I’m not a frequent Whole Foods shopper, but I find myself in there once every month or two. This morning I was in one in Raleigh NC (one city over from my home) and large posters lining the main aisle in front of the cash registers proclaim “Welcome to the Dirty South” with accompanying pictures of farming and smaller text about eating local.
My first reaction was “who you calling dirty?” “Dirty South” sounds like they’re quoting something, but I’d never heard it as a phrase. A little googling and time on urban dictionary shows it is a phrase, near as I can tell just a sort of badass way of saying “The South”. Top results turned up a hip hop song from Texas.
I’ve lived in North Carolina for 20 years and before that I lived all my previous life in Virginia. I’m far from the hippest shopper at Whole Foods, but probably most people there are richer and older than me. If the posters sat wrong with me, I wonder if the marketing is a little tone deaf.
So what say you? Is “The Dirty South” a thing? is it a cool thing?
Here’s a picture of one of these signs taken from the “Whole Foods Chapel Hill” facebook page, and a link to their announcement for a local food fair. Based on the picture and the “Riding Dirty” phrase, it seems like some marketing intern hit upon the genius realization that plants grow in dirt, and co-opted the only two pop-culture phrases he or she could think of that included that word.
I’m 35 and I’m suitably familiar with both phrases, but it’s a lame pun and even if shoppers “get it” it won’t resonate with them. Also, I associate “riding dirty” and the “dirty south” with hip hop, and I associate whole foods with white hipsters*, so it feels a little cringe-worthy.
*I regularly ride my dorky little bike to Whole Foods to buy craft beer, and I’m a white hipster, so this is just how it is.
The term “dirty south”, as far as anyone knows, was coined by Atlanta rap group Goodie Mob on this song (NSFW) in 1995. (The group is best known for launching Cee-Lo Green’s career.) It quickly became an anthem for the entire Southern rap scene and thus became a term of regional pride.
Well considering the OP’s only working knowledge of this phrase comes from a Texas hip hop song, at least one Texan considers the state in the south. Plus all those other people who do, too. It’s south-ish, but not The Dirty. I don’t make the rules.
“As far as anyone knows”? Where did you get this? I can’t even remember the first time I’ve heard the term, considering I’ve been hearing since, oh, ever.
I’d stop listening to everyone in this thread except me, OP, and just know Dirty South refers to the Deep South and is not an insult. The end. Whether it’s cool is subjective, but I’ve known a great deal of Southerners to proudly introduce themselves as being from The Dirty. Yes, I know “dirt” is not generally a positive term. Just think of it as those cool kids using “bad” to mean “good,” and so forth.