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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stranger Than Strange

Memphis hosts innumerable conventions every year. The beautiful spring and fall weather and ample entertainment opportunities make it a perfect location for gatherings of churches, professional groups, political organizations and many others.

But this one tops the cake – or maybe the kibble. On the Friday night news we learned about the 11th annual Memphis Fur Meet. Participants didn’t bring their dogs and cats; they WERE the dogs and cats. Apparently, there’s a subculture of folks across the country who enjoy getting into full-body animal suits, demonstrating their animal personas and nicknames, and gathering together – for whatever. Some go around on all fours. Many are seen to stroke and pet each other, but there was a code of conduct posted at the hotel explaining what not to do in public.

The “furmeets” are held across the nation and generally attract 600-700 critters. The Memphis meet is one of the largest. I’m so proud. This meet was sponsored by the MST3A (Mid-South & Tennessee Anthropomorphic Arts Association). The group describes itself as “a non-profit organization, created to foster and promote the appreciation of anthropomorphic arts, literature and culture.” I’m sure you know, but anthropomorphic means ascribing human traits to non-humans – like when I think my kitty Scarlett is rolling her eyes at me and saying “Oh, puh-leeze.”

They call themselves “furries,” and, for the most part, they’re men. One participant told the tv reporter that the perponderance of men explains the abundance of “power” animals such as wolves and jungle cats. One guy interviewed on camera said that he is a professional werewolf. I’m not sure what you’d hire a werewolf to do, but I don’t want to think about that very long.

If that’s not odd enough, here’s the other thing that I thought was quite peculiar about Friday night’s news story: the convention took place on Labor Day weekend. Gee, I thought news was supposed to be current. Guess I missed something in journalism 101.


Willow Goldentree said...

I've heard of those conventions before! They sound a bit...scary.

Scarlett said...

Yep, scary. Hopefully harmless. All the same, I think we'll avoid their convention neighborhood next year.