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Old 12-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is the punk in "Steampunk"?

Originally Posted by Brett View Post

What is the "punk" in steampunk, that Girl Genius doesn't have it?
Having been the sort of punk with pointy hair and leather, I'll bite. It has to do with the most fundamental (perhaps only) "punk principle": Do it yourself. Adopt your way of dressing, playing guitar, living, etc. rather than the established way. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't about rejecting society . . . rather, it's about not accepting the prevailing norms as a script. You pick and choose the elements you want, and you leave behind the ones you don't want. It's entirely possible (if unlikely) for a punk to deconstruct everything and, through his own choices, end up picking what the rest of society did anyway; the difference is that the outcome was something he chose, not something that was imposed on him.

Steampunk is about a DIY view of science and technology – in more radical examples, inventors even seem to choose which scientific principles govern their inventions! In more recent times, steampunk also incorporates a DIY view of fashion and other aesthetics. It can coexist with a polite, Victorian view of society if its adherents choose that path rather than have it thrust upon them. It feels more like "punk," I suppose, if they choose a Victorian-seeming aesthetic and/or moral sense in a society where those views don't prevail (e.g., today).

I think GG somewhat lacks the sense of choice I'd expect in a "punk" genre. Everybody seems to be playing a part in a family history, a society, or a conspiracy. Nobody is blowing it all off, clearing his or her mind, and making choices. At best it has a little of the faux-punk edge of the naughty kid who acts out, which is about as "punk" as a vivid hair color on a supermodel in a fashion magazine that sells millions of issues (which is to say, not at all).
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