“Well, you know, I wanted to like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” said Brigid, starting a fresh piece of pizza. “I mean, I was all into Tale Spin and I really like that whole Steampunk vibe.”
“Dieselpunk,” said Alex.
“What?” said Brigid.
“The planes have diesel engines,” said Greg, nodding at Alex. “So it’s Dieselpunk, not Steampunk.”
“Oh come on,” said Brigid. “What difference does it make?”
“I didn’t make the term,” said Alex. “I’m just pointing it out!”
“That’s just stupid,” said Brigid. “The planes in Sky Captain weren’t powered by anything but special effects. Besides, there was a car in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and you said that was Steampunk.”
“Well,” said Alex, unconvincingly.
“Although strictly speaking, if we’re going to pull all this stuff apart,” said Greg, “the real problem is the appellation ‘-punk.’ I mean honestly, how does putting goggles, straps, and gears on everything have anything to do with an ideology of aggressive anti-authoritariansim and critique of mainstream consumerism?”
“Do what?” said Brigid.
“Really, if anything, with all its pseudo-Victorian ‘God save the Queen’-ing, the genre should be called ‘SteamRetroImperialism.’ Or possibly ‘SteamSellingOut’.”
“Well, no genre makes it into the mainstream without selling out,” said Alex. “I hate to tell you this, but at their core, ninety percent of the population actually prefers tyranny. Do you really think an antiestablishment genre can survive? Even among fandom geeks, people prefer divine-right monarchies and happy endings over the messy realities of life and politics.”
“Hold on,” said Brigid. “I thought we were talking about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.”
“Eh?” said Alex. “I thought we were talking about Steampunk.”
“Dieselpunk,” said Greg. “Or possibly, DieselRetroImperialism.”