Take Five: Things Bugging Me About Stuff White People Like
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 27, 2008
A blog riot of our own
Races–they have different cultures, don’t you know. What’s more, these differences have been known to be isolated and occasionally exaggerated to comedic effect, by such luminaries as Dave Chappelle, Jeff Foxworthy, and Whoever Makes That British Show About Indian People in the UK Whose Name I Forget. It’s a time-honored tradition, one responsible for countless classic buddy comedy movies and a disturbingly high percentage of the decent stand-up comedy out there, and let not we here at Intensities in Ten Suburbs take it upon ourselves to be among the first to call the merits of this comedic sub-genre into question.
However, recently the Internet has reared its ugly head with one of the more troublesome forays into this tradition. A blog entitled Stuff White People Like, which no doubt you IITS readers have been hip to for far longer than I have, has gained a fair amount of notoriety for its claims to document the titular category. Responses have been unsurprisingly mixed, ranging from “It’s true! It’s true! We’re SOOOOO LAME!“-types to reactions more along the lines of “You’re a c*nt and your blogs sucks. ed. note – I had to add a * to this comment to keep it clean.” (Ok, that one might’ve been taken verbatim from their comments page).
Personally, I do have to give it up for some of the entires–Threatening to Move to Canada, 80s Night, and Microbreweries are all at least mildly on point in their cleverness and insight, and their list of the Top Ten Hip Hop Songs That White People Love is destined to make just about anyone shudder with its tragic accuracy. But on the whole, the site is far from perfect, and occasionally borders on the offensive (and not even in the slightly admirable shocking way, but just the irritating, lazy way). The five least ingratiating things:
- It Assumes That All White People are Posh Hipsters. Admittedly, I don’t have the best understanding of economics and demographic breakdowns and whatnot, but I’m pretty sure there are some white people out there that didn’t go to college (much less travel abroad), prefer steak and potatoes to sushi, have seen Road House more times than all of Wes Anderson’s movies combined and are more likely to get into bar brawls than they are to get into Yoga. Or have we found out a way to force minorities into all of our blue-collar working positions? Score another one for the white guys, I suppose.
- It Assumes That All White People are Northerners. Uh, NASCAR? Smokey and the Bandit? Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”? You don’t get much whiter than these southern cultural touchstones, and there’s hundreds more where those came from, below the Mason-Dixon line. But everyone already knows how ridiculous those crazy honkys are, so no point in noting their more pitiful foibles, right? Plus, start to acknowledge that white people exist outside of New York and the Ivy Leagues, and you have to acknowledge that 95% of America, regardless of race, have absolutely no idea who Michel Gondry is.
- It Gets Really, Really Lazy. Coffee? Plays? Having Two Last Names? I don’t really get how white people have a lock on any of these particular pursuits. And when they’re running low on something creative to right about, SWPL just brings up something supposed to be overly-conscious, like “Awareness” or “Knowing What’s Best for Poor People” or just something blanketly upper-class like “Wine” or “Arts Degrees”. And the one on “Divorce” is just bizarre.
- It Lacks Parity. Stuff Black People Like? Stuff Taiwanese People Like? Stuff Transsexuals Like? Stuff Strippers-Turned-Bloogers Like? If it’s OK to do one of ’em, it should be OK to do all of ’em. C’mon, have the courage of your convictions.
- It Simultaneously Ignores and Confirms The One Thing That White People Do Truly Love the Most. Making yourself seem cool and superior by being effacing about your race.
Missing the point? Maybe. Sucking the fun out of it? Hopefully. But if you’re gonna call your blog Stuff White People Like and purport to deliver as such, you had better come correct. And despite what certain members of other cultures may think, it doesn’t do that nearly enough.