Thursday, July 31, 2008

A White Guy Walks Into a Bar...

Which is a more threatening element of Western culture: racism or consumerism?

What is funnier: a joke at your own expense or one at another's?

Which is the stronger cultural icon: iPods or Starbucks?

If any of these three questions sparked your interest, I know a place you should visit. It is a land where satire meets cultural commentary meets racial stereotyping; where you may find yourself laughing at yourself laughing at yourself, or maybe you'll be completely offended by the fact that you found yourself completely offended.

If you haven't heard of it, the website is called Stuff White People Like (SWPL for short), and since its launch in January of this year, it has become the topic of discussion at places like The Chronicle of Higher Education, NPR, and hosts of national newspapers, not to mention lots of blogs... It's a satirical blog that lists off the top 100+ things that "white people like." Sound moderately offensive? It is. Sound kind of funny? It is very.

More than anything, SWPL is less an overtly racial commentary and more an adept exploration of the sub-mainstream/young-hipster/college-student culture in this country (not to mention a website that made me laugh out loud a few times, and then wonder if I should have). But I think there are some racial elements boiling just beneath the surface as well, and it's worth taking some time to think and talk about them.

I got sucked in and read almost everything on the site. Then I spent even more time reading what other people have to say about it. Now I want to know what my friends think.

Check it out, take 10-20 minutes, read a few of the posts, and then come back here and share your initial thoughts. (Click here for the full list)


adam lehman said...

dude. i totally love that site.
you may have already heard bout it, but is pretty much dead on. great stuff. humor plus some pretty serious reflection in the midst of it all.

roll deep

Timmy Huynh said...

I found this site a while ago, and I like it a lot too.

As a minority, I find the site quite humorous. It's quite accurate, and bitingly so.

However, I haven't really thought about the implications of it racially that much yet. I think it might be just because it's pretty overt about saying certain things that will further the humor, but avoid other topics. I feel that it uses race, but possibly in the shallowest way possibly, maybe?

And I think lately he's been moving a more away from the accentuating the race aspect and more towards making fun of the indie-hipsters more.

I just think when a white person reads this, they think more along the lines of, "Oh, that's funny, and so true about us white people" more than, "Oh, that points to a racial problem."

Michael Burchett said...

I try to avoid being overly trendy, but somehow I STILL managed to match up pretty well with that list! There go my efforts...

Andrew said...


Provocative post. I like that about you; you provoke. I especially like the one about Wrigley Field, mainly because I just took my mandatory white person journey to the mecca of midwest baseball last month. I also enjoyed the Bad Bad Leroy Brown lyrics.

Keep being an unbridled spirit and hold down the box in my absence. Peace.

-Your original boxmate

Timmy Huynh said...

I came across this interview in my daily readings. it's quite enlightening.

Anonymous said...

I read all of the posts over the last 2 days. I laughed a lot. Mainly 'cause I knew at least one person for every post, and also because I'm the wrong sort of white person (on most topics).
the ones that matched me
106. Facebook (I was suckered in by pretty girls, and that remains the sole reason I check everyday)
104. Girls with bangs (In my defense I like girls with all sorts of hairstyles, but the bangs do drive me crazy sometimes, in a good way)
89. St Patrick's Day (my favorite holiday)
77. Musical Comedy (watched the first season of Flight of the Conchords in 48 hrs. I'm a sucker for vaguely humorous things said in rhythm )
50. Irony
41. Indie Music (i'm pretty snobbish about music, but I'm not a music pirate)
38. Arrested development (too bad it was on at the same time as MNF for a while)
29. 80's night (most of my regular wardrobe is hand me downs from the 80's. it just makes the theme party more convenient)
23. Microbreweries (i was at Bosco's in Nashville on Saturday, I am that guy)
10. Wes Anderson Films (you could add me into a Cohen Brothers category as well)