Monday, April 14, 2008

Stuff White People Like

Jeanne's blog Social Class and Quakers turned me on to this satirical (?) blog Stuff White People Like.
Top posts include
#1 Coffee
#2 Religions that their parents don't belong to
#88 Having Gay Friends
#87 Outdoor Performance Clothes

The first one that totally made me LOL was White Problems: Poorly Read Partners which "examines the issue: Can you date someone who is not well read?"

This is a very tricky question to answer because there are so many possible permutations.
For instance, I might happily date someone who didn't know who Nabokov was (or even--gasp--as the post offers as a reason to answer "no," someone who liked The Da Vinci Code) if, say, they were a brilliant physicist--or even an unbrilliant physicist.
(But would a physicist date someone who could barely count???)

This all reminds me of a story about my sister, who is white and well read... in French. (Paris is a top "White Spot," according to the blog.) And she's a great cook.

Many years ago, aglow with all things French after her junior year abroad, my sister went to the fancy cooking section of a large department store to buy madeleine pans. The clerk not only informed her that they didn't carry those but further that he had no idea what madeleines were.
She looked at him in disbelief and said, "But haven't you read Proust?" *

OK, and now I am, I am, I AM going to finish my taxes. So don't say anything funny or interesting to me until tomorrow. [Just kidding. Please do.]

* Not to assume you are not intimately familiar with this reference, dear reader, but just in case:
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was a lily-white gay French fruitcake who wrote millions of exquisite words about the sort of things you think about when you are a rich hysteric who hates to leave his cork-lined bedroom.
Like memory.
And things that trigger it.
In the original passage that led to the phrase "Proustian moment,"--those moments when some little sensory thing will open the floodgates of memory--Proust describes how eating a madeleline (a shell-shaped tea cake) as an adult catapults him to...
Remembrance of Things Past:

"The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it.... [but] as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me .... immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents."

I haven't looked into this, but I expect that Proustian moments would rank high as one of the things White People Like. They're high on my list anyway.

I found the image of the Proust book on the blog Madeleine Moments: Time Lost, Time Regained. The blogger also provides this to-die-for quote from Guermantes Way (one of the volumes of Remembrance):
“Everything great in our world comes from neurotics."
World without end. Amen.


Jeanne said...

I actually think that Stuff White People Like is far more about class than race...

I didn't know who Nabokov was until recently (when I went to Metro State to get my undergraduate degree at 40). I grew up working class.

ddip said...

Aaaah, you found a way to get that madeleine story into your blog. Hip hip hooray!

Krista said...

omg, that is the most hysterical description of Proust ev0r!

(Hey, I'm back in town. We should get coffee sometime next week, yes?)

fresca said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody!

Jeanne: Now I've looked closer at the Stuff White People Like site, I absolutely agree with you! It's a satire on upper-class people who like microbrewed beers not the white guys who like Budweiser. And it's very good at skewering them/us too! I love it---thanks!

Sister: Yes, for years I've been waiting to use that most excellent story. Heh, heh, heh. Remember how you once said that when you were young you marvelled at adults who always had an illustrative story at hand? Now we are those adults.

Krista: Welcome back! I've missed you. Absolutely coffee. But what do you mean "hysterical description"? I was just reporting the facts, ma'am... : )