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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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