Subject: The new blog sweeping the internets, Stuff White People Like.
Backstory: Launched barely a couple months ago, with a classic "why didn't i think of that?" model that creates a numbered list of satirical profiles on, well, on stuff that white people like. It's striking a chord and receiving shout-outs from everyone from the LA Times, to Kanye to Andrew Sullivan.
Mission: Being both a fan and practitioner of satire and poking fun at caucasians, I was interested in talking to the man deconstructing The Man. So herewith (a word I learned from white people!) is part 1 of my IM chat with Christian Lander, proprietor of Stuff White People Like.
The Assimilated Negro (TAN): testing ... TA Negro here.
Stuff White People Like (SWPL): hey. TA Negro makes me think of Teaching Assistant Negro. that's cash money... I used to be TA Canadian.
TAN: nice, and now?
SWPL: I'm in LA now.
TAN: cool .... so i'm going to organize this in 3 parts: questions about 1. you, 2. the site, 3. more extra-credit fun[ny] type stuff.
SWPL: ok. I'll do my best. I'm at work so I might be a few minutes for responses etc. did you see this?
TAN: ha ... no. you are everywhere. I think i saw you mentioned in my supermarket circular
SWPL: don't say next to the mayonnaise ad or I'll end this interview right now
SWPL: man, everyone wants a post on mayo. Undercover Brother was more powerful than we first thought
TAN: indeed. i did a post on the washcloth once .... and somewhat inexplicably some commenters turned the thread into a convo on mayo.
SWPL: that wash cloth thing. my friend K (who is black, from Louisiana) could not get enough. I was like "what's wrong with soap on skin" and she just laughed for like 30 minutes. I was like, I guess some girls use it for their face and stuff.
TAN: yeah, its kinda funny .... i don't use a washcloth, and do use mayo (assimilation!) and some people have been puzzled.
SWPL: ha. the wash cloth debate has probably been hampered by the explosion in shower gels and such.
TAN: maybe .. but I don't know, the key seemed to be whether 1. you felt you needed material to properly get the dirt off ... so soap, shower gel whatever. and 2. how much bacteria dirt the washcloth itself carries so how do you clean it ...
SWPL: washing machine. I think like towels.
TAN: so its not just gels, loofahs and other alternatives hamper the cloth also
SWPL: remember how Eddie Murphy got cleaned in Coming to America in that opening scene. that was pretty cool too.
TAN: ha. yeah
SWPL: [re. multiple washcloth use] I have the same questions about deep fryer oil like can you only use it once?
TAN: no way. i'm clueless in terms of cooking, but i feel in my black roots there's an implicit sense of cooking oil getting better every time you use it ...
SWPL: that's what I would think
TAN: i know people keep bacon grease and stuff to dabble in other things.
SWPL: because it seems like a waste to buy a ton of peanut oil to cook like 4 donuts. man, I've been so tempted to get a deep fryer for experiments but I know it would ruin me
TAN: ha. only white people would buy peanut oil to cook 4donuts. Or an experimental deep fryer...
sooo first and foremost, are you white? And ... who are you, what do you do?
SWPL: ok. I am white. here is another non surprise. there are pictures of me on the site. I'm the dude recycling. and the guy at dim sum. and the guy holding the iphone. and the bicycle picture is my bicycle.
TAN: ha.... SCOOP!
SWPL: I work here in Los Angeles as a Copywriter/Corporate Communications person.
TAN: how old are you?
TAN: How did SWPL get started? Take us through the moment of inspiration, white people love knowing that. Behind the Blog, DVD Extras etc.
SWPL: IM conversation. about The Wire. simple as that. my friend declared he didn't not value the opinions or trust anyone who did not watch The Wire. we said "they don't watch because they are too busy doing yoga" and it just spit balled from there. or snowballed. fuck it, it just grew from there.
I just said blog time and up it went.
TAN: do you consider yourself aligned with the white people you profile? You're white, but are you whom you describe/study?
SWPL: oh yes. this site pokes fun at ME. that's why I use pictures of myself. those aren't taken out of irony. this is the shit that I do. I need to call myself out for all of the stupid shit that I take for granted. why do I need $300 bike rims? why is a $10 sandwich considered normal?
TAN: When did you become self-conscious about your "whiteness"? When do you think the white liberal guilt kicks in? Is there an age? a rite of passage? do you need to see some black comedians talk about it? all of the above?
SWPL: Well remember a lot of the white people I'm lampooning (including myself) always can laugh at the comic view stuff because we're like "yeah, those OTHER white people, they are ridiculous." I grew up in Chinatown, in Toronto East Chinatown. a neighborhood bordered by a housing project, greektown, and little india. the neighborhood was always safe, but it's gentrified like crazy in the past ten years. but I would say growing up there made me aware of whiteness right away. I knew most chinese slurs for white people by age 10. but at the same time, I wasn't isolated. Toronto produces some pretty diverse crews of friends
TAN: do you think you need ethnic/minority friends to fully get the science on white people, or can a white person untainted by projects or chinatowns still come to these truths ...?
SWPL: I don't think you need minority friends to get the science. I think you just need to really like lumping people together in very specific groups. not necessarily by race. and that's a toronto thing because there are a ton of white guys who try to be chinese, indian guys who try to be jamaican, etc. ... and then different types of white guys like my friends would gather and think about what kind of things and activities white thugs/wiggers like. what kind of things do "garbage malvern guys" like (these are the dudes who like tevas, camping, skiing, etc).
TAN: huh. i know a lot of the posts seem honed in on white AMERICAN middle-upper class ... do you think its the same thing over in canada?
SWPL: yes. screw what canadians tell you. left wing americans are canadians. period ... actually I have a future post called "Threatening to move to Canada," white people love doing that shit!
Stuff White People Like interview continues: Part 2