Saturday, August 10, 2013

Steampunk and Growing Up

Two weeks ago I promised you I'd post the whole playlist I built over the month of July.

Well, here it is: The Steampunk Playlist.

I am not going to give you the whole list of songs. That's on the blog. The tag is Road to Salt City Steamfest.

What I am going to give you is an explanation. Before you continue, however, the following post might offend you. If you like steampunk a lot and do not want to hear any criticism of it, please close your browser window and wait until I write a new blog post. If you choose to continue on, do so at your own peril.

A week ago I turned 26. That's the back end of my 20s. Two weeks ago I was at Salt City Steamfest, and I didn't want to seem like a downer then, but to put it bluntly now it was quite possibly the most lackluster event I've ever attended. The panelists were entirely comprised of whoever wanted to sign up, regardless of skill, expertise, planning, or personal time limits. Frequently, the panelists wouldn't take up the whole hour, so they'd simply stop and say "Well, that's it. Feel free to ask me questions." Worse, many of them would have nothing pre-prepared and would stand in front of a room and ramble on about their subject.

The opening ceremony was a joke. It was, overall, a poorly planned, under-attended event (probably with good reason if it was like this last year). I had such high hopes and tried to make it fun, but it was largely a waste of time.

That wasn't even the hardest part for me. The hardest part was the other attendees. Allow me to explain.

I knew a good sized number of people there (my mom doesn't even know - I could point out easily a dozen people I'd encountered before at various places), and I knew something about most of them: They were going nowhere in life and doing nothing with it. The people I knew were largely unambitious, having no jobs, living with their parents, barely passing in school (or, in one case, flunking out entirely), and generally not doing anything but going to fun events.

And here I was, doing the same thing as these people.

I may seem like a snob here, but with the growing popularity of steampunk there is a growing population who embodies a trait I don't respect. Steampunk was meant to be the best and the brightest. Those who were part of the subculture wanted to explore and learn and be the best at everything simply because they could. Those who truly understand steampunk understand that it is not about fun costumes and gears and steam-powered robots.

Steampunk is about striving to become enlightened. To enhance personal knowledge and think and discover. Not just to collect information, but to figure out what it all means. We are still obsessed with our own cleverness and we want to work and excel and be the best. We want to learn. We want to master everything.

We also understand that to do all of that is a lot of work.

What the popularity of steampunk has attracted is a group of hangers-on who want to be the best and the brightest without doing any of the work to get there. It's as if they are the moon, picking up on the glow that proverbial sun of steampunk's intelligence and hard work ethic gives off, doing nothing to contribute to that glow themselves.

I do not respect that. Not in the slightest. If you want something, you darn well do the work to get it.

With that said, I will not totally renounce steampunk, but I will back off in my obsession (trust me, steampunk is still very, very cool). Salt City Steamfest served as a sobering reality check. It's time for me to grow the heck up and stop with all the childish costumes and playing around.

A week ago I turned 26. A week ago I realized that I had spent so much time being part of a group that has started to become something I did not respect that I was in danger of becoming part of that group. A week ago I realized that having a label of anything is stupid.

A week ago, growing up went a little less awry.

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Help, The Stash is Attacking! When Yarn, Knitting and Growing Up Go Terribly Awry by Kimberly Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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