I would apologize for the ranting I’m about to do, but fuck it, it’s my blog anyhow.
Ever since I started SteamPunk Magazine two years ago, the internet has been full of sharks, hungry to tear apart every single word we wrote. Before we went to print, when steampunk magazine was a splash page on a domain asking for contributors, there were posts across the web about it. As a random example, “You say you don’t want pro-colonial fiction. LOL, how can you be steampunk without being pro-colonial?”
It was a bit better once the magazine came out. The number of haters increased, to be sure, but we finally had appreciators. Still, in the end, the internet hate is a large part of what drove me away from steampunk. There are people out there who are very, very bitter about the idea that steampunk could have political and social meaning. And those people are very vocal. “OMG, we just want fiction. Stop talking about politics.”
But the political crowd is no better. It might be worse. Since many anarchists defend shittalk as being “critical thinking”, they go about it as self-righteously as they go about everything else they do. I’m frustrated, honestly. I’m tempted to give up on the internet. Could you imagine it in person?
Could you imagine walking up to a table at a bookfair, picking up a book, reading the back, and then attacking the author to their face? What if that was the norm? (Granted, people have actually done this to us at bookfairs before, but it is certainly the exception).
So this week I’ve had steampunks yell at me for being political, anarchists yell at me for watering-down their politics, red anarchists critique me for being too anti-civilization, green anarchists yell at me for being pro-civilization. I’ve been chastised for my choice in publisher (since, despite employing less than 10 people and being entirely anarchist run, they aren’t enough of a small press).
Yeah, I know. We all know the world is ruthless, and you’ve got to have thick skin to keep it up doing anything public. I’m not going to stop doing what I’m going to do. It just wears on you, that’s all.
*addendum* The thing is, posting comments rather than communicating directly with someone is saying “I’m saying this and I want everyone to see it.” When you see someone with food in their beard, do you say “hey everyone! that man has food in their beard!” or do you tell them directly? (As a side note, no longer metaphorical, don’t tell me I have food in my beard till I’m done eating. Thanks.)