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A few days ago, I heard a track called “Mr. Rock & Roll” by a Scottish female vocalist named Amy Macdonald. I enjoyed it and think her acoustic folk-pop sound is worth a listen; it’s somewhat reminiscent of KT Tunstall and the multitudes of other girls with dark hair and bangs who have been playing indie music on guitar of late.
Amy’s songwriting is nothing earth-shatteringly innovative, but she has no average voice, and as a self-taught musician, she’s not bad at all. NPR Weekend Edition tells me that her popularity has been growing in the UK for a while and is just starting to make its way over to the US.
If you heard about Amy Macdonald ages ago, feel free to inform me that I am totally behind the times on what young people are listening to nowadays. I’d also be interested to hear your opinion on whether Amy’s style is refreshing or unremarkable. You can listen to more full tracks by Amy Macdonald on last.fm.
This cheerfully irreverent blog satirizes what Adam Sternbergh of The New Republic magazine calls “the uneasy marriage of urban affluence and liberal (and/or progressive, and/or alternative, and/or ‘indie’) ideals”. It’s written from the point of view of someone giving advice on how to befriend white people, but it really pokes fun at lifestyle rather than race. I’m sure everyone, especially those of you who live in Berkeley, knows one or two people that perfectly match the description below:
They love nothing better than sipping free-trade gourmet coffee, leafing through the Sunday New York Times, and listening to David Sedaris on NPR (ideally all at the same time). Apple products, indie music, food co-ops, and vintage T-shirts make them weak in the knees.
They pretend to be unique, yet somehow they’re all exactly the same, talking abut how they “get” Sarah Silverman’s “subversive” comedy and Wes Anderson’s “droll” films. They are also down with diversity and up on all the best microbrews, breakfast spots, foreign cinema, and authentic sushi. They’re organic, ironic, and do not own TVs.
Stuff White People Like
On kitchen gadgets: When trying to bond with white people over kitchen gadgets, “just throw out a combination of these words: ‘le Creuset, Calphalon, All Clad, Williams Sonoma, and Sur Le Table. White people go so nuts when they hear these words, you won’t even have to finish your sentence.'”
On reusable bottles of water: “Most white people need to run their water through some sort of filter (Brita or PUR) before they put it into their bottle. This allows them to feel good about using a refillable bottle, but it also makes it more complicated, which they also like.”
On girls with bangs: “For white people, this simple haircut makes a bold declaration by saying that the wearer is artistic, deep, and has probably dated a guy in a band you like.”
On vintage t-shirts: “In the event that two white people have shirts that meet this criteria, the superior ranking is given to the person who paid the least for the shirt. Acquiring a shirt at a vintage clothing store is seen as less respectable than sorting through racks at the Goodwill.”
On outdoor performance clothes: The reason for wearing expensive outdoor performance clothes from REI and L.L. Bean? Always be prepared. “It could be 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday when they might get a call, ‘Hey man, you know what we need to do? Kayak then camping, right now. I’m on my way to get you, there is no time to change clothes.'”
Stuff White People Like has become so popular, one of the blog authors has published a book.
Ironically, the popularity of Stuff White People Like has been covered in the New York Times and on NPR, the very media outlets of the blog’s subjects. Sternbergh, a self-professed “admitted yoga-practicing, public-radio-listening, Wrigley Field-visiting, Wes Anderson-movie-watching, Arrested Development-championing white dude”, loves the blog “because if there’s one thing white people really like, it’s pretending to poke fun at themselves while actually being allowed to feel superior.”
I really like the blog, but I’ve started to recognize some of the Berkeley-esque things I do covered as topics. When does Stuff White People Like stop being satire and start being one of the trends it mocks?