Did you hear about that hot new internet blog, "Stuff White People Like"? Did someone email or GChat you a link to it? Or did many people? Chances are you either had a knowing chuckle or got all huffy about it, as those seem to be most people's responses. We've gone through the criticisms both whiny—I'm white and I'm nothing like this!—and smart—boy their definition of "white people" is offensively narrow and classist—and now we're sick of those too, even though we sort of agree with them but also are all "lay off, it's a stupid blog." There's the fucking rub: we dislike the site and are sick of everyone disliking the site. Which is why we were so excited to see that they got ten zillion dollars to turn it into a book! A book about hockey, and Miracle Whip! Except not really, because only like middle American White People like those things, see, and there's that class argument we didn't want to get into. No, this book is actually about Juno or some such bullshit.
We will say this for "Stuff White People Like"—if it was a list, it might be quite funny. "Expensive sandwiches" is a funny phrase. But, christ, the execution? The writing? We make no bones about the literary or even humorous merit of our daily output, but please compare "Stuff White People Like" entry #14, Having Black Friends, to that once-controversial piece of ancient internet satire Black People Love Us, a site that identifies its targets with more care and pierces them with more skill.
"Stuff White People Like" is a retrofitted Sinbad routine. It's the internet equivalent of Michael Scott re-telling a Chris Rock joke. In The New Republic, the man who attemped to popularize the terrible let-us-never-speak-of-it-again term "grups" not only leveled these criticisms but also pointed out why "white people" love "Stuff White People Like." Three reasons: "it's funny 'cause it's true", "it's funny because I'm superior to those white people", and "white people dance like this."
In The Root (an online magazine this white person likes), Gary Dauphin puts it succinctly: "Usually, even jokey talk about whiteness has a whiff of danger to it, but SWPL is likely the safest, most affable racial satire ever, a loving high-five between friends passing as critique." (He also points out that white people like stealing and repurposing elements of black identity.)
And, yes, those are the intellectual criticisms. But didn't we mention that we're also sick of the hand-wringing? The side-choosing? It's just a stupid occasionally entertaining blog! But then the author—who is apparently Canadian, and thus an authority on what white people like, even though he has friends of varying ethnicites—received $300k to turn it into a book and so now we're probably going to have to hear even more debates about What It All Means whenever this book is actually published, unless of course by then President Barack Obama has led us all into the glorious post-racial fruitopia of tomorrow.
Long story short, too-clever-by-half liberal arts school graduates like blogging, regardless of race. And the rest of the nation, white, black, or otherwise, doesn't give a shit.