Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

It’s Not the Years, Honey, It’s the Mileage: Dieselpunk Milestones

Dieselpunk didn’t start with a bang. It started with the crack of a whip.

When Indiana Jones blazed his way onto the big screen in 1981, he popularized a postmodern style of art that has continued to evolve over the past three decades. Looking back at Indy and the other proto-dieselpunk milestones, we can finally understand where the dieselpunk style came from, how it faltered in the late 1990s and see how it has finally grown into its own thanks to a worldwide subculture of artists and fans. To really look back though, we need to know what we’re looking for. Continue reading “It’s Not the Years, Honey, It’s the Mileage: Dieselpunk Milestones”

Steampunk girl

Do They Like Us?

There has been enough lament now about steampunk going mainstream. I am still not sure whether or not steampunk has actually gone mainstream or will ever really get there, but one thing is clear: steampunk is no longer underground.

I guess all the people who are now lamenting pop videos with steampunk content also had a hand in bringing it out from cellars and parties in unknown clubs. Continue reading “Do They Like Us?”

North Atlantic map

A Rupture Between Continents?

European steampunk counts fewer numbers than their North American (and mainly US) counterparts. I’m pretty sure that if you would add up all the numbers in the entirety of Europe, you would get about the same as those for the United States alone (the US probably has more numbers than the entirety of Europe, come to think of it).

Originally there was a unison worldwide. Steampunks everywhere where in it for the same reason. If you spoke to steampunks from other continents, the same topics arose and likeminded individuals were easily found, no matter what country they hailed from.

Thankfully this is still the case, but sadly less and less so when one starts comparing some — frankly disturbing — recent developments in the movement in both aforementioned continents. Continue reading “A Rupture Between Continents?”

Justin Bieber

The Specter of Elitism

Recently, an image of Justin Bieber wearing a steampunk glove or gauntlet was going around on the ætherweb.

There have been a wide range of reactions regarding the photograph. Many have voiced their disappointment or even disgust of steampuk going mainstream and someone like Justin Bieber using steampunk paraphernalia. Several commenters on Facebook and a number of forums and blogs have even declared steampunk to be dead because of it.

Well, excuse me, but could somebody please explain to me how Justin Bieber’s use of a steampunk glove and other apparel can spell the doom of a global subculture? Continue reading “The Specter of Elitism”

Steampunk Is Not a Subculture — Yet

Not a long time ago, Nick wrote that steampunk means different things in different places. He talked about how in Europe, it is a kind of aesthetics while in other places, including the United States, it looks more like a cultural movement.

Because there are so many differences between people who enjoy the steampunk aesthetic, Nick suggested that it’s hard to call steampunk a subculture. Rather it should be understood as an aesthetic that’s applied in different ways. But it’s not just a matter of preference. When a lot of people around the world realize that they share appreciation of an art style or a genre or an interest in reviewing the possible political implications of the steampunk ethos, we are talking about a community that’s organized around a particular theme. While some marvel in the aesthetic, others are attracted to steampunk for another reason.

What we’re really talking about then is a movement. Continue reading “Steampunk Is Not a Subculture — Yet”

Dieselpunk girl

What If Steampunk Hurts?

What should steampunks do if their art or fiction or role-playing hurts others? Stop and abandon something that’s been part of the steampunk culture for years? Or ignore the feelings of others and have “fun”?

It’s a relevant question because the Victorian era had a lot of problems, several of which have found their way into steampunk even if we’re not always aware of it. Continue reading “What If Steampunk Hurts?”