Tag Archives: Money

Capitalism, and why it is good for the furry fandom

Furries, or so it seems to me, have a split in their views. When it comes to sex, we are all in favor for allowing two individuals to get up to whatever they want, so long as they both consent. However, when it comes to money, we suddenly become a lot more wary about letting others make their own decisions. Surveys done by [adjective][species] seem to agree with this; finding social liberalism much higher than economic liberalism. It would seem that attitudes are correct on the former, but these are contradicted by the latter. In this essay, I will attempt to show why capitalism, and a free-furry-market, are ultimately a huge boon for the fandom.

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On Giving

Normally, I keep myself a list of articles that I’d like to write for [a][s], and I try to space them out throughout the year so I don’t write, say, too many articles about art or conventions in the same time period. Another thing that I’ve instinctually stayed away from are seasonal posts.  It’s a little too easy, I think, to get caught up in the [season] spirit and doing so can cheapen the content of the post.  The last thing a lot of people really want to read, I think, is some ode to giving spilled out on a blog during the winter holidays.

So, I’m sorry.

The problem I’ve run into here is that this is one of those cases where inspiration for a specific topic coincided with the holiday season due to a few external events, and now I’m stuck really wanting to write an article for the first time in a long time despite habits saying otherwise.  It was a three-pronged attack, really, and so now here I am, writing for the first time in quite a while, looking into furries and giving.

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Of Rabbits and Rayguns

I’ve been a semi-professional writer for many years now. I published my first short
story in about 1999, and since then have written and published about twenty-
two or twenty-three vaguely book-length thingies (I tend to write a much higher
percentage of novellas than most authors, frequently sold to the public as shorter
than standard books) plus I’ve lost count of how many shorts. While I mostly write
furry and furry SF, I also do horror, non-furry SF, essays, fantasy and even good old
conventional literary fiction. So I know the publishing industry a little, or at least I
think I do.

Over the past year, I’ve achieved my first real landmark success in the David
Birkenhead books, in which a young slavebunny is manumitted and finds success
in a future navy despite all the social roadblocks that lie in his way. Each book in
the series is titled after the rank that David achieves during the course of the story,
from Ship’s Boy to Admiral. Currently my publisher and I are ecstatically selling
well over a thousand copies a week. So far so good and yay for me, right? Maybe.

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How Being Furry Saved Me Forty Grand

Tonight I test-drove a $40,000 pickup truck. Don’t get me wrong—I never had the slightest intention of buying the thing. As I made sure the salesman knew before I ever climbed in and turned the key, I was actually maybe, possibly interested in a baseline truck that costs about half that. My current plain-jane 4×4 is seventeen years old and has nearly 100,000 miles on it, you see, and the auto manufacturer I work for is currently offering large rebates to the general public and even larger ones to their employees to move the things more quickly, which sparked my interest. But the dealership had nothing but top-end super-fancy (read that “high margin, high profit”) stuff on their lot, so if I wanted to take a test drive it was a $40,000 truck or nothing.

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Art and Money

The relationship between art and money is always tense. In fact, one of my favorite books that I read during my time in the music composition department at school was Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland (which I very highly recommend to any artist readers out there).  They describe the relationship, in part, as “There’s one hell of a lot more to art than just making it.”  The tension shifts in the world of ‘crafts’, functional art, and the like. The website What The Craft dissects the problem of working with money in craft in two excellent posts, one about why handmade is “so expensive” and another about how to price hand-made goods.  In both cases, the author explains that “[h]andmade goods mean attention to detail, quality craftsmanship, and a significant amount of TIME and SKILL”, which can in turn lead to the higher price.

Furry art, then, fits in a strange place in the middle, what with the “traditional art” aspect of a commissioned artist creating a work, as well as the custom, attention-to-detail oriented aspect of handmade crafts providing a visual representation of our characters. I’ve written before about the how the connection between a visual representation of one’s character can affect the way one interacts with an artist, but I spent little time on how the financial aspect of the transaction plays in the scenario.

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On Money

Like many of those who who identify as members of the furry fandom, I joined at a relatively young age.  I was reminded of this, recently, when a friend from years ago came out to visit, this last weekend.  When he and I were talking most frequently, that was eleven or twelve years ago, which would’ve made me (gulp) fourteen or fifteen.  I’ve been dwelling on that point for the last few days, as I worked up the outline of the rest of this article, and things finally fell into place when I consider who I was and where I was in life at that time.  I was young, for sure, and just getting into the whole furry thing, watching artists on Yerf and VCL (and Side7 and Elfwood, oh man…) create these awesome drawings, most of which seemed to be spur of the moment things, or works of art created for the sake of creating art.  Some, however, were commissions, and that was something I just could not fathom.

An artist – someone I didn’t even know – would draw whatever I told them. For money!

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