Thursday, March 19, 2009
how can I brace myself for razor blades on whips
Sometimes, life takes us strange places. Any life.
In lieu of a formal apology to the usual suspects of the Poetry Slam (each Thursday at five pm SLT, at Winterfell Absinthe--I can make that a SLUrl link later, but just hit me up for a port request around that time if you want to join the mayhem), I'll offer somewhat of an explanation.
Without getting too much into non-SL situations (my personal ones), we live with another maker of things in SL. So many of our conversations in and around the house feature SL to a large extent.
She wanders into our room tonight, where I already sit somewhat stressed because my work on what was to be the next blog entry was taking a lot more thought than I'd anticipated (and ended up making me fifteen minutes late to the Slam), and listened as I read a problematic portion of the entry (concerning Victorian class structure, how rigid it was, and how essentially one was either nobility, of some stripe, and usually born so, or born gutter-poor and rarely elevated past that) aloud.
She asked what I was doing. I explained to her I was trying to identify the core themes of steampunk music...and we were off and running.
In the four hours of intense, heated conversation that followed, we covered eugenics and brutality; Germany's rise to power if unchallenged and weakened by two world wars; potential post-apocalyptic warzones peopled only by the damaged and the mad; the Industrial Revolution, and how necessary it was to save those trammelled underfoot by such social restrictions; the absolute execrable conditions that most lived in during actual Victorian times, in England; the fact that if we had not had the Industrial Revolution, with the concurrent rise of electrical power, over steam power (essentially, if the internal combustion engine had never been invented), we would not have hospitals, colleges, and workspaces that were useable in any of the ways we use them today; the fact that directly due to the advent of mass production, that for the most part, in America, 98% of all citizens are, all factors considered, actually far above what is considered "poverty" in such places like East Timor and Calcutta, India...
...in essence, it went on, and on, and on. And I couldn't think of a way to get out of it, past a certain point.
I'm just concentrating on the music, I kept saying. If I stop, and think through the entire invented history of an alternate time stream in terms of what may or may not have "actually" happened during each year of the developing culture...my brain caves in. I stop writing. I stop talking, because my brain will have evaporated from the pressure. I can't encompass all of that in what I'm doing.
I'm just concentrating on the music.
Just the music.
World wars, Victorian culture, the studies of electrical fields and their affects on plants, Nikola Tesla, social anthropology, and all of this flung like knives back and forth, with me doing my best not to hit for vital organs, and her in near tears trying to make me understand why I was wrong.
Just concentrating on the music. Not really thinking about the rest of it. Just the music. I can't get any bigger or I lose all focus.
Four hours. I'm still shaking, she's incredibly depressed, and neither of us have a resolution.
Save for this. I freely acknowledge that if the internal combustion engine, and mass production, had not arrived, had not screamed out to be invented, we would not have the society we have now. Hands down, she's right there. I acknowledge that if gasoline and diesel had not been the power source for the new engines, that we would not have been able to develop so far, so fast (even if I still also believe we could have been in space by now, but that's a whole separate rant). I acknowledge that having non-coal-powered machines and industry was a much better thing for everyone involved (since coal mining is inherently dirty, dangerous and--to this very day--lethal) than coal and steam power at the time. And I agree that a lot of steampunk's adherents are glossing over the bad, in favor of the beauty of nostalgia when seen through rose-colored goggles.
And we both agree that there is far too much fashion (that whole, slap a gear on it, it's Steampunk mentality), and far too little actual content. We do agree there.
We just...disagree on everything else. And at this point I'm tired, I'm shaking, I'm wanting to just kill everything as prosaic posturing, as--as she said--the "errand of a fool".
Give me a bit, I'll come back to it. But for me, it was, it is...all about the music. Just the music. I really wasn't considering the socio-economic devastation that could potentially occur if Germany won both wars in a culture already conditioned to think that clockwork people--and genetically-engineered people--were reality, not fantasy.
It's too much. I can't go there.
It's just the music. It has to be just the music. I can't think bigger than that. I may be wrong--I may be going about everything in the exact wrong way--and I may be making very, very many mistakes as I go.
But I don't know how else to do it. And the project can get bigger once I'm out of the mass band list. Until then...I have to take it as I'm taking it.
One band at a time. One sound at a time. The music. What is, what isn't. What might be. What can't be. Deal with the visuals and the mentality later.
So. In brief (ish), that's what distracted me tonight. I wish it hadn't all blown up. I doubt I'll be reading anything aloud from the blog past this point.
You are, by the way, any of you who read down to here--perfectly free to not respond to this post. I'm not asking people to choose sides, I'm not pushing for support. But I did pretty much go silent for nearly all of the Poetry Slam, and I wanted to mention a bit of why.
Now. Another topic entirely.
In searching for Baron Wulfenbach's "dirty skin"--a project started by Mr. 1wuz Gray, and which I still haven't found anything on--I decided to search through Xstreet Uncensored. Because I don't tend to browse that side of Xstreet, I don't often see the pop-up warning.
I did tonight, and maybe it was just the fried nerves, but they've made one distinct change in the agreement.
You are about to be redirected to Xstreet SL Uncensored.
The adult content within this site is intended for ADULTS ONLY (18 years of age or older). If you are not of legal age or do not wish to view materials of a sexually-explicit nature or you are offended by transgender images or topics, then please click CANCEL now. If you continue to on to view any adult content within this website, you are stating the following:
1. I am an adult over the age of 18 years.
2. I will not allow anyone under the legal age, stated in 1. above, to access any of materials labeled Mature.
3. I am viewing mature content of this site willingly and I understand that by doing so I will be exposed to materials of a sexually-explicit nature.
Maybe it's just me, but...exactly when did "transgender topics" become adults-only?