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?
Please don't tell the others what they should do. And it is not a friendly advice but a message from one of the Network's lieutenants. Coppish?
O. G. Vodoun said:
Yes. A suit and a fedora is just Neo-Swing. It was never placed in the Punk fashion category.
There are many different kinds of counter-culture fashion styles that aren't Punk.
Dieselpunk is specifically retro-futuristic - it's beyond retro-contemporary. If the fuuristic elements are missing, but there are strong Punk aesthetics, at least it is literally a fusion of "Diesel Era" fashion and Punk fashion.
If it's just retro with no Punk fashion or futuristic elements - that's simply Neo-Swing.
Just as Neo-Victorian and Neo-Edwardian are not the same thing as Steampunk.
You have to Punk, Clockwork or Steam-power those fashion styles in order to count as Steampunk.
Joshua Spencer said:
So just to double check, from your point of view, a suit and fedora is more Neo-swing, but a suit and fedora with a Dick Tracy style communicator watch and maybe a futuristic mauser in a shoulder holster would be Dieselpunk. Like I said before, I don't necessarily agree. I think that the suit and fedora or Zoot suit is a counter-cultural statement in itself, but I can see the ground you are standing on.
If I drive around town in my Packard wearing a Zoot suit and listening to swing music = I'm not a Dieselpunk???
If I drive around wearing my Green Hornet mask, with my vintage Buck Rodgers Ray Gun in a shoulder rig, while listening to The Shadow on the radio and flashing my tattoos = would THAT make me Dieselpunk???
Frankly, I think that some folks should stop trying to define and enforce their ~ visions ~ of what IS or IS NOT Dieselpunk on others and just enjoy the things that make it what it is for themselves. And at the same time let others enjoy their own visions. Life's too short for anybody to be needing Dieselpunk Dictators stuffing them into pigeonholes.
I LOVE the "Diesel" Era. ALL OF IT. The technology, the mindset, the history, the fiction, the music, the humor, the Pulps, the Retro-Future visions. ALL OF IT! I even love seeing OTHER folk's visions of the era and what they interpret as Diesel for themselves. It Really Is ~ ALL GOOD ~! . . . You can keep the pigeonholes, I'll take The BIG "Tent" any old day! LOL
It ain't punk rock 'til the punk rockers say it's punk rock.(c)
I don't reject labels. As a scientist I know how useful they can be. However they are not worth much if they just mean whatever you want them to mean. Judging by the Brassgoggles forum, the word "punk" has more varied meanings than any other word I know.
I've had members of the Punk subculture say we can't use the term Dieselpunk. Frankly, I couldn't give a damn what they have to say.
The word "punk" was used hundreds of years before it was attached to their subculture. The members of the Punk subculture have no monopoly on the word and the moment they claim monopoly they're no longer "punk" and, to use their language, become posers.
Komissar Hass said:
It ain't punk rock 'til the punk rockers say it's punk rock.(c)
Atterton said:I don't reject labels. As a scientist I know how useful they can be. However they are not worth much if they just mean whatever you want them to mean. Judging by the Brassgoggles forum, the word "punk" has more varied meanings than any other word I know.
WELL SAID, Larry!!!
Ahhh . . . the utter irony of True Anarchy. LOL
And I LOVE the photo as well! (LOL) Good One!
It rather a 1940s look, IMO. We mentioned it in Dieselpunk Encyclopedia as a 'genre-related' film. Btw, Gattaca was one of the sources of inspiration for our book which is not exactly dieselpunk.
I'm just watching Gattaca. There's a good example of a movie mixing the modern with a 1930s look and yet it is science fiction, not dieselpunk. Or at least not retrofuturism.
coming back to the initial topic - I definitely "feel" dieselpunk while I'm wearing trousers with suspenders, waistcoat with smartphones in pockets, military-flavoured blazer, gear-(or skull-, or tank-) shaped cufflinks and VNV Nation's "Control" is pumping in Skullcandy Aviators.
Larry, Tome and I continued this discussion on this week's episode of The Diesel Powered Podcast - now available at iTunes and http://bigdaddycoolshows.podomatic.com.
Warning - Larry & Tome are diplomatic, but BDC names names. :)