Saturday, January 19, 2019

Polyamorous wolves

Not a wolf 

“I think I´m an animal” is a documentary (available at YouTube) about Therians or Therian Otherkin, an absurd subculture in the United States. It consists of mostly young people who, with an apparent straight face, claim to be animals. Of the Therians featured, most say they are wolves, but there is also one African leopard and a raccoon.

I admit that “I think I´m an animal” put my more tolerant sides to the test, and that they probably didn´t pass. These kids *are* hard to take seriously, and their bewildered parents are sometimes even more cringey. In fact, one of the parents looks more wolf-like than her supposed wolf son! I think it´s obvious that we´re dealing with some kind of weird coping mechanism. One of the “wolves” is diagnosed with Asperger´s syndrome, the “raccoon” is probably also autistic, and the “leopard” seems to be an internal gay refugee from the Bible belt. Indeed, three of the Therians interviewed live in a polyamorous homosexual relationship! Thus, we have homosexuality, autism, polyamory and youth all wrapped into one package. Somehow, these problems strike me as very human (and very “White middle class”) and rather far removed from the feral realm of wolf packs and leopards, or even raccoons…

On the positive side, I suppose it´s fair to say that Otherkin do have a lot of fun! The scene from the bowling hall, where the Therians team up with even crazier Furries, is already a classic. Very occasionally, a more spiritual side of the phenomenon is hinted at. One of the wolfkin have parents who are into Neo-Shamanism, and a British Therian says she can channel her wolf side and seems to treat it as a possessing spirit of some sort. Judging by Lupa´s book “A Field Guide to Otherkin”, which I reviewed elsewhere on this blog, there seems to be a certain overlap between the Otherkin and Neo-Pagan milieux, which may be the only way in which this particular subculture can claim *any* form of respectability. Nobody takes teenagers with “species dysmorphia” seriously, while a Neo-Shaman in touch with wolf spirits may perhaps be seen as being on a spiritual path…

I linked to this production in an earlier blog post, so here I simply present a nice photo of an African leopard (the real one). It will be interesting to see what the people interviewed in “I think I´m an animal” will be ten years from now. Here´s a guess: the world will move on to other fads.

Leopards, by contrast, will remain leopardic.

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