In the January 13 Chicago Tribune Magazine article “Punked,” Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz makes a tongue in cheek point about the mainstreaming of steampunk style. ModVic provides salvaged home-restoration. Sherwin-Williams has announced a line of steampunk-inspired colors. Justin Bieber’s Christmas video is cited. “Its very popularity threatens to make brass gears, pulleys and Edison bulbs passé.
“Such is the fate of trends, alas.” Elejalde-Ruiz continues. “It’s cool until too many people like it.”
Far from a death knell, the appearance of steampunk in mainstream culture shows that it thrives. Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum of ModVic teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to work on the Midnight Mystery colors. It’s small business working with big, a little bit of cool aiming at greater exposure.
The steampunk community is a mixed bag of politics. The anarchist-leftist politics of Margaret Killjoy and Steampunk Magazine hardly represent “mainstream” political opinion to be found on the floors of events like TeslaCon.
Overall, the Tribune article is fair and provides a brief history of the steampunk movement. although it bears a striking similarity to Evelyn Kriete’s “The Amazing Fantastic Steampunk Timeline of Music and Things.” I should know. It highly informed my own Steampunk 101. It doesn’t declare steampunk over; it looks at it as a trend in process.