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Archive for January, 2008

Mornings are exceptionally important to white people, as witnessed by their love of breakfast places. However, some white people never go out for breakfast on a Sunday Morning. The reason? The Sunday edition of the New York Times.

A perfect white sunday generally works like this. Wake up at around 8:45, if the paper is delivered, then one walks to the front door, retrieves the paper and begins a pot of coffee. If the paper is not delivered, a white person will go out and usually buy the supplies needed for breakfast – bagels, orange juice, lox, cream cheese, or waffle mix. Some white people even pick up freshly brewed coffee with the paper!

Once coffee, food, and the newspaper have been procured, white people put on extra mellow music (Jazz, Classical, or for the cooler ones in the bunch, ambient trip hop or something along those lines). They then procede to read each section of the paper, stopping periodically to tell their partner about the interesting news they have just seen. “Looks like another civil war might break out in Africa,” “did you see that the Met is doing Tristan and Isolde?”

White couples usually fight over who gets to read the Sunday Magazine first. How do we know this? They will tell us repeatedly about how they always fight over the Sunday magazine.

The secret you may not know, is that deep down, all white people are desperately trying to make their life seem like an ad for a Sub Zero refrigerator, or an article in Gourmet/Bon Appetit magazine. To achieve either of these goals will set white people at ease.

But note well, that the sports section will always remain perfectly creased and unread, unless they have a teenage son. So on Monday morning, if you need to impress your coworkers, choose to talk about something you read in the Book Review section, the magazine, or Sunday Style.

All white people are expected to do this. You are given an exemption during your early college years, but by age 22 it is pretty much law.

Photo by Katherine Mackenzie

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#45 Asian Fusion Food

While white people enjoy venturing to ethnic parts of town to satisfy their pallette, most would prefer to take their first dates and parents to a place with dimmer lights, less water tanks with crabs and lobsters wishing that they would die, less ducks hanging from the window and table cloths that aren’t plastic sheets. Some people caught on to this and decided to open Fusion Asian restaurants. These people are now very rich

Fusion restaurants offer a mix of all Asian foods (except Indian, but most don’t know that India is part of Asia) in an atmosphere that resembles a cocktail lounge in the West Village as opposed to Hong Kong. Basically you can eat exotic, in comfortable surroundings. Many are not shy to admit that the food is subpar and overpriced, but they still line up for hours to get in because they love the decor and the mix drinks. These places often have names with no Asian words or characters in them and are limited to two syllables. ie) Ginger, Spring Rolls, Wild Rice, Sumile. Sometimes the names are really clever like “Asiate”, get it?

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#44 Public Radio

Summer: Who was that? It sounded like a girl.
Seth: Did it? Yeah. Well, sure. Because I’m listening to the radio. And This American Life is on. And so there’s a girl talking.
Summer: Is that that show where those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are? God.

Leave it to a show about stereotypical white people, to actually explain how real white people act. The quote above is from the television show “The O.C.” and the character of Summer is making reference to the Public Radio show “This American Life”. White people have an uncanny ability to make the ordinary exciting and there is no better forum than public radio to best showcase this.

White people love stations like NPR (which is equivalent to listening to cardboard), and they love shows like This American Life and Democracy Now. This confuses immigrants from the third world. The see the need for radio as a source for sports, top 40 radio and traffic reports but they don’t quite understand why people who can afford TVs and have access to Youtube, would spend hours listening to the opinions of overeducated arts majors.

To explain this love for Public Radio, one only needs to summarize several previous posts on this website. Let’s use my friend Craig as an example. Craig has a high paying 9 to 5 so he feels guilty about all the problems in the world. To make himself feel better he likes being socially aware of things Post #18. However he spends most of his time indulging in the arts and going out for dinner so he has little time to devote to this. He found solace in The Daily Show Post#35, however he decided that life would be better if he did not have a TV post #28. Craig found an adequate replacement in Public Radio.

Craig loves Public Radio because it gave him an opportunity to download podcasts on his ipod Post #40. More important, was the fact that the download was free, because Public Radio is non profit Post #12. After Craig listens to people like Amy Goodman and David Sedaris Post#25, he feels like he is an expert Post#20 on the issues that they talk about like polygamy in third world or how awesome it is to watch an old lady pick apples. He brings up these topics to his bosses when they are having dinner or playing golf and next thing you know, he’s landed that promotion. All white people’s opinions are developed from Public Radio. So if you want to sound smart in front of White People, just bring up a topic that was discussed on Public Radio

Now if you truly want to understand White People I recommend listening to Episode 328 of This American Life, entitled “What I Learned from Television”. The episode was recorded in front of a live audience, and what is important here is not the content of the episode but rather the reaction from the audience. Listen to times when they laugh and when there is applause. Confusing? Yes it is! But we’re all here to figure out White People and somehow Public Radio has the answer.

(editor’s note: middle portion of the episode where the gay guy who doesn’t own a TV, talks about his one week experiment in TV watching, is an example of what White people love listening to.)

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#43 Plays

While white people certainly love “the cinema,” they are required to balance their interest in film with an interest in live theater, most notably plays.

In spite of plays having minimal sets, no special effects, an intermission, and a higher admission price, white people believe that live theater is essential to any cultured city.

It is not known if white people actually enjoy plays or if they are just victims of massive peer pressure from the 45% of white people who have acted in a play at some point in their life.

The only real advice around this subject is to never accept an invitation from a white person to go see a play.  Often times you will be supporting their friend or cousin and then get stuck with a $45 ticket (at least) and three hours of trying to figure how close you are to the end.

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#42 Sushi

Regardless if you are vegetarian, vegan, or just guilty about eating meat, all white people love Sushi.  To them, it’s everything they want: foreign culture, expensive, healthy, and hated by the ‘uneducated.’

But there are different levels of white person Sushi love.  At the bottom are the spicy tuna/california roll eaters.  These are the people who get their fix at places named “Rock And Roll!” “Magic Sushi Company,” or Trader Joes-type supermarkets. Often times, this sushi isn’t the most authentic, but white people can’t get enough!

The next level up is the entry level Sushi snob, these are people who still love rolls, but are willing to branch out to Salmon and Tuna sashimi, maybe even eel.

Finally, you have the white sushi snob.  These people just take it all way too far.  Often times, they will only sit at the sushi bar, will try to order in Japanese and will only order Omakase.  These people will often be extremely critical of anyone who eats a roll of any type or does not properly flip the nighiri into their mouths.

When white people get Sushi they all want to order Sake to complete the authentic experience.

So, how can this information be turned into personal gain?

White people are obsessed with finding good sushi, therefore if you offer to take them to ‘the best sushi place’ in town, you are sure to have them accept.  If you are asian man, this is an almost no-fail method of getting dates with white girls, and maybe, just maybe joining Bruce Lee and Paul Kariya’s dad.

In addition, going out for Sushi is considered a special evening in white person culture.  Not as special as breakfast, but still, it comes with expectations.

But what if the person you are interested in is a vegetarian?  Not a problem.  For some reason, most white people who say they are vegetarians will eat Sushi.  Apparently, fish aren’t cute enough to warrant inclusion with pigs, chickens and cows.

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#41 Indie Music

If you want to understand white people, you need to understand indie music. As mentioned before, white people hate anything that’s “mainstream” and are desperate to find things that are more genuine, unique, and reflective of their experiences.

Fortunately, they have independent music.

A white person’s iPod (formerly CD collection) is not merely an assemblage of music that they enjoy. It is what defines them as a person. They are always on the look out for the latest hot band that no one has heard of so that one day, they can hit it just right and be into a band BEFORE they are featured in an Apple commercial. To a white person, being a fan of a band before they get popular is one of the most important things they can do with their life. They can hold it over their friends forever!

Indie music also produces a lot of concerts, for which white people can attend and meet other white people. It’s especially useful, since they are attending the same concert, they both like the artist and can easily strike up a conversation that will flow from band at the show->other bands they like->where they went to/go to school->where to get the best vegan food in town->agreement to meet at said restaurant for awkward date.

It is worth noting that white people are expected to stay current with music and go to concerts well into their 40s. Unlike at dance or hip hop clubs, there are few stigmas attached to being the “old guy at the club.”

But BE WARNED, talking about Indie Music with white people is perhaps the most dangerous subject you touch upon. One false move and you will lose their respect and admiration forever. Here are some general rules

  • Bands that have had their songs in an Apple ad are still marginally acceptable
  • Bands that have had their songs in ads for other companies are not acceptable
  • If you mention a band you like and the other person has heard of them, you lose. They own you. It is essential that you like the most obscure music possible.

Remember, popular artists can turn unpopular in a heartbeat (Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, The Strokes), so you would be best to stick to the following statements: “I love the Arcade Fire,” “I still think the Montreal scene is the best in the world,” “I would die without Stereogum or Fluxblog“* and “Joanna Newsom is maybe the most original artist today.”

*-do not substitute Stereogum for Pitchfork, as this is one of those things that used to be cool, but is now not cool.

Image: Spaceland in Silverlake.

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#40 Apple Products

It is surprising that it took all the way to #40 to call out Apple products. Initially, we were planning for an entire week on Apple products, but that would just be over kill.

Plain and simple, white people don’t just like Apple, they love and need Apple to operate.

On the surface, you would ask yourself, how is that white people love a multi-billion dollar company with manufacturing plants in China, mass production, and that contributes to global pollution through the manufacture of consumer electronic devices?

Simple answer: Apple products tell the world you are creative and unique. They are an exclusive product line only used by every white college student, designer, writer, English teacher, and hipster on the planet.

You see, a long time ago Apple’s were super popular among layout artists and graphic designers. Then Apple released Final Cut Pro and became the standard for film editors. As a result, lots of creative industries used Apple computers instead of PCs. Eventually, people started making the connection, and all of a sudden all white people need to have a Mac.

When you ask white people about Mac’s they will say “oh, it’s so much better than Windows,” “it’s just easier to use,” “they are so cutting edge,” and so forth. What’s amazing is that white people NEED to meet people who use Windows to justify themselves spending an extra $500 for a pretty looking machine.

It is also important that white people are reminded of their creativity, and remember you need a Mac to creatively check email, creatively check websites, and creatively watch DVDs on planes.

White people also need iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, AirPort Express stations, and anything else that Apple will produce. Because you need to express your uniqueness by purchasing everything that a publicly traded company produces.

Apple products also come with stickers. Some people put them on their computer, some people put them on windows, but to take it to the pinnacle of whiteness, you need to put the Apple sticker in the rear window of your Prius, Jetta, BMW, Subaru 4WD Station Wagon or Audi. You then need to drive to a local coffee shop (Starbucks will do in a pinch) and set up your apple for the world to see. Thankfully, the Apple logo on the back will light up! So even in a dark place, people can see how unique and creative you (and the five other people doing the exact same thing) truly are!

Knowledge of Apple products can be useful in a number of social situations. If you see a white person with a Mac, an easy way to approach them is to say “Is that a Powerbook? What OS do you have?” They will happily start talking to you, after the requisite five minutes, you can invite them to an 80s night.

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#39 Netflix

We all know white people love film festivals, but what about movies that don’t make it to a film festival, or weren’t in the local film festival? How do you get accesss? Thankfully white people have Netflix.

If you don’t know, Netflix sends you DVDs in the mail and you get new ones when you send the old ones back.

White people are absolutely crazy for Netflix for a number of reasons. Firstly, because all of them are convinced that there is a global conspiracy to keep good, independent, groundbreaking film from mainstream distribution (multiplexes, blockbuster, etc).

To them, Netflix (in spite of being a for profit company) is a brand new way for independent filmmakers to find an audience. By subscribing, white people believe that they are changing the film industry, supporting innovation, and contributing to a cultural revolution in film.

If you see a group of white people and you need to break into the conversation, a good thing to say “hey, is anyone else thinking that Netflix shipping is getting slower? I’m doing this PT Anderson thing, and I’m only up to Magnolia! What’s that all about?” They will relate, and talk about their own Netflix queues and how they are trying to get caught up on French New Wave.

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#38 Arrested Development

Eventhough most white people prefer to say that they don’t watch television, one thing they agree on is that Arrested Development was the best show on TV. They love it so much!

The love it for a number of reasons. Firstly, since the show was cancelled before it jumped the shark, it’s effectively like a rocker that dies at 27. Also, the show got terrible ratings, meaning that it wasn’t ‘mainstream,’ which makes white people love it unilaterally. Other examples of shows like this are Twin Peaks and The Ben Stiller Show.

They also love it because there are a few references to white popular culture, and if there is one thing that white people love, it’s cultural references that they understand (see Garden State, The Onion, and Juno for examples).

If you are ever a white person’s house, and you see an orange box in their DVD collection, you should say “oh, you have Arrested Development, I love that show!” To which you will be offered a glass of wine, and perhaps an invitation to 80s night.

Also of note: the hip hop group Arrested Development is also loved by white people.

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#37 Renovations

All white people are born with a singular mission in life in order to pass from regular whitehood into ultra-whitehood. Much like how Muslims have to visit Mecca, all white people must eventually renovate a house before they can be complete.

Of course, most white people do not reach this goal until they are 35 or older. But the need to do it is as instinctual as walking.

But it is important to note that white people have little or no interest in renovating a suburban home built after 1960 (except in Southern California). All white people dream about buying an older property (“with character”) in a city, and then renovating it so the insides look all modern with a stainless steel fridge.

Though the seed is planted from birth, it really starts to grow when renovations take place in a family home during childhood. They don’t understand why there are so many men with mustaches in their kitchen, but they know that they will be gone in a few weeks leaving behind a nicer kitchen and a happier mommy/daddy/life partner of parent.

Please note that ALL white people went through a renovation when they were kids. This is a good subject to bond over, perhaps a story about how you were embarassed at a sleepover when a friend went to the bathroom and there was a contractor on the toilet. Embellish as necessary.

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#36 Breakfast Places

When Loverboy wrote the song “Everybody’s working for the weekend,” they meant that you work all week so that you can earn a break and go to some sweet bars or concerts and rock out as hard as possible because you have 2 days for the hangover to fix itself. Well, white people work for the weekend, except their only goal is to eat breakfast on Saturday or Sunday at one of their favorite “breakfast places.”

These places are restaurants that specialize in breakfast food and are usually only open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and if you arrive at any time after 9:30, prepare to wait for up to an hour with white people who cannot wait to get vegan pancakes, eggs benedict, waffles, or deluxe french toast.

To a white person, there is no better way to spend a saturday morning than to get up late, around 9:30 and pile into your Audi or Volvo and drive to one of these little places and eat breakfast with friends. Often times these breakfasts last for an hour or more (hence the long lines and wait times).

Some white people take it to the next level and bring their dogs, newspaper or even a laptop.

If you plan on dealing with white people, it would serve you well to know some local breakfast places. This will also come in handy if you pick someone up at 80s night. In white person law, if you meet someone at 80s night and then go out for breakfast the next morning, then you are automatically in a relationship. There are no exceptions.

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The Daily Show/Colbert makes up a duo that is held in such high regard by white people that to criticize it would be the equivalent of setting the pope on fire in Italy in 1822.  It just isn’t done, in fact it isn’t even considered!

White people love to make fun of politics, especially right wing politics.  It’s a pretty easy target and makes for some decent humor, but white people are actually starting to believe that these two shows are becoming legitimate news sources.

“Oh, I don’t watch the news,” they will say.  “I watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  You know, studies show that viewers of those shows are more educated than people who watch Fox News or CNN.”

White women all consider John Stewart to be the most perfect man on the planet. This is not a debate, it is law.

The Daily Show also features guests like John McCain, writers, policy analysts, and actors.  It is comforting for white people to see boring celebrities get interviewed in a funny fashion.  It fills their need to do something productive, but also not work that hard at it.

Take note that Tuesday through Friday during the working week, you can break ALL awkward silences with white people by saying “did you see the Daily Show/Colbert Report last night?”  At which point they will start talking until it’s time for you to move on to more interesting activities.

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#34 Architecture

If you ask white people what they love about cities they don’t live in, they will say “restaurants,” “culture,” and “architecture.”

They just can’t get enough of old buildings or ultramodern buildings next to old buildings.

If you want to fit in with white people you need to learn about IM Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, and a whole swath of others. Also, be prepared to say “Bauhaus” a lot.

Once you have the basics down, you should choose a city that people are unlikely to have visited, then make up a name, and choose one of the following a) opera house, b) museum, c) city hall, d) civic center.  Then put all together into something like this:

“Geary is good, but I’m more much into the work of D.F. Winterhausen, he designed the new opera house in Podgorica.”  Wait for a pause and then say “In Montenegro.  Have you never been?”

The white person will be left in stunned silence, reverence and respect.

The reason white people love architecture so much is that deep down they believe that they could have been a great architect.  They feel the same way about other professions including: professor, writer, and politician.

Also of note, white people love big books about architecture.  So if you need to get one a gift, this always goes over well because it makes them feel smart without having to read too much.

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#33 Marijuana

People from many cultures like marijuana (South East Asian, Jamaica, India, Morrocco, Mexico, etc), but white people take it to an entirely new level.

To simply purchase, roll and smoke marijuana is not enough for white people. They need to make sure they know all the different strains, cultivation technique, and methods for smoking it. They even have an entire magazine devoted those where they actually have centerfolds of plants that people have grown.

White people are also willing to spend over $500 on smoking devices just to find new and more expensive ways to smoke weed.

It is worth noting that at every white person, at some point, has written a high school or college paper about the history of how the DuPont industry helped make weed illegal. This paper also teaches them about how hemp can be used to fuel cars, make clothing, create food, cure cancer, and solve every single problem on earth.

While you would assume that most white people smoke weed between 14-28 (and act as though they are the first generation to do so), the reality is that white people smoke weed well into old age. They also smoke weed with their kids! This is not a joke. White people love weed so much that they consider it a ‘gift’ to share with their kids. Leading to a generation that was not allowed to watch Power Rangers, but was allowed to toke up.

All white people believe marijuana should be legalized, and they consider the Netherlands to a pinnacle of enlightenment. Also, every white person has had their most profound weed smoking experience in Amsterdam, so it’s a good idea to fabricate a story about your own experience there so you can quickly forge a bond. Traditional tales uses the following words: hostel, brownie, girl/guy from Hungary, crazy, locked out, chill dudes from Ireland.

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should ever imply that people just smoke weed to get high, they do it for medical/spiritual/social reasons, etc, or that there are any negative consequences. This will likely alienate you from white people.

On the plus side, white people are always looking for higher quality, more potent, more organic marijuana. If you promise to hook them up with a special selection from your home country, they will likely pay a high premium.

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As with many white people activities, being vegan/vegetarian enables them to feel as though they are helping the environment AND it gives them a sweet way to feel superior to others. For further evidence, note how the vegetarian world has increasing levels of extemism (no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no fish, nothing that has been cooked, etc).

Much like not watching TV, this makes white people pretty hard to deal with on a day to day basis – having dinner, going to restaurants, having them over to watch political debates all become major challenges as they will talk about how they cannot eat anything and would rather that the meat and cheese be thrown in the garbage than put into their bodies.

But wait, aren’t there white people who eat organice, grain fed, free range cattle and chicken? Yes, these white people are wracked with guilt knowing that they are eating a dead animal, contributing to rainforest deforestation, and global warming.

Whether you are dealing with a meat eater or a vegan/vegetarian, there are many ways to use this information to your advantage.

If you require a favor from a vegetarian white person, you should invite them to a dinner with your family. When your mother/grandmother offers them a dish with meat in it, they will reject it saying that they are vegetarian. When the meal is over, tell them that your mom is very embarrassed, and that in your culture rejecting food is the equivalent of spitting on someone’s grave. They will then owe you favor, this can be repeated when you need trips to the airport, someone to help you move, a small interest free loan, or a place for your friend to crash.

If you need to gain leverage with a meat eater, it’s pretty easy. They already feel guilty, just point it out.

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