Following up on the video from earlier this week, I can’t help but connect John Cleese’s thoughts to education. I’ll skip the first premise that must be believed to follow this line, that the primary goal of education is to teach the skills of creativity and not to impart a collection of received knowledge. That is a topic for another day, and that day was thirty years ago.
Key points of the talk:
I’ve got a yearning for some far future science fiction, so I’m starting with the purported best in the field.
R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen, the man who made special effects special.
Here’s the thing about people who complain about taxes, generally they say something like, “don’t take my money for __________.” Which is a fine and perfectly understandable reaction to the situation except …
Money itself is a communal good. It only exists and has value because a large community of people agree that it does. Therefore it’s not really your money or my money, it’s our money. If we all stopped believing in it it would go away. So to wish for a world in which only you have power over your money is to wish for a world in which money has no value. Since you give my money value and I give your money value, we both have an interest in how that money is used.
Government is the system we’ve developed in order to assure that we get a say as to where our money goes, because the money in your pocket is 1/300,000,000 mine and vice versa. If I’m going to continue to value the money in your pocket then I get a say as to how it’s spent. Not a big say, just a single vote in a giant economy, but I do get a vote, and so do you.
Next time you’re complaining about taxes, just remember that that is your vote and you get a say as to how it’s used.
Something I was reminded of:
Nobody ever talks about the problematic elements in the source material for Steampunk.
I tried to bring it up at a Steampunk-themed convention and got crickets and a room full of stinkeye. Nobody wanted to be reminded that one of the core tropes of the genre was White Male Is A Genius And Builds A Gadget/Robot, Then Goes And Conquers Those PoC Over There And Then Steals Their Treasures.
And damaging Victorian worldviews, morality, and social mores.
And these things DO leak into the revival of Steampunk. Or Neo-Steampunk. Or whatever we want to call it.
And people either don’t know the history of the genre or, if they do, they want to ignore it all.
LET ME THROW LINKS AT YOU
Silver Goggles - “Worn by the steampunk postcolonialist when engaging with issues of race, representation, diversity, and other such exciting adventures as one might find in our genial genre”
Beyond Victoriana - “the oldest-running blog about multicultural steampunk and retro-futurism—that is, steampunk outside of a Western-dominant, Eurocentric framework.”
Ay-Leen the Peacemaker makes zines about antifascism, asian-americans and anti-King Coal activism in steampunk.
Nisi Shawl is writing a steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo (I LOVE HER)
(tl;dr I love all these people, and I will really be sad to miss WisCon this year)
Thanks so much for the rec! Let me throw some more at you:
Steampunk Magazine: THE first magazine about steampunk, founded by anarcho-anarchist Magpie Killjoy. They are very much into discussing the -“isms” of steampunk, and are actively pro-social justice and stuffs.
Steampunk Emma Goldman — Putting the politics into your steampunk and steampunk into your politics. And her Facebook too is worth a follow.
The Chronicles of Harriet — On the forefront of steamfunk, African/African-American steampunk, run by Balogun Ojetade
moniquill aka Monique Poirier, social justice blogger, Seaconke Wampanoag steampunk
jhameia aka Jaymee Goh — Owner of Silver Goggles. This be her tumblr.
There are other steampunks who are politically-conscious and want to talk about that. Many of them answered my question about steampunk & politics here: http://beyondvictoriana.tumblr.com/post/47042618748/what-role-do-feminism-and-queer-politics-have-in
Other folks, feel free to shout-out here too!
This topic interested me as well, which is why I wrote SteampunX, a serial novel (currently on hiatus) which doesn’t critique the genre as much as repurpose it toward a more inclusive narrative. It was favorably reviewed in the aforementioned Steampunk Magazine and I hope to return to it soon possibly with big news (fingers crossed).
My latest micropiece is the penultimate story in this minithology. Read all five pieces for the cost of a piece of paper (or just read them online for free).