I read with interest, an article by Professor Elemental that he wrote for Airship Ambassador and the Steampunk Hands Around the World project. In it, he mentioned that he thought steampunk had got a little bit too serious and that we all should release our inherent silliness.
One sentence in particular caught my eye. He said “Some have said that commercialisation could kill steampunk (although fortunately, the mainstream never really found a way to make money off it, so has thankfully moved on to kill something else)”. I think that’s a very powerful statement and very true, but doesn’t really drill down into WHY the commercialisation didn’t work.
There are lots of people who make a living from steampunk,there are a few who make a decent amount and, probably, a few who make a lot. I’m far too polite to ask which one of those the good Professor falls into. Large businesses have moved on from steampunk because they can’t make money from it.
Why is that?
I like to think it’s because steampunks aren’t stupid. We know when we’re being played and quite frankly we’re creative people which puts us into a different social network. Fashion preys on those who want to look like everyone else. Each season they tell everyone how they should be dressing but steampunks are having none of it. We’re far too individual to be interested in what’s hot and we’re certainly not gullible enough to buy a T-Shirt with a picture of a corset on it for £150.
Sadly, there are also one or two people who aren’t content with getting by or being happy with whatever they make and want to make even more. They conduct themselves the same way as big businesses. They use a deceitful and brutal regime to get to the top, silencing anyone who gets in their way. I’m speaking metaphorically of course (they don’t kill people or anything), but the really disheartening reality is that this approach to gain personal attention and popularity in order to further a career and make more money is actually working.
This is a time in steampunk when you really have to do your homework on everyone and everything before coming to conclusions. Don’t necessarily believe everything you read, though, because some of it will be swayed to reflect an outcome of particular design. That includes this article and any attached to it.
You can read the full article by Professor Elemental here: Steampunk… Seriously?