Archive for October, 2008

#113 Halloween

When it comes to holidays, there are few that white people like more than Halloween.  This is in spite of the fact that white people are required to spend almost the entire year preparing for it.  But unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, the preparation requires little emotional labor.  Though it does require extensive physical and mental labor along with a fair amount of research thrown in for good measure.

Halloween is so important to white people because they have to wear a costume.  It is a chance to literally show everyone how clever you are without having to say a word.  This makes it especially important to single white people as one well thought out costume could produce enough romantic interest to last through the winter.
For this reason any white Halloween Party is less of a celebration than it is a contest.  And as with any contest, there are a lot of rules.

The first thing you need to know that white people are the only people on the planet who will dress up as a concept.  So while  your initial thoughts about a costume might be “cowboy,” “policeman,” or “Count Dracula,” white people are more likely to think “math,” “the economy,” or “Post-Modernism.”

Dressing up as a concept is always a major gamble.  On one hand, there is the chance that you nail it just right and everyone in the room will recognize how you not only cleverly interpreted the idea but also executed it perfectly in physical form. If you get it wrong, you will be required to spend the entire night explaining yourself.  Then again, it is a good way to get white people to talk to you.

Things do not get any easier if you try to dress up like a character from a movie.  If you show up dressed as Austin Powers or Napoleon Dynamite you will be met with near-universal scorn.  You see, you need to find a character from a movie that enough people recognize but not one that’s so well known that makes it easy to find the materials required to create the costume.

That being said it’s a good idea to draw inspiration from older movies or television shows, specifically ones from the 1980s.  Some popular examples are: Pee Wee Herman, the skeleton costumes from Cobra Kai, or Marty McFly.  Depending on your race and gender, this could be your opportunity to become the alpha dog among your white friends.

You see, the only thing white people like more than costumes are group costumes.  So if you are an asian male of any background, suggest to your white male friends that you all dress up as The Goonies.  If you are a black female, offer to play the role of TOOTIE and go as the Facts of Life. Being a black male is considerably tougher, but if you are short enough the role of Webster could be right for you in an ensemble cast.  Sadly, if you do not fall into one of these categories your opportunity for a group costume is limited since there are no recorded instances of white people befriending asian women, latinos, Indians, or any other race during the 1980s.

Last, but certainly not least are white people who dress up as characters from books that have not been made into movies.

“I’m Esther Greenwood.”
“Who’s that?”
“Um, from The Bell Jar, hello?”
“I’m sad too.”

These  people are unlikely to be recognized as their characters, but are highly recognized as being smart. If you cannot pull off a group costume, this is your best bet.  Just pick ANY author who shares your heritage, find a character who matches your age and sex and remember their name.  Then show up in regular clothes.
This also allows you to make the awesome joke “Oh, you can’t tell?  I’m dressed up as a Sri Lankan woman.  It’s me, Matt.” (substitute race/sex as appropriate).  White people will find this hilarious, unless there is another non-white person at the part making the same jokes.

You should also be prepared for the inevitability of running into a white person in an offensive costume.  It is a certainty that any Halloween party will have at least one white guy dressed up as a recently (and preferably tragically) deceased or wounded celebrity.  Past examples include Steve Irwin costumes with a sting ray protruding from the chest, Roy (of Sigfried and Roy) with a stuffed tiger attached to the neck, and this year you are likely to see at least one white person dressed up as Heath Ledger.

With this information, you should have no problem fitting right in at a white halloween party.  But don’t try too hard at your costume, white people hate being upstaged.


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#112 Hummus

When it comes to food, all white people are either allergic to/or have stopped eating everything you consider delicious.  It’s a good idea to come to grips with the concept, because it will save you a lot of headaches.

But when white people come to your house, you are forced to deal with the problem in a very real, very immediate sense.  You will be trapped with their dietary restrictions and they will be trapped with the contents of your kitchen.  You can mediate this situation by stocking your pantry with dozens of complicated and expensive snacks.  Or you could take the easy way out and just buy a tub of hummus.

All white people like hummus.  In fact, if you find a white person who does not like hummus then they probably just haven’t tasted it or they are the wrong kind of white person.  In either case, they are probably not someone that you want to know.

Putting out a plate of hummus and pita makes white people very comfortable.  It reminds them of home since at any given time a white person has hummus in their fridge.  Even the most barren white refrigerator will have a package of the stuff next to an empty Brita filter.

White people are also relieved when they see hummus because they recognize the contents immediately.

Though you would never be able to guess it by their actions, white people are very concerned with perceived as “annoying” or “that guy” who has to ask about the ingredients of everything they eat. However great their concern over this, they are still more afraid of being “that guy” that eats High Fructose Corn Syrup or pork.

Familiarize yourself with this information as it will play itself out every time you try to pick a restaurant with a white person.

You: “Let’s get Chinese food”
White Person #1: “Um, yeah, last time I was there I tried to ask the waitress if they used any pork stock in the preparation of the vegetables and she didn’t really give me a response that makes me comfortable eating there again.”

By providing your guests with a plate of hummus, you can guarantee that you won’t have to have this infuriating conversation in your own home.  But that doesn’t mean you are safe.  To cover all your bases, it is always a good idea keep some Gluten free crackers in your pantry.

That way if you bring out a plate of hummus and pita and discover that one of the white people cannot eat gluten, then you are ready to pull off a truly incredible move.

First, pretend not to understand why the person cannot eat wheat.  Then go back to the kitchen and return with the gluten-free crackers.  Everyone will be impressed by your ability to psych out people with food allergies.

Wait one week and relive the story with different white people, it will make them laugh and secretly wish to be invited to your next hummus eating party.

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Tour Ends in Bay Area

Been a fun run for the 2nd tour. Thanks everyone for coming out to all the events.

Tour ends with two dates in the Bay Area. Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 24th – Berkeley, CA

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

Saturday, October 25th – San Francisco, CA

Booksmith Bookstore
1644 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA

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Portland Visit

Interesting facts about Portland Oregon

– named the “Greenest city” in America by Popular Science
– has the highest rate of microbreweries per capita
– citizens are not allowed to pump their own gas
– Rasheed Wallace once lived here
– home of the Reed College Ultimate Frisbee team
– and Stuff White People Like author will be making an appearance there on Monday (Info Below)

Monday, October 20th – Portland, OR

Talk & Signing
Powell’s Books
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97209

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Houston Tour Stop

Friday, October 17th – Houston, TX

Talk & Signing
Houston, TX
3025 Kirby
Houston, TX 77098

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Author Appearances in Wisconsin

Christian Lander will be making appearances in the Badger state this week. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 15th – Madison, WI

Talk & Signing
Madison, WI
3750 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705

Thursday, October 16th – Milwaukee, WI

Talk & Signing
Milwaukee, WI
8705 N. Port Washington
Fox Point, WI 53217

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#111 Pea Coats

As the temperature starts to drop, many white people are forced to start wearing winter coats.  Though many will simply don outdoor performance gear, a great number will turn to the #1 white winter jacket of all time: The Pea Coat.

The Pea Coat was originally worn by sailors and members of the European Navy.   If you think about it for a second, this means that the coat is European, Coastal, and Vintage.  Three of white people’s favorite things.

Another common characteristic of the coat is that white people will write their names on the label inside the coat.  This is not done for fear of theft, but rather as a necessary precaution against party mixups.  You see, when a white person attends a party in the winter time they will often be required to put their jacket in a room with literally dozens of other pea coats!  Since these coats often contain ticket stubs to the same concerts and identical Trader Joe’s receipts, it can be impossible to find the original owner without a name written inside.

Like with sweaters, the process of acquiring a Pea Coat is almost as important as the coat itself.  Fashionable white people can purchase designer pea coats for well over $1000, but the top ranked white people purchase their at Army Surplus stores.  This makes them feel better than the white people have spent thousands of dollars on an identical piece of clothing.

But perhaps the greatest value of the pea coat is its ability to help you determine which non-white people have been accepted into the ranks of white people.  It is not known if the coat is given to them in an elaborate ceremony or if they buy it themselves, but in either case by wearing the coat they are telling the world that they have white friends.

Long story short, if you want to increase your popularity with white people this winter, get a Pea Coat.

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SWPL Blogjam

A cartoon version of “Classical Music” has been done by Blogjam cartoonist Greg Williams of the Tampa Tribune.

click for full size

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