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Author Topic: Steampunk isn't Punk...  (Read 32356 times)
fixed_expression
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« Reply #75 on: February 28, 2007, 05:29:25 am »

I don't know why I didn't think of this before... There is one absolute, iron-clad proof that Steampunk isn't Punk: as yet, you can't get Steampunk stuff at Hot Topic.

I put forward the motion that we all agree to a mass-suicide if that ever actually happens.
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heresyoftruth
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« Reply #76 on: February 28, 2007, 05:34:48 am »

This thread has gotten me thinking.

My portal into the steampunk world is by way of diy tinkering, and building. I am never happier then if my fingernails are stained with grease, or my hands spotted with pain. That's just my way of living in a nutshell. I have also held a long love affair with metal rivets, brass, and steel. Exposed gear works make me swoon.

I don't limit myself the Victoriana, nor to any artificial boundaries of what is, or is not, a specific subculture. I just make things I find aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps it's because I am old and slow these days, but I care very little about what the edges of a subculture are. I just happen to like things that are commonly classified as Steampunk, and it works out that a lot of my projects end up that way.

With that said, the growing web presence of other like minded tinkerers is definitely an epiphanious moment for me. I just never realized there were other folks out there with my predilections. I had already been somewhat ecstatic to find Makezine, and it's Instructables site, and this whole emerging Steampunk



Please excuse the irregular posting. My cat had jumped on my keyboard.

What I was trying to say (before the felinus interruptus!) was that I was more excited about contact with other folks that were DIY interested. That's not to say I find the non-DIYers to be uninteresting. On the contrary, I find their views very inspirational. It's just in my life, finding folks that have done what I am attempting is rare. it's even rarer for anyone to be particularly interested in what I am tinkering with. (Husband aside.) Therefore, to me, the DIY part is very much what it means to me when I think of the term Steampunk.

At least that is what I thought I might have been trying to say before the cat derailed my thinking.
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« Reply #77 on: February 28, 2007, 06:08:46 am »

You are really not alone there. I never meet anyone who is involved in fascinating projects of their own, much less projects of the variety I would take an interest in, if I did I might have like...a social life or something!
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« Reply #78 on: February 28, 2007, 06:18:30 am »

You may have hit upon something there, Patasapien. I don't have a social life, either, besides my husband and my cat. I don't know what I would do if I met someone that worked on projects in real life. I might lock them in my back room, and force them to collaborate, or something.
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« Reply #79 on: February 28, 2007, 06:23:41 am »

the Greek god Mercury
I knew there was something wrong in this, when I read it. Now I know: Mercury isn't a Greek god, but a Roman one. His Greek counterpart is called Nike. Just to set things right.

@ VP:
Quote
It doesn't matter if it takes place in Europe, or Africa, or Asia, or the Americas, under the sea, or even in the outer reaches of space. As long as it is set in a Victorian time frame, and features Anachronisms.
I agree with the vision as you put before. However, Steampunk can be set outside Earth, as some geofictions have it (I'm not only talking about my own), and outside the Victorian time frame... I guess there are three kinds of it, apart from a time-set that's borrowed and put into another universe:
- Stories set in the Victorian Age with anachronisms from the future
- Stories set in a later time, where the Victorian Age never ended, but is mixed with more modern stuff
- Stories set in a future when the Victorian Age is revived one way or the other, in fact the Victorian stuff is the anachronism here.
And as a matter of fact, one of the older "steampunk" short-stories, "Mozart in Mirrorshades" is set before the Victorian Age (Mozo died in 1791).

Quote
Another problem I see is that if you add too many modern elements, it can easily start blurring the lines of Steampunk.
In order to blurr lines, there have to be lines. I guess you're talking about definitions. The point of the discussion thus far seems to be that there is no clear definition, thus no clear lines, and the definition that is given, is expanded by all kinds of Neo-Victorian lifestyle, which, IMHO, is not steampunk at all.

@ Tinker
Quote
I'm not trying to say that the victorian age didn't have plenty of misery and squalor, but the version of it we recreate doesn't, or at least that isn't the focus of what I've seen.
There it is again, the we. ("We are not amused" comes to mind)
I, speaking for myself, am NOT recreating the Victorian Age, I only use influences from the Victorian Age in my art. And in order to keep it from a  Victorian "Happy hippie we're all soooo nice" kind of art, I have to put in mysery, I can't draw pictures only using white, one needs the black as well. In stories there has to be a bit of tension. The masters need servants. I think a bit of gloom fits steampunk art very well.

@ Cory:
Quote
There is one absolute, iron-clad proof that Steampunk isn't Punk: as yet, you can't get Steampunk stuff at Hot Topic.
I've been punk for 20 years, I've never heard of Hot Topic before (what is it anyway? sounds like shop selling new wave stuff). As a matter of fact, punks hardly buy things, because they don't have the money for it (that is the DIY behind it: if you can't get your fancy clothes from the hip New Wave shop, you dive into your grannies wardrobe and make her old stuff fashionable, not with a needle and scissors but with attitude). New Wavers do buy lots of fancy stuff, however. But the discussion of what is punk and what is (lame) second wave is a discussion that runs for 30 years... and it's not on topic here. But I do think there are some weird ideas of what punk is here.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 06:31:11 am by yaghish » Logged

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Cory
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« Reply #80 on: February 28, 2007, 06:32:24 am »

I don't know why I didn't think of this before... There is one absolute, iron-clad proof that Steampunk isn't Punk: as yet, you can't get Steampunk stuff at Hot Topic.

I put forward the motion that we all agree to a mass-suicide if that ever actually happens.

Actually, I remember having had that debate in Goth circles, and anime circles and all sorts of others circles, and for me it all comes back to this question: Do you like it because you like it, or do you like it because nobody else likes it?

If you like it because you like it, then no problem. It becoming commercially popular just means it's easier to find stuff.

If you like it because nobody else likes it, then also no problem. If it becomes commercially popular, then you can just find something else that nobody else likes, so as to keep the integrity of your rugged, anti-establishment DIY ethic.

It actually wouldn't bother me personally if Steampunk became popular because that would just make it easier for me to find. I like Steampunk because I like it, and to Hell with the imposed ideals of Punk scenesters or lingering jealousies over having no money to buy anything.
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fixed_expression
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« Reply #81 on: February 28, 2007, 06:46:45 am »

It's a good point actually; I just wanted to make the joke, but I started thinking about the idea afterwards.

I guess the problem is that a lot of people following those trends do it because they want to be individual; the first people to get into it set those trends, and then people who become interested later copy what other people have done. To an extent that's fine, but if you start seeing dozens of people all dressing the same when you wanted to be different, I imagine that would ruin it for you. And if you're the sort of person who takes their image seriously I'm sure it would be kind of upsetting.

Personally I'm far too lazy to go to that much effort over my appearance or the way I act, so it would never be a problem for me. You're right in that acting/behaving the way you want to is the important thing, and whether other people are doing the same or nobody is doesn't really matter. It'd be nice to see a surge of interest in Steampunk, as that would result in more films, literature, community etc...but of course it would also mean the price of Victoriana on ebay would shoot up ridiculously high. Kind of like how plaid shirts were going for thirty bucks a piece when Nirvana were seriously popular.

In summary: Popularity is a mixed blessing, and we have all learned a valuable lesson. Cue theme music.

On a side note; I can't think of a possible parallel in Steampunk, but does anybody else feel sorry for Slipknot? I never liked their music, but they set themselves up as a hardcore badass group with lots of death and misery and growling ad nauseum. When I see ten year old kids walking around in SLipknot hoodies, I just...I just feel bad for the guys. If Steampunk ever reached that kind of status, I think it would be a tad...well...depressing. 
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« Reply #82 on: February 28, 2007, 06:47:07 am »

the Greek god Mercury
I knew there was something wrong in this, when I read it. Now I know: Mercury isn't a Greek god, but a Roman one. His Greek counterpart is called Nike. Just to set things right.

Isn't Mercury Hermes in Greek Mythology?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 06:49:03 am by The Infernal Mr Adams » Logged

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« Reply #83 on: February 28, 2007, 06:57:58 am »

Isn't Mercury Hermes in Greek Mythology?
Can be, maybe both (wasn't there something about not being quite sure which counterpart Mercury had?). I was thinking about the guy with the wings on his feet, the messenger. I'm not that good at Greek mytholgy, I only know Mercury is not Greek, and often abused to name other peoples gods the Roman way. But that's far off topic, isn't it?
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« Reply #84 on: February 28, 2007, 06:59:26 am »

I don't know why I didn't think of this before... There is one absolute, iron-clad proof that Steampunk isn't Punk: as yet, you can't get Steampunk stuff at Hot Topic.

I put forward the motion that we all agree to a mass-suicide if that ever actually happens.

Actually, I remember having had that debate in Goth circles, and anime circles and all sorts of others circles, and for me it all comes back to this question: Do you like it because you like it, or do you like it because nobody else likes it?

If you like it because you like it, then no problem. It becoming commercially popular just means it's easier to find stuff.

If you like it because nobody else likes it, then also no problem. If it becomes commercially popular, then you can just find something else that nobody else likes, so as to keep the integrity of your rugged, anti-establishment DIY ethic.

It actually wouldn't bother me personally if Steampunk became popular because that would just make it easier for me to find. I like Steampunk because I like it, and to Hell with the imposed ideals of Punk scenesters or lingering jealousies over having no money to buy anything.


You know ...there does seem to be an obvious solution here which no one sems to be looking at...


and that is, that the DIY'ers would probably not mind selling their creations, and those who would like to purchase said products could do so, and then they would be supporting not only the subcultural community (which might give them a good feeling) but the DIY folks would receive the respect they are certainly do for living life a tad off the beaten path, and then this could all be resolved.

is that a mad mad notion?
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« Reply #85 on: February 28, 2007, 07:01:56 am »

Isn't Mercury Hermes in Greek Mythology?
Can be, maybe both (wasn't there something about not being quite sure which counterpart Mercury had?). I was thinking about the guy with the wings on his feet, the messenger. I'm not that good at Greek mytholgy, I only know Mercury is not Greek, and often abused to name other peoples gods the Roman way. But that's far off topic, isn't it?

either way it is totally irrelevant because it wasn't the point at all, and dickering over the technicalities only proves that the central issue was completely ignored.

it was BTW "the spirit of invention" for everyones reference.
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« Reply #86 on: February 28, 2007, 07:02:54 am »

Well, wings on his feet is Hermes, and he was the messenger of the gods...but then who is Nike? This bears Investigation Wink

EDIT: Nike is the Greek Goddess of Triumph...OK back to your regularly scheduled topic.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 07:05:41 am by The Infernal Mr Adams » Logged
Cory
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« Reply #87 on: February 28, 2007, 04:06:13 pm »

I guess the problem is that a lot of people following those trends do it because they want to be individual; the first people to get into it set those trends, and then people who become interested later copy what other people have done. To an extent that's fine, but if you start seeing dozens of people all dressing the same when you wanted to be different, I imagine that would ruin it for you. And if you're the sort of person who takes their image seriously I'm sure it would be kind of upsetting.

I find the people who are into it to be "individuals" just as disconcerting as those who could potentially be into it just to be "popular"... In fact, I'm not entirely sure that they are of a radically different breed. Neither one of them is into Steampunk because they genuinely like it. They're just into it because it's the next big thing, and the "popular" kids are only into it because everybody else is while the "individual" kids are only into it because nobody else is. 

The irony for the "individual" kids is that it's not like they discovered it to begin with... Retro-Victorian Science Fantasies have been around since 1929's Mysterious Island. There was a whole 1950's and 60's flourish of them starting with Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The term "Steampunk" was coined in 1979 and always was a tongue-in-cheek joke. There's a whole section of Disneyland in Tokyo based on it. The people who are into Steampunk because it makes them "individuals" are actually jumping the train pretty late, and as Vernian Process noted from the outset of this thread, are trying to change what Steampunk is to suit their own desire to be "one of a kind, not mass produced, truly Punk" so-called individuals. It's like they're trying to take "real Steampunk" away from the people who just happen to genuinely like it - and don't care one whit about Punk scenester aesthetics or rugged DIY rebelliousness or the rest of that feces - and appropriate it to satsify their own indentity problems.

Hmmm, I think I need to take a breather just because I'm so hopping mad over the audacity of it...
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 04:08:39 pm by Cory » Logged
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« Reply #88 on: February 28, 2007, 04:16:45 pm »

You know ...there does seem to be an obvious solution here which no one sems to be looking at...


and that is, that the DIY'ers would probably not mind selling their creations, and those who would like to purchase said products could do so, and then they would be supporting not only the subcultural community (which might give them a good feeling) but the DIY folks would receive the respect they are certainly do for living life a tad off the beaten path, and then this could all be resolved.

is that a mad mad notion?

makes perfect sense to me.
Mad, perhaps, but like a fox.

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« Reply #89 on: February 28, 2007, 04:28:29 pm »

Hmmm, I think I need to take a breather just because I'm so hopping mad over the audacity of it...

After saying “I wouldn’t mind if Steampunk became popular” I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not.

To be honest I’m not so deeply committed to the Steampunk ethos that this kind of stuff would really bother me; similarly I’ve never belonged to a subculture like regular Punk (sounds like a soda) or Goth etc. Mostly because I’m lazy and misanthropic, but partially because of people like those you described above.

If you just live the way you want to, then technically it shouldn’t matter what other people are doing; whether there are thousands like you, or none at all, you have your own reasons for doing it and that’s that blahblahblah you see what I’m driving at. Even so, if something that, to you, was just a lifestyle that you personally enjoyed suddenly became overrun with hundreds of people saying they were just like you, and then acting like idiots…personally I’d be a shade downcast. If most of the subculture I belonged to were acting like that I’m not sure I’d really want to be associated with it anymore. Possibly that would make me a hypocrite, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable reaction; it’s not exactly news to point out that a few people can spoil everything for the majority, and usually do. And once you’ve been disillusioned it’s hard to be…um…re-illusioned.

Whether or not it should I think that excessive popularity does tend to spoil things. Not always, but often. I uphold my vote for mass suicide, to serve as an example to the rest of the world.
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fmra
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« Reply #90 on: February 28, 2007, 04:52:24 pm »

Wouldn't mass homocide be far more productive?
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« Reply #91 on: February 28, 2007, 04:58:38 pm »

Wouldn't mass homocide be far more productive?

Yes, but it would also require far more effort. You can see the problem.

Although come to think of it, I'm forgetting what forum this is. Hands up everyone who's willing to band together to create a robotic army, and possibly some kind of doomsday device, in order to wipe out a large portion of the Earth? Seriously; it'll be a fun project.
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« Reply #92 on: February 28, 2007, 05:04:30 pm »

Wouldn't mass homocide be far more productive?

Yes, but it would also require far more effort. You can see the problem.

Although come to think of it, I'm forgetting what forum this is. Hands up everyone who's willing to band together to create a robotic army, and possibly some kind of doomsday device, in order to wipe out a large portion of the Earth? Seriously; it'll be a fun project.

Oh, me! I can also volunteer minor medical services, as evil geniuses rarely get good medical care in the dominant cultures medical system.
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« Reply #93 on: February 28, 2007, 05:07:02 pm »

Wouldn't mass homocide be far more productive?

Yes, but it would also require far more effort. You can see the problem.

Although come to think of it, I'm forgetting what forum this is. Hands up everyone who's willing to band together to create a robotic army, and possibly some kind of doomsday device, in order to wipe out a large portion of the Earth? Seriously; it'll be a fun project.

Alas, we are such an international crew, we might be forever squabbling over the protections of certain areas where friends and family abide.
As an alternative I offer this suggestion:
I have heard rumors that our beloved sphere of inhabitation may actually be hollow, with a whole 'nother inhabitable world inside. Entrace has been hypothesized as being near the South Pole. Perhaps an expedition could be mounted? I for one, would most certainly be game, as I daily pine for the lost frontier.
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fixed_expression
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« Reply #94 on: February 28, 2007, 05:24:35 pm »

I see no reason why we can't do both.

Heresyoftruth: you start work on our army of pressure-driven robots and robotically-enhanced humans. Gather others to build our forces and wage war against the surface world...we'll worry about who we're going to kill later, the important thing is to get the project moving.

Honky-Tonk: you assemble a team and lead this expedition of yours Southwards! Be sure to take bioengineers in order to develop a way for us to grow vast subterranean fields of nourishing algae so we can survive without depending on the outside world. You will also need architects and technicians to tap into volcanic vents and use the power to create our giant underground steam-powered city. We shall call it Techruselam!

As insane evil genius behind this scheme I declare myself General and Dictator; as such it will be my responsibility to regularly deliver long, self-indulgent rants prophesying doom and destruction. At all other times I shall stand in front of my gothic high arched windows laughing maniacally.

(we should also probably stop this now before people start yelling at us for derailing the thread)
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heresyoftruth
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« Reply #95 on: February 28, 2007, 05:35:08 pm »

Heresyoftruth: you start work on our army of pressure-driven robots and robotically-enhanced humans. Gather others to build our forces and wage war against the surface world...we'll worry about who we're going to kill later, the important thing is to get the project moving.

Alas, my skills with robotics are at their infancy. I would make a good assistant, but not the head of such a project. Medically augmented humans, however, is more my forte. Plus, I prefer not to head such an endeavor. It would take time away from other projects. Assisting would be agreeable.

And yes, we have derailed the thread, but I think we have come down to agreeing to disagree. We all see things differently, and perhaps some of us do see the punk diy social ethics in this category because we started out that way some years ago. We all bring different ideas to the table, and at least for me, I find that delightful.
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« Reply #96 on: February 28, 2007, 05:56:19 pm »

Heresyoftruth: you start work on our army of pressure-driven robots and robotically-enhanced humans. Gather others to build our forces and wage war against the surface world...we'll worry about who we're going to kill later, the important thing is to get the project moving.

Alas, my skills with robotics are at their infancy. I would make a good assistant, but not the head of such a project. Medically augmented humans, however, is more my forte. Plus, I prefer not to head such an endeavor. It would take time away from other projects. Assisting would be agreeable.

And yes, we have derailed the thread, but I think we have come down to agreeing to disagree. We all see things differently, and perhaps some of us do see the punk diy social ethics in this category because we started out that way some years ago. We all bring different ideas to the table, and at least for me, I find that delightful.

Hear, Hear!

I don't know that the thread was completely derailed, though some levity was needed.

I will admit that part of my fondness of having some punk with my steam, comes from being an old punk.

I understand that there is some connection between the emerging steampunk scene and the goth scene. I was never really a goth, though I've had many friends who were, at least to some degree. But for the most part, I am an outsider to that scene.

I wonder how much of the contention in this thread can be traced back to 80's punks vs. new romantics (mods, goths, whatever) rivalries? I'm certainly not accusing anyone on this board of consciously cultivating such contention, I'm just curious if some of those old experiences and definitions are subconsciously influencing us?

It doesn't seem that anyone here is that interested in starting the steampunker than thou attitude, more that, we hope that the definition of steampunk can be broad enough to include us and our peculiarities.

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« Reply #97 on: February 28, 2007, 06:27:59 pm »

Cory FTW!!!

But seriously is anyone even listening to us anymore? I must admit that I am a bit annoyed by this as well.


The irony for the "individual" kids is that it's not like they discovered it to begin with... Retro-Victorian Science Fantasies have been around since 1929's Mysterious Island. There was a whole 1950's and 60's flourish of them starting with Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The term "Steampunk" was coined in 1979 and always was a tongue-in-cheek joke. There's a whole section of Disneyland in Tokyo based on it. The people who are into Steampunk because it makes them "individuals" are actually jumping the train pretty late, and as Vernian Process noted from the outset of this thread, are trying to change what Steampunk is to suit their own desire to be "one of a kind, not mass produced, truly Punk" so-called individuals. It's like they're trying to take "real Steampunk" away from the people who just happen to genuinely like it - and don't care one whit about Punk scenester aesthetics or rugged DIY rebelliousness or the rest of that feces - and appropriate it to satsify their own indentity problems.

Hmmm, I think I need to take a breather just because I'm so hopping mad over the audacity of it...
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Cory
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« Reply #98 on: February 28, 2007, 07:01:56 pm »

I wonder how much of the contention in this thread can be traced back to 80's punks vs. new romantics (mods, goths, whatever) rivalries? I'm certainly not accusing anyone on this board of consciously cultivating such contention, I'm just curious if some of those old experiences and definitions are subconsciously influencing us?

I think it's more tracable back to people who want it to be Punk vs. people who don't give a damn about Punk.

The latter group - which came first, incidentally - is perfectly fine with tinkering around with stuff if that's your fancy. That's great, and I actually like the idea of buying some of your guys' wares. Some of us in the latter group are even down with progressive ideas like voluntary simplicity (as opposed to Yagish's admitted "you can't buy your way into Steampunk because, actually, I personally don't have enough money to buy Steampunk stuff and it makes me jealous"), socialism, the 4-R's and Green Capitalism. Spiritual and environmental stewardship are important to me as well.

But I think I can safely speak for at least myself and VP when I say that we don't have much patience for Punk scenesters who are trying to change what Steampunk is to suit their sensibilities. If you want to focus on the Dickensian underclasses versus the Vernian voyages, that's perfectly alright. If you're more into tinkering with gadgets than with visiting Disneyland, that's also perfectly alright. But spare us this business of essentially labelling people posers because they're not Punk, aren't interested in Punk, have never been Punk and don't give a damn about Punk.

Steampunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction, not a subgenre of Punk! Steampunk never was a subgenre of Punk, and God willing, it never will be a subgenre of Punk.

 
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« Reply #99 on: February 28, 2007, 07:50:26 pm »


But I think I can safely speak for at least myself and VP when I say that we don't have much patience for Punk scenesters who are trying to change what Steampunk is to suit their sensibilities. If you want to focus on the Dickensian underclasses versus the Vernian voyages, that's perfectly alright. If you're more into tinkering with gadgets than with visiting Disneyland, that's also perfectly alright. But spare us this business of essentially labelling people posers because they're not Punk, aren't interested in Punk, have never been Punk and don't give a damn about Punk.

 


What a curiously odd sentiment that seems to be. I can't recall anyone on this board stating anything of the sort. I do think some of us may be older, and our roots come from that time before Hot Topic carried "punk" clothing, and remember jamming safety pins in our bodies, and listening to the likes of Dead Kennedys before they were disbanded. Your history will always be with you, not matter who you are.

In fact, the overwhelming sentiment of the folks here seems to be an honest delight in finding anyone out there that might be remotely interested in this topic. I know that's where I am coming from. I find is disturbing to be inadvertently attached to a group, two decades past, that might be being accused of bad behavior, when I haven't seen it. If that's not your intention, then I have misread you, and my apologies.

I just find this attempt to lay down boundaries about who and what is acceptable to be more disturbing or not. I can speak for my own self only when I say that I will always like gears and cogs. I like them better than people, usually. If others share that interest, then I am pleased by that. I don't care if anyone shares my historical behaviors one way or the other. If they are hung up on mine, then that shows me a lot about them.
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