From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Common types of dirt include:
- soil: a mix of clay, sand, and humus which lies over terrestrial bedrock
- dust: a powder of organic or mineral matter
- grime: dark, ingrained dust such as soot or ash
- filth: foul matter such as excrement
- soil or earth
- A stain or spot (on clothes etc); any foreign substance that worsens appearance
- Previously unknown facts, or the invented "facts," about a person; gossip
- temporary: streaks of dirt and detritus that may be removed by ordinary daily cleaning
- permanent: ingrained dirt stains or physical damage which require major renovation to remove
- deliberate: design dirt such as decor in dirty yellow or grunge styling
As cities developed, arrangements were made for the disposal of dirt. In Britain, the Public Health Act 1875 required households to place their refuse into a container which could be moved so that its contents could be carted away. This was the first legal creation of the dustbin.
Modern society is now thought to be excessively clean. Lack of contact with microorganisms in dirt when growing up is hypothesised to be the cause of the epidemic of allergies such as asthma. or example, the presence of staphylococcus bacteria on the surface of the skin regulates the inflammation which results from injury.
People may become obsessed by dirt and engage in fantasies and compulsive behavior about it, such as making and eating mud pies. The source of such thinking may be genetic, as the emotion of disgust is common and a location for it in the brain has been proposed.
- Smut: An Anatomy of Dirt, 1968, Christian Enzensberger
- Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, 1966, Mary Douglas
- Dirty, an album by Sonic Youth
- Rationale of the Dirty Joke, non-fiction book on humor by Gershon Legman
- Dirty Harry, film by Don Siegel
- The Dirty Girls, film by Radley Metzger
- Ugly, Dirty and Bad, 1976 film by Ettore Scola
- Notes of a Dirty Old Man, book by Bukowski