These are some thoughts that I had, that I posted in another thread on another board - it was something that had nothing to do with dieselpunk (we were talking about the difference between rich, middle class and the poor) but somehow dieselpunk values worked their way in.
Perhaps you all have something to contribute along these lines.
If I were to have the disposable wealth to spend on a car and its maintenance - I'd be into classics. I would not be into the fairly disposable things that pass for status cars these days. We used to build with permanence and legacy in mind, and by owning and maintaining one of these fine automobiles I am preserving that legacy and history for the future to enjoy. There is a genuine thrill in seeing one of these wonders on the road, something that makes people stop what they are doing, because it is a piece of living history.
People would actually get joy out of seeing my car instead of being impressed, "Oh, there goes a status symbol."
Besides, it's just plain badass.
Man oh man, I want a 48 Tucker.
If you look around you, many old things made between WWI and the 60s, are still around and can still be in perfectly serviceable condition to be passed down to our descendants. At some point since then, we started valuing liquid status markers and started devaluing permanence and legacy.
I use an old manual typewriter which is still in perfectly decent working condition after 50 or more years, and I've had plenty of computers and electric typewriters expire after 2 years. It brings me joy to look at, to touch, to type on, though I'm still learning how to maintain it. I plan to acquire a beautiful antique typewriter which will additionally will bring me joy to look at. I'm not sure anyone who comes after me would appreciate it, but I'm preserving history by owning and maintaining it.
I won't spend money on tech if I can help it, except where absolutely necessary for my field. I use the tech at school wherever possible. I thrift for much of my clothing, unless I can actually afford to buy something *very high quality* new. My high quality stuff is still with me. I only dress in traditional, classic styles and I don't follow mainstream fashion, because I'd just be spending good money after bad trying to keep up with something which has no lasting value. I look to the past for my mentors, not to the broken present... so that I may have more to leave behind those who come after me... and see myself as a link in a long chain between the past and the future.
I have a different value system than the mainstream, and I don't care to support a system where the money I spend is going to end up in a landfill and will not even continue to provide me anything of lasting pleasure let alone anything for people of future generations.
I'm not rich presently, but at the moment am basically a poor eccentric. I very, very frequently butt heads with middle class people over my value system. The lower middle class over my value of things which would appear to have no pragmatic value, and the upper over my value of things which don't inherently bring status.
You've touched on something there about the disposable modern world and that has chaffed at me for years....You can't take something like a toaster or a TV anywhere anymore and get it fixed! Open the bonnet on a modern car and you're looking at a collection of black boxes, my Dad and I had a conversation a while back on that topic. He said that while you're less likely to break down by the side of the road these days, if if does happen, there's not much you can do to fix it yourself. Whereas thirty/forty years ago, you were more likely to break down, but you had a fighting chance of fixing it to limp to the nearest garage.
I too favour classic styling in dress, although i do have some modern items. When it comes to dressing up, that's different, when i had to buy black tie for a series of events i was attending, i looked to Cary Grant as my influence, and even ended up buying a quality dinner suit from eBay and having it tailored locally which was still cheaper than buying from a store!
When i see something from the past, i'm always struck by the 'who, what, when and where' of it's past. Whether that's a car, leather jacket, aeroplane, book or anything doesn't matter, its about keeping that piece of history for the future as you say. There are different values today, and it is very frustrating knocking heads with them, especially the 'throw-away' culture. We can only do what we can i guess. Looks as though you've got the right idea.
As one who used a 1957 camera for 20 years, who's dreaming of grey 1936 Zephyr, I admire your post. Of course it goes far beyond makes and models - the passage on values vs. system has been especially appreciated.
Thank you, Dreia.
I agree with much of your point. I look to the past for my style of dress, and admire how things were made to last back then. My grandfather's power sander and drill press are a big motor and a belt, with no plastic in sight. They're so simple, they'll still be running long after I'm gone.
I mostly shop at thrift stores for clothes, and Craigslist or eBay for other things, preferring to give second life to things that others want to throw away.
The big way that we differ glaringly is my love and embracing of tech. I love my iTouch, my laptop, my iPad, etc. I do often hold on to these things for years before getting a new one, and then I pass them to my son, or niece, or wife, but still, love the tech.