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#136: My So-Called Life

Though very specific to white people who were going through an awkward phase in 1995 (basically anyone between eleven and forty), My So-Called Life’s resonance cannot be overstated. Simply say the words Jordan Catalano. Say them to any white woman, gay white male, or superconfident-in-his-sexuality, irony-loving straight white male, and watch them swoon. You seriously do not even need an explanation about the show. Actually, if someone asks your name, you should say it’s Jordan Catalano and that you’ve never heard of the show. You will be the hit of the party, provided you let everyone in on the joke by the middle of the evening. Otherwise you will probably be known as a self-centered, dyslexic jerk.

The show itself was seen as revolutionary for its frank and honest dealings with same- sex relationships, drug and alcohol use among teenagers, and domestic abuse. However, the part of the show that truly bonds white people together is not their common experience of exploring these issues. No, it’s the collective sense of regret for mid-nineties fashion.

“Do you remember the episode where Rayanne had the drug overdose?”
“Sort of. Do you remember that choker necklace she wore?
What were we thinking?”
“I’ve actually had a drug prob—”
“And the scrunchies? Are you kidding me?”

So rather than attempting to use the social aspect of the show to forge a deep connection with white people, you should simply revert to the number-one rule when dealing with white people: throw a themed party.

As a male, if you arrive with a white T-shirt, ripped jeans, and a plaid shirt tied around your waist you should be guaranteed, at the very least, a make-out session. As a female, show up with a plaid skirt, combat boots, and your hair parted down the middle. Though this outfit would normally get you branded as a lesbian, tonight it will have quite the opposite effect.

Note: You may notice that all the music from this era is very depressing. Do not worry about it having a negative effect on your party. White people have an amazing ability to get drunk and then all happily sing, in unison, a song about suicide. Continue Reading »

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#135: Roller Derby

If you meet a white girl with black hair, tattoos, and a passion for horror films, there is a 100 percent chance that she plays in some sort of Roller Derby league. The sport reached its height of popularity in the seventies, thus all but guaranteeing that white people would eventually resurrect it in a fit of nostalgia and irony. But the sport draws in white people for many other reasons, including funny costumes and the opportunity for women to compete under clever pseudonyms like Arianna Puffington and Sarah Nailin’.

Once a league forms, schedules are made, websites are put up, venues are booked, and tickets are sold. In all, it’s a testament to the incredible work ethic that white people have when it comes to a whimsical activity.

Should you choose to attend an event, you will be shocked at the sheer volume of mustaches and black rock-and-roll T-shirts, and the complete lack of anyone with a full-time job. When the activities start, the women will start skating around in a circle. There are rules and points and strategies, but at most Roller Derby matches the only people who seem to be aware of them are the people playing.

If you know someone who plays on a Roller Derby team, you should treat them like a white person who does improv. Encourage them in their efforts, but make it clear that you will not pay money to watch their hobby. Continue Reading »

#134 The TED Conference

One of the easiest ways to create something that white people will like is to create something that will allow them to feel smart but doesn’t require a large amount of work, time, or effort. There is, however, a catch. Whatever it is that you create cannot be a shortcut. You see white people like the idea of getting smarter quickly, but they don’t like the idea of people thinking that they are lazy. It is a bit of a paradox, but it does explain why white people only like Cliff Notes if they are part of some sort of hilarious college story about last-minute studying for an exam. And why they consider it highly unacceptable to use cliff notes or Wikipedia to get a rough understanding of a book you don’t want to read.

Unfortunately being able to create something that makes you feel smarter without having to do a lot of work has been very difficult. So only a few ideas have ever gained traction with white people, the most notable of which being documentary films and public radio. However, in the past decade a new item has been added to this very short list-TED Talks.

The TED Conference is an invite-only affair that brings together the smartest minds from around the world to share their knowledge and wisdom with the attendees. Additionally all of the talks are made available online and as podcasts so that white people are able to watch or listen to them at work or during their commute.

These talks are like college lectures, except that they are free to listen, shorter, and white people aren’t hung over and pretending to listen.

Due to the broad audience watching the talks, TED speakers generally take very complex ideas and boil them down into a simple engaging presentation. So when a white person finds out that you have a PhD and visits and attempts to engage you in a conversation about String Theory, you should know that all of their understanding comes from a twenty-minute talk they listened to while running on a treadmill. You should also be aware that the average white person considers their knowledge on the subject to be on par or superior to yours.

Sadly, TED Talks are not all roses and NPR approved comedians. For many white people, TED Conferences are actually a source of sadness and depression. This comes from their dreams to attend a future TED Conference in person. But with a price tag of $6000 and an invite-only policy, many white people are simply unable to attend. This is a new concept for white people as they have successfully been creating and joining expensive exclusive clubs for over one thousand years. Popular examples include: private schools, politics, and ice hockey.

Note: It is not advised to try to use sarcasm when trying to console a white person about their lack of an invitation to the TED conference.

“It must hard for you not being able to get into an expensive, invitation only club. As a non-white person, lets just say I have some experience in that field.”

“You didn’t get into MENSA either huh?”

#133 The World Cup

Every four years the planet comes together to celebrate the World Cup and since white people make up a portion the world, they are not immune to the excitement.

However, before you start planning out long watching sessions with white people you should be aware of exactly why white people get so excited about the World Cup. Though you may be waiting on bated breath for your favorite sport on a global scale, white people like the World Cup because it allows them to pretend they are European for a few weeks, and more importantly, it allows them to get drunk at odd hours.

Virtually every white person you speak to about the World Cup is incapable of remembering any actual event that took place during a game but can, with near total recall, remember how they got very drunk on Sangria during a Spain-Paraguay match at five in the morning.

From reading the above paragraph, the sharper ones among you have likely noticed that clever white people also adore the World Cup because it allows them to pair countries with their respective alcoholic drink.

“England is playing Argentina? Dude we gotta get some Newcastle then like, I don’t know, like some wine I guess?”

This plan will be consummated with a high five, a trip to Trader Joes, and the purchase of a soccer jersey that will be worn, on average, twice a decade.

It’s also worth noting the amazing interest shown by white women in the World Cup. While they generally find most professional sporting events to be boring, the atmosphere at a World Cup match is much more amenable. Mostly because they don’t have to drink light beer and there is a good chance that they might meet a European man, or, at least someone who might be planning a trip there. This is far superior to a hockey game where, at best, they might meet a Canadian. It goes without saying that for white women, the World Cup can’t come soon enough.

Of course, hosting a themed party around one of the games is a sure fire way to increase your popularity with white people, but at the end of the day it does not increase your bottom line. No, during the World Cup, the most profit to be made will come from betting on the games with white people. Not only will they have plenty of disposable income, they will follow the following betting patterns:

  • England is good
  • Brazil is good
  • Italy is good
  • Teams from Africa are cute underdogs and thus always worth a bet.

When it comes to talking about the event, it goes without saying that you should probably avoid trying to talk to white people about any of the actual players in the World Cup aside from the biggest stars. Most white people cobble their soccer knowledge together from UK celebrity gossip and a few games of FIFA on the Wii.

But if you do find yourself talking to a white person who actually knows a lot about soccer you are probably talking to a European, or worse, a white guy who tries too hard.

The latter is especially dangerous, as they have likely been waiting for years to meet someone to converse with about “football” and with soccer’s year round schedule, they will never leave you alone.

Photo Credit: LisaLouise

It is well established that white people like the past. Vintage clothing, history degrees, and nostalgia are just three examples of how white people show their love for by-gone eras. So when white people think about growing their own food they are reminded of pastoral images of farming, working the land, and growing whole natural foods for their family. This most positive viewpoint comes from the fact that white people have mostly enjoyed supervisory roles in agricultural production over the years.

But as more and more white people moved into cities, they lost their connection to working the land.  In recent years, the most advanced white people have quit their jobs, moved to the country and opened artisanal dairies and small scale radicchio farms.

However, not all white people have the ability, or the trust funds, to quit their job and follow their food-based passions.  Some white people have to get their fix by picking their own fruit.

Many of you might be familiar with the process of harvesting a crop, some of its more intense variations are often referred to as “migrant labor” and “slavery.” Under these conditions, laborers are expected to work extremely hard in order to live up to large expectations about their fruit picking output.

When white people harvests a crop it’s known as “berry picking” or “pick your own fruit.”  Under these conditions, white people are expected to work leisurely with no real expectations and then they pay for the privilege to do so. In other words, berry picking is the agricultural equivalent to a private liberal arts college. It’s no surprise white people like it, because much like a liberal arts degree it feels like you’ve done real work when you really haven’t.

Of course the easiest way to turn a profit with this information would be to start your own fruit picking farm. But that is only looking at the small picture. It is well established that all white people enjoy doing manual labor under watered down and expensive conditions. So, if you are currently working in a job that requires intensive amounts of work, you should consider using that work space to create what is essentially an adult daycare for white people who would like to spend an afternoon learning how to use a loom or pretending to be a construction worker.

Note: if you encounter a white person who is actually good at manual labor they are either some kind of performance artist, writing a book, or the host of a show on HGTV.

#131 Conan O’Brien

The recent news that Conan O’Brien will be replaced by Jay Leno has caused white people to erupt with rage and hostility. You might even expect them to lash out and do something about it like take to the streets or write a letter to NBC to voice their dissatisfaction with the network. But no, white people will solve this problem the way that they solved the election crisis in Iran – through Facebook and Twitter status updates. In 2009, millions of white people took 35 seconds to turn their twitter profiles green, and consequently sent a very powerful message to the leaders of Iran. Their message was that they wanted their friends to know that they would stop at nothing to ensure freedom and democracy for the Iranian people. Thanks in large part to that effort Iran is now completely democratic. With that issue settled, white people are launching a similar campaign for Conan that is sure to have similar results.

It is not hard to understand why white people love Conan O’Brien, he embodies so many of the things they already like before he even opens his mouth: Ivy League Schools, Red Hair, the Boston Red Sox, Self Deprecating Humor, The Simpsons, and Bad Memories of High School (likely, but not confirmed). Seeing him on television five nights a week is a comforting reminder of community to the white people who still have televisions.

But if your plan is to try to use Conan O’Brien as a way to get white people to become more interested you, then it is imperative that you understand a few key rules. Firstly, all white people love “the masturbating bear,” if you don’t know what this is, do not worry. Just state your love for the character, and the white person you are talking to will simply fill in the rest. Secondly, all white people believe that Andy Richter never should have left the show. And finally, you should do your best to develop a “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” impression. All white people already have one, so you might as well try to fit in. Complete these steps and watch your friendship with white people become considerably smoother.

Now, the biggest and most important thing to remember is to never, under any circumstances bring up a Conan O’Brien sketch or joke that has taken place in the last three years. You will be met with only blank stares. For you see, while white people will fiercely support Conan O’Brien in any public forum, they always fail to support him in the only way that actually helps – by watching his show.

Note: Under no circumstances should you ever mention that you prefer Jay Leno. This might cause white people to think you have the same taste in humor as the wrong kind of white people, or worse, their parents.

Stuff White People Like supports Conan O’Brien.

#130 Ray-Ban Wayfarers

White people can do powerful things with their eyes: casting judgment, indicating scorn, and obnoxiously rolling them when someone says something they don’t agree with. Yet in spite of these powers, they are not immune to the dangers of the sun. So white people must wear sunglasses. But what may surprise you is that while white people will spend upwards of three months finding a perfect pair of unique prescription glasses, they have no such requirement for sunglasses.

Right now, all white people are either wearing or coveting a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses.

These sunglasses are so popular now that you cannot swing a canvas bag at a farmers market without hitting a pair. In fact, at outdoor gatherings you should count the number of Wayfarers so you can determine exactly how white the event is. If you see no Wayfarers you are either at Country music concert or you are indoors.

White people love these Ray-Bans because they were very popular in the 1960s and the 1980s. This gives them a historical precedent and allows white people to classify them as “timeless.” That way when they purchase these sunglasses they can talk about how they were inspired by the fashion and music of these bygone eras. When a white person says this, you should just nod and mention how they look like young Johnny Cash, a dead Beach Boy, Audrey Hepburn or an extra from a John Hughes movie. This will make them happy and likely to give you their old, expensive sunglasses that you can sell for a significant profit.

Under no circumstances, should you imply that white people purchased their sunglasses because of celebrities that are not dead or because they saw them on other white people they think are cool. This will make them very upset as white people need to believe that they cannot be persuaded to buy anything.

Saying something like “man, it’s pretty amazing how 65 people at this outdoor concert all decided to get their sunglasses at exactly the same time,” should only be directed at a white person who is not wearing Wayfarers. This will make them feel better about not fitting in, but it will also make them self conscious about their plan to buy a pair.

(Note: a significant amount of white women are still wearing oversized sunglasses but they are a dying breed.)

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