If you are a fan of Steam Punk and Steam Punk cosplay, you need to know the following:

last night, at a local Steam Punk meet up, I asked Barry Thrunkleberg (admin of SteamChat.org message boards) to comment on the way Cyber Punk fans look down on Steam Punk as a kind of ‘lesser’ or ‘offshoot’ fandom rather than a vibrant subculture of its own. And here is what he said:

“Sounds like someone’s got their airship-style jodhpurs in a bunch.”

Keep in mind, this was after he had wasted much of the crowd’s time on a digression about the recent Cyber Punk film ‘Ghost in the Shell’ — his contention being that he thought it would be ‘funny’ to wear his steam punk clothes ‘ironically’ to this film, implying that steam punk cosplay is something to be done as a joke, rather than as an all-encompassing lifestyle that involves fashion, fan-fiction and even risking serious injury at lazertag re-enactments of the Second Boer War that take place in an alternate timeline where soldiers had access to steam-powered lazer aiming technology.

I have been following Barry’s fanart and cosplay photos literally since I first discovered his old GeoCities-hosted Steam Punk site when I was in high school. To imply that the Steam Punk/ Cyber Punk divide is a topic to be brushed off with a humiliating joke is an abomination of ahistorical thinking. I will remember the names, faces and cosplay identities of all 17 people in the room who laughed at his little quip (especially my so-called Dirigible First Mate ‘Conrad Farthingpenny’). Those of you who still don’t see this as a betrayal, may I gently request that you KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT and do not add insult to injury by commenting that ‘it was a just a joke’ or ‘actually do you have any any airship-style jodhpurs I can borrow for SteamCon17’ as you will be BLOCKED.

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