March 15, 2013

"The 16th-century French poet Jean Daurat is generally credited with (or: blamed for) the resurrection" of "the claque."

"He bought a bunch of tickets to his own plays, handing them out to people who promised to applaud at the end of the performances."
By the early 1820s, claques had become institutionalized, with an agency in Paris specializing in the distribution of the shills' services. (In Urban Government and the Rise of the French City, the historian William B. Cohen describes the intricate price lists these faux flatterers would hand out to would-be patrons: polite clapping would cost this many francs, enthusiastic applause would cost this many, heckles directed at a competitor would cost this many.)

The claque also became categorized: There were the rieurs ("laughers"), who would laugh loudly at the jokes; the pleureurs ("criers"), who'd feign tears in reaction to performances; the commissaires ("officers"), who would learn a play or a piece of music by heart and then call attention to its best parts; the chatouilleurs ("ticklers"), who'd keep the audience in a good mood, in the manner of later drink minimums; and the bisseurs ("encore-ers"), who'd request encore performances the first one having been, obviously, so delightful.


traditionalguy said...

That is weird. The ASO audience must be a French import.

My oldest memory of the term claque referred to a group of armed ruffians who were hired by one side to sit on the front row at jury trials and look mean at the jurors.

This became a Union tactic, seen used by the claque at, in and around the Capitol at Madison two years ago.

In the Scottish reformation (circa 1565) it is reported that John Knox became his own one man claque when he was preaching to Catholics such as Mary Queen of Scots.

edutcher said...

Sounds like he's describing the American media, academia, and the trolls.

Ethan said...

So, how much can I get for not heckling?

Andrew said...

The Democrat party is French?

Anonymous said...

What about rotten-tomato throwers?


Depressingly Obsessive said...

I kinda like this. Take the actors off the stage and put them in the seats.

Sunslut7 said...

Doe the White House know about this phenomenona? Has Carney and Axelrod been brought in on this POTUS cheering squad PR weapon?

Imagine if Fox News starts using these folks!

mrkwong said...

I don't see a price quoted for the fluffeurs.