Locus Magazine, one of the many bastions of white male SFF out there, put out some spoof articles today for April Fool's Day. Among them has this title: "Underpopulated, Bankrupt Detroit Renames Itself “Boilertown,” Goes Into Full Steampunk Mode".
I've read article upon article about Detroit's problems, much of which stem from class and race issues (which in turn then influence other problems). Detroit, already suffering from problems which essentially stem from white supermacist capitalism, is picked to be the butt of this "joke" article.
About slapping on a white consumerist image onto a poor industrial city often coded as black.
Let's talk about the erasure of racism in this article. Let's talk about jokingly migrating big names, all of whom are white because seriously apparently this writer cannot think of a single big name in steampunk who is not white, to Detroit. Let's talk about a space where radical dreams are being dreamt and solidarity must be built, and slap on for shits and giggles and a fucking laugh an image driven by consumerism. Let's talk about using manual workers, child labour, disintegration of unions and gentrification as jokes.
Because these are funny, you know.
Is it satire? Who is it satirizing? Steampunks? Have we forgotten that many steams are regular folk who just like playing dress-up? And does this satire need to come at the expense of having a laugh at a city like Detroit and the issues I pointed out above?
Of course it's a joke. Privileged racists find it funny to pull shit like this.
Let's mull on the fact that Locus Magazine, long-established mainstream SFF magazine, had the gall to pull this shit. Let's sit on that.
This is the establishment. This is how white supremacy is enabled in SFF. This is racism in action.
And this is why I will not fuck with anything remotely mainstream-looking in steampunk anymore.