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Tag Archives: narcocorridos

Why Do Violent Criminals Get Powderpuff Nicknames?

Perhaps there’s a point where someone has caused enough mayhem that hyperbole doesn’t do them justice. So people turn to understatement and deprecation instead by using girly or childish nicknames?

Billy the Kid

billy the kid face

Baby Face Nelson

baby face nelson mugshot

Pretty Boy Floyd

Pretty boy floyd

From wiki:
“According to one account, when the payroll master targeted in a robbery described the three perpetrators to the police, he referred to Floyd as ‘a mere boy — a pretty boy with apple cheeks.’ Like his contemporary Baby Face Nelson, Floyd hated his nickname (emphasis mine).”

La Barbie(The Barbie Doll)

La barbie

young la barbie

When younger he more resembles the Ken doll that gave him his nickname. Nevertheless, I suspect it’s mainly a commentary on his light hair and eyes.

La Barbie and celebrated US gangsters of the 1930s have something in common. They come from times and places characterized by widespread poverty and drug smuggling. Times when the government was seen as bumbling, corrupt, and ineffectual. Faith in the establishment was at a low.

You know the established order has failed when people start cheering for thugs.

Not only do/did people give these thugs these affectionate nicknames, they compose songs in their honor.

Violent gangsters of the 1930s figured prominently in US folklore such as in this famous ballad about the exploits of Pretty Boy Floyd.

Today, there’s a whole genre of ‘narcocorridos’; Mexican folk songs celebrating prominent cartelistas as heroes.

Naturally there’s one out there composed in honor of La Barbie, a nice guy who ordered murders and beheadings as a matter of routine.

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