Steampunk Is Dead And I Couldn't Be Happier
It sure seems like everything is going to sh*t right now doesn’t it? Everything’s changing at a rapid pace, leaving the ideas and institutions of our past to rust and crumble. And I’m totally fine with that. Because one of those ideas was Steampunk. A genre which sounds kind of cool on paper, but is aesthetically egregious in practice.
First off, the name. Nothing is less punk than a top hat. Back then, top hats would have been made with beaver fur. Which, while an invaluable part of the North American ecosystem and the noble official animal for the great state of New York, are one of the least punk animals in the world. They’re a ubiquitous symbol of capitalism which is also not punk. I’m no punk myself no matter how many drugs I’ve done off the back of a Bushwick toilet, so I’ll leave the matter there. Let’s move on to the “steam” part.
There’s too much steam in Steampunk. While copper and brass don’t rust because of their low iron content, they would not do well when exposed to steam all the time. They’re simply not the right materials for your giant cogs and wheels. Goggles also wouldn’t do well in a steamy environment. You can’t tinker if you’re all fogged up.
Why was Steampunk born, and how did it die? The prevailing theory is that Steampunk was a response to the rise of the smartphone. In the mid 2000’s when Steampunk began to rear it’s coal powered head, technology began moving at a speed so fast, it could tie your for-some-reason-over-the-dress girdle in a knot. Seeing the cogs and wheels of a simpler time whirring away was comforting. Instead of looking at your iPhone and going “I guess it’s magic probably?”, you could theoretically understand how all those moving mechanical parts worked.
But now the time for retro-baroque fake technology is at an end. Time to hang up the watch chain and top hat. Put away your monocles and parasols. Lay down your patched silken tuxedo vests and leather heeled boots. And for the love of all that keeps us going please take off those goggles.