Hello, everyone! My, but it's been a long time since I've posted here, isn't it? Five months by my count. Let me tell you why.
The simple fact is that I've been far more active on Twitter
than here. This is not anything in particular against Dreamwidth or Livejournal; Twitter helps me keep my thoughts concise. If I can't say it clearly in 140 characters, then it's worth examining exactly what it is I'm trying to say, brevity being the soul of wit and so on. Before I got a Twitter account, you'll notice that my LJ feed was mostly composed of infrequent, brief, and often meaningless entries. These days, I keep my mental diarrhoea short-form.
For those of you that have followed the link here from the relevant tweet: hi! This is where I come to express my longer thoughts, when they can't really be condensed. I always tweet links when I post here, so you've not missed anything.
With the administrativa and social politics out of the way, let's get on to why I'm here.
Dragons and Griffins
Whether you spell it griffin, gryphon, or anything in between, there has been a definite trend lately among dragons to have some sort of special liking for griffins. A few months ago, I took it upon myself to learn why. Here are my findings.
Oh dear, did I say we were done with the social politics? The number one reason I have determined for dragons having developed a thing for griffins in recent years is, in fact, the perception itself. Dragons, I have observed in the past, are a group largely in denial about themselves - while projecting a façade of fierce individualism, they will also tend towards the group average.
Up until a few years ago, it was foxes. No one really questioned it, there was just this connection between dragons and foxes. This is simply a mutation of this same concept, largely self-reinforcing in nature. You can even spot the nucleation sites, the originators of the new idea, if you go looking for them. I leave this as an exercise for the reader.
In short, the dragon-griffin connection is a meme in the truest sense, a self-replicating idea.
Like Meets Like
The other main reason the idea of the griffin is so attractive to the dragon is that we see a lot of ourselves in them. First, both groups have a strong mythical basis. There are simply no real-world examples of dragons or griffins who are not masquerading as human in the physical, offline world. This alone is not enough to form the connection - we have no special relationship with unicorns, after all, and they're something of a rising star in the online world - but it does help reinforce it once memetics have done their job as described above.
There is also the matter of shape. With the gradual collapse of the dragon community into the broader furry movement over the last ten years, we've often found ourselves the only quadrupeds in a sea of bipeds. Griffins are more inclined to eschew the standard anthropomorphic shape and keep four feet on the ground. This appeals to many dragons for the same reason that the aforementioned bipedal shape appeals to more mainstream furries - we prefer things shaped like us. It is, if you will, a case of dracomorphisation.
These are all generalisations. Everyone I have spoken to about this justifies it slightly differently. This is the perfect manifestation of the group/individual dichotomy so common in dragons, that I described earlier: most having similar thoughts for what we say are different reasons. But it's interesting the sort of things that have been said.
One respondent called it a simple power trip; griffins are rare and fragile, and we like to possess them, control them. Another expressed the view that it's an appreciation for the combination of elegance and sturdiness inherent in the griffin form: the flowing, aerodynamic shape of a bird with the added bonus that you won't break it if you pick it up and hug it. Or, er, do other physical things to it.
My personal view is a bit simpler. I just really, really like birds. The mammal back half is just an unnecessary coda, but it doesn't spoil the view.
There are a lot of personal factors at work here, and of course this is hardly a rigorous study, just an informal gathering of opinions among a rather small sample of dragons. But what I have seen convinces me that the main factor at work here is the memetic one. It is because everyone knows it is.
Feel free to comment with your own thoughts. I welcome any input in this matter, and the debate is by no means settled by anything I've said here.
Enjoy your catbirds responsibly.