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?

 

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Dieselpunk for me is an aesthetic, genre and general atmosphere that crosses a lot of media. It's an inspiration and, more than anything, a feeling. I was chasing that vibe long before I ever knew there was a name for it. There are things I can take or leave about the genre as it stands, but the things I love, I love hard.

As with steampunk and any other past-focused subgenres I think it's important to keep a sense of postmodernism about it and try not to romanticize the past too much.

Great statement, J.R. I strongly agree.

J.R. said:

As with steampunk and any other past-focused subgenres I think it's important to keep a sense of postmodernism about it and try not to romanticize the past too much.

For me, while I may be a fan of movies or books or music or fashion, that is not what dieselpunk means to me.  Oh all the trappings and fictions and music is great, cool and wonderful but...

Dieselpunk (and Punks in general)  has for me at its core two very important reasons for being:

One.  Punk... whether Dieselpunk or Steampunk or other punk movements are the antibody's of culture striking out against homogenization of thought and culture. This is important especially if you give validity to Dr. Susan Blackmoores work on memetics. "At the February 2008 TED conference Blackmore introduced a special category of memes called temes. Temes are memes which live in technological artifacts instead of the human mind".  If the concept of memes and Temes is correct, then Punk culture gives the Human to Humanity. We need that, now more then ever.

Two: The 21st century faces a series of amazing challenges, some of which that could be counted as extinction level events.  From Climate Change to Asteroid strikes, these challenges are complex beasts that will require the can do attitude, courage and vision that is embodied in the dieselpunk culture.  The first Geo-Engineers will be punk, the Maker/DIY movement is the successor of the mechanics, machinists, electronic hobbyists,  etc of the 40's and 50's. But all the tech and research in the world won't do a dam thing if we do not have the courage to embrace the human spirits can do attitude of sleeves rolled up, hard work being done.  Dieselpunks "Know" what they know. Call it resilience, street smarts or book learning, "knowing" what you know (Like doing a DFD for modeling data flow) sets you apart from most of the consumer driven industrialized world.

So from my point of view, it does not matter where your inspiration, your courage , your vision comes from... whether from seeing a cool steampunk vest at a con or a hot rod rat's ride moving down the street or a stylish fedora on a chap in a bar,... that electric thrill you feel... you grasp it, breathe it and live it.  

Do something with it, cause the world is counting on you to be the "punk" that you are.

k, I flapped my gums enough for now...

Well stated, Doc.

Kevin Doc, I agree with Cap'n. Excellent! May I repost what you wrote at a Steampunk site that I'm a member of?

Hi Larry,  

I am humbled & honored by you and Cap'n Tony's words.

just writing from my gut.

Please feel free to re post with attribution. :-) 

As I state in the description of my page (the Dieselpunk Italian Manifesto, first Italian DP group), to me and hopefully to all the bros out there, DP is not only style/fashion/counter-culture.

It IS culture. And by culture I mean art - yes, books, games, movies, etc. both from the past and the present - but also taking and adopting the most beautiful and fascinating features of a long lost society, the society of our grandfathers, as an inspiration for our look, meetings and... well, in one word, LIFESTYLE.

Unfortunately, today (at least in this part of Europe) the public sees it more as a sub-genre of unknown sub-cultures (we're lucky if the average young Italian knows what a Steampunker is, imagine for Dieselpunkers!) and it's still seen as something only for "weirdos". But it is encouraging to see more and more people going for meetings or club-nights dressed (and acting...) a bit in DP style. This is the best way to spread our name, I think :)

Well said miss,

being different- always attracts the curiosity and sometimes the ire of the mainstream. the reasons why are myriad, some being simple and others complex.  The "otherness" can disappear if the mainstream discovers the alternative to be helpful in some way or by demonstrating a shared aspect of humanity.  that is why it is important to make the culture yours, in all you say and do, authenticity is required.  

Will this stop all the haters? no, but that should not matter.  It is life, and we live it large...

:-)

Miss Lenore Arcangelo Mellotron said:

As I state in the description of my page (the Dieselpunk Italian Manifesto, first Italian DP group), to me and hopefully to all the bros out there, DP is not only style/fashion/counter-culture.

It IS culture. And by culture I mean art - yes, books, games, movies, etc. both from the past and the present - but also taking and adopting the most beautiful and fascinating features of a long lost society, the society of our grandfathers, as an inspiration for our look, meetings and... well, in one word, LIFESTYLE.

Unfortunately, today (at least in this part of Europe) the public sees it more as a sub-genre of unknown sub-cultures (we're lucky if the average young Italian knows what a Steampunker is, imagine for Dieselpunkers!) and it's still seen as something only for "weirdos". But it is encouraging to see more and more people going for meetings or club-nights dressed (and acting...) a bit in DP style. This is the best way to spread our name, I think :)

For me, dieselpunk  is mostly a genre (That probably relies heavily on aesthetic). I dress for cheapness and comfort more than anything else, but I'd be open to incorporating the style into my wardrobe. (I do wear fedoras.) Mainly, though, it's because I'm a writer more than a more visual artist, or DIY-er. SO instead of seeing it like a DIY-er would, which would be in the context along the lines of "What can I do to make this computer dieselpunk?" I see it in the context of a genre to write in, along the lines of, "What would a dieselpunk world look like if computers had been invented earlier and played a larger role in everyday life? How would that affect the people inhabiting the setting? How would it affect history?" So, for me, that's why I view it mostly as a genre. It's how I think. 

The rest fall into dieselpunk, of course, but they're not as prevalent in my mind when I think of dieselpunk. 

This is a tricky subject, you have your standardized view of Diesel Punk. But really there are so many other options. IMO I see it as the fusion of the convenience technology blended with the era in time. Which, when you think about it makes total sense. I mean  I listen to an old radio show broadcast from Hank William Sr where  after the song as they close the broadcast they advertise for "Mother's Best Corn Meal", as well as "Mother's Best Hog Feed.". It was the era that birthed convenience and indulgence for all. It's a blend of those zaney ideals and cultures blended with the future, which when you set the Post Apocalyptic sub genre of science fiction aside, you  get the metropolitan goth/ modern luxury/technological breakthrough aesthetic that has became the standardized view of Diesel.

I have posted in my few previous posts about the potential country styling behind diesel, but really there was much more to society in that time. You could consider the bordello style lifestyle, or the Hollywood style of the 40's and 50's, the birth of suburbia, even the birth of  complete urban squalor. Add into that the clothing styles of the time. Is someone more DP than another simply because they wear a fedora? The greaser style of the era wore leather jackets, blue jeans, t-shirts. The farmers of the era wore simply thermal shirts with suspenders and slacks. Then you have the style of musics, the pop culture of the time, political influences. Endless possibilities and combinations of influence and expressive passions. 

I suppose that is why I adore Diesel Punk, it's the total package!  It's an artistic/expressive,history buff, music loving, creative outputting, stylish, and overall fun and safe outlet!

(After all, you could be out there sniffing salt and eating faces. Weigh it out to your own perception!

Dieselpunk is a genre of science fiction, but it is also an aesthetic in clothing and design similar to the period from 1920 to 1950 would best describe it. By 1952 the USS Nautilus was under construction no longer was Verne's atomic submarine fiction. For some reason the 1950s ushered in a period of real science wonders but no class.

Dieselpunk is a genre of science fiction, but it is also an aesthetic in clothing and design similar to the period from 1920 to 1950 would best describe it. By 1952 the USS Nautilus was under construction no longer was Verne's atomic submarine fiction. For some reason the 1950s ushered in a period of real science wonders but no class.

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