So here’s something that’s come to mind after a bunch of rough months including schools being garbage, the job market being lousy, and having little to no IRL friendships. All of my friends are cartoon characters. Well, they might or might not be. See, this phrase has several meanings which I’m going to analyze here.
The first is that my online friends never use real life photos of themselves. Now there are 2 trains of thought on social media. The first is that you post every bit and piece about your life on Facebook or a similar social media service, including your face and a photo of yourself in real life. The second is that you use a cartoon character icon. For the longest time, this might have been a copyrighted character from an animated series and it made sense. Video games and TV shows featured characters that the viewer would identify with (or in some cases, really wanted to date and have sex with). Oh look here’s an anime character, and I identify with this character.
Then video games began to add in character creators. While recolors, original characters, and fursonas were popular in nerd circles online, character creators were when someone could become someone they weren’t for the first time. They could live out this identity in a Bethesda game or Saints Row, as Joe Badass or a hot girl with big tits and whatnot. The fact that these video games promoted making choices (especially in the case of Bethesda titles) helped ensure that the customization wasn’t just a skin, but a full on role play.
Tumblr and later offshoots of Tumblr’s community (such as the modern day transgender community) took this to the next level. It’s not uncommon for someone to use an idealized drawing of themselves from a character creator or a drawing they paid someone for of their new identity instead of their real face. In this case it’s escapism, escapism from factors they couldn’t control, escapism from having to play the game with a pre made character. You’re not the pre made Cloud from Final Fantasy, you’re a unique original Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. In some ways this made fursonas more popular, and character creators like Picrew popular as well.
But all of my friends are furries. I don’t even know what many of them look like in real life, as they use cartoon or movie characters to identify themselves. I also don’t know their real names, I only know their usernames. Some of them are their own creation, some are straight out of a media franchise. One of my friends even uses fanart of a Japanese Twitter e-celeb. Some might use products they consume as their icons, but usually it’s of cartoon characters. Really, most of my online friends are like this and very few could be considered “normie”. Even the online friends with more normal lifestyles have cartoon characters as their icons.
The furry example is probably the most relevant case of the character creator mindset being popular. With furries, you’re not living in your own movie, you’re living in your own fantasy. In fact, if one were to look at the furry fandom these days it’s not very distinguishable from the modern LGBT scene and fetish based communities that have a strong LGBT presence. This isn’t to say that being gay is bad or anything, it’s more that it has no distinction. Everything is hyper sexual, everything is about a made up identity, and everything is about how those disgusting normies won’t accept me. The world is 4-cent_garbage from the Sonichu comics (the namesake for this site), out to slander and plot against our hero and protagonist of this story.
Speaking of the Sonichu comics, many furries seem to be living out scenarios like that comic in their head. Some furries get deeply involved with playing their character. Some furries even take it too far, pretending that they have alternate identities they switch between or that they have fictional friends living inside their head. This is the ultimate form of escapism. They act online like they really are their fictional, overpowered Mary Sue fursona who flipped off their grandma when he didn’t get chicken nuggets at Burger King for $1.
But on the other hand, having fictional characters as your icon is a good way to flip off algorithms that build up databases of every man on Earth. You’re not Chad Stevens from Charlottesville Virginia, you’re Lil Kroger the possum, living in the White Castle dumpster. For me, my fursona is both kind of who I see myself online as, and maybe a little mascot for me. But it’s not something I take so seriously whatsoever unlike furries who see their fursonas as their true online identity.
In the end this phrase has multiple meanings. Who knows why it keeps popping up in my head though after long showers and whatnot.