Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

After talking with lord_k we both agreed that we need to have a healthy discussion on whether the term dieselpunk should be objective or subjective given our disagreement over the movie The Postman (see here)

There are some obvious pros on the term being objective:

- allows for quick identification
- eliminates disputes
- references are much more clearer

However, there are also some cons:

- some dieselpunkish art might disperse and be used to organize another form of "dieselpunk", undermining the "movement"
- Dieselpunk being an umbrella term for things that approximate dieselpunk allows for a greater quantity and quality of examples of dieselpunk to present to newcomers
- The differences between dieselpunk aproximations and a possible objective dieselpunk aren't that great

What is your opinion about this?

As lord_k puts it, should "The world after Big Badaboom instead of some alternate reality with no badabooms at all" be considered dieselpunk?

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OK...I posted this in another thread, but rather than re-type it here, I'm just going to re-post it here with the following caveat.
The views expressed in this post are subject to change without warning...
I feel that to me the key to the "Is this Dieselpunk?" (really is this X-Punk?) depends on a couple of things...
First, to me at least, any discussion of D-Punk requires the use of Alternate History, or else we are just looking at Mad Max. To me, D-Punk is a "What If" not a "What Now?"
Allow me to explain a lil...
D-Punk is(again, my view here. Feel free to disagree) what happens if technology had actually fulfilled the promises of Popular Science and the pulp genre in the time period they where first dreamed up.
D-punkIS NOT The world is ended, now we need to try and re-purpose a great deal of dead machines into the new tech base.(this is Mad Max Land....)

Don't get me wrong, I love me a Poccyclpyse (to the point of starting a website on the subject) and I love me some D-punk, Steampunk and even some Cyperpunk...but I feel that they are mutually exclusive while being closely connected.
There are certain elements that are shared across the styles/feels/ideals, and that is a good thing...else we all wither and die.

My two pence. Now, back to my workshop I go.
Well, to me, alternate history includes both the positive (or, for the purposes of the Gatehouse definitions, Ottensian) "what if" and the negative (Piecraftian) "what if."

On one side, what if everything went perfectly right, the way the ideals of the 30s saw them as going ("fulfilled the promises of Popular Science"), and we have a shiny penny brave new world. On the other hand, what if everything went horribly wrong? Which leads us both to the dark dystopian 1984 world of the future and the post-apocalyptic Mad Max world of the future, where man still clings to the gritty, oily, diesel-powered machines, the only source of power (both literally and figuratively) in a dying world.

The world could have gone either way - we were on the brink of disaster and global holocaust several times in the last century - and fiction writing about that period goes both ways. (To me, if all of future fiction was the sanitized Star Trek vision of the future, it would be pretty boring.)
I agree on the Star Trek vision being a snoozer.
Don't get me wrong...I am a huge fan of Officer Rockatansky, MFP.
I can see D-Punk elements in that world, especially in the technology and vehicles, however the social construct is completely at odds with what I view D-punk as. D-punk is a brave new world (shiny penny not required) even if it all went horribly wrong, it should still hold a sense of wonder and excitement about what new technology comes over the horizon next. Not the sense of wonder at what you are able to re-purpose and/or resurrect from the ashes of the last age.
I have no problem considering Orwellian 1984 for inclusion in the D-punk arena...however I don't see Mad Max as an outgrowth of 1984. If it was, then most of the horror, loss, and drama is gone from those stories.
Arguing over what constitutes Dieselpunk is like arguing over what constitutes Christianity.

We live in an age now where everything seemingly has to be dissected into separate sets and subsets - even subsets of subsets. I think that makes it all the more important that the proper posture for Dieselpunk/Steampunk enthusiasts is to keep things as open-ended, vague, umbrella-encompassing, and ill-defined as possible.

People that want to pin things down and set official standards for things are the enemy - whether they realize it or not - of that which they seek to quantify and qualify.

Sometimes, the more you look, the less you know.
Telecrylic, your point has merit. IMHO, in this postmodern age trying to come up with a precise definition is doomed to failure.

That being said I do believe that it's possible, and is in fact needed, for the dieselpunk community to continue an ongoing internal discussion as to what is meant by "dieselpunk." In the process of doing so, while I'm confident that we're going to find many common elements that most of us will agree on, the meaning of "dieselpunk" will ultimately be very individualized in nature.
This is all my own opinion, and while people may (will) bash me for it, I'll give it a try.

I grew up reading books, watching movies, and playing games that were all considered Steampunk. Didn't know the term for it until a few months ago. And while they all have a central theme based around steam technology, that's pretty much where it all ends. You have more realistic ideas, and then more fantasy ideas, but they still corner into Steampunk. I've seen many argue about how "That's not Steampunk! You're out of the club!" But it's all in the eye of the beholder. While I may believe something is Steampunk, another may not.

Now, I also grew up a History Geek, and I love the 1920's. Always have, always will. When someone said the term Dieselpunk to me, I looked it up. To be honest, there's a lot of really cool ideas behind Dieselpunk that I like. Especially the fact that my Steampunk outfit was called more Dieselpunk (that's how I first heard the term), I like it more!

I think instead of trying to put everything into one list (and if it's not on that list, it's not Dieselpunk. Throw it out), I think it should just be a couple points, but with room to expand into whatever any individual believes. Since I just started looking into what Dieselpunk is, I'm not going to start saying what I believe it is. But I do believe that instead of putting so much red tape on what it is and what it isn't, I think people should just have fun with it. Don't worry about other people who don't know what is it. As long as you know, that's all that matters.
This is true. If ten people point at the sky and say "blue" and ten others point and say "green," then it's feasible they're pointing at two different things in the sky and not at the sky itself.

By defining something, you give it a sense of reality, even if that definition is broad.
Brother thou art preaching to the choir. There are a hundred times more things that are SteamPunk than are DieselPunk but even in that broad category there are people who will argue over what is and is not SP. Just shoot them in the head with a nerf pistol and carry on.
I wouldn't really say that. The way I was told what Dieselpunk is was this: 1920's - mid 40's, not as sci-fi or fantasy as Steampunk is, but more factual. So in my mind, I see Dieselpunk as everything that really happened during that timeframe. Probably not accurate as it really happened (I do think Sky Captain, The Rocketeer, and a few other historical sci-fi movies as Dieselpunk), but that's how I see it. lol
Once again we see exactly eye to eye on this, the period 1910 to 1949 took us from horseless carriages to Atom bombs, do we need (additional) Sci-Fi ?

For example if you look at the little rocket fighters like the Me-163B it was faster, longer ranged and more dangerous than any fictional rocket pack.
Exactly! While Steampunk is more along the lines of "What if?" Dieselpunk is more along the lines of "This actually happened!" I think that's why I like DP more. You don't have to go way out of the way.
Think about the Flying Tigers, aeroplane mercenaries in (for that time) state of the art fighters. If anything they lived a more exciting life than most fictional heroes.

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