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Announcement from Uncle Kage Regarding Media at Cons

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Below is an announcement that Uncle Kage asked me to pass on to Flayrah

We all know what happened at Confurence.

I have seen a lot of rumors flying, most of them villifying Darrell Exline. I won't have that. Darrell and I have had our differences, but he is a man who lost many thousands of dollars of his own money in a desperate effort to keep life in his convention. The reason he did that was to continue to provide people with the opportunity to get together and have fun. It was something he believed in, something important enough to risk his own financial stability to promote. Whether or not you agree with his methods, at least respect the effort he put forth. Take that from one who knows just how much that takes out of a person. He did this for you. Does that mean nothing?

People have said that Darrell was paid for this, and took the money as a "sell out" of the fandom. That is hogwash. The *hotel* received $4000 from the filmmakers for the right to film there. Not a penny of that was applied to any of ConFurence's debt. Take it from me -- hotels do not work that way.

People have said that Darrell did this deliberately as a means of destroying the fandom. That is also hogwash. Why would a man who gave so much want to do such a thing? The truth is that he took a calculated risk. The people who contacted him made a lot of high-minded promises and made it sound as though it would be something wonderful.

Darrell no doubt believed that he would have control of the situation. What he did not consider was that these people have a wealth of experience in this business. Getting out of control is what they do, and they do it well.

Darrell felt he would be doing something positive for the fandom. He misjudged the sleaziness and deceiptfulness of the filmmakers, as well as the amount of control he would have over the situation. I know. I get a lot of emails from these people myself, and believe me, they can sound VERY pursuasive. They plead, they promise, they cross their hearts and hope to die, they tell you how much they respect you. It is very easy to fall into their trap. It could have happened to any of us.

With this example, though, it is less likely to. Anthrocon has never allowed tabloid TV shows in, and while I'm still breathing, it never will.

I recently received a request from TechTV to do a show on Anthrocon. It sounded perfectly harmless, but then, they always do. Their description of the show as highlighting the "funny, sexy, scary" side of the internet was all I needed to hear. The answer they received was the same that they all receive: "Anthrocon is a private event held on private property. Its membership is not interested in being the subject of your documentary. Thank you for your query."

That is all you need to say. To these people, the less said is the better.

Anthrocon's policy on media coverage remains the same. We retain the rights to all video and audio recordings made at our convention. They can be used privately, but cannot be broadcast without our express written permission. You agree to that when you get in, or you don't get in.

In conclusion:

Lay off of Darrell. Did he screw up? Perhaps. Sucks to be human sometimes. Was it intentional? Of course not. Did he profit from it? Hell, no. Does he feel badly about it? Hell, yes. How do I know all of this? It's my job.

Will these two shows destroy our fandom? No way. We've had worse, and we've come right back each time. We'll continue to do so. It's as I've always said: they're just growing pains. Furry fandom is in its awkward adolesence right now, and we must roll with these punches as we continue on our way to maturity.

See you all in July.

-- Uncle Kage


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Very well put, Uncle Kage.

And it's nice to see that I'm not the only man in the fandom who thinks Darrel should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Eric Hinkle AKA Ardashir

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I'm sorry, but in the end, Kage was not a part of this deal. To me, it's just him blowing off to get press again.

The fact is that nobody except a few people know what happened here. While it might not have been solely Darrell's fault, the man has made horrid decisions that resulted in the death of his con. Moving the location, changing the date, etc. Easter weekend? I HAVE A FAMILY!

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This is something that I can comment knowledgeably upon. "Moving the location" and "changing the date" were done by Mark Merlino & Rod O'Riley as the final ConFurence that they organized, in 1999, before handing the con to Exline starting in 2000. At the time the reasons looked good. None of the hotels in the Anaheim/Buena Park/Irvine area that the ConFurence had been using had the usual late January dates available for 1999. The Town & Country Hotel in San Diego offered an April weekend, and fans go to San Diego every year for the Comic-Con without complaints (and San Diego's s-f fans had been using the Town & Country for their Con-Dor s-f con, also without complaints), so it seemed worth trying out for at least a year. There was an assumption that if it did not work out, the ConFurence could return to January the next year. Nobody expected that Further Confusion would immediately take over the late January time-slot so that ConFurence could not change back without going into direct conflict with FC. When Exline assumed control of the ConFurence in 2000, there was hardly any other date he could move to without conflicting with some established con. He did move the con back to the general Los Angeles area (which everyone was screaming for), first to the very popular Irvine site of ConFurence 5, 6 & 7 but to a larger hotel there (which screwed the con), then to a hotel that Los Angeles' annual Loscon s-f convention had been meeting at since 1993 and which was known to be friendly to fans. There turned out to be unexpected problems, but they seemed to be reasonable decisions at the time. In retrospect, Exline's biggest mistake was probably signing a three-year contract with the Burbank Hilton for the best deal possible, which prevented his moving the ConFurence to a smaller hotel as soon as the lower attendance of the ConFurences became obvious, and further locked the ConFurence into the late April date.

Fred Patten

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Then the convention was doomed before Darrell got it. The fact that it is a sole proprietorship in his name was stupid then. I hope he's learned. Regardless, nobody knows the full details about what went on there save a select number of people. Kage is not one of those persons, no matter how much he tries to think he is. He's simply a man who happens to run a convention.

Many of us wondered how long it would take before he stuck his nose in. We'd figured around two days. The pool was broken into hours. I guess we've gotta figure out who won now :)

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Regardless of whether you believe Kage or not, he does make some very good points:

Rumormongering does nothing but harm.
Calling for bloodshed doesn't help either.
What does help is staying calm, fixing the damage when and where possible, and getting on with your life.

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It's not that I don't believe Kage. It's that his opinion is not necessary for every furry situation. This is doubly so when you consider that most the media involvement in Furry has been at the will or leisure of conchairs or assistant conchairs. It's not been something that Joe Average Fur does.

Just because a man runs a convention does not make him instantly god. It just makes him masochistic.

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It also happens to make him a knowledgeable expert on the matters of running a Con, bub, lay off already...

Tlaren }:=8}

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His con. NOt other people's.

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Firstly, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for anyone who would undertake to run a convention. As Kage says it takes a tremendous amount of personal effort and expense to do such a thing and despite whatever fallout we receive from this event that at least should be kept in mind.

Nevertheless, I find the statement that Mr. Exline "misjudged the sleaziness and deceiptfulness of the filmmakers" ludicrous.

How could anyone misjudge the intent of such a programme as The Man Show? This is a spectacle which promises its viewers "joyous chauvinism" and whose theme song features the line: "Quit your job and light a fart... Yank your favorite private part!". Surely this was not mistaken as a sign of unbiased, fair-handed production? I agree that media "professionals" can be quite persuasive, but a simple reality check of Comedy Central should have been enough to bar any thought of their admittance.

That said, I've reserved my personal feelings on the shows themselves until they've aired. I'm certainly not expecting them to portray the fandom in a fair and accurate fashion, but despite how exaggerated, irritating, or abhorrent they are, I'm sure - sadly - that they will at least be good for a laugh. Still, if they had to let somebody in from Comedy Central they could have at least chosen Dave Attell.


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I'll have to agree with the last poster. Mr. Exline says he didn't get any money from it and I can accept that. But it simply means he sold his convention out for free. I can't believe I'm seeing so many bleeding hearts popping up for this guy. Poor Mr. Exline, making himself out to be some kind of victim here and people are suddenly falling over themselves to pat the guy on the back.

It's very simple... if he knew the nature of the shows he himself *did* invite to the convention then he knew his members would be ridiculed. If he truly had no idea a program called "The Man Show" from Comedy Central would only be interested in creating a freak show out of his convention then he was too incompitent to run it in the first place. However, he himself admitted that he was a fan of the Jimmy Kemmel show so he knew exactly what to expect and invited them anyway. Money or not, he willfully and purposefully invited a media program to his convention which he knew would ridicule the con members and the fandom.

No, Mr. Exline isn't a victim. His heart isn't breaking over this. It was a dispicable thing to do and now he's trying to make it sound as though he's not responsible. You're certainly not going to catch me crying crocodile tears for the man.

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About the author

Giza (Doug Muth)read storiescontact (login required)

a software engineer and African Leopard from Ardmore, PA, USA, interested in cheetahs

Software Engineer, Drupal advocate, furry fan, WikiFur admin, Anthrocon organizer, Eagle Scout, Dorsai Irregular.