March 2, 2009

Sitzmedia: "Stuff White People Like"


In a recent package that arrived in the mail—miraculously untampered-with—our friend Annie sent us a little letter and a copy of the book “Stuff White People Like” by Christian Lander (a white guy himself). So first of all, thanks to Annie (who, incidentally, will be visiting us in May!). Now, to the book review.

The subtitle of the book is “The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions,” and a similar tongue-in-cheek sarcasm pervades through the entire book. It’s divided into 150 different things that white people like, and it even features a quiz at the end to determine your “whiteness” (I’m only about 52% white, strangely enough… time to ask my folks some questions, perhaps). Most of the categories are pretty funny, and they all generally refer to today’s urban, educated white people; in fact, many of the categories have disclaimers stating that if you’re talking to a white person who doesn’t like that particular item, then you’re dealing with “the wrong kind of white person.”

If you’re familiar with the website of the same name, then some of the categories—like “Coffee” (#1), “Making You Feel Bad For Not Going Outside” (#9), and “Threatening To Move To Canada” (#75)--are the same, but others—such as “Not Having Cash” (#132) or “Public Transportation That Is Not A Bus” (#147)—seem to be unique to the book. Still others from the website--"Ugly Sweater Parties," "Grammar," and "Frisbee Sports," for example--don’t appear in the book.


In any case, it’s a good laugh and a quick, engaging read, as evidenced by the fact that I got through it in about a day (but then again, white people like me like books, #138). I have to admit, though, that in terms of laugh-out-loud-ness, this book didn’t hit me as hard as “The Hipster Handbook” or “Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees and Other Species Unique to the Republic” (thanks again for those, Marie!). I think that the main reason for that is because although white people like self-deprecating humor (#103), it’s still preferable to laugh at hipsters, “Cherohonkees,” and the other “species” described in these latter two books. That’s probably because I don’t consider myself a hipster, but I do consider myself white. Now that I think about it, though, it seems like my coworkers once had a debate about whether I was a hipster or not… I can’t remember the outcome.

In any case, this is still a good book, and I’d recommend you checking it out. In fact, I was thinking of starting my own site about “Stuff Costa Ricans Like,” but knowing that white people like lawyers (#56), doing so could get me into a lawsuit with Christian Lander… unless the author’s tendency to avoid confrontation (#128) trumps his tendency to sue. I guess I could start one called “Things Ticos Are Fond Of,” but it just might not have the same ring to it… and most people who haven’t been here might not get the joke, anyhow.

The bottom line is this: Any of these three books I’ve mentioned here are a good laugh, and they’re near-essential survival guides to understanding the gentrifying locals if you live in New York, San Francisco, or Portland. Check them out.

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

7 comments:

Deuce said...

I looked "hipster" up on everybody's friend Wikipedia. Here's what it had to say:

"Hipster is a slang term which appeared in the late 1990s and 2000's to describe young, urban middle class and upper class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, independent rock, independent film..."

Yup...looks like you're a hipster, Sitz...debate settled.

Deuce

Annie said...

Yo and thanks for the shout out! Can't wait to visit ... you should know by now that white people like traveling (can't remember which number that is) to developing countries so long as they're charming and we can brag about it at eighties night.

Sitzman said...

Deuce,
Well, I'm not young or urban anymore.

Annie,
We can't wait to have you here! In Costa Rica, and Central America, for that matter, every day is 80s Night! How do you explain the fact that just a couple of years ago, both Costa Rica and Nicaragua re-elected their presidents from the 1980s? (Oscar Arias and Daniel Ortega... look it up)

Sitzman said...

Hey Ännie!
Just so you know, I commented the crap out of your blog.
Ryan

Annie said...

Are you challenging me Ryan? I don't even have a computer ... which is ironic since I live in a place with a steady power supply and my own wireless network.

I like Retro CR already!

Annie said...

Also I set a Microsoft Outlook calendar reminder to use your Google search bar twice daily from my office computer.

Also, Angela taught me some Tica slang.

Sitzman said...

Atta girl!
Thanks Annie!