The Rise of the Furred Reich?
While scrolling through the daily feed on social media, through the inevitable political diatribes, pet obituaries and sundry complaints about life in general, I noticed an apologetic post from a member of the furry community denouncing alt-furries. For those who couldn’t care less, furries are a subset of the cosplay movement (I neglected to mention them in my cosplay column—so, apologies for my sin of omission). They’ve been around for decades. Essentially, their twist is an affinity for fur (well, actually faux-fur or plush), and, in the manner of those wide-eyed Warner Brothers cartoon characters of yore, they dress accordingly in animal costumes. “Costumes” might conjure cute cat masks with whiskers, bunny ears or a cow pattern T-shirt but, no, these go well above and beyond. Furries cavort in full body suits with bushy wagging tails as appropriate and helmet-like headgear, completely camouflaging the human within.
Followers create an animal kingdom identity, a fursona, and adopt its personality. Dogs and foxes are particularly popular. They join local furry communities that are part of the greater furdom. Most adherents watch furry pornography and party with others of their elk…sorry, ilk. According to various studies, the vast majority of the furry demographic are, you guessed it, LGBTQ. And they’re everywhere. Milwaukee has its fair share. If you’ve ever attended PrideFest, you’ll have seen packs of them in full array. To each their own, I always say.
But now, it seems, even this quirky subset of the wonderful world of fetish has been infiltrated. With all due respect, as strange as the thought of gay furry porn, doggie style or otherwise, might be, the Nazification of a fetish points to the bizarre nature of our American exceptionalism. And, sadly, to the exceptional decline of our political discourse that has devolved into a reality show super-reality that further erodes our national dignity.
The rise of the Furred Reich wasn’t very subtle. Its proponents, among them the far-right Furry Raiders, posed with Nazi flags. One member, “Foxler” (ahem), made himself notorious by giving the Hitler salute and by wearing a Nazi-style armband in his photos. The infamous brassard features a red band with white disk but, rather than the swastika centerpiece, it displays a black paw print. The copycat fox managed to achieve a flattery-through-imitation moment that was generally construed as exactly what it appeared to be. Of course, Foxler denies being a neo-Nazi.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the specter of flying fur with fascist furries battling antifa furries reminiscent of a heated Weimar-era political street fight (or in-heat Weimaraner dogfight, as the case may be), forced organizers to cancel the Rocky Mountain Fur Con, the community’s annual national convention.
In these days of ever more absurd identity politics, everybody competes for attention. What’s the point of running around in an animal costume if you’re not getting petted? But being a bad dog peeing on the communal rug won’t get you a treat. In fact, it may be time to reach for that rolled up newspaper.