Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

I just found this site today and when I read the site's name I couldn't help but cringe, "Nazi Dieselpunk"  My initial concern was that it was a neo-Nazi site that had tried to hook onto Dieselpunk. After spending some time there I concluded that instead it's a site that's primarily interested in some of the the bizarre tech that the Germans developed during the war as well as the alternative history stories of World War II.

However, it sparked a question that I have and which I would like feedback on from members of the forum. Because World War II played such a major role in the Diesel Era does that open us up to at risk overlooking the evil of Nazism? For example, what should we make of some of the art that shows fantasy German military? What about pin-up art consisting of women dressed in Nazi uniforms? And concerning German uniforms, should Dieselpunks wear WWII era German uniforms for conventions such as cosplay? If so, is there a line where it becomes inappropriate? For example, is it okay to wear a German army uniform but not an SS?

I would love to read the thoughts of the members of the forum.

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>> there is no silver bullet, foolproof, guaranteed technique that will guarantee perfect discretionary results in every single instance. All one can do is post a lucid disclaimer, monitor peoples behaviour & comments, observe how they treat others, etc.> you get the idea. As an organizer, it helps to be perceptive, and to use one's better judgement.

As with nearly any other group, community or organization> there will likely always be 'some' bad apples, who slip through the proverbial cracks (think of the police, for instance), no matter how careful a screeing process is. When the 'bad apples' are discovered, then of course positive/remedial intervention is immediately imperative.

I will use the example/analogy of a nudist camp. obviously such a delicate community could very easily attract perverts and rapists. (Talk about a 'slippery slope'.) ! This is far more dangerous than a community for those who fancy Nazi attire. Invariably, a highly controversial, sensitive concept like a nudist camp requires organizers to be vigilant and cautious in their screening of new members + their ongoing observation/moderating of any member; be they recent or not.>>

Greetings Tome and ALL,

I apologize for my "attitude". I certainly did not intend for it to come off as offensive. It is just that I tend to get rather defensive when it comes to censorship. I have seen far too much of it wielded heavy handedly throughout my many years of historical research to ever feel comfortable when it begins to show its face. And, as always, it seems to target only select subjects and people while completely ignoring the same or worse atrocities perpetrated by those others who are currently deemed acceptable by Politically Correct standards. 

As "SS_obSeSSed" pointed out =

>> there is no silver bullet, foolproof, guaranteed technique that will guarantee perfect discretionary results in every single instance. All one can do is post a lucid disclaimer, monitor peoples behaviour & comments, observe how they treat others, etc.> you get the idea. As an organizer, it helps to be perceptive, and to use one's better judgement.

For many years I ran a Heathen religious group (both online and Real World) which often attracted neo-Nazi types, so I can fully understand your dilemma in having to find a way of dealing with this type of threat here. In our case, many soon figured out that ~ That ~ was not what we were about. Most would simply leave of their own accord. A few we were forced to ask to leave. A very few actually changed THEIR attitude and became some long lasting good friends!  

I have long stood on the principal of  judging a person solely as an individual and ~ by their actions ~ and not by my preconceptions or judgments of their projected images. A though road, but one that has served me well.

The best advice I could give you here is = A symbol does not a man make. If he wears a swastika armband or a tutu, judge him by his ~ actions ~ alone. You have enough moderators on hand to keep an eye out for and deal with ANYONE who would dare to start to spew any form of HATE SPEECH quickly and thoroughly. Rely on THAT form of censorship and you can not go wrong.

It seems that I owe you some change from MY Two Bits along with my apology.

Dan G

The problem is, I can't separate the symbol from it's meaning and background.  To me, it's the same as if a bloody man walked around carrying a full size crucifix and wearing a crown of thorns "because it looked cool," or see the aforementioned "heroin chic" reference.

I know now that SS Obsessed means well, but Nazis are such a well-known symbol of hate, depravity, and human suffering that just about anything associated with them will carry that stigma.  And the fact that the uniforms are being worn for entertainment and fetish simply disturbs me and makes it something I would like to distance myself from.

We also have the double-edged sword of being hosted on a platform we do not have full control over.  If the advertisement attracted boneheads to Dieselpunks who joined because "Nazis r kewl" and the host supervised this, we could be instantly shut off and completely deleted by the host with no questions asked and with no reprieve.

I've seen it happen to other networks, and we have no way to migrate the content and members off of this platform, so it's in my and this site's best interests to err on the side of caution.

I would also like to mention again that we have a surprisingly large population of seniors in our membership, including several WWII veterans like my grandfather, and German survivors/refugees like my grandmother-in-law.  

I feel it is my job to make these people as comfortable as possible, and trying to explain to someone who witnessed the terrors of WII firsthand why someone else enjoys dressing like a Nazi for fun or sexual excitement would be an uphill battle at best.

A few more comments I would like to make:

  • We all seem to agree that no one wants to bury history. I’ve always said, along with many others, that dieselpunk differs from steampunk in that we embrace the reality of the darkness rather. I wrote a blog series on how we differ from our Victorian cousins on our approach to this matter.
  • I have to admit that I can see the aesthetic quality in the propaganda and style that was used by the Nazis during their reign of terror in the 30s and 40s. It’s in the nature of evil to make itself appealing. As the Rolling Stones quoted Lucifer, “I’m a man of wealth and taste.” Therefore, one can have “sympathy for the devil” without condoning him. Much like a detective might praise the ingenuity of a murderer in committing a crime without expressing approval.
  • There is indeed a role for fantasy and science fiction that involves Nazi tech within dieselpunk. Most fiction shows the villain as being more powerful than the hero, which makes it more appealing when the hero wins against all odds (For example, the Rebels blowing up the Death Star). Add to this the fact that the Nazis really did have some near science fiction level technology, which I admit is interesting.

However, here’s my concerns:

  • Tome was absolutely right that one cannot separate the symbol from the meaning. How we dress and what objects we surround ourselves with serves the sociological purpose of making a declaration about who we are and what we believe. It’s the human equivalent of the peacock feather but on a much more complex level.  If I walk down the street wearing an authentic Nazi uniform and, when confronted because I will be, try to deny that I was pro-Nazi by saying, “Oh, I just think they looked cool” no one would believe me and they would have good reason not to.
  • Therefore, connecting your site, even if done solely out of your interest in Nazi paraphernalia and fantasy to dieselpunk runs the risk of associating our genre to your fetish, which as you’ve seen from our posts majority of us here don’t want. I and many others have a serious concern about ‘guilt by association.’

Let me conclude with a very important personal statement to SS Obsessed. Create your site if you wish, obviously I can’t stop you, but don’t attach the term ‘dieselpunk’ to it. If you hook the term ‘dieselpunk’ to your site in any way I will publicly denounce you on my blog and in the other dieselpunk outlets that I’m involved in because I strongly oppose connecting your fetish to this genre that I’m so passionate about.

>> No matter how much I explain the perspective of enthusiasts of Nazi apparel on this heavily distorted, grossly misunderstood, extremely maligned subject, it appears that the witch hunt will just not ever cease. Salem revisited. yeesh.

Regardless of my mindful and at times, in depth explanations here, it appears that I and anyone else who shares my fascination are the antichrist... no matter what. The far fetched, sordid comparisons made to my interest (mostly by Tome and Larry), along with the sanctimonious, hard-line threats to "berate" any website I may or may not create if I 'dare' to mention the word 'dieselpunk' (despite Larry being the individual who commenced the whole thread), as well as condescention & sarcasm such as "Nazis r kewl", do beg the question....whats next? Mississippi Burning.???

as I happened to point out several days ago> do take a look around at the other fetishes that exist in the world, for crying out loud. You needn't look too far to soon realize that although a Nazi apparel fetish is controversial, it pales by comparison to the downright degenerate, disgusting hangups that some really messed up people have, making 'my' past time interest seem like the garden variety as far as fetishes go.

> if there is purportedly "a surprisingly large population of seniors" in your membership who are offended by any of my words/interests, well I myself have yet to hear from them. If they are 'so' offended, presumably they would have sent me nasty messages. there has not been one.

Talk about being "offended". As a woman who grew up in poverty, abuse, and who endured the misogynistic demented dogma of roman catholicism as a student at a middle school in my home town, I am grossly offended by any sort of public displays of religious fervour, including when priests and/or nuns etc. are in 'their' full uniforms at public events which are advertised as secular occasions (such as town hall meetings as well as other forums that are supposed to be strictly business..not a religious pitch)...particularly when the delusional religious zealots & wingnuts open the holes in their faces and spew out their insanity , then actually expect donations to "spread the word of 'god'". Not that anyone gives a damn, but I suffered plenty of unpleasantness from bible thumping loons, that is perhaps better left undescribed here.

The point is> why don't I boycott & personally condemn such obnoxious zealots face to face, so that they retreat underground, so that 'my' sensitivities are no longer offended by their presence? It is because even though I detest religion and sanctimonious religious wingnuts, it is not 'my' business to impinge upon their freedoms. Conversely, keeping in mind that I have tried to be polite and civil in my posts here (unlike most religious zealots who tend to be very obnoxious & forceful about 'their' passions), I do not concur that 'my' own freedom to annouce a relevant prospective group (with an emphatically clear disclaimer) should be so vigorously threatened, maligned, or insulted as it has been by two aforementioned members.

> Larry & Tome> I am sorry that you feel as you do , and that you insist upon spinning anything I say in a manner to use against me. we will have to agree to disagree on our respective perspectives on this. Instead of being reasonable or willing to at least explore another point of view, you have been quite harshly prejudiced against me no matter what.  excuse me when I say that I have had quite enough of the attack you seem to be trigger-happy to launch against me for 'daring' to correlate the term 'Nazi' with 'dieselpunk'. Again I will reference the fact that Larry commenced the whole subject, plus clearly invited open input from the members of the group on it. that does reek of hypocrisy. I have grown very tired of your abrasiveness and unwillingness to listen, and yes, the 'attitude' which I have been exposed to by the two of you. That said, I am going to remain civil in this post, and maintain the wish to cause no deliberate offense> but I will not mince words any more.

such interesting irony that in your sanctimonious battle against anyone who derives fascination from anything that was utilized by the Nazis...even something as inanimate as their clothing...your demeanor of sweeping censorship & prejudice is not dissimilar from the Nazis. so why not launch a book burning and maligning on 'your' website of anything else you "strongly oppose", as 'you' perceive it being detrimental to "a genre you're so passionate about"? as if 'you' own dieselpunk. (how arrogant, if that is what is believed). A prime example of uber political correctness going full circle.

> It is reassuring that a few balanced minds have spoken up. undoubtedly not every member here shares the evidently harsh opinions of Tome and Larry. The correlations with some of the inanimate objects/trappings of the Third Reich and dieselpunk, punk, cosplay, comic books + goth are already well established into a sub-genre, even though many fans are not courageous enough to publicly admit to their innocuous interest in it, due to attitudes of condemnation as those typically expressed by Tome and Larry thus far, who labelled people such as myself as "ignorant". Even if 'I' didn't exist, someone else would come along sooner or later with the same idea to start a club for this sub-genre.

Excuse me if my convivial, friendly announcement of the prospective sub-genre group ruffled some feathers. to the extent that the whole thread got nuked with extreme prejudice. There was no need for that. it is similar sanctimonious arrogance that disillusioned me from steampunk> many bullying,, backstabbing opportunists & autocrats there , with low self esteem and no respect for anyone who doesn't march in perfect lockstep with 'their' subjective visions of protocol utopia. Again, sounds like they took a page from Nazism. oh but wait> if it looks like a duck, then it must be a duck. But if it sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, well maybe its not a duck afterall. ..Just nail the ones that 'look' like a duck. lol.

> Thanxx for the prickly reception. ouch. Yep, I know when I'm persona non gratta. so will make my exit shortly, stage left. over & out >>

Since its sounding like this thread is (finally) coming to a conclusion let me say what I hope will need to be my last words on the matter.

Yes, I started this thread but note why. It was due to a website I found called "Nazi Dieselpunk" and I wrote that when I first read, "the site's name I couldn't help but cringe". That should have told you right then where my position was on connecting the two together. Therefore, my position should come of no surprise. Then I began a discussion of how we in the dieselpunk community should handle the issue such as Nazis related art and uniforms within dieselpunk.

Second, I've said all along it's obvious that you have the right to start that page and that I have no power (nor do I want it) to stop you. I believe in the freedom of speech. However, the street runs both ways, which means I have the same power of freedom of speech and I would use it if you connected your site to dieselpunk. I didn't say I would condemn you publicly if you simply created a page dedicated to your fetish. Just if you connected it to our genre. 

(Note: I noticed that the site that sparked this thread, which was almost identical to what you've proposed, no longer exists. It seems to have gone into the dustbin of history.)

I think it's important that I emphasize on a comment I made here. Create your site without the use of the word 'dieselpunk.' If you don't attach the term 'dieselpunk' to your site you won't hear a condemnation from me.

(Edited by myself after re-reading some previous details of posts that I missed.)

You invoked Godwin's Law twice in your last statement, so obviously you are done.

Let me leave you with this:

#1 - I never said "Nazis r kewl" in reference to you. I simply stated why I am more cautious regarding this subject as opposed to the other topics you brought up. If anything threatens the wellbeing of this website, of course I'm going to do something about it. It gives background to my position and my actions.

#2 - Just because a few other people do it, doesn't make it right. Hell, if a ton of people do it, it doesn't make it right. You pointed us to articles and you tried to support your position by saying "some people do it," but it never really supports your point as to "why" or "how this seperates the symbol from the meaning." In fact, I would react the same if a KKK fetish group advertised on my site, claiming they love dressing that way simply because they enjoyed the look of white sheets.

#3 - Are you truly asking for people to send you hate mail? And why do you assume they would send the mail to you, instead of the editor/mod/owner of the website you're posting on? Those who wish to interact with you directly are doing so.

#4 - I'm sorry you grew up in a tough environment, but that doesn't make it right. Everyone feels like they're a victim of something, but it doesn't justify their actions. And in the same breath where you talk about taking the higher road for not condeming the "obnoxious zealots" Roman Catholicism, you do just that. I'm not a religious guy, so I enjoyed the irony.

#5 - If you feel that I'm "spinning" Nazis as being the scum of the Earth who should not be put into any kind of positive light, then I'll keep spinning until I run out of years.

#6 - Your statement that "someone else would come along sooner or later with the same idea to start a club for this sub-genre" may be true, and they couldn't have aruged for it any better than you have. Unfortunately, there's no argument that is going to convince people that you can seperate Nazi symbology with the actions and history of Nazism. You would be better off arguing that the swastika is a symbol for balance and goodness. At least that discussion has facts to back it up.

Thank you, and good bye. For the simple fact that you called me a Nazi, I hope we never speak again.

I must say i have enjoyed this thread,and the subject and very good flow from all the members here.

I have seen (and been active) other forums/groups and watched them go to rack and ruin with the in-fighting over the Nazi subject with points getting lost and tempers with bad feelings taking over.

But on the whole all of you have put up some real good reading.

I have learned about: The Patterns of Force,Hugo Boss,and Godwin's Law.

But as or the link to "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" sorry that was Nazi. 

I'm sitting here watching one of those "documentaries" that is suggesting the nazis had access to other worldly technology...might be an idea for a sketch or two? Not a nazi scene obviously, but it gives me an idea.

Greetings Phil,

Good Side Tracking! (LOL) Perhaps you would care to carry this subject on to another thread???

"the nazis had access to other worldly technology" is currently one of my ~ special interests ~. I've been stumbling over all kinds of strange stuff (and artwork) related to this topic. Not all that sure if I believe the notion, but it sure is an interesting concept! 

Phil Savage said:

I'm sitting here watching one of those "documentaries" that is suggesting the nazis had access to other worldly technology...might be an idea for a sketch or two? Not a nazi scene obviously, but it gives me an idea.

Tome, you've got yourself one tough job here, but you do whatever ya gotta do to preserve this site. THAT goes even without saying. I have no problem with giving the Bum's Rush to "the scum of the Earth". Yet not all of the daemons of this Diesel Fired era wore such distinctive "Black Hats". Though others may have chosen to forget, many who faced them have equally as long and pain filled memories. It is a very sad thing to say, but I doubt that your Dp site would be threatened with closure if anyone should ever choose to aggrandize them. . . . Funny thing how this old world works.

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