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Author Topic: Stuff White People Like
linus
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SSS, a good deal of the problem with the British detractors of SWPL here is that the parallel with Europe isn't an obvious one. It kind of helps to think of what the polar opposite of "WP" is in the States, which is the "real" white people red state culture, with people who thrive in the suburban bliss of cities like Houston, Atlanta, Orlando or Nashville, but also Annaheim, Sacramento or Columbus. Upwardly NASCAR dads or "rich rednecks".

Golf (on TV, on weekends and in vacations), chain stores, chain restaurants, expensive steakhouses, expensive liquor (esp Anglo-Saxon stuff like burbon and scotch but also expensive (overpriced) wines that appear on the wine least at his favorite high-end chain steakhouse), Republican Party, Costco/bulk grocery habits (reposing in large walk-in pantry in large kitchen in monster homes), SUVs, big-screen LCDs with expensive cable/satellite package plans, big new protestant churches with huge parking lots, weight issues, mostly useless expensive gadgets, fast food chains (especially "premium" burger chains), expensive corporate America paraphenelia (classic American and British made shoes, expensive socks, cufflinks), pleated pants, loose fitting T-Shirts (always tucked in, with belted shorts on weekends 6 months per year), artificial christmas trees (
http://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/2007/12/on-superiority-of-artificial-christmas.html ), masculine confidence, guns, cigars, unflinching faith in corporate America, Wall Street Journal editorial, fondness for military (
http://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/2007/12/semper-fi.html ), wholesale buy-in of neocon/WOT paradigm, etc...

Of course this is a stereotype, like its WP counterpart, it's more about shades of purple than red or blue, but consider this fine specimen here:
http://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/

I've build the list above in an earlier post of this thread, but it's uncanny how nearly every cultural icon is clearly celebrated in that guy's blog:

Golf- http://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/2008/02/golf.html
Expensive drinks- check
Neoconed - http://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/2008/02/danes.html

etc, etc.

In many ways, "WP"s define themselves by their opposition to that "blatantly reprehensive" "rich redneck" ethos and lifestyle. Since that "RR" lifestyle doesn't really exist in Britain (at least not as a dominant and traditionally entrenched strain), a lot of the nuances (if not the basic premise) of WP will be lost upon many here, who will not understand the sympathic if gently mocking stance of many of the North American posters here towards SWPL.

SWPL is indeed pretty shallow in terms of providing real socio-cultural insights and analyses, but as an extensive raw gathering of "data points", it is quite brilliant in a minimalist way, in addition to the quality of the writing and sense of observation it contains. To my knowledge, it is the best attempt to date to isolate that recent American cultural phenomenon. The Onion chronicles it too, very often in opposition to mainstream culture, but it doesn't attempt to outline its elements.

It is also a pretty useful starting point into understanding what's behind the prolific cultural products of WP, which many of you Brits are on the consumer end of, like American indie music and films, such as the Magnetic Fields, Juno or the Flight of the Conchords. Pretty much the most interesting American cultural products today.

As well, part of the reason the SWPL author does come across as somewhat reactionary is because he clearly is male and feels uneasy about the somewhat feminine nature of the WP ethos as opposed to the "rich redneck" ethos, which is resolutely and unabashedly masculine. WP men are more likely to be whipped, hence the rebelious stance of the blog author. In a sense he is a looking at it as a bit of an outsider, and a refugee, having moved from Canada into the blue-red mosaic of Southern California, even though he probably espouses a lot of the WP precepts (he's content to stay in his blue enclave and mock as opposed to wanting to move to Annaheim or Atlanta).

[ 28.02.2008, 23:27: Message edited by: linus ]

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Not me
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Jesus Christ, Reed, I grew up around douchebags! I never even realised what they were before.

If you can imagine being surrounded by a version of that with less money, no drugs, and fat-handed farm girls grabbing hold of your balls every five minutes, you've pretty much got my teen East Anglian Saturday nights down pat, apart from the six-mile walk home when I couldn't take any more. I've actually been driven around the "city" in a jeep bought on credit with 'She's Got That Vibe' being blasted out, not long before the douchebag part of my peer group got everyone pregnant and retired to their bungalows.

Ritzys in Norwich, man. Good times.

I was alienated back then.

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Super Sharp Shooter
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Linus: I totally get it, I just think it's witless and unfunny.
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linus
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Much like for the Onion, most of the humor and wit rests on the underlying socio-cultural content. It's pretty hard to get the former without experiencing the latter.
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Super Sharp Shooter
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I get it. I just don't think it's any good.
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Super Sharp Shooter
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Anyway, in a strange moment of life imitating OTF, I just heard a load of hullaballoo in the hall outside my flat, and upon going out - not for that, I had to post a letter - walked into about a dozen of these SNL type people; orange fake tans, expensive shirts and Miami Vice haircuts. God knows where they'd come from, or where they were going.
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Wyatt Earp
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quote:
In many ways, "WP"s define themselves by their opposition to that "blatantly reprehensive" "rich redneck" ethos and lifestyle. Since that "RR" lifestyle doesn't really exist in Britain (at least not as a dominant and traditionally entrenched strain), a lot of the nuances (if not the basic premise) of WP will be lost upon many here, who will not understand the sympathic if gently mocking stance of many of the North American posters here towards SWPL.
Yeah, I know. But I think the author's blue-staters-also-form-a-tribe line, while true as far as it goes, is kind of a "Yeah: so what?" And in criticising "WPs" for thinking of "rich rednecks" as stupid hicks, he's forgetting that, well, they are stupid hicks. The WPs are right. Fuck the red-staters.
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You Are The Ref
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Not Me- you ever go to Mercy?
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Not me
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No, that was after my time really. It sounds like Son of Ritzys to me, though.
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Reed
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Yesterday's, about singing comedians was dumb. That's not a good observation, just a crap joke. Comedians have been playing stringed instruments and singing since the middle ages. It's true that I can't think of any black stand-up comedians that play an instrument on stage, but I'm sure there were some in the vaudville era. Besides, Adam Sandler's guitar stuff is funny - way funnier than his movies - and Steve Martin was good in his banjo days.

However, today's #78 Multilingual Children, is dead fucking on.

I'm really not comfortable with all of this talk of WP vs. Rich Rednecks, because those are, at best just the two polar extremes of middle-class white people in America. There's a whole lot in between. Like my parents and, to a large extent, me. I participate in several "redneck" or non-WP activites - follow pro and college sports, enjoy fishing, wear sweatshirts in non-athletic contexts, buy bulk items at Sam's Club to save money, eat non-natural/non-organic food, drink water out of the tap, drive a Jeep, enjoy the company of my own family, etc.

That doesn't make me a redneck.

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Wyatt Earp
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Use a glass for the water, though. Less messy.
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Reed
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What about a plastic cup or a repurposed pasta sauce jar?
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Inca
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quote:
What about a plastic cup or a repurposed pasta sauce jar?
When Mrs. Inca's mom and dad first started dating, the only glasses he had were the little apple-shaped Martinelli's apple juice glasses.
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Reed
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Did he walk to school five miles in the snow uphill both ways without shoes?
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Inca
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No, he's not that kind of guy. It was just an example of his creative reuse and interesting habits. He likes to smooth down plastic knives and use them as letter openers.
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