I had just realized that the new copy of SteamPunk Magazine was on our counter. I opened up the house, sat outside, listening to blues music (of the Guy Davis persuasion), and read the first few pages. The opening quote always sets the tone, and helps me to feel like taking on the world really is worth it today. The letters to the editor are well chosen, showing a wide variety of vested interests in the culture. Margaret is not afraid to speak his/her mind, but also does so with tact.
What really got me (in as far as I’ve gotten) is the Manifesto of Sorts.
Steampunk is the first self-molding subculture that I’ve been privy to. While not personally immersed in it (I’ll stick to my shiny oxygen tech, thank you), I do live with someone who is highly involved and we have fantastic conversations about ethics and online debates and what people are doing and saying. I do agree with a lot of the concerns Steampunks bring to the table – understanding technology, responsible action, DIY, etc.
To me, this manifesto was about not boxing yourself in, not saying what Steampunk is or isn’t. It’s about letting the culture evolve how it will, based on the ideals that it believes in. And that brings me joy. I see our (dare I say) generation as being at a point of major change (just as much as any other was, I’ll admit). Every crossroad determines future paths, and one of the reasons I’m so into Transhumanism is trying to guide those decisions towards the nurturing instead of the destructive. Right now I see Steampunk on the brink of going down the path that so many other subcultures have gone down – being co-opted, capitalized, routinized. But the difference is because of the people involved being self-aware, giving a shit, and being willing to fucking stand up, Steampunk doesn’t have to go down that path. Instead it can form a new sort of system of belonging. A system that can set an example for other emerging subcultures online and IRL.
Can you imagine it? Being accepted in a subculture because of what you’ve contributed instead of what you claim to be interested in, who you know, what clever words you can say, what clothing you can afford? I can. And I believe in it.