Steampunks are too clever for big businesses

copyright photofairground
Professor Elemental. Not silly at all.

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?

2 thoughts on “Steampunks are too clever for big businesses

  1. I believe a large part of the Steampunk mindset is reuse, upcycle, and create. I know that most of the people in my community prefer to buy secondhand clothes and make them over to a Steampunk Aesthetic; many make their own gadgets; and when we do buy something it has to be authentically Steampunk (or beyond our skillset to make). We can spot a ‘fake’ from 100 metres, because nothings replaces real enthusiasm. It is kind of hard to commercialize the kind of dedication that will spend hundreds of hours making a costume or a raygun or a backpack, because half the fun is knowing your item is unique. It becomes a point of pride to DIY.

    Those people who do make money from Steampunk didn’t choose Steampunk to make a quick buck … they loved the genre and their love shows. Hence the Proff’s popularity. They are genre savvy. And even as Steampunk becomes more accepted into the mainstream, it retains the charm of the ‘can do’ attitude of Neo-Vicwardian Retrofuturists.

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