I’ve slept on my duties as HU’s resident perverted furry crank, so I’ll take up a little space here for some housekeeping.
Rocket drawing by (I think) Mike Mignola and Al Gordon // Bojack designed by Lisa Hanawalt
A One Night Stand with the Lion Queen
An article by HU contributor Isaac Butler which appeared in Slate has been on my mind since I read it some weeks ago. In anticipation of the The Lion King’s 20th anniversary, Isaac charmingly and convincingly compares Scar, the movie’s antagonist, to Shakespeare’s most lusty and magnetic villains. He also astutely takes into account how the film’s particular place in the timeline affects his character’s framing in the story.
“In the Renaissance, Scar would have been the lead of a tragedy that bore his name. In 2014, he’d be the star of a prestige-cable drama about a charming, thwarted sociopath who’s smarter than everyone around him.”
There are some key properties that bewitch young people. These early obsession can germinate into someone identifying as a furry. The Lion King is one of the big furry generators. Though I was never fixated on the Disney property (I’m a Bluth / Robin Hood / Redwall type) I have some affection for Lion King, and I like that someone’s writing enthusiastically about its best character.
One snippet though, has been hanging onto me like a grapefruit rind between my front teeth.
“While Scar’s clear effeminate coding feels problematic now,”
What does that mean? There is no unpacking of this coda to a tasty meditation on Scar’s sexiness, slinkiness, decadent indulgent amorality, with a positive comparison to David Bowie! Effeminate men are out there. I am effeminate (hi). What’s problematic about a character like Scar being like me? Andreas Deja, his gay supervising animator who escaped mention in Isaac’s article, might have had something to do with his effeminacy. There’s straight writers making nelly guys the butt of a joke, and then there’s Scar! Holding court and being fabulous and generally about to steal your man at all times.
I’m a little sensitive about this. I’m recovering from years of rounding myself down to “default” to appease my punk friends from high school who were cool with me being gay but had remarks for our mutual friends who spoke and acted “stereotypically.” I had no sassy(tm) retort for them in my vocabularic arsenal at the time. It has been a whetstone for my resentment for people being dissected in this way. A tangential coincidence: Just today I read someone called the Comics Crumudgeon’s assessment of the Cathy Guisewite’s final Cathy strip. It’s in line with the general miasma of contempt my (always male) colleagues projected onto the (on my own investigation) funny and well-drawn strip. Here’s the offending little jab:
“but Sally (Forth) was always a more or less fully functional human being, whereas Cathy is a nightmare bundle of neuroses. The fact that the character always seemed to take every negative stereotype about women and extend them to cringe-inducing extremes made it hard to celebrate it as a feminist achievement.”
I need. A drink. Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
I’m back. Thanks for waiting. Cathy, a strip starring a woman, written by a woman, about the concerns and experiences of the woman who wrote it, is bad because Cathy is the wrong kind of woman. How many male self-inserts in comics have put in their hours in the pathetic ennui mines? But this woman? *ACK*, how irritatingly neurotic! If only she were more “fully functional” (respectable, proper, correct). If only she didn’t fall under the lens of negative stereotypes that men invented to pressure and demean women no matter what they do!
ACK, INDEED, SIR.
The concern for Scar’s framing doesn’t steam me up like the line about Cathy so much as puzzle me. I’m puzzled because it seems to abruptly undermine everything that came before it. Scar’s effeminacy is the whole reason we like him. He’s CAMPY. Not rigidly and blandly masculine like his gilded-beige brother, Mufasa. If he were a human he’d wear a cloak and circular sunglasses and those pewter finger-claw things and a pointed goatee. Scar’s queeniness is the engine of our delight in him, and the essence that sets him up in opposition to the hypocrisy of Mufasa’s reign.
Mufasa worships the “circle of life” which is not a circle but a ladder with the Lions occupying the rung where they are not killed and eaten. Scar’s minions, the equally slinky hyenas, capable predators all, are set apart to pick over bones. Hyenas are led by women, this pack is headed by Whoopi Goldberg as the alluring butch Shenzi. Maybe that’s why the lions set them apart. Scar does not produce an heir (unless one surfaced in the Lion King 2, the search for Zazu’s Gold, which I did not see) and by the end of his rule, the Savannah is in ruin. If we accept the film’s framing, it is Scar’s fatal flaw of arrogance in upsetting the cosmic moral order that dooms him. But really it is drought and migration that doom him. His rule was in fact a brief and unlucky, though perhaps dictatorial rebuke of the divine right of straight kings.
Thanks, Isaac. Great piece. Let’s watch Kimba the White Lion next.
A One Night Stand with the Raccoon and his Husband the Tree
“We did it. We finally kissed the raccoon. He’s a good kisser.” I tweet as my wife and I leave the theater.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a big hit. A lot of furries went to see it and wanted to kiss Rocket. A lot of not furries went to see it and wanted to kiss Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Watching this happen has been kind of priceless. Though I’m less interested in how many kids watch this with their parents and become furries than the kids who watch this with their parents and end up thinking that guns are really cool. There was a good movie trapped somewhere in the machinery of a bad movie. An unexpected left turn from a seedy cantina scene remix to a drunken brawl let’s Rocket demonstrates that slurs are bad, and they wear you down. But later there are misogynistic slurs as a joke????? The Raccoon was as interesting character as you can fit into his macho packaging, and I liked watching his mercenary qualities dissolve in caring about other people. Like the Lion King, where Scar’s point of view is subsumed into Simba’s hero’s journey, a zany road movie/5-way buddy comedy was dying to escape the very boring shell of a brutally violent bauble. I list toward being a “Scenes from a Marriage” type of film enjoyer, and Rocket and Groot’s partnership is clearly a cranky kind of marriage. I’d rather have watched two hours of that.
Of the material I’ve seen so far, I give most of the furry porn featuring Rocket +/- Groot a D+
A One Night Stand with a Pun about Horses I Didn’t Feel Like Following Through With
Bojack Horseman is a Netflix Original animated series about Furries in Los Angeles. They’re uh. It’s about the television industry. Self-absorbed washup actor. Still materially OK so we can see him stress his excess as a measure of his delusion. Had the idea ever occurred to you that money and fame plus drugs can corrupt people? Hm. The best and most distinguishing feature is the designs of Lisa Hanawalt, who is a national treasure. Her animals are uncannily perfect. I almost lost it when two pigeons took flight from a tree overlooking Bojack’s bedroom window, flapping their blazer-encased humanoid arms. She’s so amazing. I saw Frank Santoro say they should have let her write the jokes. Yeah. Bojack Horseman is often sharp but hones its edge on joke after joke that would have been prescient in 2003. I was in high school in 2003. Don’t make me go back there. The show comes around and starts to get more interesting around episode seven.
I left my beloved Minneapolis when I vacated the ex-boyf’s apartment. Then I met someone. She’s a furry too, but our growing up furries was different and our being furries together is another thing. Getting older is asserting its leverage on our way of being. But we’re keeping it weird.