Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions Paperback – Jul 1 2008
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About the Author
Christian Lander is the creator of the website Stuff White People Like. He is a Ph.D. dropout who was the 2006 public speaking instructor of the year at Indiana University. He has lived in Toronto, Montreal, Copenhagen, Tucson, Indiana, and now Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Jess, a photographer who contributed many of the photos in the book.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
There is no doubt that white people love coffee. Yes, it’s true that Asians like iced coffee and people of all races
enjoy a cup. But it is a certainty that the first person at your school to drink coffee was a white person. It was obvious that they didn’t enjoy it, but they did it anyway, until they liked it—like cigarettes.
As white people begin to age, a genuine taste for coffee will emerge. During this time white people
will also develop a self- proclaimed “addiction.” This leads to them saying things like “You do not want to see me
before I get my morning coffee.” White guys will also call it anything but coffee: “rocket fuel,” “java,” “joe,” “black gold,”
and so forth. It’s pretty much garbage all around.
It’s worth noting that where white people buy coffee is almost as important as the drink itself. For the most part, white people love Starbucks, although they will profess to hate how the chain is now a multinational corporation. This hatred is often sublimated by their relief at seeing one in an airport. The best place for white people to drink coffee is at a locally owned coffeeshop that offers many types of drinks, free Wi- Fi, and some sort of message board that is peppered with notices about rooms for rent and bands looking for bass players.
White people are given extra points for buying Fair Trade coffee, because paying the extra $2 means they are making a difference while their peers are drinking liquid oppression.
2. RELIGIONS THEIR PARENTS DON'T BELONG TO
White people will often say they are “spiritual” but not religious. This usually means that they will believe in any religion that doesn’t involve Jesus. The most popular choices include Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, and, to a lesser extent, Scientology. A few even dip into Islam, but that’s much rarer, since you have to make real sacrifices and actually go to a mosque.
For the most part, white people prefer religions that produce artifacts and furniture that fit into their home or wardrobe. They are also particularly drawn to religions that do not require a lot of commitment or donations.
When a white person tells you “I’m a Buddhist/Hindu/Kabbalahist,” the best thing to do is ask how they arrived at their religious decision. The story will likely involve a trip to Thailand or a college class on religion.
3. FILM FESTIVALS
White people can’t get enough of film festivals, especially Sundance, Toronto, and Cannes. This love can be due to
a number of factors.
Fact #1: 90 percent of white people have taken a film class at some point in their life.
Fact #2: White people like feeling smart without doing work—two hours in a theater is easier than ten hours with a book.
Fact #3: If white people aren’t going backpacking, they generally like to travel with a specific purpose.
Fact #4: 75 percent of white people believe they either have the potential to or will become filmmakers/screenwriters/
directors at some point.
Fact #5: White people hate stuff that is “mainstream”—so they go to film festivals, where they see movies that every other person in their demographic wants to see. It’s a pretty sweet way to rebel.
Fact #6: It is required by white- person law that you publicly declare foreign cinema to be better than Hollywood movies, and on par with indie film.
Fact #7: White people earn credibility by being into films from strange countries: “Oh, you liked Sideways? Yeah, I didn’t see it, I’m really into Serbian film now. They had a great retrospective at the Vancouver Festival.”
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought that this book was hilarious, and I love the sub-title (The Definitive Guide to the Unique Tastes of Millions). Although less than half of the "stuff" applied to me I really got a kick out of it and bought a couple more copies for friends.
Let's clear up one thing though; this was not meant to apply to ALL white people. I have two brothers (both republican, blue collar conservatives) and I would be surprised if even two items on the list applied to them and they lead happy, fulfilled lives (or so they tell me). This book is directed to a certain sub-sect of the white population. We like to think that we are different but many of us are different in the exact same ways. We know who we are and we should be able to laugh at ourselves (#103, Self Deprecating Humor).
"In most of the world when a person works long hours without pay, it is referred to as "slavery" or "forced labor." For white people this process is referred to as an internship and is considered an essential stage in white development."
"To be offended is usually a rather unpleasant experience, one that can expose a person to intolerance, cultural misunderstandings, and even evoke the scars of the past. This is such an unpleasant experience that many people develop a thick skin and try to only be offended in the most egregious and awful situations. In many circumstances, they can allow smaller offenses to slip by as fighting them is a waste of time and energy. But white people, blessed with both time and energy, are not these kind of people. In fact there are few things white people love more than being offended."
Note: this is not a book about all white Americans, but a book on the white cultural creatives (cc's) (if you know who they are, then you are probably one of them,) that make up over one-third of the population. Many of the defining characteristics of the cc's can be found in the "stuff" Landers writes about, like enjoying the outdoors, organic food, being an environmentalist, caring about education and so on.
Another defining characteristic of the cc's is the belief that they are a unique and authentic bunch--something Landers has too much fun poking at.
There are tips throughout for those seeking to befriend a white person that are hilarious.
The following excerpts will give you a taste of the book:
* Coffee: "For the most part, white people love Starbucks, although they will profess o hate how the chain is now a multi international corporation."
* Organic food: "Because of the balance of global wealth and power, there is a general assumption that white people are pretty shrewd. And for the most part, history has proven this to be true. But white people have one great weakness: organic food."
* Having black friends: "...an abundance of black fiends (defined in white culture as two) also enables a white person to be the resident expert on African-American issues when there are no black people around.Read more ›
The book is a great collection of 150 'things' that White People like. It's a humourous treatment of cultural clashes and funny habits of (mostly) American 'White People'. It's written in a manner directed at non-Whites, a way of humourously alienating any reader from realities.
In this framework, the book is an excellently entertaining light read, providing stunningly hilarious insights into White culture. It is not, however, a social commentary of any sort, and those looking for a 'real' guide to American culture should probably not be looking in this direction.
While Lander's insights are, to a great extent, reflective of mainstream culture, he seems to focus almost solely on a small portion of the 'White' population - those of youngish 20-somethings living in trendy urban neighbourhoods. His truisms, to this extent, are generic enough to describe his subject, but any reasonable reader will quickly see through the numerous stereotypes employed.
In any case, the book is a real treat to read, and easily finished in a couple of sittings. Contents also include some nice photography, along with some funny diagrams and flowcharts to complement the writing. A great conversation starter, this one can also be read in groups for some fun times.
Most recent customer reviews
If you deny being a hipster, you are probably a hipster, so I won't. I am a undeniably a white guy, though, and don't deny that many of the items on this checklist do apply to me. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Daniel
I'm mixed. I showed this book to my dad and his side of the family, and they got all the jokes. My mom was lost... Read morePublished on March 28 2013 by Amazon Customer
but kind of gets boring the more you get into it, alot of stuff comes back, its a little redundant!Published on April 7 2011 by Philippe
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