Saturday, July 5, 2008

"They do not know it, but they are doing it"

Stuff White People Like is a well-known blog that I have just recently started looking at. Let me give you my take on it, but first (to situate my originality), here is what some idiots had to say:

Here's a stupid article about it:
new republic

"If there's one thing white people really like, it's pretending to poke fun at themselves while actually being allowed to feel superior."

and here's another:

The author has received "hate mail accusing him of racist stereotyping."

The site is genius not because it is "so funny" (the writing is quite poor, actually) nor because it is "true" (being told that I like coffee and sweaters is "true" only in the most minimal way) . I see it rather as a continuation of Roland Barthes' brilliant semiological study of French culture, Mythologies--with "white people" here substituting for Barthes' (white) French bourgeoisie.

The "insight" that the site is about "yuppies" rather than about *all* white people is hardly an insight at all. THAT IS THE JOKE, if there is one. Which is to say, that is the logic of ideology: having two last names, for instance, is "invisible" within a certain class. The idea that it is something someone "likes" and similar to t-shirts or liking Barack Obama *is* the joke. "Having two last names" or "knowing what's best for poor people" are not likes and dislikes--they are truly invisible to the white urban bourgeoisie. The making-explicit of these phenomena as if they were all the same is the entire enterprise. The idea that white people "like" waiting a long time to get a table at a restaurant, and "like" threatening to move to Canada--this is the joke. We don't "like" it: we aren't even aware that we are doing it. (Marx's definition of ideology)

White people: