Jake von Slatt's video response to steampunk monologue


Steampunk Maker Jake von Slatt took exception to Merlin Mann's hilarious steampunk monologue and has followed it up with a video-response of his own, noting the upcoming steampunk anthology (which looks frankly awesome -- I have a copy on my desk and I've just skimmed it, but I had to slam it down before I got drawn into it at a time when I've got no spare leisure reading cycles) and Maker Faire. Link

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  1. Tell me I’m not the only one excited over Datamancer and Von Slatt being at maker faire this year.

    (Steampunk singularity in the Diamond Age come 2015? Does that mean we’re all going to be having lots of tantric sex?)

  2. Not to go there or anything, but “she’yea”.
    Though belabored, the satirical video Merlin posted was sorta funny (if you like a slow-build on obvious jokes).
    As far as the bulk of the self-identified “Steampunk” subculture, well… “show me something” is all I ask.
    Cripes, Jake, at least you’ve done something! I may quibble on whether your ‘copper plating’ is worth a crap, but at least you did SOMETHING!
    Wht hv th vst mjrty f th “Stmrs” ccmplshd (s ppsd t, sy ‘Trkkrs’, fr nstnc?).
    “Stmrs” clm sbcltr, yt sk t lst sm f thm t shw sm gmptn, nstd f “m-t”sms.
    h, lk! hv slly ht! ‘m s stmpnk nw!
    Prncr, Dncr, Dshr nd Vxn… s n.

    hp y ll cn tk ths n th sprt dlvrd, but CRIPES!

    bnch f hngrs-n, “dtt-hds” t bst, ds nt sb-cltr mk. nythng ls s “Psr Cnvntn”, nd thr r s vry mny “psrs” clttrng th lndscp.

    Thmbs nd crtns, r f*ck ff, sy. W’r nt ll ‘mkrs’, bt w cn’t ll b Stmpnks, thr. Lf s nt fr.

    Jake, I wish you well, bt m srsly cncrnd bt flks clmng sbcltr stts whn thy cn’t vn mk thr wn prps.
    Mght s wll ll wr strng ts, wrk n ffcs, nd vt fr ‘Dby’.

  3. Oh for god’s sake — what is it about someone *liking* something and *being excited by it* that causes sourpuss grumpuses to crawl out of their holes to piss all over them?

    Who *cares* if “subculture” or “movement” or “esthetic” is the right word for it?

    Didn’t you get enough of arguing about whether so-and-so is a *real* goth/punk/whatever when you were 16?

    If Jake wants to call himself a steampunk, more power to him! If someone else who likes top-hats wants to say the same, yee-haw, follow your weird, buddy, and more power to you!

    Christ, anything you can do to have a good time, feel good, and make the world and more interesting place, allez!

    And anyone who says you’re using the wrong word to describe what you do, or that it’s lame because it is the wrong color or not interesting to them, they can pound sand. Griping about other peoples’ passions most assuredly does NOT make the world a more interesting place.

    Creating an account for the sole purpose of posting a message that tells people who are having a fun time playing around with culture, fabrication, and identity that they are insufficiently edgy because they don’t make their own top-hats is really dysfunctional.

  4. Calling himself a Steampunk is fine with me. He can call himself whatever he wants.

    t s nt hwvr, gng t stp m lghng t ths wh prtcpt n ths crg clt mvmnt f mltng th mtns f ths wh rlly cn nd d mk thngs.

  5. “Emulating?” Oh, the arrogance!

    How about “celebrating?” How about “enjoying?”

    Yes, you sit there on the sidelines, sneering at the people who are having a good time, telling them that they’re not *really* enjoying themselves. Give the old spleen a good workout. I’m sure that when you lie on your deathbed, you’ll smile grimly at the productive hours you spent spoiling other peoples’ fun.

    You know, “making things,” doesn’t technically including “making people miserable.”

  6. I thought it was like FSM, that steampunk is all about laughing at (and with) the participants, and having a jolly good time collecting weird looks.

    PS:ProfOfflogic, you don’t make any of the stuff that you use to be a 21st Century Westerner. Doesn’t make you any less of one, but apparently does make you a hanger-on poser 21st Century-ian.

  7. Wait, let me get this straight.

    ProfOfLogic and CptNemo (both newly registered, presumably just for this thread) are complaining, in the comments on someone else’s blog, that certain people aren’t doing enough original work? That they’re just hangers-on to other peoples’ originality?

    It just begs parody, doesn’t it?

    As far as the bulk of the self-identified “Commenter” subculture, well… “show me something” is all I ask. What have the vast majority of the “Commenters” accomplished (as opposed to, say ‘Bloggers’, fer instance?)…”Commenters” claim a contribution to the conversation, yet I ask at least some of them to show some gumption, instead of “not-me”isms.

    or

    It is not however, going to stop me laughing at those who participate in this cargo cult movement of emulating the motions of those who really can and do write things.

  8. you mean all this petty sniping at steampunk is coming from a couple of wanna be authors that can’t get published and resent those who can?

  9. Is steampunk a subculture? I must have missed the riots, hanging around on street corners intimidating the elderly and public accusations of corrupting the nation’s youth.

    Subcultures aren’t what they used to be. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll get there; in the meantime, keep up the good work and start putting razors in the the brim of your top hats.

  10. Takuan,

    I don’t know if they’re wannabe writers. There are probably many reasons to register an account and make a couple of drive-by posts. Maybe they don’t like someone associated with the video, for instance.

    I just think calling people “hangers on” in the comments section of someone else’s blog is really funny.

    I mean, if they want people to make their own stuff, maybe they should lead the way by starting their own blogs?

  11. Clip-clop-BANG! That’s an Amish drive-by.

    ‘m gttng sd t hstrnc rspnss whn sk th mscl qstn s t why s mny “Stmpnks” dn’t gt ff thr Mm’s sfs nd d smthng bsds sy “wll dn” whn flks lk Jk r Dtmncr pll ff rgnl rt. sk ths ftn, frqntly ftr rdng svrl hndrd ” hv n ds, cn y gv m n” thrds. Th rspns s strtypcl t bst, pthtc t wrst.

    Plyng drss-p fr fn ds nt sbcltr mk, ny mr thn rnnng rnd shtng “st phsrs t stn!”.

    Cory may not remember a previous BB notice on municipal wireless, but I designed some of the PCBs they use; Agent 86, if you have a CD or DVD player, there’s a better than even chance it was mastered on equipment I helped design (yes, a long and varied career, including cutting the first working DVD ever made, by DCA in collaboration 4M, in 1992. Toshiba’s original 10GB format was superior). But I digress…

    Sniping at Steampunk? I’d not do that, I like the genre. Snpng t thmblss fn-bys (nd grls), ky, tht ‘ll d, f nly bcs thy pt n sch rs fr smply lkng smthng.

  12. well profofflogic actually is a builder and maker

    this is a tempest in a steam-powered teapot

    no wait kettles are steam powered teapots are hotwater and tea powered and no wait

  13. If the only excuse you can offer for your sneering is that the people you’re sneering at are “thumbless,” then you’re a bigger troll than I took you for. Apparently learning to design circuit boards doesn’t turn you into someone who’s also learned to value human endeavor for its own sake.

    You have fun there up on your exalted perch, but please forgive us mere thumblesses for our “histrionics” when you tell us that we are insufficiently subculturally pure for this movement that you have appointed yourself arbiter and executioner for.

    Honestly, what a shitty, petty little stream of piss you’ve left in your short career as a Boing Boing message-board poster. It’s people like you who stop others from ever doing creative things, insecure snipers who sit on the sidelines and tell everyone else how lame their clothes, loves, and enthusiasms are.

    Who the fuck asked you?

  14. So this is basically an early Monday morning geek version of I Am Blacker Than You?

    Ah, well. Thanks for the link to the anthology, it’s been preordered. Looks like a fun read.

  15. Not to be too thin skinned here, but the Amish are nonviolent, and a joke that portrays them shooting someone is pretty insulting. I’m two generations removed from that culture, and they’re deserving of respect even if they don’t have internet access and spare time to demand it from you.

  16. Cory, dude, take a deep breath….

    Art can be a passionate subject, remember? You’re an artist, and art critics are required, just like book ediors are, and books critics are. When you hold your art (or art you like) out to be judged, just expect some negitivity. The universe requires both sides of the coin.

  17. This isn’t art criticism, it’s crummy attitudinizing and straw-man crap. This guy has invented a group of poseurs (the mythical “people in top hats” who don’t know what to make), who are not anywhere in evidence, are entirely irrelevant to this post, and used them to damn Jake (with faint praise and an arch sneer), and anyone else who happens to enjoy something without (apparently) designing circuit boards.

    It’s a literal non sequitur, an attempt to hijack a thread in order to rubbish the legitimate passions of others.

    It’s inexcusable.

  18. To me, what’s worth celebrating in Steampunk is that we have the resources to modify, imagine, invent, create and re purpose our personal posessions to our liking. The fact that someone has the time and materials to make a computer keyboard from an antique mechanical typewriter shows the wealth and knowledge in our society. Whether it’s futurism or anachronism, I appreciate people reshaping their environment to their tastes.

  19. As a distanced admirer of the steampunk “subculture” (yeah, I said subculture), an avid reader of steampunk literature and someone who wishes he had to guts to actually dress a little fancier, but who has done precious little steampunk anything, this weirdly vehement lambasting of a fun little cultural phenomenon is a little confusing.

    First off, I don’t get the logic of equating being able to DO something steampunk (making one of Jake Von Slatt’s projects, for example, or write The Diamond Age) with one’s capacity to ENJOY steampunk things. Does this mean I should shut off my television in shame the next time I watch Peja Stojakovic make an amazing three pointer because I can’t do the same thing? Of course not — that would be the acme of idiocy.

    Secondly, let’s face it: a lot of these folks dress really well and a lot of us might be secretly envious.

    Thirdly, why all the fuss over the definition over what steampunk is, what it isn’t and why all steampunk things should or shouldn’t actually be powered by steam. How childish is that? When I read the word “steampunk” I don’t see it as a strict definition of anything. Like any genre definition, it’s more of an marker that says, “Hey — this thing may or may not possess or display some aesthetic tropes that you find pleasing or engaging or have found pleasing or engaging before. The final judgment is up to you.”

    And in the end: Whoooooo caaaaaaares? It’s a short life — let’s all enjoy what we enjoy and try not to piss on other folks’ pleasures too much.

  20. Cory, thanks for posting the video, and try not to let the naysayers stress you out. This unfortunate “Maker vs. NPC” schism has been playing out everywhere fans of the steampunk aesthetic gather (the Brass Goggles forum, LiveJournal, etc.) I’m sorry you’re getting some of the ugly backwash.

  21. Cory, he’s not worth it. Go for a walk around the block, write a short short story about it in your head, then forget about it. And switch to decaffeinated.

  22. I have met a lot of people who style themselves SteamPunk over the past year, both on-line and in person. The only common trait of all of the SteamPunks I’ve met is that they have been kind and friendly people. They are an incredibly varied lot and making generalizations about them is not only foolish, but simply not possible.

  23. So if the picturesque and overly complicated oak and brasswork mechanisms are in fact controlled behind the scenes by an array of microprocessors and countless lines of lovingly tweaked code, am I OK, or am I contravenin’ one or more of the blog commenters sekrit rules of artsy rightness being alluded to in this discussion?

    Really, you guys need to get the rules and regs we’re supposed to be following published and properly distributed.

    Heya, Jake… join me for a walnut martini at the Faire this year?

  24. ugh, this reminds me too much of the debate 20 years ago over whether punks and skins will ever “unite”.

    one can see how important it was in retrospect.

  25. Ok, so they don’t make steampunk items therefore they can’t like steampunk?

    Ok, so they don’t write books therefore they can’t like books?

    Ok, so they don’t make watches therefore they can’t like watches?

    ProfOfflogic, this logically does not follow.

  26. I always find it kind of weird when folks bag on others for their hobbies. Steampunk related articles were why I started reading Boing Boing.

    I have always been a maker of sorts, building and creating things to suit my needs, and that’s the nice thing about steampunk. There are folks that do that, and even for those that don’t, there is a reverence given to creation for creation’s sake.

    It’s that hands on making that attracted me. You can take away all the gears and goggles, and you are still left with a nice group of craftsmen/women that are doing great work.

  27. Jeff @ 23:

    C.D. I expect better from you. You’re here to set an example, not puke out the bile like those you are in contempt of!

    Is he? When did he say that? I thought he was here to post about things he finds interesting, or exciting, or enraging, or otherwise worthy of attention.

    A lot of people keep throwing around ideas about what BoingBoing is “supposed” to be. Usually it takes the form of “well, *I* don’t think this is wonderful”; sometimes it takes the form of admonishing Cory or the other BBers for writing something in a tone the commenter doesn’t like. In either case the message at the core is “you’re not writing what *I* want to read about in a tone that *I* like; *YOU* need to change what you write about to make *ME* happy.”

    Phooey.

  28. I love BB, but everytime I see a Steampunk post, I feel the same way when I saw another Spelling relative show up on Beverly Hills 90210 …

  29. Lexica, point well taken. It’s true I was guilty of preaching my expectation. I was also telling Cory something he already knows, which is to expect people to be judgmental and rude. At least once in a while. The comment was made to be helpful, not hurtful.

  30. You know, I used to spend a lot of time at boingboing. Now, with commenting, I spend ABSURD amounts of time at boingboing. That’s absolutely awesome.

    Before this tread, I never would’ve even given the steampunk subculture a second thought. Call yourself what you want. Wear what you want. Doesn’t bother me.

    I might, however, take a look at someone’s steampunk project and say “meh, that’s just some watch cogs glued to an old radio,” or “the beauty and craftsmanship of this piece has induced an apoplectic state of aesthetic ecstasy and I think I just messed myself.” (It’s often the latter) That’s just normal liking and not liking.

    But every time I see “steampunk” in the headline of a boingboing post I click on it because overall I find steampunk stuff exceedingly fascinating. And that’s what boingboing is all about. Finding stuff exceedingly fascinating. Or is it finding exceedingly fascinating stuff?

  31. EthylCannes, +20 XP for working “NPC” into an everyday discussion of participant vs. spectator. Fair play!

  32. Thank novysan, but I’m afraid I can’ take credit for that one. The term has been perpetuated by people who give way more of a crap about their status in the steampunk “scene” than I do.

  33. I am compelled to weigh in here on the comments:

    I have been a professional product designer in NYC since 1976 and I have seen many design styles come and go.

    Regarding Steampunk, specifically, I found it to be one of the most unique and visually exciting styles in the last 30 years. Since contemporary design and ‘mid-century modern’ have become so ubiquitous, I was beginning to worry that the great, traditional schools of architecture and design would not appreciated again for years to come. Steampunk has been the very first style on the horizon to reverse the current ‘De Riguer’ design trends and does so with great panache, creativity and a genuine love on the part of it’s fans and creators.

    Regarding the fans of Steampunk who don’t actually create anything, I say this:

    The Arts would be NOWHERE if it weren’t for the fans and people who appreciate genuine artistic effort. You don’t need to be an actor or director to appreciate film, nor a musician to appreciate music- and if you really enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic, enjoy it all the day long.

    My Best,

    Art Donovan

  34. Original video: You have no sense of humor
    Retort: Yes I do. Here’s a 32 slide PowerPoint presentation proving I do.

    thnk th flks n lthr rlly nd t chck thr prrts n lf.

  35. I know I’m way late to the comments thread and no one will read this, but I just want to point out that Merlin Mann is awesome. Despite not owning a Mac or even an iPod, I listen to the Macbreak Weekly podcast because he’s on it.

  36. Precisely because I am so fascinated by Steampunk is also why I find painting some cheap antique a cheery brass color and gluing a gear on it to be a little annoying.

    If you are an artist stay true to your craft, your passions, and either be thick-skinned or insulate yourself from the outside world. The surface of this “genre”, if you will, has hardly been scratched; let us hope it survives the swift and brutal appetite of mainstream taste.

  37. perhaps people should spend their energy praising that which they find good. Then, things which they find not so good, would either try to change for the better, or fall away.

    This approach, of course, requires good faith.

  38. Woo, I write I little blurb before I pass out, and suddenly I’m internet-famous! [don’t shatter my dreams]

    I love that Offlogic mentions me in his own blog – which luckily seems to have no readers/commenters – as he was a bit mean. He seems the only SteamPunk-er I’ve had interactions with that was not jolly. :(

  39. I was first exposed to “steampunk” some years ago. At the time, I enjoyed it — I thought, “wow, that’s so cool, it’s, like, old fashioned and high-tech at the same time!” I appreciated the aesthetic and was intrigued by the idea of melding the modern and the old in something both visually pleasing and useful.

    The recent backlash of insults, trolls, and complaints against steampunk, however, should be a hint. The problem? It just seems, and of course plenty of people will disagree with this assessment, that the label itself has become an excuse fr shwcsng thrws nntrstng r shddy wrk, just because it has the right look. Of course I don’t have to read it if I don’t like it, but I come to Boing Boing to read about new, interesting, and creative trends in the world of art, music, and culture. Of course, I’m not going to find every post interesting, and I wouldn’t expect to. But on the other hand, I tire of seeing such a narrow set of views represented. There are plenty of other interesting things going on in the world that merit discussion and exposure.

    A couple of examples from the art world – my father’s friend Jeff was a machinist for most of his life and in his spare time amused himself by welding sculptures out of scrap metal. Over the years he got quite good, in spite of his complete lack of formal art training — he now makes beautifully ornate and detailed sculptures with a level of creativity and inventiveness that I could never, ever rival. Unfortunately, however, his favorite subject, gunslinging cowboys, would seem to disqualify him from mention on Boing Boing. A good friend of mine only paints female figures, often nude or semi-nude. There’s a certain lack of refinement in her works that again would seem to disqualify her, but they’re nonetheless brilliant works, just dripping with a raw eroticism that I’ve never seen elsewhere. Both are brilliant artists, and by any sense of the word are outsiders in the art world.

    So we return to the original problem, why the backlash against steampunk? In my case, it just feels like it detracts from other, better work. It’s kind of like listening to an indie radio station in the hopes of discovering new and interesting unsigned bands, only to discover that 90% of their airplay is the same 40 bands, the top 40 of indie music, if you will.

    Cory, w don’t hate steampunk. W like the occasional *really good* piece of steampunk art. W frankly just tire of these pprnt bsssns, th smngly ndlss strng f steampunk, Tibet, and DRM-related posts. I like steampunk, I’d just rather there was a better filter on what makes it onto the main page. I’m interested in reading about Tibet — I’d just rather see more intelligent discourse about what the problems *really* are (e.g., is reinstating their god emperor as supreme really in the best interest of their people). I like reading about the latest legal battles over DRM, but I’d rather it weren’t quite so frequently mentioned.

    nd frnkly, dn’t ndrstnd why y gt s pst vr stpd psts. Ppl wll dsgr wth y smtms. Dl wth t. Ppl n th ntrnt hv stpd pnns. Dl wth t. nd f yr bld prssr rss, jst rmmbr th tw rls f ntrnt dscrs:

    #1 – ppl wh dsgr wth y r trlls.
    #2 – dn’t fd th trlls.

    Y sm t hv #1 dwn. s fr #2, jst rlx, dd. :)

  40. Sunnyside,

    How many links have you suggested this week? Have you posted articles about these areas of interest on your own blog so that we can see what you’re talking about? Oh, I see that you haven’t linked to a blog on your profile page. And this is your first post. And it’s a lecture to Cory. And you’ve used the fatal terms, “relax” and “deal with it”. Fail.

  41. I think Takuan’s suggestion that people just comment on what they enjoy is a great one. You don’t need to push down on the milk to make the cream rise.

  42. hey.let’s not go crazy here now! If I can’t viciously criticize other people and tear down their work, what’s to keep you all from noticing I have nothing to offer?

  43. ya know Jake, you’re lucky we’re not neighbours. I’d be over all the time,drinkin yer beer, borrowing tools, asking “how dya do THAT?”

    say… what IS yer address anyway?

  44. I just wanted to say that I fully support what Cory did in responding directly to the commenters who dissed Von Slatt and steampunk in general. It’s not at all about the points that they made (there were essentially none), and all about the odious attitude that they displayed, by attacking people for their passions. I too feel that such attitude is poisonous and it’s heartening to see one of the BB editors standing up to it in the comments, just like another one of us. Thanks, Cory!

    That said… This approach, of facing toxic verbiage head on, with courage and integrity, beats the HELL out of this disemvoweling crap that was recently implemented on BB and is featured prominently in this thread.

    You know, anybody can see full well that some people spewed some hatred in the comments above, and that some other people posted thoughtful, reasoned and righteous rebuttals. But now we have to run advanced vowel-guessing algorithms in our heads to figure out *what* they’re rebutting, all because some Invisible All-Powerful Being From Behind The Curtain thought it best this way.

    Could we please have more standing up to bullies, less bringing in the principal to give them suspensions? Please? Isn’t that one of the principles of free speech, that all ideas no matter how odious should be allowed to circulate, and then it’s up to all men and women of conscience to speak out in favor of what they believe is right, so that more constructive ideas may crowd the venom out of the marketplace?

    Just saying.
    Regardless, keep up the great work BoingBoing! :)

    ~Nick

  45. knw y d Tkn. Mstly bcs f yr nblty t xprss yr mnd n ny wy tht s ncnvntnl. Wht mn s, y lk t drw wthn th lns.

    Dsmvwllng s lk tlvsn blrrng mgs f th mddl fngr; t my b bscrd, bt ppl py mr ttntn t t.

    Stpd Bng.

  46. NICKPAINE, for the 57th time, because it allows you to read the objectionable comment if you really want to and decide for yourself whether it’s objectionable or not.

  47. Jk.

    t hs lrdy bn dcdd pn n th qstn f bjctvty. By BNG.

    shld b bl t pst smthng nd lt t b rd jst lk vryn ls.

    f y thnk tht prcss s fr t th prsn wh pst t, thn m shckd.

    t my b ptnl t th rdr, bt t s cnsrshp t th thr.

  48. Jake0748, I’m sorry that you had to repeat that for the 57th time, I wasn’t around for the other 56. I don’t see the reason to get all snappy.

    To get to your response, what you said does not address why we need disemvoweling, nor why you support it (which was my original question, albeit directed to Takuan).

    As far as it allowing me to read the “objectionable” comment, I would argue that it makes it difficult enough that I often give up, even when I would really like to know what was said. It seems a bit excessive to demand a cryptanalyst’s dedication of someone who’s just reading a message board. Besides, if the point were what you claim, some javascript or whatever could be implemented to allow users to mouseover to reveal the “objectionable” content. So disemvoweling is far from the neutral filter you make it out to be.

    Finally, almost every time I managed to decrypt the disemvoweled posts, I have found them to be far from “objectionable”. In my opinion, that status should be reserved to stuff like hate speech or extremely vulgar insults or other “shocking” verbiage. But that’s just my opinion, see? I wouldn’t want to impose it on you. Perhaps “objectionable” content should be marked as such when somebody actually objects, rather than having moderators make such decisions unilaterally and without being asked to by a significant number of users? Just a thought.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  49. NICKPAINE, I did not mean to be flippant in my reply. The subject of disemvoweling vs deletion has been addressed ad nauseum under a recent post by the moderator Teresa. I believe it was under the heading of “Moderation Policy”, you could search for it and read the 500 plus comments (I did). Usually the disemvoweled posts contain hurtful and personal attacks on specific people. There is nothing “neutral” about the use of the filter. In the opinion of the moderator, the comment was offensive in some way.

  50. I guess I’m just saying, get over it, it’s not your web site. If you want to be able to say absolutely anything you want, then start your own.

  51. Jake0748, thanks for the heads up. I will be reading the post you referenced… too bad I’ll probably be late to the debate, though. :)

    Before I relocate to the said post (which seems like a more appropriate forum for my concerns), I’ll just invite any readers to observe some of the disemvoweled posts above, and ask yourselves if something like “people will disagree with you, get over it” is really so offensive as to be worthy of this kind of censorship.

  52. Jk.

    Tht knd f lgc s lk th ndyng ptrtcs syng “f y dn’t lk ths cntry, lv!”

    Fr Spch sn’t mdrtd, vn f t s smn’s wbst, t s fr pblc frms.

  53. That kind of logic is like the undying patriotics saying “If you don’t like this country, leave!”

    Unfunny, no it’s not. It’s like saying “If you don’t like this blog, then leave.” There’s a difference. Yes, free speech does require some moderation (either self-imposed or not).

  54. dmt tht nlgy ws vr th tp, bt cnsrng pst fr mtrl tht ws dmd bjctnbl, s ncnstttnl.

    Sr f dsgr wth smthng pstd, cn lv, bt whn prtcpt n th frm, nd m cnsrd, tht s vry dffrnt.

    nd mdrtn f frdm f spch s nt rqrd. W r ll llwd t sy nythng w wnt, syng smthng nd ctng n smthng r tw thngs th lw hs plcd ln n btwn.

    Bt t sy mst mdrt r hv mdrtd smthng sy, s ldcrs.

  55. Do I have to trot out the old tired example of yelling FIRE! in crowded theater when there is no fire? Sure you are free to yell it, but others might find it objectionable and you might be sanctioned for it. You might also cause unnecessary harm.

    And ludacris is some kind of rap guy, the word you’re looking for is spelled ludicrous.

  56. Unfunny – the constitution applies to the U.S. Government. It does not apply to Boing Boing or any other privately run media. Sorry.

    If the USG was moderating posts on BB or shutting it down because it didn’t like what the BB bloggers had to say, that would be a different story.

    If the blogers or moderators here want to tell you to STFU, they can. Editing, deleting and banning your posts are all within their rights. That is free expression, which is what “free speech” is really about.

    Nothing on the internet exists in a vacuum, and BB is very popular. If the content and moderation policies on BB were truly egregious, there would already be a lot of bad press.

  57. Dear Nickpaine:

    Why do I support disemvowelling?
    One: limited resources. There is not enough money flying around to have a moderator for each idiot. One moderator must serve all. Want more moderators? Send money.
    Then each difficult case can have a personal attendant nurse them along until they understand civil discourse.
    two: quality; I can’t have a decent discussion if I have to keep dealing with fools. Disemvowelling gives them a chance as opposed to the simple deletion they have earned.
    three; BoingBoing wants to. Their house, their rules.

    My advice to the disemvowelled: Shut the hell up long enough to think why the hell you were sanctioned. If you were really, really screwed, come back very softly and politely and try to convince the majority here you got a hard deal. Be prepared to have to actually make an argument and convince people. That doesn’t mean doing more of what got you sanctioned.

    Undemocratic? Who gives a shit? This isn’t your country or even your town. At most this is a village on the edge of the ice. Make enough trouble and sooner or later, you’ll fall in. Ever wonder why Eskimos are so polite?

  58. m nt sr hw mch blgs ttrct ttntn tsd f th cmmnty.

    Y r crrct, t s prvtly rn. Wth tht bng sd, ths prvtly rn ntrpr hs st gdlns n fr spch.

    Th psts n my rcntly bnnd ccnt shwd n vltn f ny f thm.

    Whn pstd cmmnt skng th mdrtr t xpln why ws dsmvwlld, sh rpsndd by dsmvwllng tht pst.

    Tht s why m qstnng th ntgrty f thr mdrtn prcsss.

    nd Jk, yr xmpl s dfnd n ny lw txt y wsh t lk n. Hwvr, n sttn whr physcl hrm sn’t thrt, fr spch cnnt b nfrngd pn. f yll bmb n n rprt, xpct t b rrstd. f yll “t’s wmn’s chc” t Pr-lf spprtr, xpct t rmn ncnsrd.

    nd n blg, my wrds my b bjctnbl t ppl wh dsgr wth thm, bt wht gd ds t d t cnsr nthr sd t n rgmnt? Thr s n prgrss n ths dbts nymr.

  59. Tkn.

    Wht mks y thnk y mst dl wth thr blggrs? Gt prblm wth wht ppl sy? gnr thm nd ddrss wh y wr hvng yr dscssns wth.

    s fr ths bng BB hs, bllsht. Thy wsh t spprt hlthy mdm fr cmmntng nd smtms rgng vr strs n th nws by nvtng ppl t pst n thr st.

    t s nt mttr f sndng mr mny t hr mr mdrtrs. Wll mr cps rdc crm? T sm xtnt ys, bt n th lng rn, n. t s th systm tht mst chng.

    Ths st blvs tht th wrnng s cnsdrd dsmvwllng. Thr sn’t vn wy t tll f y hv bn cmplnd bt nr th ppl wh hv cmplnt. S nthng gs rslvd, crtng mr rgng.

    Crt nw wy f cmplnng, hll, hv vt fr nc, why shld th mnrty f ppl dcd th ft vr smn’s pst.

  60. EvilRooster, you know from makers, being one yourself. Does it seem to you that they’re normally as grumpy, judgemental, exclusionary, and non-concrete as Nemo and Profof? I have my doubts about those guys’ credentials. Profof also sneers at steampunk enthusiasts for being like Trekkers, which suggests to me he doesn’t know the incidence of makers is in the Trek and other skiffy subcultures. (Excised here: discussion of which other concepts and terms he is and isn’t familiar with, concluding with “I sincerely doubt he’s a professor; and if he were, it wouldn’t be of logic.”) Overall view: people who are into doing original work don’t register brand-new accounts just so they can strike poses and accuse others of not doing enough original work.

    Takuan @10, they don’t quite come off as frustrated wanna-be artists or writers to me. I think this is another case of “best thing they could think of to do.”

    Profofflogic @14, either you don’t know or you don’t care what “histrionic” means. “The response is stereotypical at best, pathetic at worst” just means you were clever enough in high school, but you’ve never updated the insults you learned to use there. I’m not sure what your professional credentials are supposed to tell me. Possibly it’s that you only make things when it’s part of your day job.

    You don’t know jack about fandom.

    Ross @18, I am ashamed. I must have heard the Amish drive-by joke a dozen times by now, but until you said something, it never occurred to me that it was offensive. Thank you. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Jeff @19, you’re an artist, so you imagine these guys are too. I think you’re giving them too much credit.

    Jeff again @23: Cory’s usually cheerful, upbeat, uncombative, open to new ideas, and happy to share same. It’s pretty much his normal mode. Does the example he sets keep trolls and jerks from taking potshots at him? Not a bit. That said —

    Later on in this thread, Sunnyside makes a major error on that subject. Cory’s not the one who gets super-defensive when people attack him. I am.

    Ross @24: That’s lovely. Have you ever read Steam Bird by Hilbert Schenck?

    Ethyl @25:

    Cory, thanks for posting the video, and try not to let the naysayers stress you out. This unfortunate “Maker vs. NPC” schism has been playing out everywhere fans of the steampunk aesthetic gather (the Brass Goggles forum, LiveJournal, etc.) I’m sorry you’re getting some of the ugly backwash.

    Ethyl, can you tell me what’s driving this conflict on other sites? I’ve never known maker types to be big on games of who’s in and who’s out. Even if all you do is glue gears to the outsides of old radios, they’ll happily talk to you about what kind of radios work with what kind of glues.

    What I’m noticing about this thread is that the people driving the conflict don’t sound like makers or artificers to my ear. If the same kind of people are driving the arguments elsewhere, there’s mischief going on.

    What I know from fandom is that when you get this sort of pointless, useless social split, it often turns out to be driven by people who aren’t all that engaged with what are supposed to be the core interests and activities of the community. (See also.)

    Ethyl again @38:

    I’m afraid I can’ take credit for [using “NPC”]. The term has been perpetuated by people who give way more of a crap about their status in the steampunk “scene” than I do.

    That’s it exactly. The makers I know are into techniques and artifacts and talking to other people who are too. Status is what you get for making cool stuff, or helping other people get to make it. If you’re having to worry about your status in the scene, but the way you boost it is by excluding others you deem to be unworthy, you must not be able to acquire status by making cool stuff.

    Did that make sense?

    Polomoche @44: Right. You thought their first album rocked, but after that they sold out.

    Agent 86 @49: So maybe he’s not a steampunk?

    And now we get to Sunnyside @50:

    I was first exposed to “steampunk” some years ago. At the time, I enjoyed it — I thought, “wow, that’s so cool, it’s, like, old fashioned and high-tech at the same time!” I appreciated the aesthetic and was intrigued by the idea of melding the modern and the old in something both visually pleasing and useful.

    And that makes you an expert on steampunk and its nascent community?

    The recent backlash of insults, trolls, and complaints against steampunk, however, should be a hint.

    No. I don’t think so. From what I’ve seen, there’s no coherent body of sentiments or philosophy behind the bad-mouthing some people give steampunk. Never mistake a short attention span for art criticism. Besides, there’s no central steampunk organization there to receive a hint if one were being conveyed.

    The problem?

    You mean there’s just one problem? And you know what it is? Woo.

    It just seems,

    I know that one! It means “I am about to make an unsupported assertion, and I have no intention of giving it support later on.

    and of course plenty of people will disagree with this assessment,

    The only reason to say so is to undercut their reaction.

    that the label itself has become an excuse for showcasing otherwise uninteresting or shoddy work, just because it has the right look.

    Translation: People have been using the term ‘steampunk’ to denote objects that strike them as looking steampunkish, whether or not those objects meet Sunnyside’s exacting standards.

    Of course I don’t have to read it if I don’t like it,

    It’s a pity the comment didn’t end there.

    but I come to Boing Boing to read about new, interesting, and creative trends in the world of art, music, and culture.

    If you’re that much of a culture vulture, you should know that artistic movements turn up all kinds of experiments, trials, and odd applications of their tropes and techniques. This is especially true with new ones that are still figuring themselves out.

    Also, if that’s truly why you come to Boing Boing, either you usually find what you come in search of, or you’re a blockhead.

    Of course, I’m not going to find every post interesting, and I wouldn’t expect to.

    That was another good place to end the comment.

    But on the other hand, I tire of seeing such a narrow set of views represented.

    Oh, you poseur.

    First: if that’s your actual opinion, you must be a dunce to keep coming here “to read about new, interesting, and creative trends in the world of art, music, and culture.”

    Second: isn’t that exactly the same thing everyone says about Boing Boing — that it’s narrow, doctrinaire, programmatic, and tightly focused? God’s mercy, it’s so obvious it hardly needs to be said. … Not.

    Third: why don’t you submit less narrowly conceived material as suggested links for Boing Boing? We could all become more educated and refined while becoming broader — sort of like attending Relief Society, only without as much Jello.

    There are plenty of other interesting things going on in the world that merit discussion and exposure.

    Do you really think so? Is that your genuine point of interest? Because if it is, and if you don’t want to submit all that material for possible links, the thing to do is to start your own weblog — no doubt subtitled A directory of interesting things that merit discussion and exposure — and start blogging about all this great stuff. If people agree with you, they’ll come and read your site, and spread your links far and wide.

    So: why aren’t you out there starting a weblog? If what you want is to point out especially good art, that would be the way to do it. Hanging around here and deploring our taste in art is so massively ineffectual that one has to wonder why you do it. Could it be that the actual point of the exercise is to swan about in front of Boing Boing’s audience, displaying the delicate, quivering, hair-like filaments of your superior aesthetic sensibility?

    Of course, you may disagree with this assessment, but I think it has real possibilities.

    A couple of examples from the art world – my father’s friend Jeff was a machinist for most of his life and in his spare time amused himself by welding sculptures out of scrap metal. Over the years he got quite good, in spite of his complete lack of formal art training — he now makes beautifully ornate and detailed sculptures with a level of creativity and inventiveness that I could never, ever rival.

    How very interesting. Now: where’s the URL? Has it escaped your notice that this is a weblog? How do you expect Boing Boing to function as a directory of wonderful things on behalf of this art, if the art isn’t in a place that directories can access?

    If you read that request for the URL as having overtones of “put up or shut up,” you got it right.

    Unfortunately, however, his favorite subject, gunslinging cowboys, would seem to disqualify him from mention on Boing Boing.

    False, and you know it. A weblog with Boing Boing’s enthusiasm for challenging content is not going to balk at a little cowboy art. All that’s required is that one of the Boingers think it’s wonderful.

    A good friend of mine only paints female figures, often nude or semi-nude. There’s a certain lack of refinement in her works that again would seem to disqualify her,

    Now you’re just being stupid. Have you seen some of the images Boing Boing runs?

    but they’re nonetheless brilliant works, just dripping with a raw eroticism that I’ve never seen elsewhere.

    Uh-huh. Let me repeat: is there a URL? If not, why are you taxing a weblog with not having featured this art? Have you given this any thought at all? Do these artists exist, or are you making them up to give yourself something to whine about?

    Both are brilliant artists, and by any sense of the word are outsiders in the art world.

    No. They’re only outsiders in one sense of the word, which is that they’re not part of the fine art establishment. All but a tiny fraction of the artists in the world are outsiders by that definition. By the other definitions given to Outsider Art, your invisible friends don’t qualify.

    So we return to the original problem, why the backlash against steampunk?

    One hates to be impolite about these things, but last time you mentioned The Problem, it was a different problem, and that it caused the backlash. Not to mention that you never produced a speck or particle of evidence to support your thesis that any backlash exists.

    In my case, it just feels like it detracts from other, better work.

    What an enormous load of codswallop! Did you drag it in all by yourself? You must be very proud.

    First: you keep invoking the existence of this other, better work. You’ve never recommended it as a Boing Boing link. You’ve never featured it on a website of your own. Even when you’ve been creebing at Cory’s taste in this comment, you haven’t given us the name of a single artist, or a URL where we can go look at their work. You’re big on art? Prove it. So far I’m not seeing any evidence.

    Second: art appreciation doesn’t work that way. If you see art you like, art that means something to you, it tends to make you want to see more art. If on the other hand you get told that the art you like is crap, and that you ought to like some other art because it will be good for you, it’s likely to give you a poor opinion of the whole damned enterprise. (Shakespeare used to be popular with the working classes, right up to the point where they started getting told they were enjoying Shakespeare for the wrong reasons, and the plays started getting produced in properly respectful and artistic fashion. Shakespeare’s popularity has never recovered.)

    Cory, we don’t hate steampunk.

    Let’s see. You’re neither a king nor an emperor nor an editor, and you don’t have a mouse in your pocket. Furthermore, I don’t see where you get off claiming to speak for anyone but yourself. Your confederates haven’t been in evidence before this point. I therefore find it inexplicable that you’ve suddenly taken to speaking in the first person plural.

    [We] like the occasional *really good* piece of steampunk art.

    You’ve never said what you think is good steampunk, either by laying down principles or citing works. Therefore, this statement of yours is meaningless.

    [We] frankly just tire of these apparent obsessions,

    Personally, I get tired of pseuds, frauds, poseurs, and talentless gits trying to headtrip Cory and the other Boingers. If you succeeded in making them so miserable they stopped writing, you couldn’t replace them.

    the seemingly endless string of steampunk, Tibet, and DRM-related posts.

    Hold it. This comment has been about steampunk. Now you’re dragging in Tibet and DRM, to which none of your earlier arguments are pertinent. Also, if you dislike steampunk and Tibet and DRM that much, why are you reading Boing Boing in the first place? Go away.

    I like steampunk,

    And that’s why you can write this many words about it without mentioning a single work.

    I’d just rather there was a better filter on what makes it onto the main page. …

    This is getting unbelievably dreary. I had planned to make various further remarks in response to the rest of this comment, but I can’t go on. I’m too bored. Sunnyside’s just another demitroll saying things he doesn’t believe for the sake of his argument — and it’s still a lousy argument.

    (Why is it that readers who creeb and whine about how bored they are never stop to wonder whether they’re being boring?)

    I’ve already disemvowelled the end of Sunnyside’s comment. All I have to do is extend the disemvowelling further up the into the comment so that it takes in the next paragraph or so, and then I’ll be finished and can do something else.

    Sorry. I can’t resist. The prospect is just too attractive.

    Good night, all.

  61. Unfunny, let me know when you’ve read the moderation guidelines. If you can demonstrate you understand them, I’ll put most of your messages back.

    You really should take care of that. It’ll keep you from making the same mistakes over and over again. If free speech is important, surely it’s worth taking the time to find out what it is and how it works.

    Nick Paine, I suggest you do the same.

    I’m not going to stop disemvowelling and/or removing bad comments. This one’s simple. Trolls, demitrolls, rhinoceri, and other mannerless internet species have no problem operating in forums full of thoughtful, civil participants. Trouble is, those thoughtful, civil participants won’t stick around in forums full of trolls.

    As I said in the comment thread following the posting of the moderation guidelines, I get damned tired of being accused of censorship and suppressing free speech. There’s far more internet discourse lost to casual rudeness and trollage than is ever lost to moderators.

    We read what falls under our eye. If I leave bad comments lying around in plaintext, every person who comes along will read them and get a hit of their nastiness, or mendacious headtripping, or whatever’s going on in them. “Free speech” doesn’t fix that. It doesn’t lift the weight off your heart, or clear the crap out of your memory.

    I can deal with that. So can you. A lot of people can’t. And oddly enough, a lot of those people who can’t take the constant headbutting and unpleasantness have more interesting things to say than your average internet rhinoceros.

    If you think an individual’s right to say anything he wants, in any way he wants to say it, is the most important thing the internet has to offer, all I can say is that Usenet’s still there.

  62. TAKUAN – You’d be welcome in my workshop anytime!

    TERESA – You’ve read Steam Bird! what a fun book – I recommend it for any one who’s into any aspect of steam with or without the punk.

  63. Teresa; My copy of Steam Bird came in the mail today, purchased by your recommendation. Sci fi about an atomic powered bomber plane by a real cold war mechanical engineer! This is going to be awesome. Thanks!

Comments are closed.