Stuff White People Like
By Christian Lander.
Random House. 224 pages. $14.
If you get check-this-out links from friends or co-workers, then chances are you know about Christian Lander's blog, “Stuff White People Like,” which has just arrived in book form. It's an open-ended list of, as the title says, the stuff white people like.
Stuff here refers to anything from “Coffee” to “Adopting Foreign Children” to “Public Transportation That Is Not a Bus.” Each entry is its own little essay. It would be a much more pleasant, or at least, less fractious world if it wasn't necessary to explain that Lander's blog is intended to be humorous, satirical even, poking fun in particular at white people who are liberal, educated and smug. But judging from the number of angry and offended responses the site has incited, it is necessary.
So, “Stuff White People Like” is supposed to be funny. And it is. Here, for example, is advice on wine:
“When a white person offers you wine, you take a small sip and then say ‘Ooh, that's nice. What country is it from?' Then they will say the name of the country and you say ‘I love wines from that country, I would love to get a villa in the wine region there.' White people will nod in agreement as they all want to have a second home in a wine region like Napa, Tuscany or Santa Barbara.”
It started with ‘The Wire'
On Jan. 18, Lander was instant-messaging a friend about the HBO series, “The Wire.” His friend said that more white people should watch it. This led to an exchange about the things white people do. The series of messages struck Lander as funny enough that he created a blog to list them.
“At first, we were getting like 30 hits a day,” Lander said. “But then one day, we got 500. And then a few days later, we got 1,000. The day it blew up was the day we got 30,000 hits. That's when I knew something crazy was going on.”
The success spawned imitators, such as “Stuff Asian People Like” and “Stuff Educated Black People Like.” And now, less than six months after those instant messages were pinging back and forth, “Stuff White People Like” is out in paperback. And Lander, a Ph.D. dropout and an associate manager of corporate communications (currently on leave), is now a published author on a book tour.