Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

It was reported that blogger Christian Lander, behind the popular blog “Stuff White People Like” had gotten a $300,000 advance for his book based on his blog… and then found himself on the New York Times Bestseller List.

By “white people”, Lander doesn’t mean those crazy dingbats screaming about President Obama’s birth certificate or people who will fill up the parking lot of a shopping mall to hear Sarah Palin speak, but he means affluent, educated white liberals. As Lander told the LA Times, “Too many white people don’t like to be reminded that they’re white. They like to think that white people are those evil corporate right-wingers or the uneducated masses who vote the wrong way. But ‘enlightened whites’ are white people too and have just as much of a group mentality as they think the red staters have.”

I’m still torn where I stand on SWPL. Certainly, it touched a nerve when it was created and has become an internet sensation but I’m not usually wild about the “it’s funny because it’s true” line; I prefer “it’s funny because it’s funny.” I think the reason SWPL has taken off is because it gives white liberals the chance to laugh at themselves without being defensive. When your crazy, racist uncle (or is it my crazy, racist uncle? I certainly have one) makes a joke about arugula or NPR, there is a level of malice and they would strip NPR of their miniscule public funds budget in a second (and make the budget cut retroactive and be repaid from a time before Ira Glass was even born) but when Christian Lander pokes fun of NPR, it’s because he listens to it too, but admits Nina Totenberg can be a little dry.

Here’s a (not random) excerpt from SWPL (#41: Indie Music):

If you want to understand white people, you need to understand indie music. As mentioned before, white people hate anything that’s “mainstream” and are desperate to find things that are more genuine, unique, and reflective of their experiences.

Fortunately, they have independent music.

A white person’s iPod (formerly CD collection) is not merely an assemblage of music that they enjoy. It is what defines them as a person. They are always on the look out for the latest hot band that no one has heard of so that one day, they can hit it just right and be into a band BEFORE they are featured in an Apple commercial. To a white person, being a fan of a band before they get popular is one of the most important things they can do with their life. They can hold it over their friends forever!

{Christian Lander reads from Stuff White People Like at Bumbershoot on Sunday, September 6 at noon on the Literary Arts Stage.}