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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

New Tour Dates Announced!

Monday, October 13th – St. Louis

7:00pm
Talk & Signing
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid
St. Louis, MO 63108
314.367-6731

Wednesday, October 15th – Madison, WI

7:00pm
Talk & Signing
Borders
Madison, WI
3750 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705

Thursday, October 16th – Milwaukee, WI

7:00pm
Talk & Signing
Borders
Milwaukee, WI
8705 N. Port Washington
Fox Point, WI 53217

Friday, October 17th – Houston, TX

7:00pm
Talk & Signing
Borders
Houston, TX
3025 Kirby
Houston, TX 77098

Monday, October 20th – Portland, OR

7:00pm
Talk & Signing
Powell’s Books
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97209
503-228-4651

Friday, October 24th – Berkeley, CA

7:30pm
Berkley Arts & Letters
First Congregational Church of Berkley
2345 Channing Way @ Dana
Berkeley, CA

Saturday, October 25th – San Francisco, CA

Time TBA
Booksmith Bookstore
1644 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

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There are a number of industries that survive solely upon white guilt: Penguin Classics, the SPCA, free range chicken farms, and the entire rubber bracelet market.  Yet all of these pale in comparison to classical music, which has used white guilt to exist for over a century beyond its relevance.

Though white people do not actually listen to classical music, they like to believe that they are the type of people who would enjoy it.  You can witness this first hand by going to any classical performance at your local symphony where you will see literally dozens of white couples who have paid upwards of $80 for the right to dress up and sit in a chair for hours reading every word in the program.

After leaving the concert hall, white people will immediately begin telling everyone they know about how much they loved the performance and how they plan to “go more often.”  This is because white people see little to no value enjoying classical music without recognition from other white people.  This can be seen first hand by looking at the plaques and bricks around all opera houses: they are covered in white person names.

If a white person starts talking to you about classical music, it’s essential that you tread very lightly.  This is because white people are all petrified that they will be exposed as someone who has only a moderate understanding of classical music.  When a white person encounters another white person who actually enjoys classical music (exceptionally rare), it is often considered to be one of the most traumatic experiences they can go through.

“Really?  Beethoven’s 5th Symphony….that’s your favorite.”
“um, no, I mean…”
“You sure it’s not Pachebel’s Canon?”
“well, ah, I like that, ah, song”
“sigh, of course you do.”

Even the possibility of this conversation happening is enough to scare white people into attending up to (but no more than) two performances in any given classical season.  Therefore it is essential that even if you possess a massive amount of knowledge about classical music, do not share it with a white person regardless of how much they profess to love it.  It’s a recipe for disaster and shame.

As a defense mechanism against the possibility of being called out for a lack of familiarity with the early works of Antonin Dvorak, white people have started to list more contemporary composers as their favorites.  Of course, the easiest way for them to do this is to choose composers with music that appears in independent films.  Knowing these composers is almost a golden ticket into making white people think you are smart, but not TOO smart.

The first, of course, is Philip Glass.  Not only does he have one of the best last names a white person can  have, but he writes music used in smart documentaries.  Thus combining multiple white passions into a single artist.

The second, and slightly more obscure, is Erik Satie.  Composing at the end of the 19th century, Satie has risen to prominence among white people because his music has been sampled by popular musicians and featured in a number of independent films.  Dropping this name at a dinner party will show that you are modern and post-modern at the same time.  It is also a good idea to tell white people that your tastes in general are “modern and post-modern at the same time.”  Don’t worry, you won’t have to explain it.

Note: Under no circumstances should you ever list John Williams or Danny Elfman as your favorite composer.

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#94 Free Healthcare

pct_afterarrive_page04.jpgIn spite of having access to the best health insurance and fanciest hospitals, white people are passionate about the idea of socialized medicine. So much so that they have memorized statistics and examples of how for-profit medicine has destroyed the United States.

But before you can exploit this information for personal gain, it’s important that you understand why white people are so in love with free health care.

The first and most obvious reason is “they have it Europe.” White people love all things European, this especially true of things that are unavailable in the United States (Rare Beers, Absinthe, legal marijuana, prostitution, soccer). The fact that it’s available in Canada isn’t really that impressive, but it does contribute to their willingness to threaten to move there.

These desires were only heightened in 2007 when Michael Moore released “Sicko,” a documentary that contrasts the health care industry in the United States with that of Canada, France and Cuba. As a general rule of thumb, white people are always extra passionate about issues that have been the subject of a Moore documentary. As a test, ask them about 9/11, Gun Control, or Health Care and then say “where did you get that information?” You will not be surprised at the results.

But the secret reason why all white people love socialized medicine is that they all love the idea of receiving health care without having a full-time job. This would allow them to work as a freelance designer/consultant/copywriter/photographer/blogger, open their own bookstore, stay at home with their kids, or be a part of an Internet start-up without having to worry about a benefits package. Though many of them would never follow this path, they appreciate having the option.

If you need to impress a white person, merely mention how you got hurt on a recent trip Canada/England/Sweden and though you were a foreigner you received excellent and free health care. They will be very impressed and likely tell you about how powerful drug and health care lobbies are destroying everything.

Though their passion for national health care runs deep, it is important to remember that white people are most in favor of it when they are healthy. They love the idea of everyone have equal access to the resources that will keep them alive, that is until they have to wait in line for an MRI.

This is very similar to the way that white people express their support for public schools when they don’t have children.

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#93 Music Piracy

j0430549.jpgWhite people have always been renowned for having ridiculously large music collections. So when file sharing gave white people a chance to acquire all the music they ever wanted, it felt as though it was an earned right and not a privilege.

When (not if) you see a white male with a full iPod, ask him if all of his music is legal. If he does not immediately launch into a diatribe about his right to pirate music, you might have to nudge him a bit by saying “do you think that’s right?” The response will be immediate and uniform.

He will likely rattle off statistics about how most musicians don’t make any money from albums, it all comes from touring and merchandise. So by attending shows, he is able to support the musicians while simultaneously striking a blow against multinational corporations. He will proceed to walk you through the process of how record labels are set up to reward the corporation and fundamentally rob the artist of their rights, royalties and creativity. Prepare to hear the name Steve Albini a lot.

Advanced white people will also talk about how their constant downloading of music makes them an expert who can properly recommend bands to friends and co-workers, thus increasing revenues and exposure. So in fact, their “illegal” activities are the new lifeblood of the industry.

When they have finished talking, you must choose your next words wisely. It is considered rude to point out the simple fact that they are still getting music for free. Instead you should say: “Wow, I never thought of it like that. You know a lot about the music industry. What bands are you listening to right now? Who is good?”

This sentence serves two functions: it helps to reassure the white person that they are your local “music expert,” something they prize. Also, it lets them feel as though they have convinced you that their activities are part of a greater social cause and not simple piracy.

If you bring up this issue with white person who says “nah bro, I don’t give a shit, Dave Matthews has enough money as it is.” You are likely dealing with wrong kind of white person.

In the even more rare situation where someone says “it’s all paid for, and it’s all transferred from vinyl.” You have found an expert level white person and must treat the situation carefully. high.jpg

Because of the availability of music online, a very strict social hierarchy has been created within white culture whereby someone with a large MP3 collection is considered “normal,” a large CD collection is considered to be “better,” and a person with a large vinyl collection is recognized as “elite.”

These elite white people abhor the fact that music piracy has made their B-sides, live performances, and bootlegs available to the masses. Their entire life’s work has been stripped of its rarity in terms of both object and sound on the record. The best thing you can say to them is: “vinyl still sounds better.”

However, it is recommended that you do not let this conversation drag much longer. If you let them continue talking to you they are likely to spend hours talking to you about bands you’ve never heard of and providing you with a weekly mix CD of rarities that you do not want.

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stpatrick.jpgNormally if someone were to wake up at 7:00 in the morning, take the day off work, and get drunk at a bar before 10:00 a.m., they would be called an alcoholic, and not in the artistic, edgy way that white people are so fond of.

On March 17th, however, this exact same activity is called celebrating St. Patrick’s day. This very special white holiday recognizes Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who helped to bring Catholicism to the Emerald Isle. His ascetic life is celebrated every year by white people drinking large amounts of Irish-themed alcohol and listening to the Dropkick Murphys.

It is also the day of the year when you can make the most gains in your social and professional relationship with white people.

Most of the time, white people consider celebrations of European heritage to be racist unless they omit large swathes of the 16th through 20th centuries. But since the Irish never engaged in colonialism and were actually oppressed it is considered acceptable and encouraged to celebrate their ancestry. For this reason, 100% of white people are proud to claim that they are somewhat Irish.

A big part of St. Patrick’s Day is having white people feel particularly upset at the oppression of their ancestors that has in no way trickled down to them. If you find yourself talking with a white person who tells you about how their great grandfather was oppressed by both the English and the Americans, it is strongly recommended that you lend a sympathetic ear and shake your head in disbelief. It is never considered acceptable to say: “but you’re white now, so what’s the problem?”

It is also worth noting that on this day, there is always one trump card that never fails to gain respect and acclaim. When you are sitting at an Irish bar and someone orders a round of Guinness, you must take a single sip and while the other white people are savoring their drink, you say: “mmmm, I know it sounds cliche, but it really is true. Guinness just tastes better in Ireland.”

This comment will elicit an immediate and powerful response of people agreeing with your valuable insight. This statement also has the additional benefit of humiliating the members of your party who have not been to Ireland (and thus cannot confirm this proclamation). Having not traveled to Ireland and consumed a beer that is widely available in their hometown and throughout the world, they will immediately be perceived as provincial, uncultured, and inferior to you.

It is also strongly encouraged that you memorize the lyrics to “Jump Around.” It will come in handy.

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#88 Having Gay Friends

gayfamily.jpgIf white people could draft friends the way that the NFL drafts prospects it would go like this: black friends, gay friends, and then all other minorities would be drafted based on need and rarity to the region.

When choosing gay friends, white people like to base their decision on their own needs and requirements. Younger white people tend to prefer young, social gay people-this is their all important ticket into nightclubs and parties.

When a straight person goes to a gay night club, they are reminded of how progressive and tolerant they are. If they are hit on by a member of the same sex, it provides them with a valuable story that they can use to prove to their other friends that they are more progressive and tolerant. “This guy/girl hit on me, I said I was ‘straight but not narrow,’ and it was totally chill. Oh, you went to an Irish bar this weekend? That’s cool, I guess. “

Older white people prefer to be friends with gay parents because it enables their children to experience much needed diversity with people who are, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same as them.

It is also worth noting that a gay friendship of any sort allows white people to feel as though they are a part of the gay rights movement. While white people love being a part of any movement, the gay movement is especially important to them because they can blend in at rallies and protests and spend an afternoon feeling the sting of oppression.

Gay friends are an essential part of a white person’s all-star diversity roster. But they are always on the lookout for the ultimate friend; a gay minority.

It is generally accepted that a gay black friend with a child is considered a once in a lifetime opportunity – like a quarterback who can pass, run, kick, and play linebacker. White people will crawl over each other for the opportunity to claim this person as a friend and add them to their roster of diversity.

Other minorities are also highly prized and assigned a ranking based on the level of intolerance in they face from their respective cultures and family members.

Once a white person has told you about their gay friends, it is recommended that you say “I wish more people were like you,” every few months. This will allow them to feel good about their progressive choice of friends and remind them that they are better than other white people.

If you follow this simple rule, you should be able to maximize all benefits of white friendship including assistance in moving and free drinks.

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#86 Shorts

whiteshorts.jpgOne thing prized by white people is making the most of situations. They like to maximize opportunities for all that they are worth. It applies to jobs, vacations, investments, books, education, and perhaps most importantly, warm days.

After a prolonged cold snap, white people are very excited at the first hint of a warm day. It is their opportunity to go back outside, to enjoy nature and thrive.

In order to get the most possible enjoyment out of these days, white people turn to one of their most trusted allies: shorts.

It is a known fact that white people believe that they can bring spring early by wearing a pair of shorts on any day that is above seasonal temperatures. This myth runs so deep that they will often wear shorts the following day when temperatures drop, at which point they will refuse to recognize that it is cold.

When you encounter a cold white person in shorts it’s best to say “I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to go windsurfing.” They will likely give you a high five.

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#85 The Wire

wire-poster.jpgThough white people have a natural aversion to television, there are some exceptions. For white people to like a TV show it helps if it is: critically acclaimed, low-rated, shown on premium cable, and available as a DVD box set.

The latter is important so that white people can order it from Netflix and tell their friends “they are really into <insert series> and I watched ten episodes in a row in the weekend. I’m almost caught up.”

If you attempt to talk about an episode they have not seen yet, they will scream and cover their ears. In white culture, giving away information about a film or TV series is considered as rude as spitting on your mothers grave. It is an unforgivable offense.

Recent series that have fallen into this category include The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and most recently The Wire.

For the past three years, whenever you say “The Wire” white people are required to respond by saying “it’s the best show on television.” Try it the next time you see a white person! Though now they might say “it WAS the best show on television.”

So why do they love it so much? It all comes down to authenticity. A long time ago, someone started a rumor that when The Wire is on TV, actual police wires go quiet because all the dealers are watching the show. Though this is not true, it seems plausible enough to white people and has imbued the show with the needed authenticity to be deemed acceptable.

The popularity of this show among white people has create a unique opportunity for personal gain.

If you need to impress a white person, tell them you are from Baltimore. They will immediately ask you about The Wire and how accurate it is. You should confirm that it is “like a documentary of the streets,” the white person will then slowly shake their head and say “man” or “wow.” You will be seen in an entirely new light.

If you are not from Baltimore but the white person you are talking to is, they might start asking you a lot of questions. In this situation, you should just say you left when you were young but you still have a lot of cousins there but you don’t like to go back to visit. This will remove all doubts and they can go back to telling you about how John from Accounting needs to “stop snitching” about their two hour lunch breaks.

Note: Tonight (Sunday March 9, 2008) is the series finale. It would be considered proper etiquette to ask a white person about the show on Monday.

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hstourney2.jpgThe most time and cost efficient way of gaining a white person’s trust and friendship is to talk to them about their time in high school.

Virtually every white person you meet was a nerd in a high school-it it is how they were able to get into a good arts program and law school. As such, their memories of high school are painful, but not tragic since they were able to eventually find success in the real world. Exploiting this information is your one way to ticket into the heart of a white person.

Your first priority must be to steer the conversation to the topic of high school, which is not very difficult. If you are talking about music, mention the music you think they would have liked in high school and how you were taunted for liking those bands. If you cannot properly gauge the type of music a white person liked in high school, you should always say that you were really into The Cure. All white people know that liking The Cure in high school is an invitation to be tortured by the cool kids. This will bring about instant sympathy and respect.

It is also acceptable to discuss how you were in love with a cool kid who never loved you back. For added effect, you can mention how said cool kid is now doing very poorly and that you are excited for the upcoming reunion.

If these first two points were not enough to gain an adequate level of trust, you can close the deal by saying: “I was the only <insert ethnicity> kid in Improv/on the paper/on student council.” Wait for a sympathetic look and then you will know that you have forged an unbreakable and easily exploited bond.

For maximum effectiveness, this technique should be used in a social group setting where everyone can share their stories. By guiding the conversation, you will be seen as a natural and sympathetic leader. This can be easily exploited for professional and social gain.

Note: In the rare encounter that you meet a white person who was “cool” in high school, do not panic. There is a 100% chance that one of their other cool friends sold them out in a coup for control of their social circle. Failing that, you can exploit the inherent guilt they feel about their treatment of nerds.

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nologo.jpgOne of the more popular white person activities of the past fifteen years is attempting to educate others on the evils of multi-national corporations. White people love nothing more than explaining to you how Wal*Mart, McDonalds, Microsoft, Halliburton are destroying the Earth’s culture and resources.

While the growth of multi-national corporations can be attributed to a number of complex social, economic and political factors, many white people prefer to take the word of two trusted sources: No Logo and AdBusters.

Published in 2000, No Logo has been responsible for more white person “enlightenment” than any book since the burning of the library at Alexandria. By reading this one magic book, white people are able to get a full grasp on the evils of multi-national corporations and then regurgitate it to friends and family.

Advanced white people will supplement No Logo with a subscription to AdBusters, where they will learn how to subvert corporate culture and return it to the masses. Specifically, this means taking ads and redoing them to give a negative message about a product. Apparently the belief is that when other people see this ad, they will be hit with an epiphany that their entire existence has been a Matrix-style manufactured universe.

If you plan to engage in lengthy conversations or get high with white people it is recommended that you read No Logo or one issue of AdBusters. Failing that, it is acceptable to buy a copy to leave on your coffee table. When white people see it, they will recognize you as someone who can see through the advertising and has a proper perspective on life.

adb_cover.jpgWhen engaging in a conversation about corporate evils it is important to NEVER, EVER mention Apple Computers, Target or Ikea in the same breath as the companies mentioned earlier. White people prefer to hate corporations that don’t make stuff that they like.

Following these simple steps can help you gain the trust and respect of white people in a relatively short period of time.

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gradstudent1.jpgBeing white means to engage in a day in, day out struggle to prove that you are smarter than other white people. By the time they reach college, most white people are confronted with the fact that they may not be as smart as they imagined.

In coffee shops, bars, and classes white people will engage in conversations about authors and theorists that go nowhere as both parties start rattling off progressively more obscure people until eventually one side recognizes one and claims a victory. By the time they graduate (or a year or two afterwards), white people realize that they will need an edge to succeed in the cut-throat world of modern white society.

That edge is graduate school.

Though professional graduate schools like law and medicine are desirable, the true ivory tower of academia is most coveted as it imparts true, useless knowledge. The best subjects are English, History, Art History, Film, Gender Studies, <insert nation> Studies, Classics, Philosophy, Political Science, <insert European nation> Literature, and the ultimate: Comp Lit. MFA’s are also acceptable.

Returning to school is an opportunity to join an elite group of people who have a passion for learning that is so great they are willing to forgo low five-figure publishing and media jobs to follow their dreams of academic glory.

Being in graduate school satisfies many white requirements for happiness. They can believe they are helping the world, complain that the government/university doesn’t support them enough, claim they are poor, feel as though are getting smarter, act superior to other people, enjoy perpetual three day weekends, and sleep in every day of the week!

After acquiring a Masters Degree that will not increase their salary or hiring desirability, many white people will move on to a PhD program where they will go after their dream of becoming a professor. However, by their second year they usually wake up with a hangover and realize: “I’m going to spend six years in graduate school to make $35,000 and live in the middle of nowhere?”

After this crisis, a white person will follow one of two paths. The first involves dropping out and moving to New York, San Francisco or their original home town where they can resume the job that they left to attend graduate school.gradstudents2.jpg

At this point, they can feel superior to graduate school and say things like “A PhD is a testament to perseverance, not intelligence.” They can also impress their friends at parties by referencing Jacques Lacan or Slavoj Žižek in a conversation about American Idol.

The second path involves becoming a professor, moving to a small town and telling everyone how they are awful and uncultured.

It is important to understand that a graduate degree does not make someone smart, so do not feel intimidated. They may have read more, but in no way does that make them smarter, more competent, or more likable than you. The best thing you can do is to act impressed when a white person talks about critical theorists. This helps them reaffirm that what they learned in graduate school was important and that they are smarter than you. This makes white people easier to deal with when you get promoted ahead of them.

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soccer.jpgMany white people will tell you that they are very into soccer. But be careful, it’s a trap.

If you then attempt to engage them about your favorite soccer team or talk about famous moments in soccer history, you are likely to be met with blank stares. This is because white people don’t actually enjoy watching soccer, they just like telling their friends that they are into it.

In fact, the main reason white people like soccer is so they can buy a new scarf. As you may or may not know, many soccer teams issue special scarves, and white people cannot get enough of them!

Most white people choose a favorite soccer team based on either a study abroad experience or a particularly long vacation to Europe or South America. When they return, they like to tell their friends about how great “football” is and that they are committed to ‘getting more into’ now that they have returned home.

Some white people take this charade so far as to actually play in adult soccer leagues or attend a local professional match.

The best method for exploiting this is to ask a white person who their favorite football team is and how they came to be fans. This will allow them to tell you about their time abroad and feel as though they have impressed you with their knowledge. Once they have finished talking, it is acceptable to ask for favors.

Note: Europeans are actually into Soccer and are exempt from this entry, however they are free to use it to their advantage when in North America.

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#78 Multilingual Children

All white people want their children to speak another language. There are no exceptions. They dream about the children drifting in between French and English sentences as they bustle about the kitchen while they read the New York Times and listen to Jazz.

As white people age, they start to feel more and more angry with their parents for raising them in a monolingual home. At some point in their lives, most white people attempt to learn a second language and are generally unable to get past ordering in a restaurant or over-pronouncing a few key words. This failure is not attributed to their lack of effort, but rather their parents who didn’t teach them a new language during their formative years.

White people believe that if they had been given French language instruction when they were younger, their lives would have turned out very differently. Instead of living in the US, they would be living and working abroad for the United Nations or some other organization with a headquarters in Switzerland or The Hague.

Generally, white people prefer their children to speak French. Advanced white people will actually spend outrageous amounts of money to send their children to a Lycee or Ecole Francaise. But the vast majority will abandon their dreams when they realize that need a second mortgage so their child can have a better study abroad experience in France.

Languages such as German, Spanish, Swedish, or Italian are also acceptable, but are considered to be poor substitutes (especially Spanish). At the time of writing, it is still considered expert-level white person behavior to have white children speaking Asian and African languages.

There is only one way to use this information to your advantage: speaking another language means that white people are more likely to want to have children with you. It is seen as a cheaper alternative to language schools.

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#77 Musical Comedy

One of the more interesting things about White people is that they love singing comedians.

This style of humor involves a person or group singing a song but rather than singing about something serious, it has funny lyrics. It’s not any more complicated than that, but white people can’t get enough of it. Weird Al Yankovich, Tenacious D, Sarah Silverman (sometimes), Flight of the Conchords, Dennis Leary, and Adam Sandler are all excellent examples of the genre.

It’s a pretty good idea because when you have jokes that aren’t that great and music that isn’t that great, you can mix them together and create something that will entertain white people.

So how you can use this knowledge to your advantage?

If you find yourself at a corporate retreat where you have to put on a skit for the other employees in your office, it’s always a good idea to suggest doing a funny song. The rest of your group will get very excited and start work immediately on some clever lyrics. Do not worry about the music part, if you have more than two white males on your team, it is certain that one of them can play the guitar.

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Often times, white people get frustrated with the state of their country. They do not like the President, or Congress, or the health care system, or the illegal status of Marijuana. Whenever they are presented with a situation that seems unreasonable to them, their first instinct is to threaten to move to Canada.

For example, if you are watching TV with white people and there is a piece on the news about that they do not agree with, they are likely to declare “ok, that’s it, I’m moving to Canada.”

Though they will never actually move to Canada, the act of declaring that they are willing to undertake the journey is very symbolic in white culture. It shows that their dedication to their lifestyle and beliefs are so strong, that they would consider packing up their entire lives and moving to a country that is only slightly different to the one they live in now.

Within white culture, it is agreed upon that if Canada had better weather it would be a perfect place.

Being aware that this information can be used quite easily to gain the trust of white people. Whenever they say, “I’m moving to Canada,” you must immediately respond with “I have relatives in Canada.”

They will then expect you to tell them about how Canada has a perfect healthcare system, legalized everything, and no crime. Though not true, it will reassure them that they are making the right choice by saying they want to move there.

But be warned, they will reference you in future conversations and possibly call on you to settle disputes about Canadian tax rates. So use this advice only if you plan to do some basic research.

Note: Canadian white people threaten to move to Europe.

Note: Europeans are unable to threaten to move anywhere.

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