The family [of 1955 murder victim Emmett Till] was not satisfied with [Lil Wayne's acknowledgement of the offense they took at his lyric likening Till's murder to sexual enthusiasm] and instead called for a meeting with executives at PepsiCo. At the same time, a publicist for the family said, they found an additional way to pressure Mountain Dew: to bring to public attention an offensive Mountain Dew video ad created by the hip-hop producer and rap artist known as Tyler, the Creator, that featured a battered white waitress, bandaged and on crutches, trying to identify her assailant from a lineup that included African-American men and a goat.What niche of meaning does each particular soda occupy? The Mountain Dew brand was always transgressive:
"Mountain Dew" was originally Southern and/or Scots/Irish slang for moonshine (i.e., homemade whiskey).... Using it as the name for the soda was originally suggested by Carl E. Retzke at an Owens-Illinois Inc meeting in Toledo, Ohio, and was first trademarked by Ally and Barney Hartman in the 1940s. Early bottles and signage carried the reference forward by showing a cartoon-stylized mountaineer.Mountaineer? That's Wikipedia text. I guess someone edited "hillbilly," trying to get to something more decorous. To my ear, a "mountaineer" is "A person who engages in or is skilled at mountain climbing" — and that is the 5th definition in the (unlinkable) Oxford English Dictionary. I'm surprised to see the first definition is: "A person who is native to or lives in a mountainous region; (occas.) such a person regarded as ignorant, uncivilized, or uneducated; (U.S.) a hillbilly." This usage goes back to Shakespeare:
a1616 Shakespeare Cymbeline (1623) iv. ii. 102 Yeeld, Rusticke Mountaineer.The word "hillbilly" — "A person from a remote rural or mountainous area, esp. of the south-eastern U.S." — is only traced back to 1900:
a1616 Shakespeare Tempest (1623) iii. iii. 44 When wee were Boyes Who would beleeue that there were Mountayneeres, Dew-lapt [etc.].
1900 N.Y. Jrnl. 23 Apr. 2/5 In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him.Has anyone ever before written a blog post that went from Lil Wayne to Shakespeare so quickly? I don't know, but I'm interested in how the product's branding evolved from low-class white to low-class black. But the branding has always been low-class. How do you do that well and remain current when there are high-minded groups getting press, demanding apologies, stirring up outrage?
IN THE COMMENTS: richlb said:
...poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed...All right, then. That settles it.