Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stuff That "Stuff White People Like" Didn't Like

One of the websites I go to for a chuckle is "Stuff White People Like."

(Related, but Unrelated: Also check out "Stuff Christians Like," written by the hilarious Prodigal Jon. A Christianity-themed version, but even more self-aware.)

If you haven't checked SWPL out yet, you really really nead to. Go right now, or the rest of this won't make sense.

...Back yet? Yeah? Okay, so you can pick up on the tone of humor. It's like a field guide of the cultural habits of white people (more specifically, a certain kind of white person, one of the upper-class East Coast yuppie liberal variety).

Well, the site's author, Christian Lander, recently held a contest. Six hundred seventy-five entries were sent in, and five were chosen.

Mine was not. *Insert sour grapes here*

So, since the whole great big blog world that reads Christian's site will miss out on it, I'm going to share this with the half-dozen or so of you who read my humble little outpost in this corner of the internets. Hope you like it.


Stuff White People Like: "Making Unnecessary Craft Items"

Making unnecessary craft items is a favorite pastime of white people. This is especially true for white people too advanced to shop at Urban Outfitters (vintage-turned-mainstream!), who insist that their kitchen curtains stenciled with brown quail are the Cutest. Thing. Ever! Unnecessary craft projects may range from knitting (scarves, caps, even shirts, regardless of local climate) to various painting or small-construction projects. From barrels of 1-inch buttons to tabletop decoupage, this hobby has become a mandatory component of the white person lifestyle—as a way to "stay connected to my art," if nothing else.

White People's Unnecessary Craft Projects may include some of the following design elements:
--the colors orange/rust, brown, pea-green, and/or yellow
--sponge-painted designs
--printed/patterned fabrics
--junk items from second-hand shops
--stylized wildlife of the domesticated variety (nothing aggressive)
--patterns (e.g. geometric shapes)
--clever in-jokes, slogans, or non sequiturs (printed using stencils/sponge-painting)

This emphasis on homemade craftsmanship shouldn't be surprising to the cultural observer. Since all essential supplies can now be purchased easily online or at the local fair-trade shop, these home-based crafts have become the only feasible outlet for the white person's creative juices. The creative energy that our foreparents poured into opening up the West and building up the national infrastructure is now being funneled into Obama t-shirt designs and ironic faux-vintage housewares.

Understanding this need will aid your communicating with white people about their unnecessary craft projects. Remember, hand-crafted items, like vintage tee-shirts, are a point of white person pride. Asking about the turtle-stenciled bookends will give the owner/creator an opening to impress you with their creativity. Further, the idea of making rather than buying something helps white people feel they aren't contributing to their consumerist culture (no matter what they paid for the designer fabric or hard-to-find accessories). This is especially true if a junk item was restored as part of the project. When applicable, be sure to remark on the earth-friendliness of their re-use of materials. This will ensure you receive an unnecessary craft item as a future birthday or holiday gift.

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