By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Stuff white people like: reading about themselves — or at least brunch-eating, Patagonia-wearing versions of themselves — in deadpan, anthropological mocku-blogs. And soon, in book version!
How This Happened:
Jan. 18 Christian Lander, pasty Canadian copywriter living in Los Angeles, creates Stuffwhitepeoplelike.com on a lark, after an instant-message conversation with a friend that went something like this:
Isn’t it weird how many white people like “The Wire”?
Yeah. What else do white people like?
The first thing, Lander posts, is Coffee: “White people . . . are fond of saying “you do NOT want to see me before I get my morning coffee.”
Feb. 14 Gawker mentions the blog in a roundup of humor sites. By then Lander has expanded white people’s interests to include No. 14 Having Black Friends, No. 25 David Sedaris and No. 65 Co-Ed Sports (“Many white people play in their first co-ed league in college. It is considered good form to talk about how you played in one of these leagues where the best player on your team was a girl”).
Feb. 15-28 The blog careens from 200 hits a day to 1 millio — no, 2 millio — no, more than 4 million hits total.
Feb. 29-March 5 Readers and reporters begin to seek meaning. Is Lander lumping together white people the same way that they have historically lumped together other races and cultures? Is Lander hoping to use erudite irony to awaken readers from their post-yuppie trances? What does Lander have against Wes Anderson movies, anyway?
March 6-17 Hosanna! Hosanna! Christian Lander is the new Barack Obama is your new bicycle!
March 18, A.M. A Toronto Star columnist conducts what will be Lander’s last media interview: “How much have I made?” Lander said. “About $13; a buck for every million hits. . . . It’s been the craziest two months of my life, but I’m glad I’m not in it for the money.”
March 18, P.M. Lander responds to an e-mail by stating that all correspondence must now go through his publicist. His publicist?
March 19 Lander’s publicist regretfully announces that Lander is taking a little breather from all media requests, more details to follow soon. Hmmm.
March 20 Random House officially announces the summer release of “Stuff White People Like — THE BOOK!” Lander’s “detailed, cleverly illustrated expose of modern white culture will include an extensive chronicle of what white people like,” the news release reads. “Two-thirds new material!”
But who are they kidding? With the (free) blogged list already at No. 90, the only things left to cover are Zipcar and Blelvis.
Stuff white people like: getting fat advances . . . and then clamming up.