May 29, 2008

Spelling is not on the list yet, but Grammar just made it at #99.

On the list of Stuff White People Like:
White people love rules. It explains why so they get upset when people cut in line, why they tip so religiously and why they become lawyers. But without a doubt, the rule system that white people love the most is grammar. It is in their blood not only to use perfect grammar but also to spend significant portions of time pointing out the errors of others.
You know, I was a little tough on Stuff White People Like when I first read about it, but I've come to appreciate how hard it is to write. (I even hope the "Stuff White People Like" book is successful. Here, buy it.) I mean, try to think what could be written about spelling if it were to be added to the list.

Also, I note that #100 — congratulations on getting to 100 — is bumper stickers. I was just writing about bumper stickers the other day, and I didn't think of writing:
When a white person drives an older car (6+ years old) that has a resale value under $2000, they will coat the entire backside of the car in bumper stickers. Because of the abundance of space they are free to include stickers from all areas of white support: music, politics, the environment, insults to right wing politicians, and various movements that tell people to keep a city “weird.”

But when white people have a nice new car such as a Prius or an Audi station wagon, the fear of losing resale value prevents them from applying more than one sticker. Therefore that one sticker must properly capture the essence of the car and the political views of the driver.

The safest and most accepted choice for a sticker is always one that supports a Democratic Presidential candidate (Ralph Nader is an acceptable substitute). As of February 2008, white law requires an Obama 08 bumper sticker to be placed on the back of every Prius. Though these stickers reach peak effectiveness during an election year, it is acceptable to leave this sticker on the car until the next election regardless of whether or not the candidate actually won. If it’s a disputed election like in 2000, the sticker can be left on for the life of the car.
The newest addition to the list is Being Offended:
[T]here are few things white people love more than being offended.

Naturally, white people do not get offended by statements directed at white people. In fact, they don’t even have a problem making offensive statements about other white people (ask a white person about “flyover states”). As a rule, white people strongly prefer to get offended on behalf of other people.

56 comments:

Palladian said...

"Stuff White People Like" is sort of like the Onion: the headlines are the actual funny part, the article is simply tedious, written because it has to be there.

And I'm convinced that the title of the blog should not be "Stuff White People Like", but "Stuff Urban Liberals Like". The entire project is more a sustained satire of hapless metropolitan upper class liberals than it is a satire on racial differences.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, of course, it's stuff white urban (I would say affluent) liberals like, but that wouldn't be funny. I'm finding it funnier in Madison than it seemed in New York.

MadisonMan said...

I'm finding it funnier in Madison than it seemed in New York.

That's because you're back in a culture that values understated humor.

rdkraus said...

The safest and most accepted choice for a sticker is always one that supports a Democratic Presidential candidate

No, no. It's a sticker from some snooty upper class resort location that validates the persons wealth, class and "coolness." Such sticker should only have initials so that the rubble can't figure it out right away, thereby reinforcing their rubbleness.

George said...

There's a distinction to be made about bumper sticker use by liberals and conservatives.

Liberals cannot have too many bumper stickers. These reveal all of their political views, typically using tiresome humor. Liberals also use bumper stickers to share with the world their taste in music (Phish!), vacation destinations (especially ski resorts), and prestigious universities and prep schools to which they and all their children have been admitted.

Conservatives have one bumper sticker. It is usually about abortion or their child's elementary school. It may merely be an American flag. No humor is involved.

In my experience, you will never see a "Phish" sticker on a car that has a metal 'fish' icon.

rcocean said...

Actually, a lot of the satire in the articles is very funny. I'm amazed the man was able to keep it at such a high level for so long.

The article about white people's love of being offended is right on the money.

Triangle Man said...

rdkraus has hit upon something. The safest sticker must indeed be oval (in the style of european insurance stickers that indicate where the car is from). It is understated and has the feel of insider exclusivity. You have to know something about OBX, MV, VT, or ACK to get it.

Invisible Man said...

Conservatives have one bumper sticker. It is usually about abortion or their child's elementary school. It may merely be an American flag. No humor is involved.

You conveniently left out the most popular conservative sticker of all time, a big black on white background W. And they say that conservatives don't believe in a cult of personality.

rhhardin said...

White aerobic spin class rage real audio news. (Imus today)

Bissage said...

Triangle Man (I still really like that moniker!) got me to thinking.

Has anybody ever . . . you know . . . ever . . . I mean, it's a little rude and all . . . but people put all kinds of rude stuff on their cars . . .

And sure enough, once again, the answer is found on teh Googles.

rhhardin said...

Grammar is actually generally interesting. Nobody knows how you can tell so eaily when something is slightly wrong.

There would be way too many rules, if rules were to account for it.

That interest can metastatize to prescriptive grammarianism. Egyptians were correcting each other's grammar in 5,000 BC.

john said...

"Nobody knows how you can tell so eaily when something is slightly wrong."

lol

SteveR said...

What I absolutely hate is someone correcting my grammer (or spelling) because of how they think others will react to it. If its important to you and what you do, fine, but it ain't important to me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"What I absolutely hate is someone correcting my grammer (or spelling) because of how they think others will react to it. If its important to you and what you do, fine, but it ain't important to me."

Grammar. ;-)

You all might find it interesting that one of the biggest flame war starters in World of Warcraft the game and on the forum is the correction of people's spelling and grammar. There are some highly educated geekoid types who play that game and they insist on proper spelling and grammar. No lolkats typing please.

BJK said...

I've said for a long time that a person's rationality is inversely proportional to the number of bumper stickers on their vehicle.

After reading the "Stuff White People Like" write-up, I'm willing to stand by that contention.

(Now car magnets on the other hand...)

bill said...

Oddest bumpersticker I've seen was on the back of a shiny new S-Class Mercedes:

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Jefferson Davis

Triangle Man said...

The only bumper sticker I've seen in recent memory that made me laugh was "Bumper stickers are not the answer".

Bissage said...

No lolkats typing please.

DBQ, maybe they could make an exception for this surprisingly sophisticated and self-aware little fellow?

SteveR said...

DBQ, yeah I was real careful with my thesis and my resume, because its necessary, but people need to get some perspective. The decline of Westren Civilization is more likely to come from the actions of overly educated rude people than from poor spelling or split infinitives.

Will said...

George, you're forgetting one that was really popular in the 90's "Impeach President Clinton, and her husband, too."
Its allegedly humorous. I do agree, however, that conservatives tend to have far fewer bumperstickers than liberals.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I do agree, however, that conservatives tend to have far fewer bumperstickers than liberals"

Probably because they like to keep their paint jobs intact. The surest way to get your car keyed a few year ago was to sport a Bush Cheney sticker and visit San Francisco.

I don't have bumper stickers on my car because I like to keep myself a-political in my business.

knoxwhirled said...

I was behind a guy the other day whose vanity plate said

YESLORD

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Conservatives don't have as many bumper stickers because they prefer those tacky "Support Our Troops" and flag magnets that they can slap on and off their interchangeable Hummers and Ford Explorers.

For a cause as worthy and important to conservatives as the troops and the America flag, you'd think they'd be able to commit to the longevity of a sticker. Alas, when it comes down to it, they're not going to jeopardize their gas guzzler's resale value for any "issue," no matter how patriotic they purport to be.

George said...

Liberals also favor o-so-witty ever-so-distracting vanity license plates.

These are either in Latin, refer to the Periodic Table of Elements (AU4ME), or are an abbreviation of a Grateful Dead song title (GDTRFB).

Most, however, tell other drivers how special the car's owner is, as in ARROGUNT, XNTRIK, MECLOWN, BOUTMOI, or PURHAPS. (Actual plates I've seen.)

As Knoxwirled suggests, conservatives' vanity plates refer others to Bible verses (JOHN316) or to the contemplation of the Crucifixion (INRI) which is not to be confused with NIN, the scary rock band.

AllenS said...

I don't have any bumper stickers, but I do have some inside the window stickers comprised of unit patches of the 82nd Abn. Div., 173d Abn. Bde. with wings attached. Key my car/truck and I'll kill ya.

Will said...

I've gotten to the point that bumperstickers just annoy me: whether they're liberal or conservative, religious or anti-religious.
They really seem to be an exercise in passive aggression. They say "I am going to advance an argument, probably an obnoxious one, and you can't refute it."

Peter said...

Conservatives have fewer bumper stickers because they understand that NOBODY ON THE FREEWAY CARES WHAT YOUR POLITICS ARE. Face it, you're just not as important as you think you are.

Plastering stickers all over your car telling everybody what you think -- when nobody asked in the first place -- is the same as walking up and down the street shouting slogans at people who are just trying to go about their business.

(Come to think of it, liberals do that a lot as well. It's called "protesting," and it's an important rite of passage.)

Liberals have lots of bumper stickers because politics to them is not about ideology or principles or political philosophy, but about identity and trendiness. So they put the bumper stickers there to identify themselves to other fellow travelers -- "I am cool, I am compassionate, I am one of you."

The main counter-example to this is the Jesus fish, which is also a statement of identity. But as my progressive, homosexual minister likes to argue, it is wrong to equate Christianity with political conservatism in its current incarnation.

(Going further, the wing of the conservative coalition today that most often behaves and argues like leftists are the anti-abortion/evangelicals, who forego persuasion and logic in favor of slogans and self-righteous posturing.)

reader_iam said...

Plastering stickers all over your car telling everybody what you think -- when nobody asked in the first place -- is the same as walking up and down the street shouting slogans at people who are just trying to go about their business.

This is why the gods invented blog-commenting.

MadisonMan said...

they prefer those tacky "Support Our Troops" and flag magnets that they can slap on and off their interchangeable Hummers and Ford Explorers.

Am I the only one who feels an almost irresistible urge to swap those magnets around when I see them on adjacent cars?

bill said...

Key my car/truck and I'll kill ya.

Settle down, Francis.

George said...

Then there's the other goofy thing that most people do...

Wear advertisements on their chests.

Back in the olden days it was the height of uncoolness to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with a rock band's logo, not to mention a Lacoste alligator.

Now everybody's for sale.

reader_iam said...

Am I the only one who feels an almost irresistible urge to swap those magnets around when I see them on adjacent cars?

Am I the only one who doesn't care about other people's cars? (So long as they don't ding mine due to an inability to stay in their allotted parking space.)

bill said...

Am I the only one who doesn't care about other people's cars?

No, but it's a small club. Could probably fit in a small hotel conference room without rolling back the temporary wall.

ricpic said...

There are few things white people like more than being offended.

Like having their sense of smell offended by an obnoxious odor? Of course not. The offense must be against a right thinking white person taboo. Today's No. 1 taboo? Well, put it this way: don't expect a right thinking white person to hold a speaker of ebonics to that white person's standard of grammar.

Right, Queen Victoria: closet racist, hypocrite supreme?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Well, put it this way: don't expect a right thinking white person to hold a speaker of ebonics to that white person's standard of grammar"

And don't expect me to hire that speaker of ebonics to communicate with my clients.

BJK said...

I was behind a guy the other day whose vanity plate said

YESLORD


There's something inherently ironic about calling that a "Vanity plate."

Original Mike said...

MM said: Am I the only one who feels an almost irresistible urge to swap those magnets around when I see them on adjacent cars?

Dammit, MM! It never occurred to me (for which I am a little chagrined), but now I'm going to have an irresistible urge.

vbspurs said...

White people like blogging.

blake said...

You conveniently left out the most popular conservative sticker of all time, a big black on white background W.

Never seen it. Granted, I'm in a blue city in a blue state, but I've seen the occasional Bush/Cheney or anti-abortion sticker.

And they say that conservatives don't believe in a cult of personality.

I don't know about that. Condi, e.g. But "W"? Other than Titus, who fakes it badly, I've neither seen nor heard anything like that about Bush 43.

AllenS said...

Hey bill, who's francis?

Zarathustra said...

"white law requires an Obama 08 bumper sticker to be placed on the back of every Prius"

I was in Madison on Tuesday, and I was shocked to see a McCain sticker on the back of a Prius. I was at a loss as to how to interpret this. Does it make a statement about the Prius driver? Or about McCain? Both? A Prius driving Madisonian is typically pretty far left - and supporting a Republican? But is McCain a typically Republican, or a leftward leaning liberal in Republican clothes? The cognitive dissonance is killing me!

joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe said...

Subarus came direct from the factory with Kerry stickers.

TitusWhat'sthatinyourpocket? said...

"I'm finding it funnier in Madison than it seemed in New York."

New York is not funny. It is serious, intense, cut throat, fast, and ages you.

That's why we have the best plastic surgeons in the world.

Take a look at some Madison person walking down the street. They seem relaxed, enjoy life, eat well and happy.

Take a look at a New Yorker. They are on a mission, determined, put out and generally pissed.

Except the tourists who are clueless.

Trooper York said...

A guy on my block has a great vanity plate. It's spelled;

Phongul.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Sorry for the triple posting, we are having a trunk show and I have to drink all of the leftover champagne......hic.

reader_iam said...

A guy on my block has a great vanity plate. It's spelled;

Phongul.


So, is he known as "just plain" or "Sandra Dee"?

Trooper York said...

No he's called Petey Phongul. And not in a nice way. This plate is on a corvette. That cars been scratched more than Lindsey Lohans back during Oscar week.

bill said...

AllenS said...

Hey bill, who's francis?


Sorry, thought you were quoting a movie so I added the next line.

Glenn Howes said...

You all are missing the other religious symbol found in car windows, the white or (now endangered) rainbow apple.

I've never seen a Windows flag on a car, and I've been to Redmond twice.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Sorry for the triple posting, we are having a trunk show and I have to drink all of the leftover champagne......hic."


What kind of trunks are you showing?? ;-)

Best vanity plate I've seen. On the back of a semi truck full of alfalfa hay. "HEY HAY"

Simon Kenton said...

In Boulder, I saw:

Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President

I expect the Obamoids will key it.

blake said...

See, I think that one is kind of funny, but I feel about bumper stickers the way I feel about tattoos. Which is to say, I'm not sure what I have to say that I feel so strongly about that I can say in a small space and guarantee I'll feel the same way years from now, unless it's totally trite.

If it's really clever now, how will it be next month? Or the month after that? Or the year after that? Etc.

rightwingprof said...

As funny as the articles are the commenters who are too dim to get it, like several in this comment thread.