“New York circa 1905. "Unloading at banana docks." 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company” [click for full-size original at Shorpy]
Given that the time-traveler hipster is the most viewed page here on Forgetomori, when I saw the time-traveler punk on Anomalist I just had to blog about it. Even though I must be first to admit this is not as impressive, as his clothes are quite clearly in context, his allegedly mohawk hairstyle is quite interesting.
And as it happens, I was about to blog about mohawk hairstyles, because like stamped T-shirts they look like something quite modern, when contrary to stamped T-shirts, they are not.
The oldest known record of a Mohawk hairstyle actually predates the Mohawk tribe: it’s been found on the Clonycavan Man, an Iron Age body in Dublin, Ireland. That’s a 2,300 years old quite well-preserved Mohawk hair. I didn’t include a photo here because it’s still not that much to look for, but just follow the above link to Wikipedia.
It would be the fierce image of tribal warriors that would make the Mohawk hairstyle enter modern popular culture, but long before the punk movement. In World War II, the US 101st Airborne Division famous for it’s bravery fighting in Europe, as depicted on “Band of Brothers”, had a sub-unit selected and trained for an almost suicidal mission: the Filthy Thirteen.
To incite fear in the enemies, and as a leader of the group, Jake McNiece, was part Native-American, they cut their hair Mohawk style and even painted their faces. The photo above was published by Stars and Stripes in June 1944, and soldiers later in the Vietnam war would also sport such hairstyle.
A fictional Vietnam veteran, Travis Bickle, would then be immortalized in “Taxi Driver” (1976).
Which brings us back to the time-traveler punk unloading at banana docks. By definition this sort of “time-traveler photos” will be singled out because of the fashion statements the apparently out of place hipsters/punks will be sporting.
However – this speaks a lot about fashion – as in the most famous photo, here too the punk wasn’t actually making any sort of fashion statement. He may have cut his hair that way for any number of reasons, you don’t know if he only shaved one side of his hair.
Yesterday’s worker at the banana docks with a ridiculous haircut my be tomorrow’s David Beckham.
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