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Old 21st May 2014, 06:35 PM   #151706  /  #1
oblivion
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Steampunk

I'm pretty torn by this genre, style, etc.

- The concept of an aesthetically ornate yet high-tech world that somehow skips oil power is attractive
- I love some of the early fiction that defined and inspired the aesthetic
- Brown and black - cool colors
- gears, magnifying glasses, goggles, boots, hats all cool
- I like the delicate/clunky mechanistic dichotomy

But...
- it's all grounded in a starting point that was myopically Western and left little room for the rest of the world except as colonial White Men's Burdens.

How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
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Old 21st May 2014, 07:00 PM   #151707  /  #2
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I doubt it's much worse than roman sandals and toga parties.

Esp. if you read Girl Genius, where it's outright accepted that the assorted monarchies, earldoms, etc., are terrible rulers and the unfortunate people they rule live in fear and live on sarcasm. The machines the 'Sparks' (scientist-engineers) create rarely work entirely as planned and many earlier ones roam the countryside, erratic dangerous monster 'clanks'.

And that's just a taste of the disfunctional alternate reality that forms the backdrop of what is ultimately a terrifying love triangle.

Uhhh.... it's pretty white with a bit of tokenism.

Vis.:

Bangladesh Dupree, Pirate Queen:

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Old 21st May 2014, 07:04 PM   #151708  /  #3
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But...
- it's all grounded in a starting point that was myopically Western and left little room for the rest of the world except as colonial White Men's Burdens.

How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
I think you might be thinking about it too much... or other people might be.

It is just an aesthetic. Like the modern ideas of ancient Egyptian styles or modern ideas on Vikings/Norse styles, or, notably, pirates. We tend to think that people who would get offended at a 'viking' helmet as a stylistic choice take it too far. We tend to think people are being ridiculous if they think dressing as a pirate is an endorsement for murder, looting, and whatnot.

These are caricatures, and caricatures are fun, not a political or social endorsement.
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Old 21st May 2014, 08:47 PM   #151711  /  #4
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How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
I can't speak for whoever it is that defines Steampunk, but why couldn't that same alternate fantasy technology be applied to any historical culture, which had developed metal working?
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Old 21st May 2014, 10:00 PM   #151714  /  #5
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How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
I can't speak for whoever it is that defines Steampunk, but why couldn't that same alternate fantasy technology be applied to any historical culture, which had developed metal working?
The fantasy technology could, though it's the Wells/Verne lushness of late 19th Century detail that kind of defines it (to me anyway).

In fact, one of the Stargate planets was kinda steampunk in its aesthetics. The guy who replaced Daniel while he was Ascended hailed from that planet.
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Old 21st May 2014, 10:07 PM   #151715  /  #6
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Speaking of gears pasted on stuff and calling it steampunk

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Old 21st May 2014, 10:12 PM   #151716  /  #7
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Originally Posted by oblivion View Post
I'm pretty torn by this genre, style, etc.

- The concept of an aesthetically ornate yet high-tech world that somehow skips oil power is attractive
- I love some of the early fiction that defined and inspired the aesthetic
- Brown and black - cool colors
- gears, magnifying glasses, goggles, boots, hats all cool
- I like the delicate/clunky mechanistic dichotomy

But...
- it's all grounded in a starting point that was myopically Western and left little room for the rest of the world except as colonial White Men's Burdens.

How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
This is the kind of thing which has bugged me about it. While I acknowledge the arguments about taking it as a purely aesthetic value, is there any such thing as pure aesthetic? All aesthetic values, and I suppose all values in general, become bound up not just with their ideal, but with the practices and perspectives which eventually come along for the ride. Values always become 'dirtied' through practice, as it were, the fact of its becoming located within some discourse, some social praxis, in order to become a recognisable aesthetic at all, always and in the same movement brings out not only its core but those associations and ideations which 'hang off it' more or less.

The question for me is 'can we enjoy these things without their ideological baggage'? I never recognized this before but my old mate Zizek makes a point somewhere about Rammstein's 'Nazi' symbology -- his observation is that they are exactly producing a spectacle in which these things can be de-coupled from their ugly, ideological past and re-appropriated, even if just for some headbanging satan-handed fun.

So for me with all these things, the issue is not so much the thing itself as the way people are relating to it. If a lot of libertarians with ideological fetishes about colonial free-trade got into anything I was into it would concern me, but I would most likely view it as them having debased what was previously of value.

In short, I think there's a way through the BS and it's a very Hegelian path, so you for one really don't need to worry about it.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 12:58 AM   #151728  /  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oblivion View Post
I'm pretty torn by this genre, style, etc.

- The concept of an aesthetically ornate yet high-tech world that somehow skips oil power is attractive
- I love some of the early fiction that defined and inspired the aesthetic
- Brown and black - cool colors
- gears, magnifying glasses, goggles, boots, hats all cool
- I like the delicate/clunky mechanistic dichotomy

But...
- it's all grounded in a starting point that was myopically Western and left little room for the rest of the world except as colonial White Men's Burdens.

How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
Cultural insensitivity come self-indulgent playfulness ... hmmm ...
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Old 22nd May 2014, 01:10 AM   #151729  /  #9
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what's a hegelian path
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Old 22nd May 2014, 01:41 AM   #151732  /  #10
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thesis - antithesis - synthesis
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Old 22nd May 2014, 01:58 AM   #151737  /  #11
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How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
I can't speak for whoever it is that defines Steampunk, but why couldn't that same alternate fantasy technology be applied to any historical culture, which had developed metal working?
The fantasy technology could, though it's the Wells/Verne lushness of late 19th Century detail that kind of defines it (to me anyway).
Sure, I can see that. The colonial aspect would be hard to divest, from that period. That's part of what makes it a lush setting for storytelling.
  • Far away places that are still exotic, full of myth and rumor, become accessible, via rail, sea, and air.
  • Military/Cultural outposts are in place for some degree of security and support away from home.
  • Home is the current reigning power in the world, which allows for a confidence that easily transcends to arrogance.
  • Society is still pretty feudal, so position and association matter at least as much as productivity and merit, which allows for some personal experimentation and adventure.
  • And that Verne/Wells culture is still kinda familiar to us.

On the other hand, it can be easy to divest from some of that negative colonial baggage, by using a fantasy setting, where none of the atrocities of our reality ever happened.

Quote:
In fact, one of the Stargate planets was kinda steampunk in its aesthetics. The guy who replaced Daniel while he was Ascended hailed from that planet.
Love the SG1 series. Recently downloaded all 10 seasons + 2 movies from DvD to hard drive. Yeah, there might have been a couple more planets that could qualify as steampunky.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 02:05 AM   #151739  /  #12
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we should invent a new genre

serfsurfers

urban serf

electromanorhouse
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Old 22nd May 2014, 04:36 AM   #151760  /  #13
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Could Hegel be described as a dualist?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 04:51 AM   #151763  /  #14
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He was kinda the opposite of a dualist.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 11:50 AM   #151780  /  #15
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Could Hegel be described as a dualist?
Nihilist, strictly speaking, though many people seem to read his work as somehow metaphysically dualistic it's because they employ misreading of words like "spirit".

The point of Hegel's philosophy of negativity is to delineate how negativity is creative in relation to spirit as 'that which animates the social body' -- that exception and negation doesn't simply cancel the old but generates the new in the same move.

The core idea is often referred to as thesis, antithesis, synthesis, although Hegel doesn't use these terms, he gives us: "affirmation" -- 'the current thing is the correct thing... yes to the thing"; "negation" -- "this thing is not that thing, no to that thing, yes to this thing"; and the "negation of negation" -- which to a logician would simply get us back to 'the (original) thing but in actuality results in "not the first thing nor its negation but the best of the previous things all up in a new thing".

Look at stand up comedy in the late 1970s. There was a standard, a joke teller, with jokes typically featuring wives, mothers in law and some racism. By the beginning of the 1980s the whole genre was tired. We then went through a period of several years where the old generation hung on, people like Frank Carson and whatnot managed to stay on into the 'zany' space where comedy basically became one big experimental scene. Then as the 80s progressed a new kind of stand up emerged, like the old standup, but different. New in form, still made up of what went before but nevertheless definitely not what went before. That's a Hegelian historical progression.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 03:52 PM   #151782  /  #16
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Umm, having said that, the philosophy he employs can be properly called speculative idealism. The nihil, pure negativity as such, is itself an idealisation.

Anyway, going back to the Rammstein example, I think there's a clearer way to put it. German culture goes through several periods in relation to the Nazi past of WWII. In the period immediately following the war the past was silently repressed. There was the public acknowledgement of guilt on the part of the guilty parties at Nuremberg, but no assumption of nationwide guilt among the social body. By the time this generation's children were in university, in the late sixties, the questions which had been silently passed over previously ("What did you do in the war, mom, dad, granddad?") became the point at which the potential for globalized guilt manifested itself: the innocent question got to the heart of the self-deception, and brought the repression to the fore. So the newer generation was able to 'adopt the guilt' of the previous generation as it were by forcibly assigning it to them, in the face of refusal to acknowledge it. Out of this period comes the modern relation to the Holocaust and forms of memorialization, together with the criminalisation of those who deny that it happened.

This is a Hegelian thing already, the original repression of the past is the initial negation of the once positively asserted content of Nazism, while the response of the next generation again negates that stance, in the name of negating Nazism more fully it shines a light on it.

But what of the generation after that, the Rammstein generation? Are they not reintroducing the positive symbolic content of Nazism, at least on an aesthetic level? This reading misses the point because it doesn't account for the re-appropriation which also takes place. Yes, the Rammstein fans goose-step to Nietzschean soundbites, but any relation to Nazi ideology is none-existent in terms of the substantive experience, the potential for those experiences itself has been re-appropriated from the Nazi past.

So, why should the slave traders and free-marketeering fetishists have all the gear fun? I was into my Meccano set a long time before I had any sense of Victorian values (although, I did quite fancy that girl in the picture on the wall at one of my aunt's so ). Oh my, that Meccano set was the best Christmas present ever.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 04:38 PM   #151785  /  #17
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amazing.

want.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 04:44 PM   #151786  /  #18
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Originally Posted by oblivion View Post
I'm pretty torn by this genre, style, etc.

- The concept of an aesthetically ornate yet high-tech world that somehow skips oil power is attractive
- I love some of the early fiction that defined and inspired the aesthetic
- Brown and black - cool colors
- gears, magnifying glasses, goggles, boots, hats all cool
- I like the delicate/clunky mechanistic dichotomy

But...
- it's all grounded in a starting point that was myopically Western and left little room for the rest of the world except as colonial White Men's Burdens.

How deep are the underpinnings? Can you wear a clunky bracelet with gears pasted on without sending a message to the world that 19th century-style colonialism is a good thing?
You know, 'they' made us change our flag down here in Jawja - didn't really even give us the vote on it.

I manage to love my Southern culture and heritage without being racist, even if I do still have blatant racism in my own family and church and raise the ire of Yankees everywhere when I proudly wave the Stars and Bars or Confederate Battle Flag. I ain't got no pickup truck, shotgun, or hound dog though. Once, in Boy Scouts, we adopted this baby raccoon, but it's not the same thing I guess? I loved that ol' coon.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 04:49 PM   #151787  /  #19
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we still love you despite your inexplicable attachment to an imaginary vengeful deity



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Old 22nd May 2014, 05:11 PM   #151790  /  #20
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we still love you despite your inexplicable attachment to an imaginary vengeful deity



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Don't the churches look lovely though.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 05:14 PM   #151792  /  #21
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I just realized what this thread is about.

I want to get back into jewelrymaking.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 10:09 PM   #151803  /  #22
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amazing.

want.

Oh my word.
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Old 25th May 2014, 05:08 AM   #151915  /  #23
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Saw tons of these today.

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Old 25th May 2014, 07:13 AM   #151916  /  #24
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Part of a training exercise?
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Old 25th May 2014, 10:40 AM   #151922  /  #25
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