Monday, March 31, 2008

Deviant Is The New Normal



A friend and I were discussing furries. Do you know what they are? Well, if you don't, read here about furries. It's not that you need to know that weird freaks exist that get sexually excited by seeing people dressed up like Bugs Bunny or dressing like a giant panda, themselves. It's that you need to know that no behavior is considered out of bounds any more.

Remember the dude from Seattle who got caught having sex with a dead deer next to the road? Yeah, well, he got caught doing it again. And you know the TV show basically extolling the virtues of polygamy? Well, I watched one episode. Polygamy is normal, don't ya know?

In the article linked above, referring to the furries, the critic blames the internet. And while the internet provides fertile soil for every freak to grow his deviant idea, I believe it's the psychology profession that has sanctioned every weird thing as normal. How can any limits to human behavior be imposed? Who is to say it's wrong? And where do you draw the line?

Most people are repulsed by pedophilia. It's as natural and instinctual to be disgusted at pedophilia as being disgusted at the smell of three day old fish in the sun. Most people find somebody who gets off on furry anything as freakish. It's called deviance:

Deviance describes actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms including formally-enacted rules (e.g., crime) as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., nose-picking).
Deviant behavior is practiced by those who are not knitted into the fabric of society. That is, the less interconnected they are, the more likely to adopt deviant behavior. This, of course, is chicken-egg reasoning. Does the deviant behavior isolate a person? Probably, and before the internet, probably did so even more. Now, a freak can find solace in a support group of sorts through the internet and their "society" becomes an association of freaks just like them. The social pressure to conform to norms no longer exists in the same way.

Couple this technological phenomena with the mental health profession's unwillingness to label anything abnormal and there is a perfect cocktail of dysfunction becoming elevated to normative behavior. In addition to this, the church's influence has sharply declined. The moral constraints of the church worked as a stop gap and shaming mechanism for those outside the societal mainstream. And this was to the good. Shame can be a powerful behavioral influence and a positive one for society at large.

In a more secular society, who will define normal? Will such a thing exist? And what will be the ramifications for society? I think we're already seeing it. There is a balkanization amongst the populace. Women. Gays. Blacks. Furries. Even normal groups, isolated, become weird and calcified in their ideology.

People identify with their identity rather than a unifying idea.

The secular future will be a nihilistic, narcissistic place where all ideas are created equal and there is no abnormal. Behavior isn't deviant, it's individualistic. Essentially, the future will be like Germany is today, and the rest of Europe for that matter. Devoid of meaning because everything has meaning. Devoid of virtue because virtue exists in whatever you wish for it to exist in.

The elevating of the deviant has serious repercussions for society as a whole. Instead of a finely woven fabric, America will be like a unfinished patchwork quilt--all the pieces sitting next to one another but no unifying threads. Our lack of cohesion will be our definition. By elevating everything, we'll be nothing.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ech!! Can you find a place that goes back to the 'normal' that I knew growing up? Is the South more normal than the West? Actually, I think this weirdness is why my church has become my community. HKH

Anonymous said...

Doc, you got Pwned by Something Awful.

As somebody who's been "furry" for a while, I can tell you from the inside that it runs the whole spectrum, from guys who just like cartoon animals per se to costume hobbyists (the majority of fursuiters) to the real crazies. And the real crazies are always the most in-your-face vocal.

The sexual angle is a secondary symptom (though I think taking the fantasy of not being human to not being bound by human morality has a part). The primary core problem about the real furry fanboys (like all drooling fanboys) is Tunnel Vision; since the "mundane" world no longer exists outside the event horizon of their "Everything's Gotta Be FURRY!" universe, they've cut themselves off from any reality check. You can see where that can lead.

And there are Pathological Furry Haters out there, the flip side of the Furry Fanboys. (Something Awful and other griefer sites are full of them.) Every bit as FURRREEEEE!!!! as a 400+ lb bestiality freak dripping pus through the pages of a Shawn Keller Anti-Furry comic, but flipped one-eighty from Total Blind Adoration to Total Blind Hatred. (Otherwise, why would you see the same PFHs posting time and time again, attending furry cons, continuously ranting about "Furfags" unless they were every bit as obsessed about it as the objects of their hatred?)

Anonymous said...

The secular future will be a nihilistic, narcissistic place where all ideas are created equal and there is no abnormal. Behavior isn't deviant, it's individualistic. Essentially, the future will be like Germany is today, and the rest of Europe for that matter.

Europe?

Do you mean the future Islamic Republic of Eurabia?

mark said...

Hey! Unfair! I can understand not being normal, but how does that translate into being deviant? I lead a troupe of puppeteers and stilt dancers, mortalbeastsanddeities.com , which granted, may not be a a very normal thing to do, but none of us is a pedophile or deviant by any definition.

By the way, all these 'Furries' as you cal them are mass produced costumes available for rent and sometimes even on ebay. Any deviant could get into one of them. Personally, I think they're way too cute, and when I use the term 'cute', I'm not being flattering. I hate cute! All of our puppets are one-of-a-kind artworks, never resembling any commercial cartoon characters, and are not deviant!

Melissa Clouthier said...

If furries aren't deviant, I don't know who qualifies. That's just it. Dressing up in a costume as an adult and living in fantasy land of immortality or whatever, is not normal. It's weird. These people need to get a life. Have children. Contribute to society.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you want them having children??? Maybe they could go volunteer at animal shelters.

mark said...

Many of our puppeteers do already have children! In fact, many of our
puppeteers ARE children! There's nothing deviant about the miles of smiles we see every time we do these shows. Its just wholesome good fun for us and for the audiences.

While we don't do any specifically children's shows, we don't do anything at any show that would offend children or even their parents.

I think its very weird and very shallow to assume that if we're doing something that doesn't fit YOUR definition of normal, that you can automatically assume that what we do must be deviant.

Of course we're doing creative performance art, very unlike what most of those people wearing those cheap, mass produced and boring 'furries' you describe in your post do.

I shouldn't be getting my undies in a bundle over it, but I do find it weird that for being such an imaginative blog writer, Dr, you sure are posting an unimaginative view here.

Anonymous said...

The costumes tend NOT to be mass-produced. Check out "fursuit" on google, and you'll find a wealth of information about designing and building. You can also find yourself a dating site, if you really want to.

I have mixed feelings on the phenomenon. I don't think it's necessarily any stranger than dressing up as an Imperial Stormtrooper. I do, I suppose, draw the line somewhere before wanting to have sex with a cartoon character.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I look askance at furries, but I also have to admit that many of my likes and dislikes probably fall outside the 'norm' that I have been taught about all my life.

I do not doubt that even the author of this piece could find within herself some desires that fall outside that 'norm'.

Perhaps it isn't the desires that are deviant, but rather the 'norm'. A cursory look at humasn sexual history shows ample evidence of 'deviancy' and endless appeals to keep to what is 'normal', 'moral', and 'good'. Could the 'norm' be a moralistic ideal that has been foisted upon us that is actually at odds with our natures?

The ever increasing incidence of 'deviant' behavior suggests that this might be so.

mark said...

Anonymous is onto something!

"...Could the 'norm' be a moralistic ideal that has been foisted upon us that is actually at odds with our natures?

The ever increasing incidence of 'deviant' behavior suggests that this might be so."

Means the puppeteers operating the Furries that the good Doc is weirded out by,
(NOT mortalbeastsanddeities.com)
are simply feeling freed to act out some of their normal animal natures, that with the rest of are usually subverted by the pressure of cultural norms.

Stephen J. said...

"If furries aren't deviant, I don't know who qualifies. That's just it. Dressing up in a costume as an adult and living in fantasy land of immortality or whatever, is not normal. It's weird. These people need to get a life. Have children. Contribute to society."

By that logic, a vast variety of people on the Internet, including quite a lot of bloggers, qualify as "deviant" because they prefer their Internet-based communities to the real ones and haven't yet married or founded a family. Both of which tasks are getting a lot harder for reasons well beyond the control of any one person, I note.

And as noted above, Dr. Clouthier, you have to some extent been misled by a sensationalistic article. Yes, furry-fetishism exists, but it's a very small and (even within the larger furry community) not particularly well respected or representative group.

I would suggest that you need to make a distinction between compulsory pathological deviance (things like pedophilia or truly violent sadism), which arises from deep psychological damage and isn't something that can be "given up" or "done sparingly", and - for lack of a better term - "affected" deviance, which is done more for the thrill of taboo-breaking and the gratification of personal kinks than out of compulsion. Pathological deviance is the thing psychiatrists need to be worried about; affected deviance, like any other indulgence, is the thing moralists need to preach about.

We can start by pointing out that without shared taboos, there is no thrill of breaking them. Affected deviance is only exciting as long as there's something to deviate from. So it's in the interests of those who affect deviance to help support the taboos at large they break for their own amusement.

(The best definition I ever heard of kinks vs. fetishes was this: "If it's a spice, it's a kink. If it's your main and only course, it's a fetish.")

mark said...

I like what Steven J says!

"...And as noted above, Dr. Clouthier, you have to some extent been misled by a sensationalistic article. Yes, furry-fetishism exists, but it's a very small and (even within the larger furry community) not particularly well respected or representative group...."

Don't blame the Furries for deviance! Blame the extremists! Some of my troupe's work is centered on espousing the liberal idea that extremist's deviant behavior must be addressed, like maybe with expanded hunting seasons, while the rest of the members of their particular group must be put on the endangered list and protected.

Anonymous said...

I guess there are more furries out there than we knew about, and they read this blog!!

Anonymous said...

It's not just furries, anon. If you enjoy sex in anything other than the 'missionary position, you are technically a 'deviant'.

Anonymous said...

"Furry" originally wasn't a separate genre or fandom; it was an element you added to another genre for exotic effect. For example, a lot of "alien races" in Fifties and Sixties SF -- even the harder SF of the likes of Poul Anderson -- would be classified as "furry" today.

Furry split off into a separate fandom from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s and acquired its "deviant sex" reputation for a reason -- at least in SoCal. A couple dominant personalities that organized it into a separate specialized fandom were sexual libertines themselves, and they cast the fandom according to their own kinks. This attracted Net no-lifes ("IT'S JUST LIKE FURRYMUCK/TAPESTRIES FOR REAL! WE CAN HAVE SEX JUST LIKE ONLINE!") and "Spandex Commandoes" -- those who got involved primarily to indulge their own sexual kinks. (See "Zoos" and "Babyfurs" for some of the most extreme examples.) And for its first decade, the fandom was small enough that there weren't that many reasonably-sane furries to act as damper rods for the crazies' critical mass. While the dominant personalities from the above origin really liked their power and position and fought any attempt to interfere with The Constitutional Right to Indulge My Kink -- "YOU HAVE TO DO IT *MY* WAY! I *AM* FURRY FANDOM!" (Also see the example that was made of "The Burned Furs".)

This took about 10-20 years to burn out, and the fallout is still with us.

Me? I've always had a soft spot for upright talking animal characters. And, just as my birth year (1955) has gotten me lumped in with the most shallow generation of perpetual adolescents in a century, that soft spot has gottn me lumped in with some real high-profile sexual crazies, too far beyond their event horizon to even notice how their exhibitionism is killing the reputation of the rest of us.

The costumes tend NOT to be mass-produced. Check out "fursuit" on google, and you'll find a wealth of information about designing and building.

Like I said before, most of the fursuiters (NOT furries; "furries" are those with an interest in talking-animal characters, "fursuiters" are the actual costumers) I've run into are best described as "costume hobbyists". Check out "Latin Vixen" of Florida sometime; she makes her living doing custom high-quality fursuits for others under the business name "Mixed Candy Productions".

Anonymous said...

This is so 10 minutes ago. I believe that CSI did an episode on this at least 2 seasons ago! (As well as an episode on guys with a passion for large BBW.)

Anonymous said...

" have mixed feelings on the phenomenon. I don't think it's necessarily any stranger than dressing up as an Imperial Stormtrooper. "

Uh, yeah. Is it really necessary to explain that spending your life dressing up as a stormtrooper is also strange and pointless?

I see many comments to the effect of, "Who is to say what is deviant?" I'd say a good answer would be, "God". Okay, I understand that today to suggest that the creator of the universe might know something about how it works is considered a pretty deviant idea itself. So how about, "Common sense"?

I'd like to make a prediction: by 2020 liberals will be telling us that pedophilia is perfectly natural and we shouldn't persecute these harmless people, and indeed the fact that we see something wrong with their behavior just proves that we hate children.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to make a prediction: by 2020 liberals will be telling us that pedophilia is perfectly natural and we shouldn't persecute these harmless people, and indeed the fact that we see something wrong with their behavior just proves that we hate children.

They can only do this AFTER the Church has been persecuted out of existence through the "Pedophile Priests" scandal and enough time has passed for everything to die down.

Anybody remember the pedophile's tearjerker speech for Tolerance(TM) at the end of South Park's "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" episode?

gear-eagle said...

"living in fantasy land of immortality or whatever"

Immortality?

I love this tongue slip! When I think of a fantasy of immortality, I think of Christianity and religion in general.

-Icono

Dr. Cushty said...

"The secular future will be a nihilistic, narcissistic place where all ideas are created equal and there is no abnormal. Behavior isn't deviant, it's individualistic. Essentially, the future will be like Germany is today, and the rest of Europe for that matter. Devoid of meaning because everything has meaning. Devoid of virtue because virtue exists in whatever you wish for it to exist in."

Well good god damn, that sounds like utopia to me. Anyone is free to do whatever they want as long as no-one is harmed in the process. Sounds an awful lot like the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to me.

"living in fantasy land of immortality or whatever"

Holy fuck, can you hear yourself? What is the blind obeyance of a 2000 year old storybook in the vain hope your soul will live forever, if not that?

sandy said...

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Alyson Jadlocki said...

I agree, you've definitely been mislead. It's not all about sex. A cousin of mine , whom I'm really close to is a furry herself and she's also had zero interest in sex, either within the furry community or not. I also have a good friend who happens to be furry who is attracted to (surprise!) pretty girls in general.