Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Play that funky music, whiteboy!

I've seen this Stuff White People Like blog linked in a number of places, but Tosy and Cosh helpfully reduce it to a list, with commentary. Which means, you know, I'll go all listy now as well. Basically I'll do as he did and give a "yes" or "no" answer to each entry, with comment. I'm not so much doing this because I'm white (really, who cares) but because it's a list. Note that this is not a "Bold the ones I like" list; I bolded them all to make the post easier to read.

(The original blog, by the way, has updated since I grabbed this from Tosy, so I'll update this in a post down the line sometime.)


Graduate School

I never went, but that doesn't mean that I'm not a fan. I figured that the world might not have needed another Ph.D in philosophy. Or something like that.

The Idea of Soccer

What is the "idea of soccer"? The notion of the world's most popular spectator sport being a fairly boring game that has very little nuance? Bleeccchhh! You could pay me to watch soccer, since I'd do nearly anything for money, but I sure wouldn't enjoy it. (Now, playing soccer is another story, since it's a lot of running and kicking stuff. But things that are fun to do aren't always fun to watch.)

Modern Furniture

Depends. Some modern-type furniture I find appealingly trippy, and a lot of actually is downright comfortable when you figure out how to sit in it. The library at my college (at the time – the library has since been rebuilt) had lots of sixties-era furniture, stuff that you might see lurking in the background of a scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I loved sitting in those chairs, reading.

Multilingual Children

I can't really say as I have a tremendously strong opinion here. If we're going to decide that our children should be multilingual, obviously it's best to do that early, but I don't really know.

Musical Comedy

You'd better believe it! I love a good musical comedy. And even some not-so-good musical comedies.

Bottles of Water

I drink tons of water, so bottles are cool. We buy bottles by the case at The Store, and then after drinking the water that comes in them, we re-fill them and re-use them until they become too worn out to be useful, and then we break out a few new bottles from the case. Few things refresh like good old water.

Threatening to move to Canada

This is what pansy, pseudo-leftie nitwits do. Stay here and fight to make your country better, you bunch of doofuses! (Until the Bills move there, and then I'm outta here!)

Oscar Parties

Not really; I don't take the Oscars that seriously anymore. But to attend one of the "official" parties, when you win one? Sure, I'd love to be at one of those.

When I eventually win the Oscar for Best Screenplay (note to self: start writing a screenplay), my speech will begin with this joke: "We writers aren't Governors' Ball types, so as the winning writer, it's my responsibility to host the Writers' Oscar Party. That'll be at my hotel, Room 337 of the Hampton Inn by LAX. It's BYOB, but we're writers, so we've all got our own B." You read it here first. [Cut to tight shot of Jack Nicholson, grinning tightly because he doesn't get it or doesn't care.]


You know, I hear this word a lot, and I still have no idea what it means. Something to do with city neighborhoods becoming lame, I think. I dunno.

Study Abroad

Never did it, myself. I suppose it makes sense for certain fields of study, like foreign languages or clandestine military activity.

Being the only white person around

I'm not sure exactly what's so great about this. I generally don't care who's around me. Of course, this probably refers to traveling to entirely different cultures, which is a cool idea that I've never done before.

Difficult Breakups

They make for good fodder in romantic comedies and such, but to go through one? Who in their right mind would enjoy a difficult breakup? Especially since as you get older, your breakups can only increase in difficulty as they tend to involve kids and lawyers?

Mos Def

I don't know who he is.

Michel Gondry

I don't know who he is, either.

Standing Still at Concerts

Nah. I prefer to listen to my Berlioz and Rachmaninov sitting down. (I have never once attended a rock concert of any type. I'd love to hear some live Celtic music one of these years, but the proper setting for such is a pub, and those have seats.)


See above on breakups. This is one road I have absolutely no desire to travel down, whatsoever, nosiree Bob. I know plenty of divorced people, and they've all (mostly) moved on to happiness in their post-divorce lives, but still, one of these friends described the experience to me in these words: "If you want to feel like throwing up for six months straight, get a divorce, 'cause that's what it feels like." I have no use for that.

Co-Ed Sports

Sure, what's not to like?


I do it, but I'm not sold on it as a major part of the solution to our environmental problems.

Expensive Sandwiches

Oh yes! I love a good sandwich, made with good ingredients. I'm not sure about the "expensive" part; I wouldn't be terribly interested in spending $50 for a burger made of Kobe beef. But ten bucks for a sandwich on artisan bread? Sure.

Knowing what's best for poor people

Well, depends, I suppose. I seriously dislike the condescension and judgmental nonsense thrown at the poor in this country, and the constant refrain that it's their fault, the lazy freeloaders. And I seriously dislike the notion that because we aren't in their position, we somehow know what's best for them. Nothing illustrated this to me more than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when Barbara Bush opined that the thousands of displaced persons living in the Astrodome in Houston had it pretty good.

All that said, however, there's an extent to which any policy discussion over how to help the poor involves a discussion of what's best for the poor. This kind of thing I find helpful.


Bikes rule. I need to get mine up and running this year.

Toyota Prius

I like the idea of the car, but I'm unlikely to be able to get one any time soon, so I'm personally ambivalent. What I really like is what the Prius represents: the notion that it's our technological advancement that will be the largest factor in our solving our environmental problems. People who think that environmentalism translates to returning the world to some kind of medieval lifestyle annoy me.

Natural Medicine

There's some good stuff there, but it does get difficult to separate out the complete nonsense from the stuff that actually works.


If only they'd ditch their creepy and disgusting addiction to whaling, Japan would be extremely cool. I would love to go to Japan someday.


Haven't seen it yet, but soon will, and then I will report. I think that Diablo Cody is gorgeous, though.


Necessary and underappreciated, I suppose. The ones that I've met are usually decent people. But yeah, Shakespeare says to kill them all, so off they go!


These seem terribly underrated. We really need to see a whole-hearted embrace in our society of the "Ahso Defense".

Kitchen Gadgets

I love good quality cookware, but I find the vast majority of kitchen gadgets useless and stupid wastes of space. Why buy, for instance, a rice cooker when you can just learn to cook rice in a heavy saucepan that will have many other uses besides? Why buy an electric gizmo to grill a sandwich? All I need is some good pans, some good knives, and a few other items and I'm good.


Meh. I'm a cat person. A dog can be OK if I get to know it. But it's gotta be a dog. A Pomeranian is not a dog. It's a yipping creature of ill breeding.

Sarah Silverman

I don't know the first thing about her.

Living by the water

I'd love to live by water one day: a lake, a river, even a stream. Water is mythic. As it is, I live a few miles from one of the Great Lakes, which is good enough for now.


A powerful tool when used as that: a tool. I got very tired of the whole "Irony as overriding tone" thing that dominated everything in the 1990s.


As you might expect, I own several pairs of vintage overalls, and I like to troll eBay for more, although the prices are often a bit out of reach for me. (A good pair of overalls will last forever if you use them for casual wear, as I do. No long days out in the fields for me!) It's fun to look at brands that no longer exist with names like "PayDay". I don't have much interest for anything else vintage, though.

Whole Foods and grocery co-ops

Well, this is awkward. Given my occupation, Whole Foods is the enemy and must be destroyed. But that's just a philosophical position, as Whole Foods does not exist in Buffalo, and I've heard no plans to attract them here. The big Buffalo co-op is the Lexington Co-op which I believe is in the Elmwood area somewhere. That's a bit out of the way for me, so I've never been there. I do like the concept of local ownership of such businesses, and I'd probably shop at one at least occasionally if one was a bit closer to Casa Jaquandor. Price isn't the biggest determining factor for me as to where I shop, as a rule, although it's definitely a factor.

You know what I really love, though? Public markets like the famous one in Seattle and the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. Places like that are just wonderful.

Arts Degrees

I've got one: a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in music.

The Sunday New York Times

I used to be a big fan, but nowadays I generally don't have time.

Asian Fusion Food

I don't know anything about it, but when I hear the term, I think of those stereotypical pretentious restaurants where an entree consists of a plate with three bite-size morsels of something upon it. Not a fan of that kind of thing: when I order food, I want a plate full of food. And my favorite Asian food is the stuff that you'll find in Chinatowns like Torontos, something that an Asian person might actually eat as a part of their daily life.

Public Radio

Longtime readers will know that I am a huge fan of public radio. You just have to find your right show. I love Prairie Home Companion, Thistle and Shamrock, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, Car Talk, and others. (I'm not a big fan of This American Life, however; something about Ira Glass's voice makes me want to lapse into a deep coma.)


Yup! Especially the flea-flicker and the Old Statue of Liberty. Those are great plays!

Oh, that's not what this means. I've enjoyed live theater when I've gone, and yet, I haven't gone in many years, which seems a pity given Buffalo's unusually vibrant theater scene (for a city this size facing the economic challenges it does).


Yes! I love it. I've never had the "raw fish" stuff, but I find a nice meal of sushi pleasantly nourishing.

Indie Music

If it's good music, great. If not, forget it. Being "Indie" is no guarantee against sucking.

Apple Products

I like apple butter, apple-pie flavor ice cream, and I miss apple-flavored Slice pop.

The Steve Jobs cult creeps me out, though. I'm not in love with the whole "design is everything" ethos, nor do I buy the notion that Apple stuff is that much more robust than anything else. I find the idea of watching movies on an iPhone or an iPod terribly silly; I loved the bit at the Oscars the other week when Jon Stewart was watching Lawrence of Arabia on an iPhone and says, "Wow, the cinematography of this movie is amazing! I should watch in in widescreen! [turns phone sideways] Ohhh! Those are camels!"

And the whole "iBricking" thing really turns me off.


Neat idea. We were in Blockbuster's knockoff program for a while, but we don't watch movies frequently enough to make it really worth our while, especially with the public library's movie collection constantly improving, and the access to that collection is free, which stomps all over Blockbuster and Netflix.

Arrested Development

Never watched it.


Well, of what? Taking an old building and making it better, whether for a home or a business? Sure, that's great. In fact, I wish more old buildings would get renovated than either torn down for new buildings or, worse, allowed to rot while new buildings are built across the street. But not everything needs to be renovated, of course. And renovations poorly done can be disastrous.

Breakfast places

You'd better believe it. My favorite breakfast places are always the ones that are owned and run by locals in any given town, such as the wonderful Charlie's Diner in East Aurora, NY (I can't recommend this place highly enough, and if you go in late spring, be sure to sit on the porch and eat). And we're rapidly coming up on one of New York State's best traditions, Maple Weekend. We'll be going to Moore's Sugar Shack, which is a fabulous little place in the hills south of Arcade, for all the pancakes with fresh maple syrup we can eat. Oh Mama!

The Daily Show / The Colbert Report

I don't get to watch them very often, because they're on very late where we live (but they're nicely broadcast on a Canadian channel out of Hamilton, ON). I love Jon Stewart. I've never seen Colbert's show, unfortunately, but I did love his speech at the Correspondents' Dinner from a couple of years back, so assuming that's what his show is like, I'd probably love it.


Well, I don't know much about it, to be honest. But Buffalo's architecture is wonderful, so I love it on that basis.


I've never tried it, so I don't know. I think it should be legal, though.


Nope. I eat meat. Nothing ever eats that something else doesn't die, and anyway, if God didn't want us eating animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat! (I do think that we eat too much meat in this country, but that's not the same thing as saying nobody should eat meat.)


I've never done it, but it does look like fun.

Wrigley Field

I'm not a Cubs fan. Wrigley looks like a neat place on teevee, and I'm sure it's a great place to take in a game. But to have to do so watching the Cubs seems like too high a price to pay, especially with Harry Caray dead.

80s Night

Where? At a bar? A dance club? A roller rink? I love the cheesy 80s pop music, myself, so I'd probably enjoy the occasional 80s night.

Not having a teevee

Nah. I watch significantly less teevee now than I ever have before, but still, we have to be able to watch movies and stuff as a family. It's not like we can crowd around the computer or the laptop.


Gahhh! I hate running. Never liked running and never will. For cardio, at the Y, I use the stationary recumbent bikes, and I love biking in general. But running? Ugh. I don't like running 26 feet, so why would I want to run 26 miles?!

Manhattan (and now Brooklyn too!)

I haven't been to New York City since I was twelve or thirteen. I really want to go back someday; we'd love to be on the street during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Hayden Planetarium seems right up my alley, as does that bookstore that apparently has eighteen miles of books. But that's all provisional, so I can't say that I love Manhattan.

David Sedaris

Meh. I read through a collection of his essays once and while I didn't hate him, I didn't grok him either. I don't understand the fuss over the guy.


I love wine, and I don't drink enough of it. Port, sherry, Asti, Cava, Sauternes, Canadian ice wine, rieslings from New York, Valpolicella with pasta. Wine is wonderful and fascinating. (I'm a pretty non-sophisticated wine drinker, picking my bottles on the basis of price and on that of how pretty the label is. I also try to buy New York wines when I'm in the mood.)


If the beer they make tastes good, then sure. If not, then no. I'm not of the view that microbreweries are inherently better than larger operations, but they have over the last couple of decades led to a more vibrant beer market, so that's a good thing.

Having Two Last Names

With all due respect, who cares?! This is just silly.

Writers' Workshops

I have no desire at all to attend one of these.

Being an expert on YOUR culture

I'm not, unless we restrict the concept of "MY culture" to those topics I write about on this blog, and even then I wouldn't consider myself an expert on many of those topics, since blogging is in large part opining about that on which we know little.


In the sense of "going other places", absolutely. In the sense of the actual physical act of traveling, then maybe; it depends on the mode of travel. I don't like flying; I find it unpleasant to begin with, and our air travel industry has made it a genuine pain in the arse. My favorite mode of travel is to pack some clothes and stuff, get in the car, and drive with one and only one rule: no Interstate highways. There's magic to be found in this country that way.


Too often "awareness" can seem an end in itself, but the way I figure it, if you can get one hundred people aware of something they might not have otherwise been aware at all, then maybe a few of them, or even just one, will go beyond awareness to activism, and that's where change can happen.

Hating their Parents

Let me get this straight: we're supposed to like divorce, messy breakups to our non-marriage relationships, and harboring negative feelings toward our parents? Wow, we're quite the prize, aren't we? I can't believe we're still single; who wouldn't want to be around all this emotional angst and dysfunction?

Gifted Children

But it's all good, because we like our children, as long as they read at a sixth-grade level when they're in kindergarten or can speak two languages when they're four.


I've never tried it, but it can't hurt, I suppose.

Having black friends

Why? So I can say "Some of my best friends are black!"? I like having friends.


Yup, I love tea. I recently acquired a nifty little device for brewing single servings of tea which I'll post about some time. I don't drink enough tea, actually; it's really wonderful stuff. I love green tea and mint tea.

Non-profit organizations

This is too broad a category of things to like. The Discovery Institute is a NPO, and I find their existence embarrassing and annoying.

Asian Girls

"Girls"? Can't we call them what we call them in this country: women? But yeah, Asian women tend to be really beautiful.

Wes Anderson movies

I've never seen one.

Making you feel bad about not going outside

What's wrong with inside? Nothing. Outside's cool, but does it need to be the subject of guilt? Not that I can see.

Barack Obama

If he wins the nomination, then you'd better believe it. If not, then thanks for playing and we'll see you in 2012 or (to be hoped) 2016. In truth, I think that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would be infinitely preferable to John "The only solution to the colossal mess we're in is to ratchet up George Bush's awful policies to 11!" McCain.


Again, it depends, doesn't it? But on balance, I think that diversity tends to be a better thing than the lack of it.

Organic Food

I don't know, really. I do know that organic stuff tends to cost more, so I avoid it pretty much on that basis alone.

Farmers' Markets

Ach, I love farmers' markets. The freshness you get is amazing. Here's an example of a place where I find it worthwhile to spend a little more than usual on food. Corn on the cob from a farmers' market, at the height of summer? Or blueberries picked that morning from a group of bushes less than ten miles from where you're forking over your cash? Wonderful.


Ummm...not knowing much about basketball or hockey, I can't say. But I do like the sentiment expressed by Crash Davis in Bull Durham on strikeouts versus groundballs: "Groundballs are democratic. Strikeouts are fascist."

Film Festivals

I've never been to one.

Religions their parents don't belong to

Does this mean my admiring Buddhism or Taoism is because my parents are neither Buddhists or Taoists? That seems a bit silly. Or is it, say, if I were to become an Anglican if my parents were Catholics (just to make up an example)? I don't know, that seems silly to me.


Otherwise known as "the magical elixir without which I become a complete jerk". I love coffee. I adore coffee. I roll on the floor with coffee and massage its...oh yeah, sorry. (This year I'm trying to wean myself off sweetening my coffee. I've already cut in half the amount of sugar I put in it. I love sweet coffee, but I suspect that I don't need that much sugar with my daily caffeine fix.)

And there we have it. I don't like a lot of the stuff our "prototypical white guy" likes, and some of it, I really dislike. Am I still white?


Anonymous said...

Mos Def played Ford Prefect in the non-BBC Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie a few years ago. I like him as an actor, and I don't know much about him otherwise.

Sarah Silverman is Jimmy Kimmel's wife and has a similar sense of humor. I personally don't care for her act much at all.


Erin said...

Michel Gondry is a director. He made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, and most recently Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black and Mos Def. :)

Tinker said...

The Prius and other hybrid cars are an environmental disaster, when you look at what goes into making one and keeping it running - but worst of all, it's touted as an "alternative fuel vehicle" but they all run on gas! Is nobody paying attention?