Topic: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

Forgive me for this simple phrase, but I was wondering, as a point of discussion, the idea of 'lifestyle vs liking the style'. This is often a bone of contention amongst many subcultures, places of common interest and so on. Perhaps there is a slight superiority or inferiority complex going on regarding the two, as they can sometimes agree and sometimes clash.

I say it is simple because I myself am quite simple smile But my intention here is to hear your views and spark perhaps a little healthy debate.

In my own personal situation, I have many interests, but I would not label myself as any one thing, be it steampunk, dieselpunk, decodent, horror, gothic, samba music enthusiast. My lifestyle is a mass amalgamation of all my interests, with the principle dogma being that I will try things that seem odd and to engage brain with off-centre lateral thinking. My lifestyle is wide and varied.

Liking the style touches on a similar note. Perhaps it influences my lifestyle in a way, with the things I like, perhaps I will decorate my house one way, buy a quirky top another day and so on. However, it may wax and wane, and ultimately appear as short-term moments of vanity.

Those who can adopt more of their admiration for a style into their life I sincerely applaud. In my line of work, I barely have time to organise anything of the sort, and plus, it wouldn't really be recommended in the medical profession to do anything that could be potentially classed as a gimmick. Therefore, I make do with liking the style. On the other hand, I don't think I could ever adopt a lifestyle, be it gothic, steampunk, dieselpunk. Perhaps I misunderstand what the idea of 'lifestyle' is when applied to subcultures, or maybe I don't understand. Perhaps the word has been misused here. Some people describe 'liking the style' as near derogatory, of not being 'true' to the life and crimes of the genre. But what if the intention was not to join the genre at all, but admire from afar and take bits and pieces here to work with what you already have? That can't be faulted, surely?

This is probably why I take the alternative lifestyle to these - the lifestyle that seems relatively uneventful. With the occasional zombie and blood spatter.

Sorry, left the Falcon in the Bentley. Right now, you answer to my Ronson T-T.

All hail Kremperpunk.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

I suppose there is a difference between living the style and liking the style but both at least imply a fondness for it and should be welcomed by everyone who cares to be associated with it, no?

As for myself, I don't live a steampunk lifestyle, or a dieselpunk lifestyle if even there is such a thing. But my liking of it does mean I buy vintage posters, occasionally wear a hat in a time when that is far from common, carry around an old-fashioned lighter and listen to LPs rather than DVDs. I like 1940s through 1960s music, pre-WW2 art and 1930s architecture. Do I like the dieselpunk style? Absolutely. But I would probably not describe is as my "lifestyle".

Then again, I wouldn't know what to call my lifestyle at all, so there you go.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

This is sort of a blurred point often. I wouldn't say I live an overly "Steampunk" lifestyle - but if I had to call myself something, I would comfortably call myself a Steampunk, due to multiple factors and preferences and often just preferences.

Blessed be Science and her handmaiden Steam;
They make Utopia only half a dream.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

I don't go about my daily life in Steam style, but I do let pulpy sorts of considerations influence what clothing I buy. I regularly wear a black fedora, I prefer pleated pants because they give me a greater range of comfortable movement (pleats are functional! They leave you well dressed but still ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat!), and I have long found wristwatches distasteful.

I may not live the style, but I also don't keep it locked up in my favorite club.

Not to chase other men; that is the law. Are we not men?

5 (edited by Ella Kremper 2009-10-07 10:46)

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

I found an interesting article here about steampunk lifestyles, which I thought was an interesting read, written by our very own Yaghish back in the day.

These are, in my opinion, non-existent. I don’t think many crime-lovers run around in shabby trench coats like their heroes, and poke their noses in all corpses they can find. Nor will the horror-lover be the typical slashing creep in the dark woods.
They clearly keep apart reality and the world in the books they read. Maybe they take to chance to do some reenactment or live-action role-playing to live out what they read about, but it will never be in their daily life.

I suppose this relates to me, without the LARPing/reenactment, although I enjoy writing stories inspired by but not necessarily set in the same vein. Not many people have read them, but I enjoy it. I personally don't have the time or money to reorganise my life to encompass a style. So, I settle for liking the style.

In some places I have noticed a bit of a superiority complex, which I expect can be found in any sort of interest, over those who live the lifestyle versus those who like the style. Of course, this does not apply to anybody in particular as it is seen everywhere, as it can be seen back at school with the stereotypical 'in-crowd girls' sneering at peers who are 'out of the crowd'.

To me, it does seem like this snobbery is rooted in vanity. For someone to call someone 'less-educated in the ways', to me, are ill-chosen words. I think a distinction needs to be made between bandwagon-hoppers and liking the style, as I've come under the impression that there seems to be a misunderstanding as to the differences.

Bandwagon-hoppers would, to me, be classed as a derogatory term for those who jump on to a fad/interest/<anything>punk, put on a '<insert thing here>-ier-than-thou> attitude and treat those genuinely interested in the style, especially newcomers, as being below them. They may overlap with 'liking the style', but their baser attitude portrays a negativity that may be assumed by others as integral to the interest at hand. It seems to be a platform to express one's superiority over another.

In other words, they just want to express what I shall call 'personal self-knobbery' without repercussion, and by association it is seen as part of the bandwagon they have jumped on - it has nothing to do with the interest at hand.

The difference between this and those who 'like the style' would be that perhaps those who 'like the style' may start by jumping on the bandwagon, but have no intention of expressing their self-knobbery on others. Their interest may fade, and they may get off the bandwagon, but at least they weren't a total knob about it.

How does this fit in with lifestylers? Perhaps not at all, and definitely not with everybody. But there still seems to be this negative self-knobbery in some quarters - this time, where perhaps the lifestyler has put a lot of time and effort into arranging their life in a particular way, and seeing others with a perhaps 'superficial' interest sparks the application of self-knobbery.

Yes, it may be true that if you are living the life, it may seem that those only interested at a superficial level (and I mean superficial as 'scratching the surface') are making a mockery of what you have worked to achieve because they haven't worked as hard as you, but there could be reasons for that:

1. Time
2. Money
3. Rules and regulations (e.g. workplace)
4. Self-choice (a choice not to do so)
5. They are indeed bandwagon-hopping knobs

Taking 1-4 into account, I think, portrays understanding from the viewpoint of 'Liking the Style vs Lifestyle'. My own situation is pretty much 1-4. Jumping immediately to 5 is preemptive and a bit insulting to intelligence, for it may not be a person's fault that they lack time or money to physically show their appreciation. Yoda may look like a short-arsed, infected viridian snotball who couldn't blow a piece of paper over but seriously, he kicks arse because of what's in his mind (and anyway, he does kick arse). Appearances deceive. The most valuable things are in your mind.

Let the loudest one speak for themselves and they will show their true colours - meaning, if you sound like a knob, it is possible that you are, indeed, a knob. And if you're not a knob, well, then there's no reason for you to act like one.

Sorry, left the Falcon in the Bentley. Right now, you answer to my Ronson T-T.

All hail Kremperpunk.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

Ottens wrote:

I like 1940s through 1960s music, pre-WW2 art and 1930s architecture. Do I like the dieselpunk style? Absolutely. But I would probably not describe is as my "lifestyle".

That's the point. My point (of view) too. My interest for the 20s, 30s and 40s goes a long way back but it never prevented any new experience. For me it's a matter of taste, not of a lifestyle.

Qui audet adipiscitur

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

Ella Kremper wrote:

In some places I have noticed a bit of a superiority complex, which I expect can be found in any sort of interest, over those who live the lifestyle versus those who like the style. Of course, this does not apply to anybody in particular as it is seen everywhere, as it can be seen back at school with the stereotypical 'in-crowd girls' sneering at peers who are 'out of the crowd'.

Maybe I don't spend enough time on the livejournals and on TSF, but although I have noticed this attitude here and there, fortunately, I haven't noticed it to be a wide-spread phenomena.

The funny thing is, of course, that if you want to start talking about what constitutes "real" steampunk, or a "real" steampunk, you have to go back to the beginnings when steampunk wasn't a fashion style; when steampunk wasn't a lifestyle or anything remotely similar to that. Steampunk was originally a genre, not a movement.

That is not to say that I object much to it having developed into a movement though. I think it's wonderful to see how people invented a fashion and a modding style that are both truly original and about as steampunk as I can imagine.

That said, maybe you're right. Maybe it is only inevitable that in a large group there will always be some trying to demonstrate that they're somehow better than the rest, and if they want to show that by dressing up in a Neo-Victorian outfit and scream from the rooftops how steampunk they are, why, let them, I say.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

Ottens wrote:

The funny thing is, of course, that if you want to start talking about what constitutes "real" steampunk, or a "real" steampunk, you have to go back to the beginnings when steampunk wasn't a fashion style; when steampunk wasn't a lifestyle or anything remotely similar to that. Steampunk was originally a genre, not a movement.

Would some people thus class me as being 'uneducated' in the ways of the 'punk? Perhaps they would. But then, it is a matter of opinion - I may embellish my own life with stylings here and there, accent it slightly, but I have no urge or want to engulf myself within a style. I have the utmost respect for those who do - I see it as a self-enlightening journey. If you find who you are, go for it smile In my case, what would this be, deco-diesel-cyber-steam-old school-gothic-horror-randompunk, shortened to Kremperpunk? wink

That said, maybe you're right. Maybe it is only inevitable that in a large group there will always be some trying to demonstrate that they're somehow better than the rest, and if they want to show that by dressing up in a Neo-Victorian outfit and scream from the rooftops how steampunk they are, why, let them, I say.

By going for the 'I'm <whatever>punk-more-than-thou, I am the One-True-<whatever>' stance, is it an attempt to assert individuality? And when more people join, the knobbery stakes raise, is it fear of losing that individuality that people turn to knobbery? A lifestyle is an individual choice, liking a style is an individual choice, there should be no fear that other people like similar things. There should be no fear of losing your own personal imprint on the world.

Sorry, left the Falcon in the Bentley. Right now, you answer to my Ronson T-T.

All hail Kremperpunk.

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

I'm not so sure. Isn't the motivation for adopting a certain lifestyle and identifying with a certain movement to find acceptance in a group? To "belong"? I don't quite see that as a profound statement of individuality.

BTW -- "Kremperpunk"? big_smile

Re: Lifestyle vs Liking the Style

Ottens wrote:

I'm not so sure. Isn't the motivation for adopting a certain lifestyle and identifying with a certain movement to find acceptance in a group? To "belong"? I don't quite see that as a profound statement of individuality.

I think initially, yes, this is true. But I would say that by finding acceptance in a group would that not be considered the completion of 'finding oneself', to feel that 'yes, this is me, I am it, zen'. Are we all the equivalent of crazy mixed-up teenagers going through that rough phase of adolescence to where we make that moment of self-discovery, through finding others to know yourself?

I wonder if those who engage in self-knobbery just have that feeling deep-rooted in them, whether they are yet to be comfortable with themselves to not give a hoot of what others interpret something as, and thus are still not comfortable with separating themselves as an individual from that of the group mentality - the fear of association.

BTW -- "Kremperpunk"? big_smile

Yeah, I'm so much Kremperpunkier-than-thou wink tongue

Sorry, left the Falcon in the Bentley. Right now, you answer to my Ronson T-T.

All hail Kremperpunk.