Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Scripted on March 2, 2010 by Tome Wilson.
Offered to this forum to promote discussion and unity within the dieselpunk community.

The tenets of dieselpunk culture can be understood as follows:

Dieselpunk is not a new and spurious trend.

It grew legs and walked upright as soon as the Greatest Generation returned from the front. It merges our grandfathers' dreams with the freedoms of the ages that came after it. Unrestricted by class, gender or prejudice, we are free to build our own vision of the future and are limited only by our own ambition.

"A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!'. So he kicks over a garbage can and says 'That's Punk?', and I say 'No that's trendy!"
- Billie Joe Armstrong

Dieselpunks are not interested in historical purity.

Rather than sealing oneself in the dusty coffins of a long dead past, a dieselpunk should adopt the orphan zeitgeist of earlier days and raise it in the modern age. By fusing the past with today, he builds something new that would be unexpected in any age.

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see."
- Winston Churchill

The Greatest Generation is an inspiration for dieselpunks, not a goal.

A dieselpunk must learn the past, but should be wary not to chain himself to it in the process. We strive to create a future that not only meets the achievements of our grandfathers, but surpasses it with achievements of our own. It is not enough to live in the shadow of another generation; we must find our own path, achieve greatness and inspire others to do the same.

"We decided to start our own group because we were bored with everything we heard ... Everything was 10th-generation Led Zeppelin ... overproduced, or just junk. We missed music like it used to be."
- Joey Ramone

"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso."
- Pablo Picasso

Dieselpunk art desires monumentality.

The hands of our grandfathers were not busy creating fragile trinkets; things meant to expire before the tides changed. They did not lay their foundations on beams of light and hope that others would be there to support it when the darkness came. Like a good parent, the Greatest Generation created objects and ideas that outlived their creators to be loved by future generations. Our reliance on the digital world cannot be trusted to carry our dreams into the future. Our own progress has raced ahead of our need for permanence, and only those that truly realize this will be remembered by tomorrow's generation.

"History is written by the victors."
- Winston Churchill

Dieselpunk art balances form with function.

A dieselpunk does not strive to create the absurd. Instead, his creation blends the desirability and craftsmanship born of years of expert labor with the technological marvels of today. It is not enough to create a wonder in itself. That wonder must excite the lust of the artist while also fulfilling its desired function.

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
- Pablo Picasso

Every dieselpunk is responsible for himself and his community.

A dieselpunk community will form when like-minded people learn to respect the freedoms and works of one another. The community is formed to bolster the efforts of the individual, and to strengthen the foundations of the community as a whole. Like a skyscraper, a dieselpunk should reach for the greatest heights imaginable knowing that he is supported by the experience of those around him, but he should not rely on others to push him upwards.

"My attitude is if somebody blunders into the level of popularity; at least remember the human factor. These guys are still human beings and hopefully still have hearts and if you keep in touch with them rather than vilify them you may be able to encourage them to go in the right direction. What I'm hoping will eventually happen is that they will grasp the amount of power and financial clout that is now at their fingertips and use those as tools to help real people with real things the way punk politics was always designed to do before, but nobody had any money."
- Jello Biafra

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
- Teddy Roosevelt

A dieselpunk does not seek to gather armies for the purpose of war.

As each dieselpunk is responsible for himself and his community, deterring another from their artistic goals should not be tolerated unless those goals rot the foundations of the whole. A dieselpunk will choose what is best for themselves using experience, rationale and his own code of morals, not by being rallied or prosthelytized.

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
- Winston Churchill

"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

The greatest crime a dieselpunk can commit is not contributing to their own vision of the future.

Dieselpunks are not stagnant consumers. The dieselpunk mentality demands dynamism in thinking and expression. It is not enough to consume the fruits of our father's labor and suckle the milk of our corporate mothers. In order to grow in mind and spirit, dieselpunks and their communities must strive to create a vision of the future using whatever tools they are armed with: the brush, the pen, the camera, or the wrench.

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
- Pablo Picasso

"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."
- George S. Patton

"It's no good being nice and young and naive. There's no good in that at all. You've got to do it all yourself, and you've gotta learn quick. And you can't look for sympathy either."
- Johnny Rotten

"I never worry about action, but only inaction."
- Winston Churchill

"What you don't do can be a destructive force."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

"To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor - sail, not drift."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

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I love the list you have here and agree on all points.

You have incorporated great quotes as well. :]
Not a single objection. And a style to admire. Good ideas penned with grace.
No objections here at all. An excellent list. And some fantastic quotes.
That billy joe armstrong really does the trick. Great job!
If you had something to add or change to this manifesto, what would it be?
I agree completely. Not only am I a rabid Green Day fan but I think he captured the meaning of 'punk', regardless of whether we're talking music, dieselpunk, steampunk, cyberpunk, etc...
Here is where I risk being villified - but I would rework the section:
A dieselpunk does not seek to gather armies for the purpose of war.

As each dieselpunk is responsible for himself and his community, deterring another from their goals should not be tolerated. A dieselpunk will choose what is best for himself using experience, rationale and his own code of morals, not by being rallied or prosthelytized.

somehow. I agree with the quote by the First Lady (and with Churchill, too, of course...) but I can't accept the idea that because I am responsible for community, that means I should never tolerate detering others from their goals. I'm sure some of the greatest tyrants in history had their own goals - and our fathers and grandfathers laid down their lives to prevent them from accomplishing it. By this standard, their actions are not to be tolerated.

I likewise understand the need for 'to thine own self be true' in the second half of the statement - but you can't be that exclusively and community minded at the same time. It's the law of the excluded middle. Punk is punk, yes - but there is balance to be had. Sometimes, like my grandpa, one must lay aside their own preferences (like, for example, a peaceful life with his bride and children) and take up the cause of the 'many' - and sometimes, just sometimes - it takes a rally to awaken the slumbering masses. Even punk, when we think about it, is a call - a rally to action and originality - a prosthyletic call to authenticity. I think we mistake if we equate this authenticity with radical individualism. I don't think a call is a right or wrong call purely by virtue of how many are making it, nor by the forum in which it is made, but soley by the content of its character (to borrow a phrase).
Great insight! In your opinion, should we amend it to specify "artistic goal" rather than "goal" in general?
Lot's of good food for thought there, Dr Atomic.
PS I don't think you should ever be concerned about being vilified here. I've found members of this site to be some of the coolest I've met online.
Do I have permission to reprint these in second life? I'll be attempting to rally a Dieselpunk community there.
Go for it. What's the name of your 2L group?
Just formally forming it tonight. We're going to get a sim going called "sapphire city" I have one member so far but I have a growing list of interested people. I'll be scheduling an informational meeting and see who shows up and go from there.

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