Steampunk has its own cancel culture

When I read the now-infamous letter in Harper's by 150+ intellectuals, of the left and right, cautioning against cancel culture, a lot of it rang true to somebody who's been involved in the politics of steampunk. The movement has been taken over by social-justice warriors, who brook no dissent from woke orthodoxy.

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  • Sadly true, and social justice warriors seem to reign supreme everywhere.

    Cancel culture is toxic AF, and I am sick of it.

    Sick of this attitude of a bunch of high and mighty elitists putting down the rules, and deciding who is "worthy" to be included, who is allowed to exist in the group and who should be ousted or outright cancelled. Just let everyone enjoy things in their own way, as long as they're not doing anything illegal and aren't flat out toxic, leave them be. And if you find something they do hurtful, either address the matter with them in person (in private) like adults or just ignore them!

  • And when you criticize this mentality, YOU'll be unironically accused of "gatekeeping". 🙄

  • Professor Elemental is back with some common-sense advice:

    Politics Has No Place in Steampunk

    To an extent, I agree with that statement (bugger, I think I’ve just undermined my entire article). At times, I have tried my hand at politics on stage, and had people shake my hand and thank me for taking a stand. But other times, I have annoyed or upset people who were just out for a good night and a bit of escapism. As the world gets harder, I’m trying to make live shows softer, sillier and less partisan. Some people don’t want politics with their steampunk and we need to respect that and stop bothering them.

    On the other hand, steampunk doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And as I have written before, I’m a middle-aged, white, British rapper in a colonial outfit. It’s a bit of a mess. With a great hat comes great responsibility. If I am going to be subverting the rap genre and the colonial dress at the same time, I feel it’s my responsibility to be clear about my political beliefs and pay tribute to the artform I love so much.

    For most people, I hope it’s simpler. You might just like the invention, the sense of community, or wearing a nice corset. You might not like politics in your steampunk, so feel free to ignore that element and not engage.

    Elemental has had a bit of an evolution on this topic. When I published my controversial "Who Killed Steampunk?" article more than a year ago, he wrote I was exaggerating and everything was fine. In February, he, too, recognized politics was splitting steampunk apart and argued we shouldn't exclude people just because they hold a different political opinion and that instead we should make an effort to bring people together.

    I remember I was accused of tone policing when I said that; of only caring about white and straight people (although I'm gay); prioritizing the hurt feelings of those who want to oppress others; and called naive, a racist, the son of skinheads and a complete and utter jackass.

    Tell me again how steampunk is doing "better than it ever was."

    Maybe if somebody who originally seemed to side with the social-justice fanatics calls them out, it will be more effective? At least I don't see Elemental being "canceled" yet.

  • People who don't believe steampunk has a cancel-culture problem should read this dispiriting discussion on Prof Elemental's Facebook page. A few rightwingers open their mouths and they're immediately told by the crowd they're "not real steampunks" and to GTFO.

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