<> Online is a strange and terrifying place. It’s enabled us to connect with one another, advance the causes of science and culture, and unite the world with a glowing net of data. It’s also enabled people with very… particular interests to find each other. In this new weekly series, we’ll be dipping into the Internet Gutter – the strange subcultures and weird worlds lurking in the dark pockets of the World Wide Web.Nazi FurriesFurry subculture has been an organized “thing” since at least the early 1980s, starting out at science fiction conventions and spreading like wildfire as technology allowed them to connect with each other.The furry fandom has been a popular target of mockery on the Internet for as long as we can remember. The thing with furries is that the vast majority of them are decent people who just get way too into cartoon animals.But then there are the ones that are actual Nazis.Arbeit Mach FurThe Nazi furry movement has been active for some time, at least since 2005. As with many awful things, it first congregated around a community on LiveJournal called “NaziFurs.” The community claimed to be anti-racist and not endorse Hitler’s ideology – instead, what they liked about Nazis seemed to be primarily the uniforms.Furry culture is all about peacocking (no pun intended) – showing off your “fursuit” costume, or commissioned artwork of your animal “fursona.” So it’s not surprising that a subset of them would be into the crisp, stylish uniforms of the Nazis. But what makes it weird is how they simultaneously disavow everything Hitler and his crew stood for while copying them exactly.The LiveJournal community made a big deal about banning any member who posted anti-Semitic or hateful material, but that doesn’t mean that Nazi Furs were all sweetness and light. In 2007, furry artist Jim Groat posted a story about being told to “Piss off Jew-Boy” at AnthroCon, the largest furry convention, by an attendee in a swastika armband.Second ReichIf there’s perversion to be done, it’ll happen in Second Life. The long-lived virtual world lets users act out all kinds of fantasies, and that includes being a Nazi furry. In 2007, a group called “Furzi” was organized on the service.Out of their headquarters, “Das Waffenamt,” the group sold a wide variety of virtual Nazi items, including anti-Semitic propaganda posters and uniforms for virtual avatars to wear. This quickly brought them to the attention of the Zionist Association of Second Life, and later the Second Life Jewish Defense League. The Jewish groups protested the furries responded with “free speech” and things quickly got ugly.The Furzis ran a script to permanently ban any Jewish Second Life user from their property. The Jews retaliated by composing a massive report on Furzi activity and submitting it to Linden Labs, the company that runs the virtual world. Eventually, Furzi leader “Spotz Spork” was permanently banned from the service, Das Waffenamnt was destroyed, and the group was scattered to the winds.The Trump ConnectionPlenty of ink has been spilled about Donald Trump’s connection with Nazi and white supremacist groups. It’s not surprising that the upstart political movement called the “alt-right,” which gleefully dabbles in anti-Semitic tropes and Nazi imagery, would attract some furries to his campaign.The Furred Reich is a blog dedicated to promoting a book series where a young German soldier wakes up in a parallel universe full of anthropomorphic animals. The author has been quite vocal about his right-wing leanings, penning a blog post entitled Why Nazi Furs Should Stop Apologizing. In it, he argues that Nazi groups shouldn’t apologize for the Holocaust because… the Communist pogroms were worse.That’s not really a compelling argument, but most Nazi arguments aren’t. It’s hard to tell how much of “alt-fur” is actual Trump support and how much is heavy layers of irony, but does it really matter?The VolksgalleryWant to see more? Here’s a selection of Nazi furry artwork from a variety of sources. Mostly DeviantArt, for obvious reasons.
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