Steampunks, or just a bunch of “steamed weenies” at BB?

About a week ago I came across a posting on BoingBoing (which I once held in high esteem) of a monologue by Merlin Mann that poked some gentle fun at “steampunk” (it involves a penis-pump built to H.G. Wells’ specifications and the problems of commuting by period steamboat on San Fransisco’s streets), with a sort of “loosen up, Poindexter” kind of message.
(Predictably) a day or so later BB had to post a “response” to Merlin’s jest (from Jake von Slatt, no less), but it wasn’t as funny as Merlin’s bit… and it affected a pompous “taking of exception” attitude, while flogging an upcoming anthology of steampunk lit (coming soon to a bookstore near you!).

I may be known for being a bit brusque and acerbic, but that day I did the absolutely INCONCIEVABLE: I posted an unpopular opinion (via the “Comments” function on BB) that dared impugn the worthless lay-abouts that contribute nothing to the Steampunk milieu while quacking on about their “Steampunk subculture”.

Oy, what a wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued!

A Brass Shoe: One Size Fits All BBers (or so it seems…)

All those little Oompah-Loompahs came boiling out of Wonkaland to demonstrate their lack of reading comprehension, emotional/intellectual fortitude, fitness for Darwin Awards, & general sycophanciness. Days later, even the BB moderators dragged themselves into the fray to lambaste the BB-people that essentially agreed with them, yet still had reservations about the idea that anything called “Steampunk” (by anyone) is just soooo dreamy, or questioned the BB commitment to alternative opinions. It was very ugly, and very telling about BoingBoing. Evidently, the gang at BoingBoing, for all their brave talk, are among the worst of the posers!

You could attempt to read the comments thread at BB to get the gist of the of the panoply of opinions expressed/suppressed, but the “Legion of BB Nancies” can’t seem to let any counter point-of-view alone without deleting all the vowels (‘disemvowelling’, they call it: isn’t that so very cute and precious?), so the -two- comments I managed to make (before ‘disemvowellment” and having my login nuked) have been pretty much obliterated (along with the comments of others who’d said inflammatory things like “chill out, Cory, it’s just one opinion”, & etc). It is especially funny when opposing views are obliterated/de-vowelled even though lengthy responses to them are posted in their entirety: so very disingenuous (AKA ‘totally bogus’) when you think about it.

F Y CN RD THS then be my guest, but the remaining un-defaced comments (by those toeing the BB “party line”) will suffice to demonstrate the character of the BB crowd, who seem so willing to throw themselves under the wheels of anything that could be possibly construed as a non-supportive comment (if only so they can then soulfully protest the potential crushing of their hopes/dreams by the existence of adverse or non-adulating opinions).

Various cruel words and intentions were attributed to me (and to others failing to show sufficient outrage at opposing views) and fatuous accusations fabricated, including:

  1. I had personally insulted Jake von Slatt!
  2. I was maligning the whole “Steampunk subculture”!!
  3. Sequential/simultaneous accusations that I didn’t make “any of the stuff that you use to be a 21st Century Westerner” (asserted by one BB dill-weed), and/or I used my “exalted perch” (as one who could actually shift a cheek to do something) to assail those who couldn’t/wouldn’t!!!
  4. All other ad hominems failing, I was just a drive-by flamer and a topic hijacker!!!!

All so very droll (histrionic, pathetic, falsifiable & typical of the “weenie-think” from the BB-wing of “fan-dumb”)!

Anyone who could actually read (& that hadn’t already tied their own knickers in a knot while still wearing them) could understand that I had actually praised Jake for being one of the very few that actually DOES THINGS rather than just appreciate/leech off the work of others. Jake is, after all, the ‘Face of Steampunk’ for many, and was one of the reasons I got interested in it in the first place: here, let me smack Santa across the shins with a coal-shovel, then expect a present, eh?

Since “Steampunk subculture” is, at this point at least, only an affectation, how could it possibly be maligned by anyone? Seriously, does the fan-base of any other genre of fiction put on airs like this? Take general science fiction fans, Sherlock Holmes fans, or even freaking’ opera queens: they all seem to know that they’d sound “pretentious” (for opera queens, even) and “much dorkier” (for science fiction fans, even) if they were to make all this noise about their “subculture”… so they DON’T! Why is it that some BB-steampukes (and others that should know better) think they are somehow loftier than Alexandre Dumas, William Shakespeare, Robert Heinlein, Geoffrey Chaucer or even WWF fans…? Have the BBers been drinking after those anime snobs, or what?

The way my (obviously joking) response to the ‘drive-by flamer’ accusation by “Cory of the Invisible Stones” or one of his saintly brown-nosers (“Clip-clop-BANG! That’s an Amish drive-by”) drew what has to be one of the most feckless posts in internet history (“I am so offended on behalf of the peaceful Amish people everywhere, yadda-yadda”, or something like it). As one who is only a generation or two removed from any number of mass human tragedies, I can only wonder “Golly-gee Willikers: will my cruelty never cease?” (A: No).

But, you get the drift of it: those that can’t handle contrary opinions are simply weenies.

I’m sure that even Eugenio Salvador Dalí enjoyed having folks applaud his work (& folks with big checks even more so), but was anyone quacking about an “Absurdist subculture” then? No? Hmmm…. C’mon, BB-folks, get a freakin’ clue, already!
As it is written:

NEWS FLASH: Being ‘religious’ does not make you ‘God’, any more than enjoying “Ren & Stinpy” makes you either ‘Ren’ or ‘Stimpy’; neither does “appreciating” ‘Art’ make you an artist (or Whistler’s Mum) any more than “liking” peppermint makes you a plant.

The “Cry-Baby Syndrome” at BB remains typical of clowns that think they are OWED universal affirmation, no matter how whiny or useless they insist on making themselves.
The rest, those people that can stand on their own two feet and have learned not to give a damn what the neighbors think (e.g. “adults”), can understand that PWCBS (‘People with Cry-Baby Syndrome’) can be cured only if they can develop a resilience to ‘non-adoration’. So when “Cory-boy” erupts in multiple, public, profanity-laced, side-saddled hissy-fits because others don’t ‘worship at the same altar’, well… consider his age and level of sleep deprivation (that new baby and all) and make allowances (while trying not to giggle at the “DEFEAT CENSORWARE” link at the bottom of each BB page). He may seem a bit “flighty” at times, but I believe he means well.

As a long-time science fiction fan (from the mid 70’s on, anyway), I am very familiar with the wusses that will lash out with unfounded assertions, but then cry ‘foul’ (or ‘Mommy!’) when the emptiness of their argument is pointed out to them. Many of these are entrained to act like children (regardless of chronological age), if only because they can get away with it due to the number of enabling coddlers (and other social detritus) surrounding them.

Imagine if Edison or Mao (or even Jerry Falwell) wilted and/or threw public, girly tantrums in the face of criticism! Even if they did (and I believe this to be so for some of them) this gang ALL persevered and went on to lead ‘movements’, even “subcultures”. Cripes, even Maynard G. Krebs had (and was true to) his subculture.

This ‘Me Too!’ school of BB-Steampinks will never be able to have a subculture to call their own if they choose to remain simple “players of dress-up” who would rather throw fits because they aren’t getting the respect they haven’t done a danged thing to earn. The ‘Punk’ scene of yore drew strength from societal disdain, but the BB-Steampinks require a warm, nurturing bubble… like in their folks’ basements (“More cheese-dip, darling? Don’t stay up too late!”). More power to them, and let me know how that works out for you, gang, okay?

Me? I’ll just keep thinking globally & acting locally… and feeding my ‘High Horse’ a strict diet of unproductive nebbishes, if only to keep their protein from going to waste.

I offer all those dithering BB-‘Pinks a heartyButch the hell up!”…and a clean hankie to share.

(But… now… must… FIGHT… that… VISUAL..!).

Vaya con carne, BB-amigos!

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10 Responses to “Steampunks, or just a bunch of “steamed weenies” at BB?”

  1. Ms. Fumiyumi Says:

    Hear hear. I’ve been a longtime fan of alternate history and steampunk as a subgenre of scifi/fantasy, as well as a punk (or at least not too poseurish), and I find the idea of a “Steampunk Subculture” completely laughable and pretentious. I’m pleased to see that I’m not the only one who thinks so.

  2. offlogic Says:

    Ms. Fumiyumi-
    Thanks for sharing on my humble blog!

  3. Jake von Slatt Says:

    LOL! I added your RSS feed a couple of days ago after running across some of the alt power stuff you’re working on. Today I was skimming back through your posts and stumbled on this one!

    The BBers brought comments back with the intent of performing some social experiments. You’ve probably noted that most popular forums rapidly decay to a sort of snarky mediocrity (Slashdot is a prime example). The BBers are trying to discover in you can change that with community management and Steampunk is such a hot button issue with commenters that it made a perfect laboratory. That’s what was going on.

    My video – it was aimed at a specific audience. While I thought Merlin Mann’s video was fun (if a bit drawn out) some people were genuinely upset by it. It hurts when the cool kids make fun of something you care about, I got so many heartfelt thanks from people that I know I hit the right note.

    As for the whole subculture thing – that will happen or not, only time will tell. Personally, I think it will and I intend to use it to attract people to DIY and Making.

    Cheers!

    Jake.

  4. offlogic Says:

    Jake-
    Thanks for your comments and I hope your endeavors are going well, and it’s truly a pleasure to chat with you. Your work and workmanship has turned a lot of folks on to SP (myself included).

    About the BB dust-up, it was a simple difference of opinions that some at the BB end couldn’t quite handle civilly (maybe they’ve got their dosage tweaked in by now?). It was something between pathetic and surreal. I will leave it at that. And about Merlin being cool, I don’t know about that, haven’t seen his other output, but I’ll laugh about any old penis-pump joke lately (see, there recently was a district judge here who… well, ‘the Google’ will tell that tale better, I’d just keep giggling).

    I do understand the hurt you mention, but do not feel it myself . My ‘geek callouses’ are pretty thick by this point, after a lifetime of being who I am (for the want of anyone else who’d take the job) and wish those who are easily injured by the words, jests or opinions of strangers would buck up just a bit, don’t you think? If I had a dollar for every time, etc., Bill Gates would be my ‘gimp’ (that’ll throw them off, Bill! Now get back in the box until I call you).

    We two approach the SP ‘subculture’ question from different ends of the elephant.
    I see Making as a prerequisite: in the Beginning is the Deed. That’s my one-note riff.
    Who needs a subculture of people that won’t do anything? I sure don’t, and pray that an emergent SP sub-culture won’t put up with that type either.
    Far from a skilled craftsman myself, I tend to move on to other things once a proof of concept is achieved (and there I go again, “achievement”…. see, I can’t help it, it’s just how I look at the world).

    I’m glad to get the chance to chat with you a bit, and I hope your present(?) travels are going well. If you find yourself in the area just below the “Panty Line of the Bible Belt” anytime, gimme a call and I’ll make some manicotti or kababs or something. If you dig Art Deco, you’ll love T-Town (for an bit).

    Hopefully I can get some coils wound by this weekend.
    Until then, work-sleep-work-sleep (you know the drill).

  5. Joker Says:

    Steampunk will go down like any other “modern” subculture for teens; some thing that is mass-marketed and bordering on consumerism and faddism, since the DIY aspect of these cultures are gone, the only thing left powering these “juggernauts” is the elitism, nothing more.

  6. offlogic Says:

    “[…] some thing that is mass-marketed”…. Okay, great, I’ve read about the vast sums spent on Steampunk mass-marketing (NOT)…

    “Consumerism”…. “faddism”…. (I follow you so far but WHY I don’t know).

    “Since the DIY aspect of these cultures are gone”, okay, right, uh-maybe, but “‘juggernauts’, “Elitism”? C’mon: what kinda nonsense is that? Are you feeling snubbed? WHY?

    What? Do? You? Mean? To? Say? Joker? (That’s in ‘Kirk-ese’, if you didn’t understand it…), but I can translate that into:

    Dolt: You making fun of me?
    Cracker: You making fun of us’ns?
    Elitist: Clearly, you don’t understand. Allow me to explain….
    Total dumb-ass: ‘Elitism’…. ‘juggernauts’… “somebody somewhere called me a ‘dumb-ass’ once in my childhood, does that count?” I like to play ‘dress-up’ and all…(DC al fine)….

    Steampunks (in quotes, if needed) are so way ‘l33t, I doubt many of them are even gettinglaid.

    What was your point again, ‘Joker’ (or is that ‘way-l33t Joker-Dude’, to me?).

    “‘Teen'” this, and thanks for your way lame comment, I guess. “Thanks for playing!” is the traditional salutation. Steampunk has it’s own problems, but….

  7. Joker Says:

    But, being brainwashed as you are, you can’t see a problem in any subculture, thus saying that you’re an ignorant fuck by choice? Way to go mate, way to go. Here’s another puppet in the running for the twisted New World Order.

  8. offlogic Says:

    Okay, Jer-er-Joker, let me moderate and
    explain my reaction to your initial comment, and show you how your response is a crock (“thanks for playing”).
    I, too, am also concerned about the waning of “the DIY aspect”, but haven’t abandoned it and hope to encourage it in all disciplines.
    I haven’t seen any “Hot Topic”-type shops for SP yet, but that would represent the “consumerism” and “mass-marketing” you decry as the de facto state of SP. Yeah, I cringe at the fashion-spreads, too, but come on, dude! (Note: as of 20081201 I am informed there are SP T-shirts available at ThinkGeek- perhaps it’s all over, after all).
    Regarding your whining about “elitism”, an imaginary “juggernaut”, “New World Order” (and associated wankerisms), why don’t you go write a manifesto or something?
    When you get tired of being so “way l33t” and actually do something real, I’ll happily post a link to your accomplishments… but more of your whining will not be posted here. Dry up and get real.

  9. Carflax Says:

    Ah well clearly Somebody’s feelings are hurt somewhere…. I don’t know anything worth mentioning about subcultures, but I was EXTREMELY impressed with the steam-punk folks whom I encountered at BM 2007 (this was the year some disaffected soul torched ‘the man’ unexpectedly on Monday night, causing an unprecedented mass hysteria on the Playa, which I like to call “premature conflagration”… but I digress) They (Steampunks? allow me a small assumption) had at least two (awesome) steam powered vehicles, a two story metal tree complete with tree-house and steam powered accoutrements, and their costumes (everyday clothes??) were amazing and enticing. I also happen to know a few people who were more or less “steam punks” before the term had even been coined. With few exceptions, any of them would welcome almost any GENUINE communication, be it criticism or praise. Many of them are artists and performers, and so require both to thrive.

    Sounds like the folks who are disemvoweling you are really just flaming you to have something mildly entertaining to do (admit you laughed just a little).

    PS: I enjoyed your rant, however next time could you give a little more background, so I can really sink my teeth in? EG who are the BB steampunks?… and how could anyone be offended by comparing the works of a visionary master like Mr. Wells to a Penis pump? ;P

    PSS I also really enjoyed your blog on brass etching. I learned a bunch of new tricks i am even now preparing to try! I will post questions there ty.

    • offlogic Says:

      Yeah, you can tell the steampunks from the weenies pretty easy. The steampunks are making things and doing stuff, the weenies are just consumers of finished goods.

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