“Tron Guy” Joins the Alt-Right (Except When It Comes to Furries)
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Hey guys, remember the Tron Guy? No? He was super famous back in the dark ages of the internet, like before anyone even knew cats existed. He got famous because he dressed up like a person from the movie Tron, if the movie Tron was full of not beautiful actors and cutting edge special effects but giant losers in ill-fitting leotards. He didn’t seem to mind looking like a giant loser, which really spoke to the giant loser in all of us who just want to be accepted for the way we are, which is giant losers. All of us.
So that was nice, and he got internet-famous, which he tried to spin into real-life-famous by appearing on television shows like Tosh.0 and America’s Got Talent. No one is really sure what his talent is, but it seemed to be “explaining that he is Tron Guy to a large, baffled, mildly antagonistic audience.”
And then he disappeared, as he should, leaving us all with the delightful memory of a giant loser who captured our love and our short attention spans for a few days.
Unfortunately, he has come back to haunt us in the worst possible way: by writing a Medium post about how oppressed he is because a nerd convention cares about people other than white men.
“Make Penguicon Great Again” is truly a masterpiece of mangry whining. Penguicon, an annual con held near Detroit, is the first place where Tron Guy — aka Jay Maynard — dressed up like Tron Guy, and apparently he’s been attending every year since.
But in recent years, he’s been disturbed to see the con capitulate to the evil Social Justice Warriors, destroying his otherwise positive experience. What has Penguicon done to ruin Tron Guy’s life, you ask? Let’s break it down:
- They invited science fiction authors Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz as 2 of their 12 guests of honor in 2015. I’m not sure what his issue with them is, but I guess they’re women? I looked up the schedule and the panels they were on included “Story Structure: What is it, and Can it Make Your Writing Zoom?”, “How To Turn Imposter Syndrome Into A Superpower”.
- He complains about “politically correct panels.” Of the 100 or so panels from 2015, here are some I identified as being SJWish: “Gender Inclusion in Physical Activities,” “How to Survive in the Corporate World When You’re Different,” two “LGBT” panels, “Watching TV That Looks Like Me,” “War on Cooties: Bringing Nerd Men and Women to the Same Game Board,” and “GamerGate — What have we learned?” I assume Tron Guy was forced to attend these panels at gun point. I also assume he wasn’t armed, despite his stated interest in the two panels about geeks with guns. There were no panels about feminism, for the record.
- The con put up posters encouraging consent. Tron Guy doesn’t go into detail about his problems with this but since no one is forced to look at posters, even at gun point, I can only assume he was afraid other people would see the posters and get it into their heads that they deserve respect. In Tron World, there is no consent, because if a girl says no you can just reprogram her to say yes. Therefore, these posters impinge on Tron Guy’s right to touch other people without their permission.
- Tron Guy’s last complaint is possibly the most damning: the con tried to arrange to have one unisex bathroom at the event, but they weren’t able to. Is there anything more hurtful, more marginalizing, for a man who just wants to pee and poop in the presence of other men, then for there to be a single optional bathroom for people of all genders to use? And for that bathroom to not actually exist in the end? Just knowing that a bathroom like that could have existed somewhere, even though it doesn’t, is incredibly triggering for Tron Guy. It ruined his safe space.
Poor Tron Guy was able to speak with the con board, but in 2016 they only accepted one of his panel suggestions. He doesn’t say what it was but I looked up the schedule and he was on two panels: “Where Did the Heroes Go?,” and, hmm, oh: “Erotica in Speculative Fiction.” That’s strange. You’d think a person who wanted to be on a panel about erotica in speculative fiction would be in favor of more diverse and sex-positive topics.
I found that very odd, so I went to Tron Guy’s website and found that he’s actually quite diverse, himself! It turns out Tron Guy is actually a female furry named Sheila (aka Splut) Warner, apparently related to the famous Warners of Animaniacs. According to his “furry code,” he…I’m sorry, she will “hug anyone” she knows, which may explain the objection to consent posters, and she’s “ready, willing, and able” to have sex, and her “human form” is a male who has had “real, live sex.” That’s actually what it says. “Real, live sex.” Tron Guy has done it.
The links Tron Guy includes have expired but thanks to Internet Archive, we can see what Sheila looks like in her true “fursona”. It looks like there’s definite overlap with her human form, at least when it comes to leotards. Oh and also sometimes Sheila is a centaur.
Now, I’m not pointing all this out to fur-shame. If you’re an obese 60-year old man who thinks he’s actually a small female cartoon character, that’s totally up to you! But it’s strange that I don’t see Tron Guy complaining about the panel on furries that was at Penguicon in 2016. So why complain about the one panel that addressed transgender people? Oh, because being transgender is a ridiculous, politically correct, social justice, virtue-signaling freak show, but being a small female monkey centaur trapped in the body of a fat old man dressed in a leotard is just the way things should be.
So sure, let’s make Penguicon great again. Let’s only invite actual penguins, or people who think they’re penguins. Like the good old days.
This rubs me the wrong way, you say you’re not trying to shame furries, but your language is really dismissive of them, and there’s a lot of calling him a loser, which comes across alright in the video, but not in the transcript.
There is something interesting in the fact that furries, or at least those with the motivation and resources to attend conventions where surveys are advertised, are *mostly* LGBTQ in most surveys. Some examples:
Given that furries who are women (though not a large percentage) are also more likely to identify as straight, this makes straight men a distinct minority. Yet Tron guy is complaining about panels specific to feminism or queer identity. Setting aside internalized homophobia/transphobia as a motivation (which, however suggested by his online identity, can’t really be proven here), I do wonder if he wrote that bizarre column in part due to objections regarding the furry as well as SF communities. Or if I’m reading too much into it, and he’s just a random white internet geek who picked up a hatred for all things feminist and inclusive due to spending too much time on 4chan, and just happens to roleplay with a female character for unrelated, albeit cognitively dissonant reasons.
Anyway, while it does make sense to note the hypocrisy of someone who dismisses discussion of feminist and queer issues as meaningless (or worse, as persecution) while presenting himself with a female charcter online, there are a lot of cheap shots here. For instance, these kinds of “personality code” things were really in fashion on the internet 10-15 years ago, and the bits about hugging people, or having had “real life sex”, were written by whoever made the code, not by Tron guy himself. It’s only mildly more meaningful than posting a Briggs-Meyer result and which Hogwarts house you are. It’s funny how bad the writing sounds, especially out of context, but it’s misleading to make it sound like Tron guy’s own words.
You also made some jokes that seem at odds with your values. The “he…I’m sorry, she” joke just made me cringe. If you are talking about the real person, he appears to identify as male. If you are talking about the character, she is identified (in her defining media) as female. There’s a lot to dislike about this guy, but this pronoun mixup thing feels like it delegitimizes the idea of exploring the idea of being a different gender online, which is basically mixing a transphobic meme into your critique of a transphobic person, which is pretty not-the-best.
Also, the not-fur-shaming disclaimer doesn’t really work in this context? Like, the whole centaur thing comes across as something brought up because it’s excessively weird rather than being just an interesting or relevant fact. It’s like saying that someone plays D&D, and you don’t want to shame them for that, but, you know, they are a paladin. Or, if this is a more sexual thing, it’s like saying that a guy likes to be pegged, and that’s fine, but you were just surprised that a big pink dildo happened to be involved. There’s not a lot of consistency in saying that you don’t want to shame someone while openly gawking at how alien they are to you?
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