Phrackin' Up:
Explaining David Gonterman

This week's episode:

"Fuckin' an Animal"

Opening Note:

This is one of a limited amount of collumns based on David Gonterman. This, like the Gonterman Shrine, isn't meant to insult David Gonterman. While The Gonterman Shrine is here to celebrate the campy wackiness, however bad as it may be, that is Foxfire. Many of the readers out there might simply dismiss and wonder why such things exist. Jesus Cantilinarian has been observing David Gonterman for a while, and this is his perspective on the matter. Jesus Cantilinarian is not a professional, but simply offers this opinion:
        "Evelyn, a modified dog, viewed the quivering fringe of a special doily draped across the piano, with some surprise.
        "In the darkened room where the chairs dismayed and the horrible curtians muffled the rain, she could hardly believe her eyes. A curious breeze, a garlic breath, which sounded like a snore somewhere near the Steinway (or even from within) had caused the doily fringe to waft and tremble in the gloom.
        "Evelyn, a dog, having undergone further modification, pondered the significance of short-person behavior in pedal-depressed panchromatic resoance and other highly ambient domains...

        "Arf, she said."
                                    -Frank Zappa, "Evelyn, a Modified dog"

[This article has the high ambition of describing David's relevance with the "Furry" commnity. It merely scratches the surface of both the positive and negative aspects of the fandom.]

(Special note from JSP: I generally leave Mr. Cantilinarian to his own devices on these, but after some conferencing we decided some edits should be included here. Speaking generally, he's in plain text, I'm in italics. You could say we make quite the tag team, and you'd be right.)

David Gonterman, while being a fan-boy of Sega video-games and syndicated anime television series, is also considered a "furry" artist. The term "Furry" does not refer to his overall amount of body hair, but the content of his artwork.  Through the obscene squiggles and perverse use of perspective, David's "artwork" contains anthropomorphic characters.

It's more or less assumed that David's interest in Sonic the Hedgehog and Jonathan Brisby led him to a more liberal use of an anthropomorphic animal character. His obsession with Walt Disney and the theme park characters, mixed with the idea of "fur-suiting," brought about the creation of Susan Foxfire, starlet of the stillborn fetus that is the Foxfire Comic strip. The malignant tumor of a plot-line had David's self inserted character, Jim, cross dress INTO Susan, who was a female fur-suit. The strip, in its winding adventure, had David/Jim go as far as molest himself while in Susan. But, of course, David edited it out for the impressionable youth at home.

The Furry fandom is  a complex and interesting one. David Gonterman, even with his odd and somewhat questionable behavior, actually fits in with the rest of the people who compose it.

There is little set definition of what is "furry." The term is just used to describe whatever contains an anthropomorphic animal.  The community refuses to define itself beyond this, and as such it's a convoluted fandom filled with anyone who wants to be in it. There are sites that try to establish a definition of "what is" and "what isn't" furry. But, as soon as those definitions are posted, there is a batch of people doing the exact opposite, and being called Furry as well.

All one has to do in order to be accepted into the Furry community is to in some way involve yourself in anthropomorphic animals, often having sex (optional). It's that simple. It doesn't matter if the animals are fucking (in fact this tends to be preferred) and the fucker is a goat and the fuckee is a mouse, so long as they are animals and they have human qualities, you too can become an established artist in the Furry community.

Yes, animals fucking. It may sound harsh, but it happens to be the constant that almost all outsiders make reference to. If you draw something fucking an animal, you've made it into the Furry fandom. This is the easiest way to be accepted by the community, not because they're starved for pornographic material, but because the "qualification standards" are quite loose. It doesn't matter if you're an artist, a casual participant, life-styler or closet plushaphile - the sure-fire way to have someone accept you as a "furry" is to do something that involves something fucking an animal.

David Gonterman could be considered ‘furry' for his love of animals in his artwork. David Gonterman could also be considered a rampant pervert with odd sexual fetishes and fantasies.  Most of which are illegal and highly immoral.
Either way, He fits right into the Furry Community.


Even with the open door policy the Furry community does have two main archetypes to compare David too: Tree-huggers and Extremists.

Tree-huggers, a name given to environmentalists, take the liberal, more open ideal of living. They believe in rights and equality for everyone as a whole, a let-everyone-live philosophy. Their artwork often has a peaceful, more serene feel to it. The Extremists are those who believe in personal rights, and opportunities granted by individual merit. Their artwork often includes guns, violence, and extreme themes. Based on political alignment, the liberals and the conservatives come to blows in the fandom, mainly because there's really nothing else to do. People can talk about the artwork and the stories, but that goes only so far before someone makes a gay joke and then the war begins.

David is a man who has expressed ties to the Republican party and various other conservative, Extremist viewpoints. David would be considered a "mild Extremist," a contradiction in terms for the contradiction of a man. His writing is filled with Right-wing dogma, expressing personal rights. (For further reference, see Sailor Moon: American Kitsune, archived on this site. -JSP) He censors his own work, and resorts to violent postings whenever something silly as the content  of professional wrestling gets threatened. And, like most stereotypical Republicans, David has revealed that his sexual life is not the mundane existence, showing his hidden desires to be subdued, dominated, and treated like some woman's "teddy bear."

David is a mild-Extremist because he doesn't project his views. He basically turns his ideals inward, and keeps himself in check for the better of the world.

The main characteristic that makes David abnormal is while his personal belief may be that of the Extremist, his cartoons look like they were drawn by a Tree-hugger. The Cutesy, "Chibi" designs, the deformed childish looking characters - all reflect more inane, gentle behavior. While most Extremists use an art style that invokes images of deformed monsters and animals with penises for nipples, David simply employs a more peaceful art style (or lack there of, which would explain everything.) The Tree-Huggers incorporate more of Archie, Harvey Toon, and Groo the Wander. The Extremists main influences are from Image, Top Cow, and Frank Miller.

Lately, he's experimenting with more adult material, which shows either a brooding sexual drive, or the fact that he's simply progressing as an Extremist. Time will tell if David maintains his Republican ties.

Odd sexual preferences run rampant in the fandom, as it seems there are no restraints on what could be considered casual or ‘normal.' Like most genres, all possibilities exist when it comes to sexual art. This is the main problem that the rest of Fandoms have with the Furry community. While it might be justifiable to have an Anime babe be raped by alien tentacles due to the constrictive Japanese culture, most people see the Furry Community's lax take on sexual orientation as perversion. It's not just artwork about homosexual rape.  It's artwork featuring homosexual rape, with animals!

Remember, adding an animal makes everything worse. The Furry Fandom has received some bad press simply because any adult concepts featuring sex can be boiled down to bestiality. Even if you get rid of the various other concepts (rape, underage molestation, crossbreeding) it does come down to the fact that although she may have the hips like a woman, have the breasts like a woman, and be fondling the crotch like a human, she's still a fucking animal. Most of the members of the Furry Fandom acknowledge that most of what they do isn't the most "healthy," and some groups have started up to stop having so much sex in common subject matter (e.g., The Burned Fur movement.) There is a good portion of those who call themselves "furry" who have no interest in violating their pets, and just appreciate the concept of anthropomorphism.(JSP again: From a lot of what I've seen, the vast majorities of furries actually aren't into animal-fucking. It's a common stigma, and also a completely understandable one, considering.)

But, the bulk of the Fandom's membership is composed of the sexual "deviants," so to eliminate all that would be considered "wrong" would eliminate the entire Fandom from the planet. So, those who wish to partake in the Fandom, but not the sexual parts, simply make havens for clean art, clean talk, and clean thoughts.

David has shown such unique interests in sex that he once again fits in with the rest of the community. Showing preferences for age-regression, hypnosis, and fur-suiting, David can speak his preference for sex without standing out so much. It's hard to be berated for wanting to be dominated by a woman when the artists a few web-pages over are drawing homosexual Dragons raping horses. While David's sexual adventures borderline pedophilia and bestiality, he doesn't stand out in a fandom filled with people who get turned on by preoperative transsexuals, "macro" women spanning fifty-feet high, or men with penises for nipples.

One should be more worried about David's obsession with age regression than his wanting to be beaten and humiliated while in a fur-suit. (Personally I'm equally worried about both, but who am I. -JSP)

Sex is sex. The Furry Fandom will say that one should "live and let live," claiming that sexual stimulation is based more on individual tastes and that there isn't any standard for what should and what shouldn't be made.

If the "furries" want to have their animals, let them. Just don't ask one to watch your cat when you go away for the weekend.

Disregarding Sex, the Fandom can be home for some more entertaining pieces of artwork and fiction. None of this quality artwork is Gonterman's, mind you, but there does exist some Furry artwork that does merit some observation. There are some artists out there that could use a deserving bravo, a "congratulation" for producing something meaningful and worthwhile.

But, while they claim to be furry, can they claim to be masters of Anthropomorphism?

It's an unseen problem, as people use the word "anthropomorphic" more then they use the word "spooge" in the fandom.

I have only encountered only three pieces that have demonstrated the appropriate and complete use of anthropomorphic characters in their respective work: George Orwell's Animal Farm, Art Spiegelman's Maus and "The Brave Little Toaster."

Anthropomorphism is defined as "the attributing of human characteristics to gods, objects, etc."

It's not a problem to call something anthropomorphic if it does show the required qualities. Anthropomorphism has taken on a new definition with the advent of the Internet. If something demonstrates anthropomorphism, the characters are often animals with human qualities. More often then not, someone will write a story or draw a comic strip that has animals acting like humans, but never acknowledge the obvious logic holes when they have a cat and a dog having a romantic relationship. Often, it's simply assumed that since a character takes on the personality of a human, that character loses all animalistic notions of itself, to basically become "human." Bullshit - if a modified dog does have the ability to ponder about highly ambient domains, it's still just going to say "arf" when it conveys its view.

In the prior three examples mentioned, the use of Anthropomorphism has been used to the fullest. The use has established the characters and progressed the story. There is quality in those examples of Literature, Art, and Film.
(Before JC continues, I should mention this: The practice of animals behaving like humansdates back as far as ancient Egypt, when it was considered high comedy for animals to be drawn engaging in day-to-day human tasks. "Funny animals" in modern-day cartoons are probably a natural evolution of this - although many furries refuse to see it as anything but sexual. -JSP)

"The Brave Little Toaster" displays generic anthropomorphism in it's fullest. Each character has a personality that reflects what they are: the vacuum cleaner is a gruff loner, the blanket is insecure, naive, and acts like "a security blanket," and the lamp, in a nice little display of negativity, isn't that bright. While not having any animal characters, it showed a nice little world filled with talking toasters and how they related with their "Master," or their owner.

        ("All Dogs Go to Heaven" might be considered using anthropomorphism in it's fullest, but that movie didn't show the relationship between humans and the anthro-characters as well as "The Brave Little Toaster.")

The Internet is flooded with "furry," or anthropomorphic animal artwork. However, on very few occasions has the use of the concept been exploited to its fullest. Images of characters, made on a lark, flood online galleries, filling out the community with different styles of artwork and subject matter.

Maybe one out of a thousand people writes, draws, or creates something that fully exercises the use of anthropomorphism. One out of a thousand can be considered a true master of his or her craft.

Adding human qualities to an animal doesn't fully utilize the concept. Having the human qualities REFLECT the animal that displays them helps. Having those human qualities reflect the animal that displays them, and THEN further a storyline DOES demonstrate the concept to its full.

As much as a Furry will tell you otherwise, a mouse will never give a cat a blowjob, even if both had the intelligence of a twenty-something college student. (Or a thirty-one-year-old fanfic writer. -JSP)

George Orwell utilized and poetically enacted a story in his book Animal Farm. The symbolism will be discussed in high school English classes until the end of Western civilization, and justifiably so. The book, which symbolizes the flaws of communism, also makes use of the different characters, and how their personalities reflect their species. The horse Boxer is stubborn, not lazy. The Sheep are led, the Crow is solitary, and the Dogs are loyal to their masters. Never once is there cross breeding - never once does an animal "break character" - never once is the story lost to the fact that the book is full of talking farm animals.

David doesn't practice such a use of anthropomorphism. In his Foxfire strips, the animal characteristics of his characters do not play an important factor. It doesn't matter if Scarlet is a fox, as she doesn't display any real characteristics besides the physical appearance of a fox. The supporting characters are even more mundane in their existence, making no point to make us care that a girl is a racoon or a rabbit. David completely ignores the point of having an animal character, simply throwing them in there for no real purpose at all. It doesn't matter if Scarlet Foxfire IS a fox. She doesn't display any kind of animalistic personality trait, and no one seems to care that a large, fox woman is walking around. David doesn't suspend disbelief, he completely ignores reality and thus shits on any kind of intelligence his audience might have. David, unlike Orwell, doesn't use any creative symbolism in his story. Scarlet isn't "crafty," "sneaky," or "clever." (She is, however, said to be "sexy," which I suppose makes perfect sense - if you want to fuck a fox. -JSP)Scarlet could have been a tortoise, and it wouldn't have changed the story at all.

The symbolism is also necessary in Maus. Spiegelman uses the reverse of what Orwell, and instead of having the animals reflect the personality of his characters, Spiegelman uses nationality and religion to define each character's animal race. The opening scene of the second book has Art's character pondering how to draw his wife, a French woman. She is drawn as a mouse due to her conversion to Judaism, the assigned characteristic to mice, but Art ponders drawing her as a frog. The metaphor that Spiegelman has chosen has become so entwined with the story that trying to change it would dull the impact of the content. While some might question the defense of Maus, claiming that the mice could have easily been bunny rabbits, it's an attack that has no leg to stand on. Spiegelman has defined the metaphor of having the persecuted Jews as mice well enough that trying to replace it with another animal would not just lessen the impact of the metaphor, but the subject matter of the story itself. (It's also worth mentioning that Spiegelman chose this metaphor to further the effect of the narrative, and not because he wants to stick his cock into mice-people. A lot of furries, however, are a different story. -JSP)

Spiegelman brilliantly uses anthropomorphism in a way that is rarely seen, as the characters could be drawn AS humans, but the book would lose so much quality if they were. Art has taken a story that flourishes using the concept of anthropomorphism, and to change this would be turning it into just another war story. The Holocaust is an event so unbelievable in 20th century history that an enigmatic cloud asurrounds it to this day. The mere concept of ethnic cleansing with such force as the Holocaust simply detaches itself from everyday thought, leaving any attempt at analyzation a challenge. It is simply a daunting task to bring such a horror to proper light. Spiegelman uses the anthropomorphism to smoothly engulf and grow with the detachment, creating a story that relies on both the event, and the method of expressing the event. It's a beautiful symbiotic relationship that is rarely duplicated, simply because your average subject matter doesn't hold as much weight as the Holocaust. Spegielman may have started out Maus as an avant-garde piece about his family's history, but it defined a way that anthropomorphism can be utilized to its fullest.

David may write stories that suspend, and completely defy, reality, but that's a side-affect from his inability to compose well thought, well-written stories. (Among other inabilities. -JSP) David writes about mundane situations with predictable plot points, boring characters, and more times then not, other people's creative material. David couldn't apply the use of metaphors to his stories in similar fashion to Spegielman, because David hasn't shown the maturity to take on such a task. The only time that David has written about a tragic event was when he threw around the reference to "Hiroshima" whenever he needed to convey the idea of something being hot, dangerous, or deadly. Of course, when it's overused, (or used at all in this context -JSP) it's inappropriate.

"Darien: That's our Meatball Head, Kinto. We'll be in Hiroshima during the bomb and she'll still sleep it through." -Darien, i.e. Tuxedo Mask, talking about Sailor Moon (SM:AK, chapter 11)

When an anthropomorphic story can be retold with human characters, it doesn't fully employ the use of the idea. One of the greater, more philosophical and entertaining "furry" web-comics, Ozy and Millie, doesn't make use of anthropomorphism to it's fullest. However, it does retain magnificent qualities, and instead of using the idea to establish the characters, it uses the idea to discorporate itself from reality, allowing the creative mind to flourish without restrictions. D.C. Simpson, creator of the comic, has not fully utilized the concept of anthropomorphism, but has done so in an effective way to establish what plot points are needed, without the baggage of people stopping to realize that Ozy, a fox adopted by a Dragon, has a best friend who is a fox. Untied to reality allows the work to flourish, an example of how anthropomorphism, although not exploited fully, can be beneficial to a story.

Gonterman tries to create a different reality, but throws in too much pop culture comments, silly references, and inside jokes to maintain that separate reality. The fragile bubble gets broken by David's not-too-swift hand. David often infiltrates the stories he writes with his own personal dogma instead of attempting to create a different, separate reality (or one that bears any resemblance to the one in which the rest of us live. -JSP).  Social commentary is common in online comics, but it's used in very little amounts, and often runs parallel with a gag or a joke. David simply puts out his personal beliefs in the most inappropriate and thus, unbelievable ways. To maintain a separate, detached and believable reality, a balance between real world material and the imagined world needs to be established. If a family of rabbits spends five panels talking about the problems of the Internet auction environment, then the reality is compromised. Sure, it's still furry, and yes, it still involves anthropomorphic characters. Hell, if David actually wrote something like that, it would increase his credibility dramatically, but the main problem exists: if the imagination, the suspended disbelief, is compromised, so is the concept of anthropomorphism, and the scenario becomes a bit harder to completely believe.

If an artist doesn't use the concept to the fullest, it doesn't make that artist BAD. It doesn't make that artist WRONG. To use a metaphor, the art is simply sitting in a corner of a cardboard box. It's not filling the box up completely with anthropomorphism, so other things can fill up the box, making a unique mixture of many concepts. It won't be pure anthropomorphism, but hey, it'll be unique. (For David, I would suggest that you picture a Post-It note in a refrigerator box. -JSP)

David can be considered a "furry." David uses characters who are "furry" in his stories. While the basic definition of "anthropomorphism" means the application of human traits to nonhuman objects, the complete use of the idea requires that said use of said idea be essential, for without it, the story would lose a great deal of worth. David doesn't fully explore the use of anthropomorphism, but he's not alone. The Furry Fandom is full of artists who just draw animals for the hell of it. It's not so wrong to bastardize the concept of anthropomorphism, but you can't say that something fully utilizes the concept when you're just drawing mice in bondage gear.

After that one day that someone showed him a link to, or some other site featuring anthro-animalistic artwork, David was never the same. (I'm probably just nitpicking, but personally I'm inclined to say he was never the same in the first place. -JSP) He found a group of people whom he could relate to in the Furry Fandom, in which he still participates today.

But, as an artist, David is just one of many artists incorporating anthropomorphism into his work, and with that, he has earned the title of "a furry artist." But, there's nothing special about David's use of the concept. He is just another mundane sheep in the flock of many.

sanna ho sanna hey Superstar
-Jesus Cantilinarian