Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuff at SWPL that I like, too

Just about every Stuff White People Like post has me kicking myself (and I doubt I'm alone in this regard) for not having created the site years ago. I've heard it claimed that taking a TV series and turning it into a full-length movie sounds a death knell for the series. Not having watched TV for several years, and only sparsely so when I was younger, I can't speak to the validity of the claim. Beavis and Butt-head died right after the movie came out, but South Park and The Simpsons still seem to be kicking. I get the sense The Simpsons is well past its peak, but by satirizing current events, South Park has survived well beyond its movie. Even if feature films seem to spell the end of a show, that might not indicate causation. It might be the natural move to make after the product has long since reached maturity in the product life cycle and is now identified as a terminal cash cow. Milk it for all it's worth while it is still able to produce.

Anyway, if a similar relationship exists between bloggers and books, SWPL is an exception. It hasn't slowed down with the publication of the book of the same name. New posts attract a dizzying number of comments approaching the thousands and Lander continues to tour the country doing book signings.

My favorite post isn't even from Clander, it's a fan submission (further evincing the blindspot sharp white guys everywhere had in not realizing how lucrative a Chris Rock of whiterpeople could be) identifying the tendency to compare political opponents to Hitler:
In order for white people to streamline the process of knowing everything, all human beings can be neatly filed into one of two categories: People I Agree With, and People Who are Just Like Adolf Hitler. ...

It’s also critical that you avoid the fatal mistake of getting creative and comparing people you don’t like to other evil dictators, such as Joseph Stalin or Fidel Castro. With few exceptions, white people are actually fond of almost any dictator not named Hitler, and your remark that “this is just like something Mao Zedong would do” will be met with blank stares and possible social alienation. This is because, with the exception of Hitler, oppressive dictators share a passion for many of the things white people love--such as universal health care, conspiracy theories, caring about poor people while being filthy rich, and cool hats.
Rounding out my top five list, are having two last names, being offended, knowing what's best for poor people, and being the only white person around (I'd replace "person" with "American"--I have two close friends currently overseas, and the one in France demonstrates this whiterperson love to a tee, except the people are non-Muslim Frenchies).

As self-reflection is very much in the spirit of stuff whiterpeople like, allow me to indulge myself further. A little introspection makes me realize my favorites are not those personally describing me. I wonder if other readers who enjoy the site experience the same. I do enjoy those hitting close to home, too, but they're a little less settling than those that are too silly for me to buy into. It's easier to laugh at others than to laugh at oneself, but I suppose the latter shows greater character--true whiterpeople will think so anyway, as their affinity for self-deprecating humor (only in the book) attests.

So, shamelessly, let's say among those I'm guilty of, my new five favorites are bicycles, Japan, gifted children, grammar, and... damn, that's about all I'm able to tag myself with. I guess I could add dogs, even though I don't have one, and not having a TV, even though I have a few, because I don't actually use them to watch television. I have some black friends, too, but none of them are the sort of black people whiterpeople tend to have as friends. Good thing I live in the Midwest, because I'd really be ostracized for being the wrong kind of white person in Manhattan or San Francisco!


Stopped Clock said...

I would score very low on a hypothetical SWPL purity test. Only eight of the entries there can really be said to apply to me in any way, and some of them only very marginally (#1, 2, 9, 28, 53, 86, 96 and maybe 115). And all of those are either coincidences of reflections of the fact that I love nature. I'm pretty much a zero apart from liking coffee, a habit I picked up at the age of 8, and nature, which I appreciate probably because I live in area where the environment is beautiful and relatively free of dangerous animals. Oh, and my parents and I are all nonreligious, but we're all nonreligious in different ways and they had nothing to do with the path I've taken from frightened agnosticism to fundamentalist Christianity to a comfortingly vague sort of theism that's probably a lot like what you believe in.

I definitely get the joke behind the site though, namely that it exists to make fun of whites who get offended by it, and sometimes I go there to play along and make fun of the people who post things like "Hey I'm as white as soap and I'm not a vegetarian. You're wrooooong!!" or "I know it may seem amazing, but [white people] do like to have a homeland and congregate with other whites like every other race likes to congregate with its own. Who knew eh?". There's more of them every day.

Jason Malloy said...

Oh, man, you picked one of the choicest SWPL quotes.

Audacious Epigone said...


We'd get along well, I think.

The site shouldn't be taken too seriously, but that it allows for the idea of a white identity (or two of them, whiterpeople and the wrong kind of white people) to be satirically toyed around with a large audience that expands far beyond the hbd realist online community (the "Steveosphere") is valuable.


Yeah, one of the best!