During the third meeting of the Club of Bavarian Gentlemen we discussed a number of things and we discovered that most of us had some connection to the Goth scene. We also had made very similar observations regarding the development of the scene.
Right now there seems to be a certain cadre of people who consider themselves to be the elite and who judge everybody else. You may know what sort I am talking about.
At that point I made a joke about me being “Elite Steampunk” and backed it up by citing Angry Robot Books, who have this to say about this blog:
And these guys know steampunk!
I do not consider myself elite. To do this would automatically mean I am not. It is a Catch 32 situation.
Unfortunately, there is a certain trend apparent within Steampunk going in that direction. There are certain individuals who do consider themselves the elite.
Anyway, I thought I could do a little anthropological research into the subculture and find out about elitism in Steampunk. I already had a lead:
Some time back, when I still had the time to participate in/troll forum discussions, I had a run-in with an elitist.
In this particular case the point was, I could not be a real Steampunk because I was too old (I am heading towards 40). Apparently said person was under the impression you should not be allowed on the ætherweb if you are 25+ (or something like that), really strange…
I also remember a voicing of grief by an internet-acquaintance of mine about the issue.
After a little research I now have the following (incomplete) list of criteria defining Elite Steampunks (there are more…):
- wear appropriate gear 24/7
- go to every convention they can find
- create their own gear
- spend huge amounts on extra gear
- steam-up their home
- are older than 16 (or 18, or 21 or something)
- are younger than (put arbitrary number here)
- write fiction/poetry and/or play an instrument and/or are into some other kind of art (producing Steampunk-themed works, obviously)
- have a blog or website where they tell of their Steampunk endeavours
- are recognized within the scene
So, let me see… three of these points apply to some degree or another, so no, I am not elite. I guess nobody with a day job and/or a family easily can be.
Luckily, the people who make these claims are a minority, rather vocal but still a minority.
What is worse, if you look at popular authors in the scene, most of them are ordinary people, a bit freaky maybe but they look like the people in the street.
So, would you exclude the person whose books you enjoy simply because they do not look the part?
Please, my fellow Steampunks out there, do not overdo it. It is bad enough the Goth scene has style-Nazis.
Steampunk is a mindset and a subculture, not a prom and certainly not a pageant. Please keep up the inclusiveness and do not make up rules to shut out people!
Oh my… I guess this was my first rant in a long time…