Call of the wild: I was a little shocked at Joe Miller's "Critter Camp Out" story (July 5) -- not at the content but that any attention would be paid to such an obscure group of people. As a furry myself, I wish he had made some clarifications.
The fur suit-wearing folk at that little get-together represent one extreme. They are very flashy and unusual, but they don't represent the entire group. There are lots of us who do not think of ourselves as animals trapped in human bodies. We don't skritch, make meow and barking sounds or call our hands "paws." Many of us are just fans of anthropomorphic art or artists ourselves. The one thing that's consistent within the community is that no one can agree on the definition of what a furry is. But what we can agree on is that we are different from the typical person.
Two other extremes Miller mentioned were the plushophiles and zoophiles. Zoophiles are true deviants and have no business in the community. Zoophiles are people who fuck animals. Bestiality is essentially a form of animal abuse, and no true furry fan would ever do anything to harm an animal. We are animal lovers, not animal luuuuuuvers, if you know what I mean.
And for God's sake, if Miller was going to expose the masses of Pitch readers to all things furry, point them somewhere besides burnedfur.com; that may turn them off forever. Why not mention FurNation.com? That site is THE home page and resource site for anyone who calls himself a furry. There's also furryinfo.org and mailboxbooks.com for people to see much more positive examples of furriness.
To fur is human: I enjoyed Joe Miller's article about the furry genre, but he left out the subculture of the Christian furry. Although many furries are sexual freaks, there are also Christian furries -- people who shun immorality and regularly meet at conventions and the like to hold worship services.
So, yes, maybe we share some strange furry behaviors, but some of us also share our faith. Check out the Christian fur Web ring on my Web site for more information: www.geocities.com/gideon_bear.
Kansas City, Missouri
Art of war: Regarding Kendrick Blackwood's "Bad Impressions" (June 28): I first realized that the Kansas City Art Institute isn't long for this world when one of its current students told me that as part of the admissions and orientation process, they had all had to swear not to make any "disparaging remarks" about the place.
It is obvious to most advanced minds that the proper place of a loyalty oath in higher education is, at best, in jest. Some neighbors and I tried to set up a betting pool regarding what will be happening on the old Vanderslice property in ten years, after the inevitable bankruptcy. The place will get absorbed into UMKC, it will get reorganized as a teaching division of the Nelson or the current structures will all be demolished and a towering, prestigious apartment building like the one just down Warwick will be erected.
The betting pool idea fell apart when we couldn't get a consensus on whether the regular flooding of the eastern boundary of 49/63 qualifies the whole district as "in a moat."
Kansas City, Missouri
Portrait of the artist: I am an art student at UMKC. I was accepted to the Kansas City Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago just after graduating from Lee's Summit High School. My parents and I could not afford the $16,000 a year tuition at KCAI. Even if I took out all the student loans possible, it would take me twenty years to pay it back. UMKC is obviously not the best school of art in the country, but I believe you get out what you put into an art education. Plus, I received a full scholarship for art and academics to attend.
The faculty has been nothing but my friends, critics and supporters. I believe that the art program is on its way to greatness. We just acquired the Belger collection, the graphics program is blossoming and the faculty is well-established.
If KCAI is struggling so much, it should first lower its tuition. Second, affiliate and work with the surrounding high schools, and recruit early. Third, offer more scholarship awards to students who apply to KCAI. I had wanted to go to KCAI ever since I decided to be an artist, but in the realities of the middle class, it is not possible. Not everyone who has the talent (as I obviously do because they accepted me) has the funds to back it up. The working class is just as talented as the rich, but that pool of talent is not being dipped into by KCAI.
Thanks for bringing to light this issue; it only makes me more confident in my school of choice.
This is a test: I highly compliment the article written by Joe Miller about Central High School and the Kansas City, Missouri, School District ("The Scholars of Central High," June 21). As a former high school teacher in the KCMSD I was able to identify with all three elements in the article: the students, the teachers and the administration at the school level.
One suggestion that I would offer every year to fellow teachers and administrators would be to hold students accountable for their actions. There should be consistent and immediate action, both positive and negative, for a student's action. Thanks to the ACLU and Department of Family Services, there are very few consequences imposed on students who do bad things if they are juveniles. Once they become sixteen, they can be disciplined as an adult, but by then, it's too late to save the child.
We're coming to a point where the illiterate students we are graduating will not be able to hold a worthwhile job. I feel we are losing the generations that are in K-12 schools right now, and something needs to be done, and soon.
Kansas City, Missouri