“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Furry Nights

I’ve been saying for a little while now that a scary idea for a horror movie would be a TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE or HILLS HAVE EYES type of setup, but the killers are furries. You know, they wear masks, they have a different way of life that’s hard for us to relate to, they may even behave like animals. It’s kind of a goofy idea but I really think it could be scary.

I admit that this is prejudicial on my part. People role playing as cartoon animals is something that I don’t understand and that makes me uncomfortable – that doesn’t mean I should judge people for it. But there’s this documentary called FURSONAS. I haven’t seen it, but do a Google image search for the title and you’ll probly see the cover, with its cartoon dog mask. Fairly non-threatening, but creeps me out, maybe because I associate it with the kinds of pictures you’ll see around it. You’ll get many wolf, leopard and fox people drawn from all angles. Doing the search now I see a goat boy with no genitals but very human muscles and ass. I see a donkey with nipples wearing a leash and bikini with a huge bulge.

Maybe I got some Puritan in me, I don’t know. But the whole idea of furries pushes too many of my taboo buttons. Yes, adults including me can enjoy cartoons, but the specific style of funny-animal cartooning they prefer seems like kid stuff. So the idea that many of them get off on fantasizing that they are, say, a musclebound catman with a horse dong, drawn in that style, brings to mind pedophilia, bestiality, a fixation on fantasy and a type of art that I subjectively dislike, all at once.

Recently I saw a family sitting on some stairs in Seattle Center and the kids were in furry costumes. Holy shit, I had never thought of that, what do you do if you’re a parent and your kid wants you to buy them a fox mask? Or already has it and insists on wearing it out in public? At a certain age maybe it’s the same as a little kid wanting to wear his Spider-man pajamas. Older, maybe it’s like having a huge liberty spike mohawk? Or a boy wearing a dress? I don’t know if it’s the same. If I was a dad I’d enjoy the mohawk, and I’d learn to understand the dress. I think I’d have a harder time with a son who imagines he’s a sexy hedgehog. But I’d have to try.

I think I’d be torn between wanting to make sure the kid could be whoever they wanted to be and also being totally fuckin uncomfortable with them wearing that. I had to wonder if those parents know that to a part of that subculture (37% of respondents to a 2011 survey cited by Wikipedia), wearing those costumes is, like, a sex thing? And do the kids know? And how do they feel about that?

I’m trying to become more open minded as I get older instead of the usual way. So I bet my instincts are wrong. Furries aren’t hurting anyone. I don’t need to understand their hobby to understand that. So I’m sorry for my reactions. But the fact is those costumes are scary as shit to me, so when I noticed a furry-based horror movie on a list of movies coming to VOD I knew I had to review it. And FURRY NIGHTS has the funny inciting incident my idea was missing: the protagonists are in the woods and they accidentally shoot a furry because they think he’s a bear. And then the other ones want revenge.

As is the case with at least half of all horror movies taking place in a remote location, the protagonists – played by Allison Joy McDaniel (Kate Hudson’s stand-in on MOTHER’S DAY), first timers Keith Dowsett, Amelia Hakleroad and Maddison Stroud, and writer/director/editor/cinematographer J. Zachary Thurman – are there to make a horror movie. It’s some kind of monster movie that doesn’t seem like what anybody would make these days, and there’s the usual business where the guys are trying to convince a reluctant actress that they can’t sell the movie unless she shows her boobs. (In a respectful meta choice, the actual movie does not show them.)

One small touch I liked is that the shitty monster costume includes a green leotard that I assume means they plan to create most of him in post-production. A clever way to add imaginary production value to the film-within-film.

But somewhere in the wilderness is a group of people in animal masks having an orgy or something, and the sounds they make spook our young filmmakers. Thinking they have to defend themselves from wild animals, one of the guys accidentally shoots one of the furries. Not telling the women, the guys make the poor choice of trying to dispose of the body, so the furries, led by the ax-wielding Mr. Fox, wage a war of fuzzy retribution.

By the way, I was convinced Kanye West was gonna come out as a furry when one of his videos randomly ended with this image:


But it hasn’t happened yet.

I don’t know the behind-the-scenes story of FURRY NIGHTS, but I assume it’s similar to what you see on screen: an enthusiastic-young-people-going-out-into-the-woods-to-put-on-a-show type of situation. According to IMDb the budget was $15,000 (about two EL MARIACHIs), which must’ve paid for the masks, lights, and chainsaw. There’s not a huge amount of production value, the plot is short and simple, and it’s padded with improvised goofing around while they make their movie-within-the-movie. And of course that’s an excuse to keep cutting to handheld camcorder footage, often in black and white and with a viewfinder, [REC] and battery level.

But thankfully it’s not in a found footage format, and they were able to pull off some fire scenes, and there are many nice looking shots playing with darkness and light beams and silhouettes and stuff.

There are a few fumbles in the filmatistic storytelling. I think two of the most important moments – the first appearance of the furry party, and the accidental shooting – aren’t staged properly to make an impact. The latter, for example, allows us to see the silly costume up front, so there’s no suspense about what he shot, and he also looks like an idiot for thinking that was a real bear. On the other hand the pacing is good and quick, most of the acting is decent for an inexperienced cast, the ending is really well done, and the score by rookie Marshall Coats is strong, especially the main theme, which had me thinking of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU with its primitive percussion and weird animal sounds.

Now, obviously they did their furry horror their way, and it’s not gonna be the same way I imagined it. They chose to make the furries make animal noises and gibberish in high pitched cartoony voices. The bunny kind of sounds like a minion. They mostly seem like they’re cartoon animals, not people wearing masks. This gets some laughs and maybe it was the way to go.

One good/goofy development is when Thurman’s character Jack has to steal the kangaroo costume from a dead furry and infiltrate the group. This is played deadpan but when he has to figure out how to speak to them in the type of voices they use it’s very comical. In the climax, when he reaches into the pouch and suddenly has on boxing gloves I think it tips it too far into comedy, but oh well.

I still believe the idea could be scary if treated all the way serious instead of most of the way. The fox and the poodle here are pretty creepy, but others are more like the bunny, which I think is too much of a generic Easter Bunny costume type head. They’re going for the goofy juxtaposition of that with an ax, I get it, but give us a guy with an anthropomorphized dog or horse head on a muscular, painted body with a tail and you will give us nightmares. I think putting that kind of sexuality into a horror context would spook me kinda like HELLRAISER did with its version of S&M.

But maybe if they did that then in a few years it would seem really offensive. And this review will be too. Apologies to furries of the past, present and future.

FURRY NIGHTS will be available on digital whatsits this Friday, October 12th. Fur more infurmation go to furrynights.com or facebook.com/FURRYNIGHTSTHEMOVIE/

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 at 11:36 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

43 Responses to “Furry Nights”

  1. Do we know if the filmmakers consider themselves part of the furry fandom? I wonder just how much insider knowledge they had when approaching the project.

    As someone who may or may not regularly attend a local furry convention (who can say, I sure wouldn’t), I dont really see a way to do “straight” horror with fursuiters. It’s just too goofy and silly looking in person. So I agree that the instinct to have the killer fursuiters chirp and chatter and whatnot was the right one; the split second a human voice comes out of one of those things, whatever spell they’ve got is broken and they seem ridiculous.

    Which is not to say that don’t think fursuits are creepy; especially in photos, they super duper are. I just don’t know if you can make the bright color cartoon aesthetic work for slasher horror. (There’s “realistic” fursuits I’ve seen that I think could fit a traditional gritty horror aesthetic better, but they’re also way less creepy by virtue of not looking like overblown kid’s cereal mascots, thus undercutting what makes this attempt unique. It’s a Catch-22.)

  2. A few years ago my town organized a festival and one of the attraction for the kids was a group of furrys. I only saw pictures of kids posing with some people in those animal costumes in a news article. There weren’t any giant dongs or sexy buttcheeks as far as I could tell and I guess those furrys really just wanted to entertain kids (and adults) with their admittedly impressive, self made costumes. Still, it was seriously damn hilarious in a twisted way.

  3. Oof, that opening hit me harder than I expected. I just found out that I’ll be having a son of my own in just a few months, and I’ve been consumed with worrying about how to raise him the best I can and what to do when we inevitably clash and jeeze. Though, to be fair, I’m not so much worried about him being a furry as I am whatever horrible new drugs they’ve cooked up 15 years from now to fry his brain and how can I make sure he doesn’t turn out to be a rapist and it just takes very little to set me off right now, so I apologize.

    Anyway, the setup for this flick sounds pretty similar to the furries episode of CSI, a show I didn’t watch regularly but did see that particular episode several times over the years while visiting my folks. That’s all I got.

  4. As a nerd, my attitude about furries is sorta like a nerd culture version of that supposed saying among police culture where cops wouldn’t trust others cops who wouldn’t take a little bribe every now and then, well I wouldn’t trust another nerd who couldn’t appreciate a sexy anthropomorphic animal babe whether or not you’re a self proclaimed furry or not.

    So while I can appreciate some of the art or characters, the actual fursuit thing freaks me out too, I don’t get what’s up with that either and obviously a lot of the art gets into waaaaaaay too freaky territory for me.

  5. If movies have taught me anything, a film isn’t bigoted so long it has one minor character with at least one line from the underrepresented group who’s a good guy. So you could totally do Vern’s version, but one of the people being hunted has to be a furry, and he has to say something about how for most, it’s not a weird sexual thing. It’s still cool if he dies first, though. #NotAllFurries

  6. grimgrinningchris

    October 9th, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    There is a furry here that shows up in his outfit(s)- usually a take on Puss-N-Boots at pretty much any local geek type event but also lots of just random community and downtown events… really, anywhere he knows there will be people and that him being in this thing won’t be TOTALLY out of place.

    He is built like a poorly cased sausage and his outfit is mostly spandex (or whatever) and the batch area is way way way revealing as a result… like “hey, I can tell that Puss-N-Boots is circumcised”… and I just know he knows it and I just know that is why he does it… and it makes me ill and want to have him arrested.

    Little kids see an animal and want pictures and I know it isn’t til later that the parents realize that their child was basically face to face with some sicko’s barely concealed dick. FUCK, I hate that guy!!!

  7. Let’s not beat around the bush, for every adult furry there’s a sexual element to it, it’s just a matter of how freaky it is.

    Anyone that tells you “oh no, it’s not a sexual thing at all” is telling you a story, I mean come onnnnnnnnnn.

  8. Do you think the filmmakers were pissed when they tried to call this Furry Vengeance and found out the name was taken?

  9. I wonder if they considered OUT FUR JUSTICE.

  10. Whenever the subject of furries come up I think of this reality tv show about male prostitutes in Nevada. I think it was called Gigolos?* Anyway, one played a prank on another one by hooking him up with a client who was dressed as a furry. He was weirded out, but was able to perform. All I’m saying is, if a prostitute is weirded out by your kink you know you’re out there.

    *to set the record straight, I did not regularly watch this show, but was curious and watched this episode after they made a joke about it on The Soup.

  11. @Vern

    Do bad they didn’t. Fur puns are (or were; I stopped paying attention to some of that stuff a while back) pretty popular within the furry fandom.

  12. *Too bad they didn’t.

  13. Hi. This is only the second time I’ve posted and it’s because I have very similar feelings about the topic as Vern. That’s really my problem and it shouldn’t affect anyone who is part of that subculture.

    I remember the first time that I had heard about furries. It was in 2002 and I would do overtime hours in the shipping area of a printing company. When asking my coworker what he did on the weekend he told me, “My fiends and I usually rent a hotel room and dress in animal outfits. We then beat the **** out of each other and then ****”. I had never heard of anything like that before. The first activity in their routine is probably not the norm.

  14. I forgot to note, my coworker was just as blunt and direct as what I wrote.

  15. there was a CSI episode with the same premise: someone shoots a furry by mistake, mistaking them for an actual coyote or wolf

    ‘Toronto-based filmmaker Michael McNamara, who had been working on his own documentary episode on furry fandom, said that the CSI episode “portrayed the community as a community of sexual deviants who like to have sex in fur costumes” and expressed concern that “it winds up giving the whole fandom a bad name, which made them nervous and camera-shy, so it was tricky to get their trust”.[2] He wrote that the deviancy “probably represents about two percent of fandom but it’s the one obviously that the press always gleefully jumps.”[3] Greg Gaudio of The Virginian-Pilot wrote that “The steamier side of the Furry Fandom – sexual behavior involving animal costumes and stuffed animals – has grabbed media attention in recent years, most notably as the subject of a 2003 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The episode showed attendees at a furry convention engaging in a costume-clad orgy”; however, one of the furry fandom attendees he interviewed replied that such behavior “only involves a tiny percentage of furries and is not something that’s part of the local scene.”[4]’

    personally i don’t get it all, but as long as no one is being hurt (shrugs)

  16. This is a sub-culture about which I had no knowledge until reading this review. I had heard of Bro-nies, which I believe are men that are really in to My Little Pony, but Furies are new to me.
    If isn’t a sexual thing, then what is it? Is it kind of like cos-play where people make their own dope animal costumes and comparing techniques and what-not?
    It does seem a bit icky.

  17. Yo Vern shit like those first paragraphs of you examining your own prejudice is what turned you from a dude who’s opinions on movies I respect to like, a person I respect in general. It’s seriously admirable.

    As for furries, I’ve watched people like Sonic Fox grow up in the fighting game community, come out as furries, and start wearing fur suits to tournaments (while winning everything) and just seeing how happy he gets to be in his suit makes me like… man he’s getting to enjoy himself so more power to him ya know?

  18. I am kind of uncomfortable and disappointed with how this whole thing is going. Including Vern maybe admitting to be maybe / maybe not being transphobic.

  19. I don’t know if being a furry is the same as being a transgender.

    And with that I mean, I really don’t know! None of us here really seems to know! Maybe in a few years we look back at this time and cringe as hard at our Furry-shaming, as when we remember what kind of homophobic shits we were in our youth (or society in general even 20 years ago)! But for now nobody seems to know if being a furry means that it’s an extremely kinky kink that allows people to fuck animals, without REALLY fucking animals, a harmless and completely acceptable sexual orientation or maybe just a fun subgenre of cosplay, without any sexual implications.

    I know, it’s a shitty thing to tell a group of people: “Come into the spotlight and explain yourself!”, but honestly, I wish they WOULD break into the mainstream and explain themself! I’m 100% pro LBGTQ and sexually open minded enough, to be friends with sexworkers and even a couple, that lives a 24/7 BDSM lifestyle. But furrys? Sorry, but that really needs to be explained. Even if it’s probably just for our ignorance.

  20. “But for now nobody seems to know if being a furry means that it’s an extremely kinky kink that allows people to fuck animals, without REALLY fucking animals, a harmless and completely acceptable sexual orientation or maybe just a fun subgenre of cosplay, without any sexual implications.”

    It’s kind of all of the above. Being furry means different things to different people, for some people it’s a sex thing, for some people it’s them getting to express who they feel they really are, and for some people it’s just a community that they enjoy the costumes and shit for.

  21. Vern admitted that he would be uncomfortable if his son wore a dress. That’s the transphobia I was concerned about.

  22. I swear nobody that isn’t a furry understands what one actually is (thanks csi). The idea of people in suits having sex is just stupid. Sure there may be the small group of less than 1% that do, but fursuits are expensive and hot to wear. People don’t want to destroy their suit doing that. Have you ever watched any videos from furry conventions? It’s a a lot of music and people showing off their suits cause their proud of it. If I was a parent I would be far less concerned about my kid dressing up as a animal than my child having issues and thinking they are the opposite sex.

  23. It’s called being human and honest, Sternshein. How do you expect people to grow if you give them shit the second they admit their insecurities? What happened to giving people time to change?

    Warning: a rant is about to happen.

    This is why I hate the term “woke.” Because it’s past tense. It’s something that happened. Not something that’s happening. I got woke. Now I’m woke. Ergo, somebody who is not at the same place in my journey is not woke, and thus deserves to be shamed.

    Bullshit. Nobody’s woke. Everybody’s waking. You never get to a point in your journey where you’re done waking. You always have to keep learning and growing. This happens at a different pace for everyone. You don’t get to look down on anyone just because they’re not as far along the journey as you, as long as—and this is the important part—they’re still trying to learn and grow.

    But now I see smug ass woke motherfuckers jump down somebody’s throat for admitting to prejudices and trying to combat them. Who’s that helping? Somebody’s being human and reaching out and trying to do better and they’re slamming the door in their face.

    This is why people hate liberals. Even other liberals. And why we’ll lose if we don’t stop being just as judgmental and reactionary as the pieces of shit we’re trying to fight.

  24. I’m not woke. Nobody is ever truly woke because it ultimately goes against their self interests. It’s also completely within my realm of being able to be concerned or curious to somebodies opinion. I mean the guy before him also seems pretty transphobic to me. I don’t want this place to necessarily be PC liberal safe space but i would be disappointed with discrimination around here.

  25. He said “I’d learn to understand the dress.” What more could he do? He doesn’t get it because it’s outside of the realm of his experience but he’d figure it out because happiness of a loved one is more important than gender roles. Where’s the discrimination? He’s admitting that he has hangups but knows that love would beat them. Isn’t that what we want? For people to admit that they need to change and to work on doing so?

  26. I’m trying to be honest about it, Sternshein. Over the past several years I’ve been able to work with and be around more trans people and of course they are people like anybody else and they’re just living the life they need to live no matter what anybody else may think about it, and I support that 100%. But I would be lying to say I “understand” it or that I’m good with learning the pronouns or anything like that. I would say it’s more of a clumsiness on my part than a phobia and definitely not a bigotry. My point is that if I were a father I feel sure I could learn to be more comfortable with it than I currently am, which would be very important to me. And I would have to do the same with the animal costume but I think it would be more of a challenge for me.

    The reason I made the comparison is that I’m assuming we generally agree that defying traditional gender expectations is anyone’s right, and I want to be able to offer the same respect for other groups such as furries, whether or not they are parallel in their situations.

    And I appreciate that you don’t want me to turn out to be prejudiced or for the conversation to go in an ugly direction. Thank you.

  27. Pro-Furry and I vote (and have a young son). Not that freaked out by weird sex, even though my own taste is pretty vanilla. I fully support people expressing odd sex feelings, or any feelings at all really, in a creative way (that does not harm others and is between or among consenting adults). I worry so much more about people who repress their feelings or feel guilt and shame about sex. Hurt people hurt people, as they say.

  28. Thanks Vern and Mr M for the discussion.

  29. I wasn’t going to say anything, because you’ve certainly earned the benefit of the doubt with me, but my first reaction to that sentence was a small wince. Hard to argue with the sentiment of ‘I would support my child even in things outside my purvey’ but it maybe could have been worded better.

    Anyways, furries are cool and I bet they could have trippled the movie’s budget by asking around their local fury community if anyone wanted to run around in the woods in costume for a few days. People spend a lot of money on those things.

  30. I thought what Vern said was great. It was true. It wasn’t just lip service. People can say that it would be no big deal to have a trans kid. That they would accept them with no problems, but that’s not reality. I admire Vern more for saying that it would throw him for a loop. Both this and past stories tells me that Vern actually thinks about these things. He wants to grow and be a better person.

    I have a trans niece. It’s actually a big no-no in the trans community to tell someone else’s story, but I think we’re anonymous enough that I can tiptoe that line, because what I really want to say is about my brother. He’s pretty much a prototypical alpha man – he works in construction, he loves football and has season tickets to the local university’s sporting events, he drives a truck and motorcycle, he has a big, ugly beard, he likes to go hunting. And I’m so proud of how he’s handled everything that I could just burst. It was not easy. It was an adjustment. Knowing that the world is going to be extremely shitty to her is the truly hard part. I have no doubt that Vern would work just as hard with any kid of his.

  31. I don’t see anything wrong with the way Vern worded that. It seemed like a pretty honest admission about trying to keep an open mind.

    I may not understand the appeal of dressing as cartoon animals, but if anyone enjoys that, it’s none of my business. The sex lives of a group of consenting adults is none of my business. The whole internet operates on people vilifying others because they can’t mind their own business.

  32. The issue is that a lot of transphobic people use the term ‘man/boy in a dress’ to refer to trans women and girls, whereas I think Vern was actually just referring to a kid ignoring clothing-based gender norms. It’s a term that I’m unfortunately exposed to a lot in a hateful context and am probably more sensitive to than other people.

  33. Thanks for not being a good sport about my rant, Sternshein, which was not really focused on you but on the climate we’re living in. I know I can come on pretty strong.

  34. Sorry about that, Birch. I tried to think of the proper way to word that but I guess I came up short.

  35. Thank you, but it took me a few tries to get precisely what I wanted to across in my reply so I really wouldn’t worry about it.

  36. I don’t have any kids but I know, with a level of certainty unique to my personality, that if I did pretty much my top priority (after feeding, clothing and housing) would be to protect them from the fucking Internet. Like I said, I don’t have kids but I have four godchildren that I spend a lot of time with and last year the oldest (she was 12 then but she’s 13 now) started “meowing” like a cat whenever she felt weird, self-conscious or uncomfortable…in public…around adults, kids, peers etc. Turns out she was watching a ton of this “Furry” shit on her goddamn iPad and no one would say anything. Nobody wanted to “judge”. I mean, if this was happening pre-Internet (like it’s something she got inspired from by reading a Lord of the Rings or Narnia book) I don’t think I would have really cared. But with the Internet there this constant stimulus reinforcement that always seems to have a default sexual element that I’m never going to be cool with. Yeah, this furry shit is creepy as hell. Don’t know how you parents deal with this never ending all-encompassing threat.

    Anyway, after about three weeks of that behavior I had a heart to heart with her (where I practically started crying begging her to cut it out) and actually got her to stop. Tonight I’m taking her to see a big screen screening of the original Halloween at 7:00 so I’m optimistic about the future.

  37. I think it’s productive to be open and honest about our own hangups. I don’t think we should pretend that the instant we were born we were accepting and loving towards everyone no matter race, class, gender, or furry fetish. I certainly wasn’t. I know I’ve used language when I was younger that I would never use today. The more honest we can be about this, I think, the more we can empathize with people making their own journey towards understanding and acceptance of others. I guess what I’m trying to say is, thanks for your honesty, Vern.

  38. I will prolly never see this movie, but I appreciate the honesty, Vern. Stuff like this is why I check your sight every day. In my opinion you are the best writer to graduate from the cesspool that is AICN. And, looking at your old stuff, you’ve definitely evolved as a writer and a human being. BTW, EVERLY is on Netflix now. Dunno if you saw it but it’s right up your alley.

  39. Oops, you reviewed it. I’m late to the game. It’s a good one, tho, for anyone else that missed it. Hope you go for one more slasher search, Vern.

  40. one thing i think is not being addressed by the furry thing is the whole sexualization of children and parents dumping their hangups on their kids because they are afraid their own weirdness and their kids being weird. they know how society treats weirdos so they try to make their kids conform to whatever norm they are personally okay with, and see everything else as weird and scary and questionable but they might not even know why.

    we saw ourselves led down wrong paths by our own media exposure, but we dont know enough to realize we were intentionally curating our own exposure to media even as kids. seeking out things that are attractive to us without knowing why, really. and if its because you get a boner from a hypersexualized anthropomorphic cartoon mouse designed by some weirdo adult to be sexy, and that seems weird and youre ashamed and you hid it or it was weird and you were ashamed but you went online and found a bunch of other people that were also weird… anyway somewhere in here there is a point about not sexualizing kids behaviour, they are learning and they dont see the world the way you do. let them make mistakes, and if finding solace in a community of weirdos who wear costumes and found other weirdos to fuck (a lot of my old furry hate was “virgin jealousy” that “these people” were actually getting laid but my own weirdo nerd subculture hadnt figure out how to embrace or hurdle our own hangups and get nasty yet :( just another holdover from a toxic culture that treats sex as something shameful and weird!

    did i mention brian depalma is super problematic? well i only realized it when i tried to watch dressed to kill and imagine how fucking mortified i would have been if i put that movie on and one of my trans friends was over :(

  41. Related to the parsing of “wokeness,” a problem I have with the “-phobic” suffix is that it is used in a catch-all, un-nuanced way that is often a perjorative sleight of hand for “disagrees with me / my politics.” Being personally uncomfortable with something is not the same as condemning it or seeking to outlaw it. I could be an aggressive trans-rights activist who personally feels a bit uncomfortable around trans-people. It is natural to be uncomfortable with things you do not understand and that seem to violate deeply ingrained taboos, whatever the rationale merits or demerits of those sub-/para-rational taboos. If you are committed to being curious, empathic, and more self-aware, you’ll presumably want to interrogate those taboos a bit and ask whether they are just arbitrary constructs or whether they mean something or what. And even if you’re not particularly self-aware and have some bigotry going on, that doesn’t mean you are a hopeless piece of shit with no human worth. The “unless you agree with me and feel the same emotional reactions as me to these issues you are a fucking piece of human garbage” mentality that I see surrounding a lot of the social justice identity politics is dualistic, lazy, mean-spirited, and counter-productive.

    I just watched this episode of Atlanta, the one with the “Montague” talk show. It was an interesting riff on some of this stuff. And, bonus: funny.

    I think I’m saying pretty much all the same things Majestyk is saying, but in my own words, though fine if he disagrees.

  42. this whole discussion and everything around it made me think of They Live and my relationship with it… so i wrote this :)

  43. oops i meant to link this

    They Live and the Toxic Hubris of the Newly Woke

    They Live is a movie I’ve watched habitually since childhood, and at 37 I still stumble over new ways that Carpenter and his co-creators were masterfully playing with genre and metaphor to sneakily...

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