18 April 2012

Tangentially Zombie Wednesday: Rise of the Steam Goddess

I'm glad the word steampunk is so popular, because it's a real time-saver. It's like a handkerchief on the roommate's doorknob, code for "MASTURBATING--DO NOT DISTURB." Don't worry, bro! When you drop the s-bomb, I realize that wanking is in progress, and I can spare both the wanker and myself the shame of discovery. Unless, that is, I'm doing research for new Shitstarter posts. In that case, I kick in the door.

Dame Frances "Fanny" Juggins, Lady Bustington

I know what you're thinking. Some of you were reading along, and then when you got to the photo of Dame Fanny (above), you lost track of what I was saying. Maybe you even let slip a little wolf-whistle, in spite of yourself. A few of you might even have hoped that this woman was the artist responsible for the Kickstarter project, or at least that she appears in the video; after all, a big PLAY button hovers just above her endowments.

But such is the visual rhetoric of Kickstarter pages like the one for Ben Hamby's Rise of the Steam Goddess. Not only is Dame Fanny not the party responsible for the page, she does not even appear in the video. She is the bait, and Professor Hamsley Piggins, Marquess of Bloatingsford (below), is the switch. If you don't believe me, watch his video, which consists of Piggins sitting on a couch and holding forth about his novel of "steam-powered zombies" in an English accent that made me consider, in this order, homicide, suicide, and genocide.

"I know all there is to know about the crying game." --K.K. Rotwang

Steampunk may be the new the sink to which porky, some-college mediocrity drains. For fans with a DIY impulse, it's a snap: buy an olde-tyme hat on EBay or at the Halloween store, glue some feathers and watch parts to it, and vòila, le punk--le punk de steam! Making a convincing suit of mail, Dalek-voice ring-modulator, or bat'leth takes way more work. Besides, unlike "boffer" (i.e. foam-weapon) LARP, steampunk demands little exertion, apart from squeezing into those getups. No, you won't see any mob of steampunks chasing about St. James Park, clubbing each other with foam bumbershoots, eh, guv'nor?

Steampunk is specific enough to be useful to my purposes--I can search for the word in Kickstarter and find no shortage of awful self-promotion--but it is also a vague enough buzzword to attract all manner of "creative" awfulness to its banner.

Long live steampunk.

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