Monday, February 25, 2008

Stuff White People Like Interview: Part 2

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 2 of my IM chat with Christian Lander, proprietor of Stuff White People Like.

(Part 1 is here. For Part 2 we disengaged from chat and converted to email Q&A.)


The Assimilated Negro (TAN): Any rhyme or reason to choosing your subjects/topics?

Stuff White People Like (SWPL): No. Basically, I just think of things I like, then I think of the things that people I went to school with like. If I imagine they would get psyched, it's a topic.

TAN: you think the aim/tone is more like "The Onion" or "wikipedia"? are you making jokes or seeking to inform? both?

SWPL: Both. In spite of the satire, I firmly believe that the tips offered are beneficial. If a robot were to follow the guide, I think they would fit in pretty well.

TAN: How many contributors do you have?

SWPL: 2 - me (clander) and my friend in Vancouver (Mylosh). Also 2 guest
columnists, Brian from Cats and Beer and Kristen Warner from the University of Texas.

TAN: Have you received a lot of caucasians looking to get on board or offering tips?

SWPL: YES. People are writing in more than I would have imagined. I read everything that comes through, but I don't have time to respond to all of them yet. Almost everybody gets where the site is going, and I'm getting some great tips. Usually, people are smart enough to send in tips for posts that are already in draft stage.

TAN: How long do you think this can go? Is there a finite amount of stuff white people like?

SWPL: White people are always finding new things to like. If we start to run out of ideas, we just go through individual films, books, and movies to create more granular knowledge. Although perhaps I will be excommunicated from the white community and I won't know what's going on anymore.

TAN: Do you think someone could do Stuff Black People Like, or Stuff Native Americans Would Like?

SWPL: Absolutely. So long as it's done in the right tone. My blog is not done to demean white people, it's meant to point out common experiences. I write about the things that I like, I'm implicated in all of this. So if someone were to start (and they have) a blog called Stuff Black People Like, so long as it's done to expose shared experiences, it should be fine. Of course, if it's done with malice or hate, it would be terrible.

TAN: Do you see any difference in response between whites and minorities/ethnics?

SWPL: not really sure. They are all email responses, so people could be lying. For the most part the response is positive from everyone. Most of the white people who write in are the ones being satirized, and they get the joke. The minorities who write in usually love the blog, they are also usually the first to go after white people who say that the blog is racist. The best response I've seen so far is someone who said, "there's a big difference, you haven't been denied a job because you like Yoga and Expensive Sandwiches." I think that put things into perspective pretty quickly.

TAN: The comments are pretty funny. Especially those that get their pants in a bunch. How do you feel about the commenters? Do you wish the PC police would go away? Do you think they all enhance the site?

SWPL: When I first started the site and we were getting a few comments, the angry ones hurt me. Especially the ones calling me racist. But I let them go, and watched as people stepped up to defend me and the blog. It was a good reminder that not everyone is going to get it, but the ones that do make it all worth it.

And in general, the comments are vital and essential to the site. I love seeing a mix of positivity and hate on there, people are talking, and that's always a good thing. Even if it's just on a ridiculous blog.

TAN: on comments, how about that the guy who does "stuffblackpeoplelike, stuffarabpeoplelike" ... do you hate that guy? is he on every post?

SWPL: Yeah. He wants to get a rise out of people.

TAN: Do you find a generational gap in terms of appreciating the humor, or people of all types enjoy?

SWPL: I think all generations seem to enjoy it. You see the original yuppies/baby boomers enjoying it, but I think it's certainly more popular with people in their 20s and 30s (aka the people the blog is about).

TAN: Who do white people endorse: Barack or Hillary?

SWPL: Barack. Post #8

TAN: How do you explain Bush? White people who love their prius, recycling, and being aware ... they can't like Bush, right?

SWPL: Bush was elected by the wrong kind of white people.

TAN: Whitest Movie of '07?

SWPL: Juno

TAN: Whitest Band?

SWPL: Vampire Weekend

TAN: you've mentioned mos def, probably one of your more spot-on posts, but he has nothing out musically right now. any hip hop group to recommend for white people?

SWPL: The Roots or Dead Prez

TAN: What's whiter: The Grammys or The Oscars?

SWPL: What the fuck are the Grammys?


Thanks Christian.

Stuff White People Like
SWPL Interview: Part 1
image via

8 comments:

  1. i really hope he doesn't get death threats a la dave chappelle, then have to move to africa. or to some poor but friendly and relatively anonymous country for white people, i suppose.

    best of luck, it's a great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My friend this weekend: "You've really got to check out this great band called Vampire Weekend." What timing!

    Great interview, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous2/28/2008

    thanks TAN

    ps your rhymes are inspiring.

    pps bet you never heard that one before.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for doing this interview. It's given me more insight into the SWPL website.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What do you mean "stuff native americans would like?" we're not dead. we like things! mostly turquoise and cowboy hats.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice interview. One thing I'd like to know about is how he decided to define "white people" as a particular subculture of highly educated, upper middle-class, literate, authenticity-seeking, Blue State 22-36 year olds. I know it's a joke and all, but my in-laws are all white people who haven't tasted a $10 sandwich in their lives. Perhaps the thing that white people like most is NASCAR.

    Vampire Weekend describes themselves as "Upper West Side Soweto." I admire how deeply they appreciate their own whiteness, knowing that part of being white is adapting other cultures as your own.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11/19/2008

    This type of 'harmless satire' about racial groups is what gives many-a-American a bad rep abroad; it does not fly well outside North America - when will American (and Americans) culture begin to mature?!

    ReplyDelete
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