by Phil Geusz
©2005 Phil Geusz
Itll happen eventually, most of us hope. Someday, when the time is right, a furry artist or writer or playwright or something is going to Make It Big in the "real" world, the one beyond our little convention-bound universe. They will win an Emmy or a Hugo or a Nebula, and then stand up at the microphone and say Im a fur-fan, and Im proud of it! And, the work of art youve just given me an award for is a work of furry art!
One of our own, standing straight and tall and proud, up in front of the room bowing and smiling in front of a crowd of adoring fans who are not furs.
Its a pretty picture, isnt it?
I predict that someday this will actually come to pass. After all, That Day finally came for Science Fiction when Robert Heinlein broke the Big Barrier and was published in the Saturday Evening Post, one of the leading mainstream publications of the era. And, frankly, SF fans these days arent half so creative and filled with unbridled enthusiasm as furry-folk; personally, I rather suspect they never were. One of the most overwhelming impressions that I carry away from virtually every furcon I visit is of the air itself being filled to bursting with crackling bolts of creativity. It's impossible to travel more than ten feet without seeing people drawing or sewing, or perhaps overhearing an author discussing their next furry novels basic structure with a friend. SF cons are much deader than furcons in this sense, or at least the ones Ive attended have been. If SF was able to cross the line into the mainstream world, then certainly so can we.
Why, then, do we remain a ghetto fandom, instead of having one or more cable TV channels dedicated exclusively to our art? I suspect there are several root causes. First, in my view, we are not self-critical enough. We tend to leap up and down in joy and heap immoderate, effusive praise upon those who create various forms of furry art that simply are not good enough to deserve such accolades. Its almost as if being furry-themed is good enough for a passing grade all by itself. I find this to be particularly true in reference to furry literature, but then Im not much of a visual-art critic. Secondly, we tend to be too insular. Ive been to furry art shows where drawing after drawing made no sense to me whatsoever. This was, I learned, because I dont hang around in chatrooms and therefore could not recognize the in-jokes. Other furs would come in and look at these same drawings and double over in laughter, but they didnt mean a thing to me. If we want to break out into the mainstream world, which I certainly think would do us far more good than harm, then our art needs to communicate in language that everyone understands.
And, lastly, we've got to accept that spooge repels most outsiders. (For that matter, spooge also turns off a lot of insiders!) A novel about being raped by a well-endowed tiger-man over and over for a period of years simply isnt going to fly among non-furs; I know that I personally would not enjoy it very much, either. While I do not consider pornography to be a lesser art, and while I also believe that porn does have its place in the world, that place is certainly not going to be out in the mainstream. We need to find a better way to separate our erotica from our serious works, if we are to become accepted as a legitimate genre  of art or literature.
I predict that sometime within the next five years, a book or painting or other art-form crafted by furry paws will make it out on the mainstream. If, that is, we choose to seek out and reward true excellence, ensure that our work is comprehensible to outsiders, and keep our public image clean. Within five years, if we do these things, furdom will become legitimate.
A cable TV channel of our own will follow in due time.
 My editor and I disagree on whether my use of the term genre is appropriate in this context. I believe that it is, that we are maturing from a fandom into a distinct artistic branch, or genre, albeit a rather narrowly-based and difficult-to-define one. In terms of furry literature, the branch of furdom I personally know best, I believe a giant step has been taken in this direction with the publication of Sofawolf Press' Best In Show.