Christian Lander stirred up countless conversations with his blog and book Stuff White People Like. It's a hipster's guide to being hip. But, it's also wildly ironic. Readers recognised themselves being skewered in his every paragraph. So, what's it all about really?
In conversation with John Safran and a talkative audience, Lander explains how he classifies 'wrong' and 'right' white people, and elaborates on his playful critique of race and class. He also discusses the negative aspects of partaking in a monoculture ... and even considers what he calls "orange people" (those with fake tans) like.
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.
Stuff White People Like blogger Christian Lander jokes about the faux individuality of what he calls "white monoculture."
"Until we actually start recognizing that what we're doing is self-absorption that we're pretending is altruism, I don't think we're going to have any changes," says Lander. "This list is further proof that we're not as unique as we think we are."
Blogger Christian Lander jokes about even more ridiculous stuff that white people like, including fixed-gear bicycles, yoga clothes and raw milk. "White people are gathering on street corners in Brooklyn to be given raw milk from illicit milk dealers," says Lander, laughing.
Genre of dramatic literature that deals with the light and amusing or with the serious and profound in a light, familiar, or satirical manner. Comedy can be traced to revels associated with worship in Greece in the 5th century BC. Aristophanes, Menander, Terence, and Plautus produced comedies in classical literature. It reappeared in the late Middle Ages, when the term was used to mean simply a story with a happy ending (e.g., Dante's Divine Comedy), the same meaning it has in novels of the last three centuries (e.g., the fiction of Jane Austen). Comparetragedy.
Philalethes reminds me that sometimes White People don't like science as much as they think they do, and that there's a difference between a healthy mistrust of authority and a (quite literally) unhealthy one. 4TimesAYear reminds me that Stuff Morons Like include commenting on videos without actually watching them.
Anyway, I didn't like this Lander guy until I read an interview once where he explains that the whole aim of this shtick is to specifically satirize young, white, upper-middle-class liberals, because these are exactly the kind of people who tend to consider themselves unique beyond labels of race and class. Lander's point is that they're actually a fairly homogenous group and easily stereotyped in both racial and economic terms. (He also talks about all of this at the beginning of the video.)
My only criticism is that I think the "white people" thing makes for a sloppy satire as it tends to bury his message. So when some middle-aged, conservative guy living out in rural Arkansas sees a video like this and says "Hey, I'm white and I don't do any of that crap," well, yeah -- you're not the target of the satire. But you are exactly the kind of guy a young, white, upper-middle-class liberal thinks of when they think of a "white guy." Lander's commentary is to look at that person and say, "You're white, you have your own culture, and it's just as tied into race and economics as those other 'white people' you look down on." He's obviously hit some kind of nerve as I've never seen this guy show up anywhere on the internet where he wasn't provoking outraged comments.
Unfortunately, a joke isn't as funny when you have to explain it. But it's still a worthwhile point to make.