The Justin Beiber video, with a Steampunk panache to it, is generating a lot of flap in the Steampunk community. So I am going to be really unpopular and shake my head at everyone who is upset. Let me explain why.
First, let’s talk about Mr.Beiber’s credentials. First off, Usher and Timberlake were in a bidding war to sign this guy. In the R&B world, that’s a very interesting comment. If you don’t know who they are, then that is likely why Justin Beiber’s music is annoying you.
His achievements in the R&B and pop music space stand for themselves. You can read up on him at Wikipedia. If you don’t like R&B/ Pop, then you’re not going to enjoy Beiber’s music.
So now lets talk about Steampunk. I’m going to throw an interesting idea out for everyone.
”Attempts to formally define steampunk are exercises in futility, similar to similar attempts at defining science fiction. Even Damon Knight’s definition of SF as “what we mean when we point to it” is problematic, as the “we” no longer refers to a single cohesive group.” — maplemuse blog.
So for the folks who are trying to say that Justin Beiber has some how done some horrible wrong to Steampunk by dressing a few pro dancers up and decorating a video set in some of the spiffiest Steampunk costumes and props I’ve seen… I dunno what the problem is.
He has, in effect, generated a ton of free advertising about the look and feel of Steampunk. That’s a good thing. The music, for his audience, is what it should be. The dance work and choreography is fun; the clockwork doll is brilliant and the guys stomping on the conveyors is brilliant.
Unless, of course someone defines mainstream as “everyone else that got here after I did”. Then, yes, there is a problem. There will be a lot of new people coming in after them, wanting to know about this cool look and thing we have going on.
To me, at least, part of what makes the “community” of Steampunk cool and worth being a part of is that everyone I’ve personally dealt with has been very accepting. We cheer each other on, we talk about our fun and our enthusiasms. It doesn’t matter about age, color, creed, life-style or anything else. You dress like us, you fun like us, you are us.
So again, I have to ask, what’s the problem? Hell, if “The Beib” showed up at Steamcon in that outfit from the video and respected our space as much as anyone else just on a day pass to look around, I still don’t see the problem.
The video is available here on YouTube .
The gauntlet on his right hand was made on commision by a Vancouver Steampunk artisan.