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Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The subject keeps coming up as to what "Dieselpunk" means, be it a genre, a subculture, an aestetic, a lifestyle, etc....

This keeps getting discussed in every other topic to the point of derailing discussions, for which I admit my own guilt as much as anyone.  it seems worth having a topic just to discuss this centrally important issue.  As Larry mentioned in another thread, this is a big tent with room for interpretations, but it's probably worthwhile to keep an open dialog just to better acquaint ourselves and our passions.

Just to get the ball rolling, here's a few of the interpretations I've gleaned from our members:

 

Dieselpunk is a...

Genre: it is an interpretation of SF/cyberpunk fiction and art through a Diesel Age lens. You read books by Robert Jackson Benett and have a Stefan image on your desktop.

Cosplay: it's a chance to dress up in wild styles inspired by the Diesel Age.  You dress in fedoras or peaked caps for parties or cons.

Fandom: as the two above and specifically where they intersect.  You dress as Diesel Fett for Gencon.

Aestetic/Look: it's placing a Diesel Era look upon today's things, be it retro clothing, streamline/deco design, jazz/swing-influenced music, etc.  Perhaps openly influenced by Punk Punk (tats, piercings, odd hair), perhaps not. 

DIY: as above, but you make it yourself. You've customized your iPod to look like a Ronson Lighter. 

Culture/Counterculture: it is a set of shared values and styles, self-defining, nostalgic or ironic, that go against the mainstream grain and seek to ellicit change or at least stand out.  You wear your fedora in rebellion against the souless, corporate mainstream social order.  Pissing off your parents is optional.

Lifestyle: as above, but you're dressing the part every day rather than just for meetups/cons/nights out.  You wear your fedora to the office, insist on vintage cocktails at work parties, and hum Ellington or Wolfgang Parker as you strut down the street.

All/Some/None of the Above: what it says on the tin, some combination of the above elements or something else entirely.

 

So, what's it to ya', Pops?  What's your take?

 

Tags: Dieselpunk, culture, debate, philosophy

Views: 1532

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I'm referring to your statement that the separate wikipage was taken down because "there is no such thing as Dieselpunk".
But, also to the response of Star Wars as an example of Dieselpunk being ridiculous.
Something bigger and better is great - but is some other concept.

It's like going to a site for Rectangular fans but the examples of rectangular are mostly triangles and includes octagons and pentagons - I'm teimg to understand how triangles and octagons are rectangular. Which is why it's not a matter of "how rectangular is it?" The answer appears to be because this community wants "Rectangular" to be more inclusive and thus include anything that can be subdivided into triangles.

Closer to my actual experience, it's like listening to The Chilidog Podcast and find referrals of places to go to find great chilidogs. McDonalds has a great chilidog called a Big Mac - all chilidog fans will love it. I check it out and discover that the Big Mac is actually a type of hamburger rather than a type of hot dog. That Burger King has a wonderful new chilidog called a Whopper and when I check it out, it, again, is a hamburger; not a hotdog. And that Subway has a delicious chilidog called the All-Beef Footlong, but it's really a shredded beef sub rather than a type of hotdog.
I'm trying to find out how these count as chilidogs when they have no chili and hotdogs and I'm told it's because they all have sandwich buns - and this specific community wants to give a broader definition to the term chilidog so they can be more inclusive of other restaurants.

Something bigger and better than just another sci-fi splinter group is great.
I think it probably warrants a unique term.
And, even if not, IMO, it would be helpful to be clear in your defintion that your concept is specifically striving to not be limited to Cyberpunk 40 years earlier or Steampunk 20 years later.
If you get enough followers, sure, you can broaden the meaning of chilidog or Dieselpunk.
I'm basically just trying to understand why people are using a Big Mac as an example of a chilidog.
Now that I have that understanding, I can just sit back and watch whether society at large will embrace that re-definition.

I wonder, too, if it will just end up forming a new splinter - Orthodox Dieselpunk and Tomesian Dieselpunk.


Tome Wilson said:

...it should be evident why there would be a backlash

Other than your own orthodox viewpoint, what backlash are you talking about?  If anything, the wider definition of dieselpunk as promoted here has prevented a backlash from fans wishing it was more inclusive.  I understand you have a view of what you think it should be (another derivative of cyberpunk), but you have to understand that what we're shooting for is something bigger and better than just another sci-fi splinter group.

I'm referring to your statement that the separate wikipage was taken down because "there is no such thing as Dieselpunk".

That decision was made by one admin at Wikipedia who seemed to have more seniority over the other admins. The other admins reopened the page a few times, and tried to rally, but the one admin's filibuster would not be swayed. That the "dieselpunk" article on Wiki even exists as a paragraph under Cyberpunk seems to be a huge victory against this particular admin. His argument was that dieselpunk does not really exist because the term is not widely used in authoritative print media, therefore it is not relevant enough to warrant an entry. I believe Lord K posted the Wiki-talk archive page link last week here in the forums if you want to review the whole discussion.

Something bigger and better than just another sci-fi splinter group is great. I think it probably warrants a unique term.

If the community understands the word to mean one thing, and you understand it to mean something else, what makes more sense? Like everyone is mentioning, they understand dieselpunk to be defined as:

Dieselpunk is a style that blends the art and culture of the 1920s - 1950s with today.

The era we look to for inspiration was defined by movement and revolution: jazz, modern art, world wars, streamlined technology, and an evolution from stilted, Victorian-era hypocrisy. Our goal is to shape a better future for ourselves by merging the zeitgeist of the past with today's technology and attitudes.

It's not hidden. It's the first thing on the homepage.

If you think it's something more defined, then more power to you. I live this site and this culture every day, so I have to respectfully disagree with your statement.  On a daily basis since early 2009, I've personally reviewed every mention of the word "dieselpunk," "dieselpank," "petrolpank," "diesel punk," "decopunk," "raygun gothic," etc. that has ever been entered into a public website, and I've dug back from there to see what else was said about the subject before this website was even started.  Short of Piecraft's singular post-apocalyptic Mad Max definition of dieselpunk, the only time I see your specific definition is when the speaker is describing 20th Century steampunk.

In essence, what you're describing is a square and what we're describing a rectangle.

A square can be a rectangle, and by definition is a rectangle, but you have to understand that a rectangle is not always a square, and by comparison dieselpunk is not always confined by the tropes you've described.  Those tropes are certainly part of the core of what we're fans of, but it's not the end-all be-all of the aesthetic.

Tome, what if my rectangle has round sides? ;)

Depends on how one is defining the community. Everywhere else I go on the 'net Dieselpunk is understood to be Cyberpunk 40 years earlier and Steampunk 20 years later. This site (and those who frequent it) apparently strives to re-define the term - which is why I've been seeking out that specific understanding - that you want it to be something other than the a Cyberpunk derivative.

Rectangular is a four-sided object. It's not simply a three-sided object. You have to add something to a triangle to make an object rectangular. Just as you have to add something to Neo-Swing to make it Dieselpunk - the derivative of Cyberpunk. Just as adding extra triangles to form an octagon wouldn't be rectangular; nor is Star Wars Dieselpunk - the derivative of Cyberpunk.

The difference between Neo-Swing and Dieselpunk -the derivative of Cyberpunk- is not merely the difference between a square and a rectangle. Rectangular could even include a four-sided object with rounded edges. There is plenty of room for blur. But rectangular has to have four sides - if it's just three sides, it's not rectangular and if it's eight sides, it's also not rectangular. There are already other terms for those types of objects.

Especially for those people who learn of the term from this site - clearly it's not "always" confined by the tropes I've described.

Of course, you can disagree. That's what open dialogue is all about. Unless, the tag "debate" also has some other meaning here.

 

@Johnny Dellarocca

A "rectangle" with rounded SIDES is likely to be circular, rather than rectangular.

 

 

 
Tome Wilson said:

If you think it's something more defined, then more power to you. I live this site and this culture every day, so I have to respectfully disagree with your statement.  On a daily basis since early 2009, I've personally reviewed every mention of the word "dieselpunk," "dieselpank," "petrolpank," "diesel punk," "decopunk," "raygun gothic," etc. that has ever been entered into a public website, and I've dug back from there to see what else was said about the subject before this website was even started.  Short of Piecraft's singular post-apocalyptic Mad Max definition of dieselpunk, the only time I see your specific definition is when the speaker is describing 20th Century steampunk.

In essence, what you're describing is a square and what we're describing a rectangle.

A square can be a rectangle, and by definition is a rectangle, but you have to understand that a rectangle is not always a square, and by comparison dieselpunk is not always confined by the tropes you've described.  Those tropes are certainly part of the core of what we're fans of, but it's not the end-all be-all of the aesthetic.

Can I just mention that it's only the *name* that is a derivative of cyberpunk. Steampunk and dieselpunk predates cyberpunk by decades, it just didn't have a name.

That's a very good point Atterton.

I was Dieselpunk as early as 1985. Long before it was given an "official" name.

 

That was kind of my point. I have complete disregard for lines, definitions and boundaries. Rules, like bones, are made to be broken.

:)


 
O. G. Vodoun said:

@Johnny Dellarocca

A "rectangle" with rounded SIDES is likely to be circular, rather than rectangular.

 

 

 

Right. Which probably makes it difficult for you to label things correctly.

Here's another analogy:
It's like going listening to a the Catholic Church podcast, but all of the examples the podcast gives of "wonderful Catholic Churches" are Baptist, Mormon and Episcopal. I'm wondering why that is.
If it's because you don't care about labels and anything Christian is Catholic to you, that's fine with me.
If it's because you want to change the original vision of Catholicism to be more inclusive, that's fine with me as well.

Here's an anecdote...
When I was a kid, we rarely had biscuits or dinner rolls - mostly just Wonder Bread.
I didn't have biscuits or rolls often enough to make a distinction - they were both just great tasting lumps of bread that I would scarf down -whenever- if they popped up in our East Coast home.
In college, I worked for the campus catering service (UT, holla!). One night for dinner, I was sent down to fetch the rolls. I ended up returning with and serving biscuits. The guests were outraged. "Don't you knownthat biscuits are for breakfast and rolls are for dinner???!!!"
Nope. I didn't know. At the time I didn't pay attention to the labels or really think about the distinction between the concepts of biscuit and roll. And I had no clue that there were rules around when they should be served.
These days, I eat breakfast biscuits enough that if I order one but handed a roll or english muffin, it makes enough of a difference that I'll send it back - especially if it's an english muffin.

So...
When I'm listening to the Biscuit Podcast and I'm presented with places where I can find a great biscuit, only to discover, when I check the places out, that none of the examples serve biscuits, I'm left wondering why. Why are rolls and english muffins being labeled as biscuits?
I'm just trying to understand why that is happening.
If the answer is because you don't care about labels, OK.
If the answer is because you want to start a Movement that expands the meaning of biscuit to include anything from yeast, OK. I'll be interested to see how much of a following that gets and how that impacts the larger society, worldwide.

Star Wars is not Dieselpunk just as a english muffin is not a biscuit.
Neo-Swing is different from Dieselpunk just as a biscuit is different from a dinner roll.
Simply wearing a fedora or a zoot suit to work is not Dieselpunk, that's just Neo-Swing. You have to add other stuff to make Neo-Swing Dieselpunk. Retro-contemporary is not retro-futuristic and that retro-futuristic element is crucial.
Again, that scene in the Autotopsy Turvy episode of Psych is not Dieselpunk, it's Neo-Swing/Swing Revival.

I want to understand why you call rolls and english muffins "biscuits".
That you have a complete disregard for lines, definitions and boundaries is a great answer.
It explains perfectly why you can make statements like, "I've always said english muffins are biscuits."





Johnny Dellarocca said:

That was kind of my point. I have complete disregard for lines, definitions and boundaries. Rules, like bones, are made to be broken.

:)


 
O. G. Vodoun said:

@Johnny Dellarocca

A "rectangle" with rounded SIDES is likely to be circular, rather than rectangular.

 

 

 

This whole argument is circular...

Okay.  Let me ask this.  Where did you get your definition of "dieselpunk" from, and where did they get it from?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I never made any allsuions to this being a website about biscuits.  If you want to stick with your definition, that's cool because we accept your definition as being a part of our definition, but you're not getting anywhere with the prosthelytizing.  It cuts out too much of what this community is centered around and what it's interested in.

Wow. That's a lot to digest. My only response is a question. Have you ever ordered a biscuit in London? 

O. G. Vodoun said:
Right. Which probably makes it difficult for you to label things correctly.

Here's another analogy:
It's like going listening to a the Catholic Church podcast, but all of the examples the podcast gives of "wonderful Catholic Churches" are Baptist, Mormon and Episcopal. I'm wondering why that is.
If it's because you don't care about labels and anything Christian is Catholic to you, that's fine with me.
If it's because you want to change the original vision of Catholicism to be more inclusive, that's fine with me as well.

Here's an anecdote...
When I was a kid, we rarely had biscuits or dinner rolls - mostly just Wonder Bread.
I didn't have biscuits or rolls often enough to make a distinction - they were both just great tasting lumps of bread that I would scarf down -whenever- if they popped up in our East Coast home.
In college, I worked for the campus catering service (UT, holla!). One night for dinner, I was sent down to fetch the rolls. I ended up returning with and serving biscuits. The guests were outraged. "Don't you knownthat biscuits are for breakfast and rolls are for dinner???!!!"
Nope. I didn't know. At the time I didn't pay attention to the labels or really think about the distinction between the concepts of biscuit and roll. And I had no clue that there were rules around when they should be served.
These days, I eat breakfast biscuits enough that if I order one but handed a roll or english muffin, it makes enough of a difference that I'll send it back - especially if it's an english muffin.

So...
When I'm listening to the Biscuit Podcast and I'm presented with places where I can find a great biscuit, only to discover, when I check the places out, that none of the examples serve biscuits, I'm left wondering why. Why are rolls and english muffins being labeled as biscuits?
I'm just trying to understand why that is happening.
If the answer is because you don't care about labels, OK.
If the answer is because you want to start a Movement that expands the meaning of biscuit to include anything from yeast, OK. I'll be interested to see how much of a following that gets and how that impacts the larger society, worldwide.

Star Wars is not Dieselpunk just as a english muffin is not a biscuit.
Neo-Swing is different from Dieselpunk just as a biscuit is different from a dinner roll.
Simply wearing a fedora or a zoot suit to work is not Dieselpunk, that's just Neo-Swing. You have to add other stuff to make Neo-Swing Dieselpunk. Retro-contemporary is not retro-futuristic and that retro-futuristic element is crucial.
Again, that scene in the Autotopsy Turvy episode of Psych is not Dieselpunk, it's Neo-Swing/Swing Revival.

I want to understand why you call rolls and english muffins "biscuits".
That you have a complete disregard for lines, definitions and boundaries is a great answer.
It explains perfectly why you can make statements like, "I've always said english muffins are biscuits."





Johnny Dellarocca said:

That was kind of my point. I have complete disregard for lines, definitions and boundaries. Rules, like bones, are made to be broken.

:)


 
O. G. Vodoun said:

@Johnny Dellarocca

A "rectangle" with rounded SIDES is likely to be circular, rather than rectangular.

 

 

 

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