Anonymiss in DC

{September 9, 2010}   Stuff White People Like makes my quarterlife crisis worse

It’s kind of funny how something as simple as stumbling upon “Stuff White People Like” can completely throw me for a loop.  The short of it is that, well, a lot of this stuff they talk about? I’m a late twenties (there! I said it!) white, middle-class Jersey girl transplanted in DC….and it so happens that I do, in fact, like a lot of this stuff. I do enjoy wine, traveling, farmer’s markets, organic food, eighties-themed eventsnon-profits, expensive sandwiches, tea, architectureJuno, and, yes, the Sunday New York Times.

Yeah, well… so what? We all do! Doesn’t everyone I know like that stuff too?


I thought about being offended even though I get that it’s satire and that it’s exaggerated and intended to evoke a response.

Still, I kind of have that feeling you get when someone calls you out on something, and even though you never thought of it quite the way they just said it, you can’t really say “That’s not it.” Know what I mean?

Suddenly, I’ve got some concerns.

1. Should I be worried that I’m shallow and/or conformist?

2. Have “white upper-middle class twenty something” social mores so completely pervaded my brain that I am essentially programmed to “ooh” and “aah” when I hear about a linen sale at Pottery Barn, an Impressionist exhibit at the Met, or a brand-new NoVA winery?

Basically, what if everything I value, everything I see as important, everything I want and everything I strive to be are, in fact,  adopted wants, needs, and desires that I’ve “soaked” up from the world I’ve grown up in? And what if it’s all…well…crap? What if it doesn’t mean anything at all?

I overthink things sometimes, so I’m trying to sort of laugh this off…I mean after all, if I LIKE striving to feel “cultured”, and it makes me happy to read classic novels or the New York Times, or watch the TED Talks, who cares if my reason for doing that is socially-constructed. Right?

Except I feel like I’m living in the Matrix, or that I’m a Stepford Wife, or something. Thanks so much, Stuff White People Like.

Science says:

and now for the real life version using dating profiles.

etcetera says:

Hmm I think it is an interesting question, even though the whole of SWPL and the responses it provokes suggests to me very ‘white’ hypervigilant self-criticism (I think ‘white’ refers to the trendy/educated bourgeoisie generally). I agree that the SO WHAT? response is valid, but misses the point. The observations are not meant to be substantive moral criticism. However to the extent that there is criticism, the implication (regardless of being delivered with humour) seems to be that certain traits in the people it refers to are somehow undesirable – for instance pretence, conceit and superficiality. But the connection between the behaviours listed and these traits is correlative. There are many good and bad motivations and reasons for like organic foods, old music and so on. Even going with the flow of a particular demographic may be a reasonable thing to do – and the fact that you pursue certain things because of your socialisation does not mean that those things are thereby devalued. Banksy, Bob Marley, old jazz, Mad Men, petitioning to free political prisoners etcetera have value (don’t know about the sunglasses though, I guess they’re okay). It is one’s approach and motivations that matter to one’s character, obviously. If there you’re not being pretentious or elitist, who cares that these things appeared and attracted you because of your socialisation? Well… I guess socialists might argue that, to the extent the more trivial consumption and trend-chasing behaviours waste time and resources, they should be discouraged… but that’s another matter.

etcetera says:

You can’t please everybody.

Not for nothing, but I’m pretty sure that the Matrix is on that list too.

Anonymiss in DC says:

Thanks, Refugee 😛 **headdesk*

Alex says:

And now your blog comes up in a search for “stuff white people like, DC.”. :^D

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