Unexpected Groups That Are Getting Torn Apart By Drama
Everybody needs a place where they can be with likeminded people, whether that's a bowling league or league of assassins (who go bowling on the weekends). But just because a bunch of people share an overly specific interest doesn't mean they share each others' values, and not even your uncle's flyfishing Facebook group is safe from the kind of vicious infighting that can leave a niche community shaken to its core. For example...
The Furry Community Has A Neo-Nazi Problem
Furries, the all yipping, occasionally yiffing community of people who only feel like themselves when dressed up in animal costumes, take great pride in their inclusivity. But while it doesn't matter who or what you are underneath the fake fur, it can matter what you wear over it. Like, for example, a modified swastika.
Fascism in furrydom isn't new. Back in the mid-aughts, Livejournal and Second Life saw the rise of Nazi Furries, who claimed to be World War II buffs and liked to roleplay as the bad guy -- if not Hitler, at least Hitler's dog Blondi. But after a certain presidential election, more furries started openly dipping their paws into facism. Under the leadership of fursonas like Foxler Nightfire (Lee Miller, who's allegedly said "I stand by Hitler" and is awaiting trial for child enticement) a small faction of furries called Fur Right or Alt-Furries emerged, fursonas who wear "pawstickas" and write erotic literature where furries boink all of Nazi-occupied Europe.
And the tactics of alt-right furries don't differ much from the ones that don't dress like the Carfax mascot. Under the guise of promoting "individualism" and fighting furry degeneracy, alt-right furries combine trolling, threats and victimhood to mask their hatred behind irony thicker than their padded snouts. This has been a worrying development for leftist furries, who fear that their pet community is very susceptible to grooming, with some even believe that the rise of the Fur Right is a coordinated Russian propaganda push to destabilize the community.
In response, Antifa furry groups have been formed to push back against the Fur Right, using boycotting and deplatforming to get rid of these fascist furballs. In 2017, this infighting even led to the cancellation of the Rocky Mountain Furry Con, the biggest con in the world where you can see someone in a blue fox costume called Blue McFox luging down a ski slope, over security concerns. And it's sad to see that a community so invested in the wonders of escapism that they'll dress like cartoon kangaroos and tweak their backs lugging around a ten-pound tails fall victim to the mundane insanity of real-life contemporary politics.
Star Wars Shippers Are Fighting Over The Best Way To Punish Rey For Being A Woman
An important trope in shipping, the practice of fantasizing about two fictional characters falling in love like you're a busybody mother, is imagining of the noble female protagonist with the story's misunderstood bad boy, whom she then reforms into the perfect husband by bandaging his wounds or teaching him how to read or some such nonsense. It has created some of the most obsessed couplings in fictional history, like Beauty and the Beast, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, or Cap'n Crunch and Tony The Tiger.
But there's a difference between shipping your favorite heroine with a redeemable bad boy and, say, a mass-murdering space fascist. Not to Reylos, a faction within the Star Wars fandom who want nothing more than to see Rey suffer the indignities of being coupled with a sulky alt-right Sith lord. Countless fanfic and art have been between the burgeoning love between Reylo, despite the occasional lovers' spats like when Kylo mentally violating her or letting his boss torture her.
For their serial killer matchmaking obsession, Reylos have been interminably mocked inside their own fanbase. A feud that became extra fierce when at the end of Return of the Skywalker (spoilers) these two overly sensitive Force users only managed to get to first base before Kylo suffered the fate of all wishy-washy Sith lords. The subsequent Reylo freakout caused great waves of mockery, with even Star Wars star John Boyega torching them with the heat of Boba Fett's flamethrower.
Sadly, when it comes to Reylos versus anti-Reylos, whoever wins, Rey still loses. Many of Reylos' harshest critics are the so-called "true" Star Wars fans, i.e. bitter trolls who've spent way too much money on shitty lightsaber replicas in the nineties not to hate a female protagonist out of sheer principle. For them, the fact that Reylos were even allowed to imagine a Fifty Shades Of Rey plot developing is once again proof that Disney has femininazi'ed their favorite childhood memories and has let dumb girls steal focus away from what makes Star Wars so great (endless trade negotiations). So if it were up to these feuding factions, one of the most iconic female protagonists of the series would either be ball-and-chained to a serial killer or back into a gold bikini and making out with her own brother.
South Asian Incels Are Being Harassed By Incel White Supremacists
For those who haven't kept up with their school shooter stats, incels are that loneliest part of the manosphere who claim they are physically unable to attract a woman's attention. But don't feel sorry for them, because these involuntary celibates still behave like outright Nazis -- only ones who think everyone else's the Ubermensch.
Even the violently self-loathing need someone to look down on. And since inceldom is a subculture that obsesses with genetics, it was only a matter of time before they started dividing themselves by race. White incels believe they're the top of their inferiority complex, but all the way at the bottom of the knucklehead caste system are South Asian incels, whom other incels believe are such genetic Gollums they stand no chance at attracting a mate willing to wash their waifu pillows.
This puts South Indian incels in a sad position, kicked out of the only no-girls-allowed treehouse they feel fit to be part of. But instead of, say, fighting back at being rejected with the same hatred and disgust they show a random non-smiling woman on the street, South Asian incels continue seek the approval of supremacist incels by doubling down on their misogyny. They defend their lack of incel community credentials almost as a badge of honor, arguing that white incels have far easier lives as Western rejects and that their perceived inferiority only stems from the fact that Indian women are impossible to please, demanding nothing less than perfection in their partners -- perhaps the only time where the argument "I couldn't get laid even if I tried" has been used to make someone feel better about themselves.
Watch Collectors And YouTubers Are At Odds Over A Rolex Ponzi Scheme
Watch collecting can be an expensive hobby, with some pieces going for tens of thousands of dollars -- as much as a dollar per tiny gear. And with the recent price surge of Rolexes, the wristwatch hobby community has started favoring its big second-hand market over its small first-hand market.
As such, collectors are always on the lookout for trustworthy resellers. And who better to trust than Australian watch connoisseur Chris Essery, the very public face of the YouTube channel Horology Hour and who boasts of having an entire vault full of pricey timepieces at reasonable rates? People like Essery, with their professional videos showing good macros (close-ups) and advice on how to spot fakes, have been winning over the trust of collectors, many of whom put off by the corporate shilling and feuding between other public watch personalities in the video community. But the wrist jockeys patronizing Essery soon discovered that this seller was less trustworthy than a Rolex spelled with three l's.
In early 2020, one of Essery's disgruntled customers regaled the wristwatching community with his awful experience trying to buy a very high-end Rolex Cosmograph Daytona for the apparently low, low price of 29,000 Australian Dollars (roughly $20,000 American). After being wired the money, Essery kept coming up with excuses why the expensive watch wasn't arriving at the buyer, from claiming it was lost in the mail to pretending he was preoccupied with his parents' house burning down. (Watch sleuths quickly figured out that the picture he sent was nabbed from a news article). After enough complaining, the buyer did receive a Daytona -- a fake one. And while Essery feigned ignorance and offered a refund, the entire process had taken two and a half months of precious, precious time.
After the initial buyer went public with his experience, many other collectors came forward testifying to similar stalling tactics by Essery. And since wristwatch hobbyists like things with a lot of moving parts, instead of branding Essery like a regular back-alley hustler or an unscrupulous seller trying to pass on a bad investment, some started theorizing that Essery was running a Ponzi scheme. Like some watch supervillain (the Horologist does have a nice ring to it) they accused Essery of stealing time, stalling to temporarily fatten his bank account while juggling the complaints. Sensing his time was up, Essery didn't even bother to clear his name, closing his YouTube channel and vanished from the scene, leaving a wound-up wristwatch community with nothing but questions and the kind of distrust that only time can heal.
The Romance Writers Association Was Torn Apart By A Racism Scandal
The Romance Writers Association, the largest trade organization for chroniclers of love and the thrusting of said love into someone's quivering loins, isn't known for its progressiveness. Not only does the group remain disproportionately white, but in 2005 it tried to slip in new bylines defining romance as only between a man and a woman in fear that the lesbians would take over.
But times change, and many romance authors are now challenging the industry's lack of inclusivity with the fervor of star-crossed lovers challenging the Victorian Era's lack of premarital sex. So when, in 2019, the head of the organization's Ethics committee, Courtney Milan, used social media to address racist stereotypes in romance literature by confronting fellow author Kathryn Lynn Davis' description of Chinese women as "modest and submissive" and having "slanted almond eyes," this was the moment for the RWA leadership to demonstrate just how forward thinking they've become. Which they did by ... suspending the Chinese American Milan and banning her from any leadership position in the organization.
When Milan called Davis' book a "racist mess" on Twitter, the scorned author and her publisher filed complaints against Milan for "cyberbullying." In response, the RWA assembled a secret committee to decide the faith of their very ethical Ethics head which led to her immediate dismissal. Unsurprisingly, the backlash against these sanctions was as swift and passionate as a stolen kiss from the shirtless stablehand before Lord Rothfuss returned from his daily ride. Righteous romance writers attacked the RWA's decision, including such legends of the romance genre as Nora Roberts, author of Year One, Cynthia Eden, author of Mine To Take, and Chuck Tingle, author of Space Raptor Butt Invasion and Buttageddon: The Final Days of Pounding Ass.
The fallout was worse than that of a jealous husband uncovering his wife's cache of copious love letters from a time-traveling sex adventurer. A boycott of the RWA led to the cancellation of its covetous Ritas award ceremony and the aftermath saw the resignation of several RWA board members including its president Damon Suede, who has employed some problematic language in his own novels -- the problem being that describing a character as a "big Arab gorilla" is damn racist. With its trustworthiness thoroughly eroded, many authors are abandoning Romance Writers Association, seeking love affairs with new trade organizations -- preferably ones with pecs of steel peeking out of their billowing tunics.
To join a very niche community with no drama whatsoever, you can follow Cedric on Twitter.
Top Image: Wikimedia Commons/Andy McNub