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Author Topic: Is Punk really part of Steampunk?  (Read 1368 times)
RJBowman
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« on: May 14, 2017, 11:36:28 pm »

I ask this question because someone linked to a blog article that says that steampunk is dead because it has lost its anti-establishment urges.

I always thought that the genre having the word "punk" in its name was a historic accident; the word was coined at a time when cyberpunk was a hot science fiction subgenre. If any steampunk happened to have been influenced by the punk youth trend of the 1970's, it was a coincidence.

But I think that some people were drawn to steampunk because the word "punk" is in the word "steampunk". Maybe they were disappointed that no one on Legend or The Adventures of Jules Verne had safety pins in their faces. Those people may have tried to push steampunk in that direction.

But I'm not even sure that 70's punk was even anti-establishment in the way that some people might imagine. Punk was, at least in part, a reaction against the drippy hippy culture of the early 70's, a counter-counter culture. If you think that being left-wing and anti-war is part of steampunk through inheritance from punk, you are mistaken; the Ramones all voted Republican.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 12:02:25 am »

Personally I always viewed that punk was closer to firstly, anarchy ideology, secondly, socialism, and to a much much lesser extent ultra right nationalist ideology; never mind the Ramones. I think the Ramones' political inclinations are unique and very much niche in the United States.

Personally I've known socialist and anarchist punks. I would not associate with neo Nazi punks and I'd laugh at conservative punks  Grin

[mod hat] I have to warn you Mr. Bowman, that politics is not a subject we want to expound on. So all of you keep that in mind! [/mod hat]
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chicar
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 02:01:16 am »

I personally think that art , punk or not, must be a way to transmit message, and than no fiction genres is intresectly utopic or distopic.Without wanting to advocate against the no politic rule ( i have been in enough flame wars to understand  why one would consider it necessary), the steam age was geopolitically a three way war between autocracy, liberalism and socialism. Therefore a huge source of potential of anti-establishment storytelling. In my vision of steampunk, the steam age began with the American Indepence (beginning  of the aforementioned social three way war) and star people's heroes a la Les Miserables. But other prefer Phineas Fog to Jean Valjean. It all depend if you want your steam powered retrofuture clean or dirty.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 02:06:54 am by chicar » Logged

The word pagan came from paganus , who mean peasant . Its was a way to significate than christianism was the religion of the elite and paganism the one of the savage worker class.

''Trickster shows us how we trick OURSELVES. Her rampant curiosity backfires, but, then, something NEW is discovered (though usually not what She expected)! This is where creativity comes from—experiment, do something different, maybe even something forbidden, and voila! A breakthrough occurs! Ha! Ha! We are released! The world is created anew! Do something backwards, break your own traditions, the barrier breaks; destroy the world as you know it, let the new in.''
Extract of the Dreamflesh article ''Path of The Sacred Clown''
Rockula
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 01:59:01 pm »

I have to say for me, as a 55 year old punk rocker (not ex-punk, not used to be, but still am) it started out in the 1970's as a youthful rebellion against the establishment and general boredom.
 It was about having a good time with your friends and listening to good music.
 
The political aspects of 'punk' did not surface immediately and came out of the life experiences and socialising that punk started.
I have never been an 'anarchist'. 'Anarchy' was a badge we wore and for most was just 'shock tactics'. The 'hardcore' political punks didn't even surface until the 1980's. And then they were polarised like the rest of society. They still are.

I was proud to be part of 'political' things like anti-racism and social justice. I still am. But that wasn't everybody's 'cup of tea'.

Over time punk became an attitude that some of us took as a way of life that influences our attitudes on everything. My 'punk' attitudes influence the way I approach 'Steampunk'.

But here in 2017 it's still mostly about having a good time with your friends and listening to good music.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 04:53:03 pm »

Although I haven't seen the link you mention, I'm going to assume you're referring to Mr Fisk's article on Fedora Chronicles. Erik is cool, but strongly opiniated, and seems to view Steampunk purely from that alt, diy ethic, Maker Culture, Steampunk Magazine angle. For those folks, you can understand there might be a level of frustration with how things have turned out, but they did rather set themselves up for it. Some have been hysterically bleating for years about Steampunk going mainstream (I've been guilty too before I knew better) but the irony is, in terms of how old SP concepts are, they are the new kids on the block. SP was arguably mainstream long before they decided to bolt Punk, diy, alt ethics to it, the "Punkiness" of which are indeed highly debateable anyway. The Punk suffix was a riff on Cyberpunk, coined by K.W.Jeter who is also credited with writing one of the first Cyberpunk novels. However those SP books were more like Sci-Fantasy.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 06:09:38 pm »

Sorry, word count limit again, please forgive the double post. Cyberpunk, as a concept was at times actually pretty Punk. The name makes sense. but there was little evidence of it in SP books until Gibson and Sterling wrote The Difference Engine. Essentially an alternate history Cyberpunk novel set in the Victorian era, it offers a convoluted warning about the advancement of technology and it's use in govt sanctioned population control. Gibson and Sterling did not appreciate it being described as Steampunk, and actually hoped the term would die out. In truth their book was very different in tone to Jeter's fantasy heavy Morlock Night, and the other books he referenced when suggesting "Steampunks", as a possible collective name for Steam Age Fantasy stories. So what did the Punk part mean in that context? To my mind it's simply a kind of twist. History literally "Punked" with magic, fantasy, alternate time lines, deliberate anachronisms etc. Therein lies the subversion, not a safety pin or Mohawk in sight.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 06:21:24 pm by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Prof Marvel
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 10:03:26 am »

Well, the little rants from Mr Fedora ( aka Erik Fisk) are really just a dissapointed little lad pissing in the wind.
Steampunk is supposed to be "Punk" ?  A "Movement"? WTF?
In fact Who The Frack Does Erik Think He Is? besides a whining blogger...

well here's a rant, if you choose to click:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I'm sorry, but I will not give any credibility to Erik until he pays his dues, does something rather than blogging and whining and wearing snappy hats, and gets his butt out on the Protest Marches and gets a wiff of teargas himself.
I'm on the backlines now, too old to expect to heal up from Ghandi style protests, and too old to get my grey skull busted or lungs doused with MACE. (Who knows, A TASER might jumpstart my arythmia.)

Man oh man, the kids these days, they think they invented everything and they won't  learn from history.

rant over
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:16:16 am by Prof Marvel » Logged

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morozow
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 01:00:21 pm »

The view from our side of the "fence".

Is steampunk the "punk" in the sense of calling the social system?

Probably is. Only quiet, quiet.

And yet, the system has learned to digest such challenges.
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Sorry for the errors, rudeness and stupidity. It's not me, this online translator. Really convenient?
Argus Fairbrass
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So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 04:12:21 am »

Funny thing is, anyone can reply to Eric's blog post through the Facebook app. Last I checked only two other people and myself had even bothered to do so. Overwhemingly the vast majority of folks even vaguely interested in SP, are just carrying on regardless. No one gives a crap about the opinions of some old Hipster who feels let down by an influx of "fair weather" genre fans. They never signed up to drink the alt Punk "lifestyler" kool aid, and there's no valid reason they should have to. They're certainly not responsible for the disillusion of anyone who did. But far from concern themselves with vitriolic outbursts from bitter old scenesters, complaining that "weekenders" and their seeming lack of Punk ethics are somehow breaking the "rules". Instead said weekenders are actually just getting on with it, doing what pleases them and clearly having fun in the process. Tell me again who's Punk?
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Prof Marvel
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 09:45:32 am »

vitriolic outbursts from bitter old scenesters


Ooooh, I think I resemble that !

Quote
Tell me again who's Punk?


here's punk


yhs
prof much calmer now, thank you.
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chicar
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 01:52:38 pm »

Ultimately, is not than the punk in steampunk is dying. In the contrary, it is than it is embryonic. Those like Eric Fisk or me who think than steampunk should be politised are minoritary and  later camer and not first camer. And in my case , this is because it is ART who should be politised . And that ok, because one of the part of the punk in steampunk ( heck, in retropunk even) is how there are as many definitions than they are fans.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 06:16:43 pm by chicar » Logged
Kensington Locke
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 02:41:04 pm »

I wasn't active in steampunk when it first arrived, but I was alive when Punk itself was a thing.

I suspect the rumors are true, Steampunk is not Punk and an similarity is because a Punk adopted SteamPunk.

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Dr Fidelius
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2017, 03:18:17 pm »

Art without message is Muzak.
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The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.
RJBowman
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2017, 03:42:10 pm »

here's punk



Dip them in scented oil and you've got incense sticks.
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chicar
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Chicar556
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2017, 06:15:49 pm »

Art without message is Muzak.

*thumb up*
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Prof Marvel
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2017, 07:34:14 pm »

Funny thing is, anyone can reply to Eric's blog post through the Facebook app.

Ah My Dear Argus-
as a longtime bitter old never-was-a-scenester computer security and privacy pundit, I rail against FaceyThing and Twit, have never used them and refuse to. They are both infernal devices literally designed to harvest personal data for sale (why do you think they are free?), and promote the destruction of the desireable barrier betwtixt "personal/private" and "public".  Removing that barrier is a violation of Good Manners and Good Taste.

I do not live in a glass house; I do not have picture windows; I have draperies and blinds and reflective privacy film and use them all.

Ultimately, is not than the punk in steampunk is dying. In the contrary, it is than it is embryonic. Those like Eric Fisk or me who think than steampunk should be politised are minoritary and  later camer and not first camer. And in my case , this is because it is ART who should be politised . And that ok, because one of the part of the punk in steampunk ( heck, in retropunk even) is how there are as many definitions than they are fans.

Well Said My Good Chicar! Viva la difference ( i hope that means what I think it means)

Art without message is Muzak.

Or , at best, mere decoration. ( whigh I fear I have been known to commit )

yhs
prof (love me a good discussion) marvel
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Argus Fairbrass
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So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 12:29:00 am »

Well there's a price to pay for everything Prof. I was under the impression the entire internet was designed to suck up user data at this point, but yes FB is not everyone's cup of tea. Neither is Erik's blog no doubt, and the guy is entitled to his opinions of course. Personally Sci-Fi Cons and Cosplay aren't particularly mine (I'll concede cosplay can be appealing ocasionally depending on who's wearing it) but it is what it is and I certainly have no objections. Still coming from the pov of someone who is not only a member of several large SP groups on FB, but also a mod on one of the largest Dieselpunk groups, I would advise caution to anyone trying to politicise the subculture. Having witnessed the amount of arguments, and vetted the number of member applications that I have, you quickly realise that not only are we not all singing from the same hymn sheet, but if politics rears it's head, the whole movement could end up as polarised as the rest of the world appears to be.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 07:16:18 am »

someone linked to a blog article...
Said blog article.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2017, 07:29:22 am »

*snip*
the whole movement could end up as polarised as the rest of the world appears to be.

HOLY JEHOSAPHAT!
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 03:28:07 pm »

Of the steampunks I've met, none have struck me as Punk.  or pushing some political agenda.

They've all been people who like steampunk.  dressing up, the artifacts, making the stuff, whatever.

A movement of "we just like to do this" is not a bad thing.
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Atterton
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2017, 08:07:14 pm »

It was a bad pun, get over it.
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chicar
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Chicar556
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2017, 10:27:55 pm »

A steampun, you may say.

Sorry, it was too easy.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2017, 11:12:58 pm »

Still brusque as always I see hehe, and I still haven't quite gotten the hang of that. Let me give you some obvious examples of how Steampunk and Punk might differ. Despite a few rebels that may have had Republican/Conservative leanings, the general consensus about Punk initially, was that it was anti establishment, anti authoritarian, generally rebellious and rejecting of anything that had come before. God, Queen, government and country were all legitimate targets for Punk back in the day. This whole creative, DIY  malarkey did exist, but Steampunk's version (with all due respect) does seem all rather nicey nice compared to the vitriol spat forth by the Class War Anarchist movement, or any number of Punk "zines" I remember encountering. Steampunk's take on Punk seems less Siouxsie Sioux and more Kirstie Allsopp. I also haven't met too many members of the armed forces who seem to have quite the same anti establishment leanings (ymmv). Given the number involved here, I'm sure you see the potential discrepency.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 11:26:52 pm by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Atterton
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2017, 06:16:02 pm »

Steampunks should be the makers, not the hecklers.
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Prof Marvel
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 10:05:15 pm »

Steampunks should be the makers, not the hecklers.

But isn't "heckling" the fondest most common form of attention?

Ahhh but then you too are guilty of the crime of "Defining steampunk"  and therefore isn't your comment "heckling"? 

I heckle your heckle and up the ante to a jeckle

(see heckle and jeckle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckle_and_Jeckle

yhs
prof (escalating) marvel
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