What the Steampunk is That??
Have you ever watched a movie and have been so confused by what’s happening and what time period the movie was set in that you have no idea what actually happened in that movie?
That’s how I felt when I saw Wild Wild West.
I have always thought that Will Smith was a pretty great actor. He’s battled both aliens and zombie-ish guys, and was one of only 4 people that made neon green parachute pants look
cool not horrible in the early 90’s. But this was one film that had me completely confused. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be looking at: Was it an action film? A Victorian comedy? A Sci-Fi thriller?
What, Will Smith? *throws hands up in the air* What??
(Sidenote: is “Victorian Comedy” even a thing? If so, I think that’d be about the most boring and un-hilarious genre ever created…)
And that’s when I asked the question: what the smurf is that? (<— I had to say “smurf” because I knew what a smurf was…didn’t know what “steampunk” was at that point).
I saw all of those big clunky gadgets, Victorian dresses, and futuristic technology and I was certain that it must be a result of one of 3 things:
- Warner Bros. had a lot of props left over from filming The Terminator and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and thought, “Hey…let’s just throw all of this stuff together and see what comes of it. Might be fun.”
- Will Smith had lost his mind
- After watching that movie for 19 minutes, perhaps I had lost my mind (probably the most viable of the 3 options)
As it turns out, none of those things were accurate. (I know. I was surprised too.)
It seems as though Wild Wild West was just a film involving Steampunk. I know that there are several of you out there who already know what Steampunk is, but for those of us who don’t know what it is, (I am certain that I’m not the only “old lady” type out there who isn’t all up on robotic nurses, iPhone apps, and microwave popcorn, or whatever else you kids talk about these days…), I will attempt to
poorly explain it all here.
Steampunk is “a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction” and involves a “setting where steampower is still widely used – usually Victorian era Britain or ‘Wild West’-era United States—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy” (this explanation has been brought to you by
Wikipedia hours of extended research).
That being said, there are still a lot of things about it that I don’t understand.
1) I don’t understand how these glasses (sorry…spectacles) make you see any better:
And if you break them, can you just take them into LensCrafters for repairs? Will they have them ready in an hour or a fortnight?
2) I also don’t understand this:
Is it a bracelet? A clock? That thing you have to wear on your head when you have braces on your teeth? Seriously, what the steampunk is this??
3) I don’t understand how to ride this:
Do you have to use a ladder to get to the top of this thing? If you need to run to the store to get some milk, is this the most practical vehicle for you to use? If you get a flat tire, where do you find a replacement?
4) I don’t understand how to play this:
Are the strings on this instrument made out of steel? How do I tune this? If I walk on carpet and touch this, will I get a shock? (<— a valid question, I think…)
5) I also don’t understand how to use this:
Is it a laptop? Is it a typewriter? Do I use it to send emails or telegraphs?
6) I don’t understand why this had to be made:
Of this, I am only curious about one thing: would Professor Xavier approve of this? (You’re the expert here, Cocca).
After all of this, I can’t help but wonder if I glued this:
would my steam-whistle-sweatband, in any way, be similar to the creations shown above?
I think I may try to do it sometime this week and take it out for a test-run. I just want someone to walk up to me and say, “What the steampunk is that?”
And I would say, “What the steampunk? What the steampunk, indeed…”
What do you think about Steampunk?
Are you a Steampunk? If so, what was your motivation to become one?
Do you think the author needs to watch Wild Wild West again in order to appreciate the beauty behind the Steampunk genre? If so, if she watches it on Fast Forward, does that still count?
Filed under: College | 40 Comments
Tags: costumes, Education, Geek, humor, steampunk, Technology, Victorian era, Wild West