How did the Apaches, the French gopniks of the early 20th century, influence world culture
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/how-did-the-apaches-the-french-gopniks-of-the-early-20th-century-influence-world-culture.html
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Paris was terrorized by gangs of Apaches, which made headlines all over Europe and became the most discussed topic. These people were obnoxious, aggressive, and dangerous criminals, and yet they managed to significantly influence the culture of the time: they invented their own language, weapons, tattoos, as well as dance and fashion.
The Apaches were a criminal subculture of the Parisian suburbs in the so-called Belle Epoque. This period lasted from the last decades of the XIX century until the beginning of the First World War. The main signs of that time were the appearance of movies and many cars, street cafes and boulevards, the rise of science and engineering. Ironically, the overall development affected not only the entire society, but also its dark, criminal side.
From some point on, a simple hopot from the outskirts of Paris also reached out to culture, they were no longer satisfied with the role of ordinary bandits and a garden scarecrow for decent citizens. The hooligans wanted to see themselves as romantic, crazy, and frenetic gentlemen of fortune. And then they secretly carried out what is now commonly called a rebranding.
At that time, there was a movie, and in Paris, Buffalo Bill's show was booming with Indians, cowboys and other paraphernalia of the Wild West. It is clear that during this show, the future apaches were engaged in cleaning the pockets of the audience and tracking down the victims for the robbery. But the sight so sunk into the soul of simple near-criminal boys that they completely changed their appearance and habits.
Gangs of young robbers, thieves, and rowdies began to call themselves " Apaches, "that is," Apaches, " but in the French manner. Chewed shirts with a wide open collar and bright scarves-bandages on the throat-became fashionable. In addition, the real Apache, who aspired to be fashionable, simply needed a cool cap and sharp-nosed shoes polished to a mirror shine. For some reason, it was believed that this was what real American Indians looked like.
The Apaches considered themselves the heirs of the Apaches, not only in fashion, but also in their attitude to life. At some point, they really started playing with the Indians and began to see themselves as such urban guerrillas and proud primitive warriors who are fighting this cursed world of bourgeois, croissants and cars.
Real hardcore and irreconcilable apaches began to get tattoos on their faces, attack police officers and rob passers-by in broad daylight. It was considered a very cool and worthy activity for any kid from the outskirts. They became more numerous, their culture developed, they invented their own language, which was completely incomprehensible to outsiders, renamed their own areas in the image of the Wild West and began to invent nicknames for each other in the Indian manner.
Weapons are a separate topic for the Apaches. Many of them were actively engaged in looting, and therefore knives, clubs and brass knuckles were considered a matter of pride and often decorated — again, like the Indians. The weapon could have been given some romantic name like "Justine" or "Skull-Smasher," although that sounds more like a newspaper duck.
Their most interesting invention is a universal tool of the robber, which is called the apache. It is a revolver without a barrel, combined with brass knuckles and a folding knife. As you might guess, the device turned out to be complete shit: it was both bad as a firearm and as a cold weapon. The gun generally had a bad habit of discharging right in the pants of the owner, causing serious damage up to the complete shooting of the genitals. In short, the Apache revolver has become an example of a weapon that is much more dangerous to the owner than to his opponents.
In addition to their weapons, style, ideology, and tattoos, the Apaches created their own unique dance that reflected their entire essence. It is believed that initially the apache dance told about the history of the relationship between the pimp and his ward. However, at some point, it began to symbolize the feelings of men and women in general, of course, from the point of view of the Apaches themselves.
The dance depicts nothing less than a fight between a man and a woman. The dancer beats his partner like a sidorov goat, pulls her by the hair, throws her on the floor with all his strength, threatens her with death for being unfaithful. The partner, in turn, tries to calm him down, to get away from the blow and appeal to the feelings. However, sometimes a woman defeats a man and brutally beats him.
To an outsider, the apache dance looks like a real fight. In" City Lights " with Charlie Chaplin, there was a very touching moment when, after seeing such dances, the main character decides that a woman is really being beaten, and selflessly intervenes, trying to save her.
By the 1910s, the Apaches that had spread throughout the country had so enraged the citizens and the people that they decided to put an end to the urban Indians once and for all: the police and even the army units smashed up dens and filled the land to overflowing with anyone who even looked like an Apache. A distinctive cap or scarf around the neck could be the reason for a brutal beating with police batons. And when the First World War began in 1914, the captured Apaches quickly became cannon fodder in the trench warfare.
Of course, the massacre of the Apaches did not eradicate crime, but only destroyed a single criminal subculture. Guys in caps and bright scarves disappeared from the streets of Paris, but remained in the culture of Europe forever. For example, there was the so — called "Apache Society" - a club of famous and innovative artists, which included Maurice Ravel and Stravinsky, for example. In general, to be named after marginal groups — this is some kind of chip of those years, remember at least the "Society of Assassins", which included Dumas and Baudelaire.
The Apache dance became the basis for tango and even dance movements in rock and roll, and the word "apache" is still called the style of a shirt with a wide open collar. But most importantly, these French gopniks became the prototype of many subsequent subcultures. In fact, they became the first modern youth subculture. But it all started with a simple game of Indians.