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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Culture Surfing: 'Stuff White People Like's' Christian Lander

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If you've ever found yourself driving a Prius home from Whole Foods while calling a friend in Brooklyn on your iPhone to tell an ironic joke, blogger and author Christian Lander owes you a "Thank You." Stuff White People Like, his cheeky website and book of the same name, has become über popular for its riffs on clichéd white people favorites like expensive sandwiches, unpaid internships and David Sedaris. Lander will be signing books and drinking micro-brewed beers at the appropriately ironic Euclid Avenue Yacht Club on Thurs., Jan. 29.

IRONIC BARS: “White people adore bars where the regulars are likely to hate them. The more likely they are to be hated, the more the bar appeals to them. Then, of course, there is the dream of being the first white person to the bar and becoming accepted as the regular who buys everyone drinks. Then you can scoff at the white people who arrive two weeks after you.”

HI-TECH JACKETS: “White people like to have the option to go camping at the drop of a hat. These jackets help ensure that, in the rare opportunity that someone calls you for a camping expedition, no one will have to wait for you to change.”

BOOK READINGS: “As far as an activity goes, there are few that can beat a book reading. Classical Music or Opera? Too snooty. Concert? Not interactive enough. Sporting Event? Are you kidding me? Book readings are intimate, personal and more obscure.”

FIXED-GEAR BICYCLES: “Of course, I ride one. What makes them great is that they are meant to look cheap, but can actually be outfitted with very expensive things. It's a good way to rebel against consumerist car culture. Nothing says anti-establishment like building up a bicycle and showing off your ability to buy progressively more complicated and expensive parts. Remember, girls who are impressed by expensive cars are sluts, girls who are impressed by expensive bikes work at coffee shops.”

VAMPIRE WEEKEND: “As with everything that white people like, the more advanced white people DO NOT like it. But white people’s dislike of Vampire Weekend only comes out of the pure jealousy that emerges when you have to watch already privileged white people succeed with actual talent. The Strokes went through a similar problem. White people like to believe that if you are born East Coast wealthy then you are not allowed to be talented. It is only people who are born into moderate wealth that deserve talent.”

BOB MARLEY: “I am actually working on a post about this right now. I say that many colleges around the U.S. are considering just painting the Bob Marley Legend poster on every dorm room wall to save the cost (both financial and environmental) of having white students put it up and then take it down year after year. Advanced white people like Burning Spear or Peter Tosh, but without a doubt, white people like reggae and hope to examine it one day from the safe confines of a Jamaican resort.”

CHRISTIAN LANDER: “Just like with reggae or Vampire Weekend, it's considered more appropriate for white people to hate me or at least talk about how the site was funny in February but that it has completely fallen apart. But for the people that still like me, I think the reason is that I'm really an incredible story about luck and success. Perhaps it's because I'm the first white person to find success in publishing and comedy writing.”

(Photo by Jess Lander)

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