The power of III

Summum ius summa iniuria--More law, less justice

24 April 2011

The South has become a "red-hot brand"

I found this article in Businessweek to be otherwise condescending toward Southerners, but I share it with you as an "FYI".  
Several phrases belie the author's underlying loathing of the Southern.
To me, these are the latest schemes to exploit the South.  Southern culture is put on a pedestal but Southerners are mocked as stupid and backward. 
I know this is a stretch, but the author's condescending tone vaguely reminded of the planned Nazi museum of "exotic extinct races" they intended to build in the Josefov section of Prague (after they won the war and succeeded in the Holocaust) -- i.e. something akin to: "We can now celebrate and view with curious interest the culture we have finally wiped out."
"While Brooklyn hipsters have long dressed like sharecroppers, lower- and middle-brow Southern culture is now rising across the globe. Music duo the Bellamy Brothers, marginally famous for their country hit Let Your Love Flow, are currently playing to sold-out crowds in South Africa and Sri Lanka, where, according to their booking agent Judy Seale, they're "treated like Elvis." In the U.K., sales of Kentucky bourbon have risen by 25 percent since 2005, according to London-based market research firm International Wine and Spirits Research. (IWSR also predicts sales will increase an additional 22 percent by 2014.) The independent movie Winter's Bone, which chronicles a teenage girl's travails chopping wood and killing squirrels, is on pace to eclipse its U.S. domestic gross with overseas revenue. Chris Benz isn't the only fashion guru going full Southern. According to agrarian-chic designer Billy Reid, the global customer is now attracted to products that have "Southern roots."
The rise of the Southern brand, though, seems linked to the fall of many other things. "Consumers have been increasingly interested in the South as a result of several trends," explains Savannah Haspel of market research firm IBIS World. (Yes, that's her real name.) Among them, she says, is that "post-Katrina funding and aid turned consumers' attention toward the region." 
Harvey Jackson, a professor of history at Alabama's Jacksonville State University and an editor of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, believes that in uncertain times, "the South is a calmer, quieter place, and a lot of folks are craving that right now." 
Kim Holloway, creator of the popular blog Stuff Southern People Like, agrees. "If you're out of work, depressed, and stressed out, caviar and sushi aren't exactly going to stanch the flow of tears," she says. "But fried chicken might!" The export of Southern culture, Holloway emphasizes, is directly linked to its affordability and accessibility. Whether a region is grappling with austerity measures or decreased disposable income, less-pricey Southern diversions redevelop the sheen they've had, says Holloway, "since the Civil War ended and Confederate money was suddenly as useless as tits on a bull."
"...Throughout Lebanon, the Roadster chain of diners has introduced cheese fries and burgers doused in barbecue sauce to people bored by a healthier Mediterranean diet. By the end of last year, 3,200 KFC restaurants were operating across China. Says Yum! Brands public-relations manager Virginia Ferguson: "We expect the Yum! China Division to become our first $1 billion profit business in the near future." According to Deen's son, Bobby, himself the star of numerous Deen spin-offs, "You realize [now] how pervasive the South has become."

Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy inside now that these Yankees can feel good again about the South after 150 years of ethnic cleansing?

If you can stomach it, read the rest of the article.

1 comment:

  1. "since the Civil War ended and Confederate money was suddenly as useless as tits on a bull."

    Idiot. It's worth more than greenbacks now!