of crap!”

    Btw, furries don’t bother me — but I have to admit to being a little squicked out by diaper fetishists. I mean, Jesus “Haploid” Christ!

  5. THobbes says

    Damn straight, Peter Ashby. Before the Interweb, furries were people with a slight over-attraction to the Chipmunks, while now, well, you can see what’s being reaped from the web hath sown.

  6. gerald spezio says

    PZ, I think that it is absolutely magnificent.

    It’s the framing wars, the science wars, all wars…

    Am I “reading in” here? Do I mis-understand the chagrin in your post? These genuine nuts give me hope as well as laughter. Terrific.

  7. Schmeer says

    Klingons are cheaters! The only bowler that seemed to be able to knock any pins down was a human Starfleet officer! Sheesh…

  8. X.Wolp says

    You do not want to know how much of the Pharyngula readership is furry…you simply don’t
    One should be aware that life sciences and atheism attracts them magically, so you better beware!

  9. ngong says

    Do you violate a furry code of conduct if you take a glove off and put three real fingers in the ball, instead of launching it from between your legs?

  10. says

    Well, really, I find this strangely… reassuring.

    We know there are people who like dressing up as animals. We know there are people that like dressing up as Klingons…

    Now, we know that at least once, a number of such people got together and went bowling together.

    Well, of course they did. People dressed up as animals and Klingons… bowling. I mean, what else would they do? It’s nice to know… They’re just like anyone else. I mean, apart from the whole dressing up as animals and Klingons thing…

    Okay, yes, and apart from the bowling. Some of us (raises hand) even find that a bit weird… But at least it wasn’t one of those really strange blacklight bowling places that plays bad synthbass-heavy eighties music like the one my wife’s friends dragged us out to once. Speaking of freakish fringe communities.

    Anyway, I will look forward to more startling video revelations from these odd little subcultures. Furries and Klingons playing frisbee at the park. Furries and Klingons hanging out at the local pub, chatting up the barmaids, bitching about their jobs. Furries and Klingons commuting. Furries and Klingons hiking. Furries and Klingons gardening. Furries and Klingons playing street hockey.

    All very normal… I mean, yeah, except that when they’re playing frisbee in the park, the furries probably try to catch the disk in their mouths. But what are ya gonna do.

  11. says

    X. Wolp:

    You do not want to know how much of the Pharyngula readership is furry…you simply don’t

    Why not? I bet that percentage is difficult to estimate (and almost certainly irrelevant for any serious purposes), but I’m not emotionally averse to knowing.

  12. Maureen Lycaon says

    I second X.Wolp there; you’d be surprised how many furries are in your readership.

    I find this much less disturbing than your Snowball story. Or this.

  13. Rey Fox says

    “One should be aware that life sciences and atheism attracts them magically, so you better beware!”

    For real? I figured a good 85% of them were in computer science and/or wicca (or some other, oh dear, fuzzy spirituality).

  14. says

    hmmm… I was a bit offended by that video. It was BLATANT misrepresentation. OBVIOUSLY those weren’t all Klingons the Furries were bowling against. No self respecting Klingon would dress in Fleet Uniform. And there was only one legit Klingon uniform in the bunch.

    Now, If you wanted to see some REAL Klingons, you should have seen the Klingon Karaoke at Toronto Trek 1999. In a bar full of cowboys. Believe me, Cowboys vs Klingons was a MUCH more interesting event, especially when the crew got up and sang “we all live in a yellow bird of prey”

    As for the furries…. um… I have to admit I KNOW furries, but don’t particularly EVER want to get involved in any Furry events.

    If you’re shocked at this, you really need to get out more.

    ~Lt JG Kat, USS Torealis

  15. Peterte says

    I sure do prefer the vids where people get tazered. Being a Brit I have no idea what that video was about. It’s the only world we’ve got so I’m sure happy to live in it.

  16. Sven DiMilo says

    What’s really annoying about the whole “furry” thing is the blatant mammalian chauvinism.
    Why no scalies?
    Why no plumagies?
    Why no chitinous exoskeletonies?
    Why no scuties? Or carapacies?

  17. says

    Now that was interesting. It put me in me in mind of a kids program from the 70’s called The Banana Splits.

    That being said, the furries thing doesn’t bother me either.

  18. LT says

    … it strikes me as odd how people freak over people pretending to be animals when the other group is a bunch of people pretending to be futuristic aliens with their own made-up language (Shakespere has been translated into Klingon. Why, I have no effing clue). It was a charity event, it was people having fun for a good cause… what’s the problem? Babyfurs and that sort of thing squick me too, but this was pretty innocent.

  19. says

    You know what I find repulsive? Shirts, ties, and cubicles. Who the hell normalised that?

    I say, if one dresses for and works in Dilbertia, one has insufficient credit to criticise others’ fashion.

  20. Kseniya says

    Sigh. Why can’t people keep this kind of roleplay in the chatrooms where it belongs?



    Next up: Robot Squid vs. Reptilian Overlords in Badminton Deathmatch XXXIV? (One can only hope.)

  21. says

    The furries don’t particularly bother me, I just prefer they do their thing in their own space, and I’ll do mine in mine. However, there was a furry dragon at Dragon*Con this year, and every time I saw it, I had an unconrollable urge to take it aside and point out that “dragon” and “furry” were mutually exclusive.

  22. ssjessiechan says

    Now now, I don’t think dressing like a furry animal is any weirder than dressing like a futuristic alien (or futuristic human for that matter). Think of this as less of “I want to die now”, and more of “look what creative and strange things this beautiful biological brain can produce.” I think it’s lovely.

  23. craig says

    When I first heard of furries, I got a little creeped out. This video actually lessened that for me. I actually found myself thinking for half a second that that looked like good silly fun. gulp.

  24. says

    Craig #29

    Amazing vid! Wasn’t sure at first but it totally won me over. Something wondrous from the human brain – hurray!

  25. catofmanyfaces says

    In all honesty these are “fursuiters”, a sub culture of the furry community. most are just into the art and wouldn’t dressup as one.

    Also, Furry is a generic term, including reptiles and other not so furry things. It’s a legacy term.

  26. says

    While we’re on the nexus between fursuits and sporting events…

    Just pasting a link to another forum here (not the one I first read this on, just the first hit on google), but there’s a recording of Bob Uecker from a few months back doing the play-by-play at a couple of Brewers games and filling in the idle minutes between pitches with a lively description of his stay at a hotel that had just been taken over by some Furry convention.

    Fricking hilarious. Definitely listen to both days’ worth of commentary.

  27. Luna_the_cat says

    Emily @ #25, spare a thought for my immense frustration when my husband — bless his pointy little head — introduced “milk lizards” into one of his fantasy worlds to complement dray lizards.

    As for furries…I like them. Though I could do without the “yiffing” in hotel lobbies. Hotel rooms exist for a reason, people…..

    Seriously, who did win? It looks to me like it was the furries. Oh, the Klingon shame.

  28. gerald spezio says

    PZ, God may not exist, but we have natural humor and natural laughter from great natural selection. Without the sin, perdition, and pestilence.

    You are always making me smile and laugh.
    No wonder students and almost every body else with a brain likes your sarcastic ass.

    I think these nuts and crazies are terrific, and I dunno jack about trekkies, furries, furies, etc

  29. aiabx says

    The Klingon/cowboy confrontation mentioned above made me think.. is it better to be a human dressing up as a fictional alien, or an urban drone dressed up as a cowboy? Alien for me please, since I don’t look good in chaps.

  30. Hank says

    Apart from claims of “fursecution”, which annoy the living hell out of me, I can’t say I really care about either subculture.

    Cue “fursecution” rant in 1.. 2.. 3.

  31. says

    There are groups I have serious problems with: my wife and I had a minor altercation with a Boy Scout troop leader over a parking space this weekend (seriously, dude; if you park directly behind us, we can’t leave when we want to, you selfish dolt). A fine example he set, with both his actions and language.

    But neither furries nor Klingons, I am certain, would have caused such a problem. We certainly didn’t run into any such issues at the Pirate Faire the day before, and everyone there was armed!

    The weirder the subculture, the more accepting and friendly the members. It’s getting so I don’t trust “normal” people at all anymore.

  32. says

    Oh, uh, whoops. The forum I linked to above (#34) is NSFW. I didn’t notice if you scroll all the way down there’s porn ads. Sorry everybody.

    PZ, if you feel like deleting or editting that comment, I am ok with that.

    To recap – Bob Uecker, legendary sports announcer and Mr. Belvedere co-star was suddenly and unexpectedly introduced to furry fandom when the Brewers put him up in the same hotel as Anthrocon. His thoughts on the occasion may amuse you. A totally worksafe photo and recap is here:

    And audio of his on-air reflections on the furries are here and here:

  33. says

    This is absolutely a world I want to live in.

    Human beings are the weirdest species ever. Bar none. I love them to pieces.

    And while I personally find furries rather amusing, at least they’re not living their lives in quiet conformist desperation. Besides, I am in absolutely no position to judge, given my attendance at the Victorian Science Fiction Ball… at which was sung Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern major general” re-written with Star Trek lyrics.

  34. says

    BTW, has anyone else seen the geek hierarchy from the late, lamented Brunching Shuttlecocks?

    At the top: Published Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors and Artists. At the bottom: People Who Write Erotic Versions of Star Trek Where All the Characters Are Furries, Like Kirk is an Ocelot or Something, and They Put a Furry Version of Themselves as the Star of the Story.

    Damn, I miss the Shuttlecocks.

  35. Bill Dauphin says

    Until I wikkied it, I understood it to be related to sexual activity. That is what I find squicky…

    JOOC, as long as nobody’s forcing you to watch or join in, why should the sexual activity of consenting adults be of any concern, no matter how strange it may seem to you?

  36. True Bob says

    I don’t care what they do among themselves. Consenting adults and all. I’m not judging them, it (sexualized anthropomorphic animals) just isn’t my bag, man. And realize my understanding of the vid – folks flaunting their peculiar kink at the bowling alley. I’m not going to get all heavy about it, I just understood that all the furry participants would be sexually aroused. So I was wrong – I hope. :)

  37. John Vreeland says

    What urge does dressing up in a furry costume satisfy outside of the need to broil in your own sweat?

  38. Bryan says

    Thanks catofmanyfaces at #33. It is worth repeating that of the furry community as a whole, the number of people who actually make and wear fursuits has to be in the single digit percentages. They are just by far the most remarkable in the mainstream discourse.

    Most furs play it quite low key in their day to day environments — you’re unlikely to figure out who in your office has a bipedal ferret alter-ego, and they’re unlikely to volunteer the information.

    The whole furry thing is just another great ‘live and let live’ opportunity that seems to attract a lot of flak for being outside of the vanilla — and in no small part also for the over representation of people with sexual orientations that fall outside of heteronormative within the fandom. I think the last point has to do with what Markbt73 said, the weirder the subculture, the more accepting the members. Which has definantly been my experience.

    It is my theory that juvenile internet name calling is mostly based on gay-bashing under the fig leaf of fur-bashing, and that there is so much of it at that “13 yo AOL user/SomethingAwful” level that it forms a foundation on which broader anti-fur attitudes seem normal. Because at the end of the day, who are furries hurting?

    At least these people found a creative outlet and social focusing point in their lives that wasn’t mediated by a fortune 500 company. It is a thoroughly DIY experience, just about everything is created by hand or through indie presses.

    You can also put me in the intersection of the Pharyngula readers/Furries Venn diagram.

  39. True Bob says

    the weirder the subculture, the more accepting the members

    With the possible exception of conservative right wing homophobic straight men who have sex with other men.

  40. craig says

    Just watched it again. That grey wolf woman is kinda hot. At least I think its a woman.

  41. says

    Ouch! I can’t believe you’d embed a video of people bowling. What’s worse is I think I live near that place. (Of course, no True Scotsman would be seen anywhere one of those places. Harrumph)

  42. gerald spezio says

    After three careful viewings, I can only ask;
    What could possibly be wrong with what we see here?

    Read in whatever you want. Do lit crit.

    I understand that no Disney characters at Disneyland can be seen without full costume. Very serious because it destroys the illusion. Here we see feigned combat and guys with video cameras.

    It has been said that pornography exists because there are real gizmos and real sex.

    What is with all this literary criticism about some people in terrific furry animal costumes screwing off, having a great time, and bowling for control of the universe, no less.

    I hate bowling. It’s more worser than golf.
    But, I would bowl like a madman with these crazies if they would give me a furry costume.

    LIGHTEN UP. Or am I missing something big here?

  43. Kseniya says

    Alien for me please, since I don’t look good in chaps.

    Are you sure? Turn around for me once. There you go.


  44. Barn Owl says


    At least these people found a creative outlet and social focusing point in their lives that wasn’t mediated by a fortune 500 company. It is a thoroughly DIY experience, just about everything is created by hand or through indie presses.

    Well said. Where’s the harm in it, anyway? I’d much rather have furry neighbors, than the ones who (apparently) get off on using their behemoth SUVs and lifted F250s as legal weapons on local streets and highways. Have you ever looked at the faces of people behind the wheels of their Hummers, when out for a weekend club drive? It’s embarrassing-talk about squick. :-P

    The links in this thread gave me a good genuine laugh…in fact, I think my bored-in-seminar doodling might qualify as furry artwork. :-D

  45. gerald spezio says

    Rasslin. Everybody in merica watched and loved rasslin in 1949.

    Not today’s wrestling; but the kind of television rasslin that gave millions of us such severe brain damage in 1949.
    Some poor bewildered souls are still institutionalized.

    1949 television was rasslin, rasslin, and more rasslin.
    The good ol days of oh-so-pure rasslin.
    It was so bad, it was good.
    There wasn’t much else.

    Good guys and bad guys rasslin in a victorious merica.
    The “boys” were back home from the good war.
    My Mum addressed the embalmed meat dilemma of spam;
    If it was good enough for the boys, it’s good enough for you.
    And I felt guilty for wanting to puke.

    Step over toe-holds and hammer locks.
    The mysterious sleeper hold.
    Yup, he’s going to sleep.
    The flailing rassler would finally stop flailing.
    Forearm blows, and more forearm blows.
    Argentina Rocca and his rolling take-downs with his legs.

    The bad guys almost always got their comeuppence.
    And they got it good.
    There was an evil kraut named Hans Schmidt.
    He was big tough bad guy with a thick kraut accent.
    Really mean and ugly.
    Everybody hated Hans Schmidt.

    We had real Champ-peins for the working class.
    Vern Gagna, the pure champ-pein, without a wart or blemish.
    He was a body builder with good diction.
    Vern Gagna whupped up on Hans Schmidt.
    Even though Schmidt tried every dirty trick in the book.

    What did we know. We all feared the commies and the bomb.

    And truly idiotic roller derby bit the dust, too.
    The commies dunnit.
    The Commies had no humor, just bombs,
    Like Supernation today.

    These crazies is rasslin, or playing roller derby.
    Supernation snarling and rattling their bombs
    Now, that is some serious shid.
    It is murder pure and simple.

  46. says

    …and we see a classic case of why dogs, cats, and other fur covered mammals should not bowl. I wonder if it’s a furry faux pas to be caught wearing the same suit as another furry?

  47. Gelf says

    As weird as it is to draw the comparison, furries are a lot like muslims. They whine and moan about being persecuted on the basis of a stereotype that actually does apply to certain people with whom they present a unified front. At the very least, they feel like they don’t have any business casting aspersions, so they give the impression of silent assent.

    I get liking anthropomorphic animals. Years and years of Disney and Saturday Morning conditioned me thus. It seems to me a little broad to be a cohesive “fandom,” but breadth seems to pose no problem for anime, so big deal. Whatever with the boat-floating and whatnot. But then there are the furverts — the people all non-furries think of when they hear the word “furries.” Once you cross the line into getting sexually aroused by Tiny Toons, and produce detailed renderings of your daydreams on this subject, you’ve lost my sympathies. Rule 34 be damned, we are at Squick Factor Orange here, and general opinions of furrykind would be raised immensely if only we ever heard, “yeah, we find them creepy as hell too.”

    Thus moderate furries enable furverts. Maybe we can get Sam Harris to write a book about this.

  48. Jeff Lewi says

    I take it as a sign of hope that Furries and Klingons can spend a happy day bowling and posing for group photos.

    I guess they’re more enlightened that the fundamentalist religious types and dogmatic scientist types. :)

  49. gerald spezio says

    #60 “Furries are a lot like muslims(sic).”
    “They whine and moan about being persecuted…”

    Yes, your statements are “very weird.”

    How do you know this?

    Are you spouting anti-Muslimism to help us do science?

  50. Dahan says

    One of my students was a furry. She’d show up to class every week with the ears and tail attached. She’d changed her name too, to some paw like symbol. I think she was supposed to be a cat of some sort, but I never asked. Ya know, there are questions you just can’t and shouldn’t ask as someone’s professor, and I thought that might be one of them.

  51. wildcardjack says

    Thanks, now I’m going to need botox injections to get rid of the smirk on my face.

  52. Dreikin says


    What’s with excluding the Jedi? Yet another case of specie-ism in action. tsk-tsk.
    ::to run or don suit..?::
    Seriously. Bowling competition between Furries, Klingons + Starfleet, and Jedi – that sounds quite entertaining!
    ::suit it is!::
    Furries would prolly* scratch the ball up too much.
    Klingons … well, just be careful that you don’t cross them or they might use your head for the ball.
    Starfleet? Pansies, but at least they can control their balls.
    Jedi, of course, would be excluded right off for cheating. (Or would they? “You did not see that” + hand wave…)
    I can only conclude that the silliness of the universe is increasing more slowly than I thought.

    *prolly = probably. Don’t like the double labials, so I tend to shorten it – sounds better, shorter, and I get to type these oh-so-fun explanatory notes! (of course, some people may be reminded of pralines, and get hungry, but hey, what can you do?

  53. says

    I guess they’re more enlightened that the fundamentalist religious types and dogmatic scientist types. :)

    Hehheh. He said “dogmatic.” Huhhehhuhhehheh.

  54. catofmanyfaces says

    Quoting #50:

    “With the possible exception of conservative right wing homophobic straight men who have sex with other men.”

    Wait, that’s a sub group??? I thought that the non-hypocrites were the tiny subgroup.

  55. says

    …Unless the game is Calvinball and you’re in a bag flag zone.

    (Sorry, hit “post” too early and had to finish comment later.)

  56. John C. Randolph says

    I think the increasing prevalence of klingons, furries, and people parading their kinks are why I haven’t been to an SF con in several years.


  57. John C. Randolph says

    “Where’s the harm in it, anyway?”

    I wouldn’t describe it as harmful. More like “tiresome”. Shatner’s SNL sketch did a great job of explaining what’s wrong with trek fandom in general, and the klingons are like kids who keep wearing their halloween costumes for the whole first week of November.


  58. Leo says

    Methinks the readers do protest too much!

    Seriously, folks. Are we, as a community, so myopic that we don’t realize that we, who congregate here in response to being marginalized, are marginalizing a group that does very little harm? It’s not your kink. It’s not my kink. But for the love of Eve, until we start having kids forced to wear animal masks in public schools, let them have their fun.

    There are two systematic mistakes here: we are trying to deny the validity of something that doesn’t hurt anyone, and we are lumping a whole group of people together.

    Gay sex in an airport restroom? Do what makes you happy, but please try to keep it safe and healthy, because I care about you.

    Gay, middle aged, raising and adopted child? That’s wonderful. I am going to stay out of your life and I wouldn’t expect you to have to actively denounce and distance yourself from airport bathroom homosexuals, even if I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with them.

    It’s the old “Stalin had a moustache” yarn in another form, really. Person A loves cartoon animals in a non-sexual way? Great. Person B loves cartoon animals in a sexual way alone or with consenting adults? Great. Person C loves cartoon animals in a sexual way and commits a sex crime involving cartoon animals? That’s bad, and I expect person A and person B would agree with me because they don’t aprove of sex crimes–not for any other reason.

    Thoughts? Am I wrong here?

  59. Gelf says

    gerald spezio:

    Are you spouting anti-Muslimism to help us do science?

    As opposed to all the criticisms of Christians that fly around here every hour of every day. Either you think that “help[s] us to do science” or you’re just okay with it. Hypocrite.

    Shows what I get for being even-handed.

    Listen, followers of Islam are not special in this regard. Like Christians they are adults playing the imaginary games of children long after they are old enough to know better. You think it harms no one, but all moderate religion serves to rationalize extremist religion. Moderate religious people hesitate to speak out against extreme religious people because they believe the religion is something good, and extremists claim to have a lot of religion. Rather than trying to work out the contradiction, moderates just ignore it, don’t talk about it, and cry persecution when anybody else does.

    If moderates want us to believe them when they complain that they should not be held to account for the sins of extremists, then they must display the courage to stand up en masse and explicitly cast them out as heretics. Only then they wouldn’t be moderates.

    At any given time there will be one “most extreme” example of this, and unfortunately right now that dubious honor goes to Islam. If it makes you feel any better, American Christian dominionists are not far behind.