Sydney Writers’ Festival: Stuff White People Like

Alison Nadebaum

There was something particularly lovely and ironic listening to Christian Lander, author of the blog 'Stuff White People Like' and the subsequent book of the same name, sitting amongst a hundred or so of the so-called ‘white people’ he writes about with such humour and accuracy.
Sydney Writers’ Festival: Stuff White People Like
Sydney Writers’ Festival: Stuff White People Like There was something particularly lovely and ironic listening to Christian Lander, author of the blog Stuff White People Like and the subsequent book of the same name, sitting amongst a hundred or so of the so-called ‘white people’ he writes about with such humour and accuracy. I’ve often thought that one of the best parts of Landers writing is that his target audience and the readers who seem to enjoy it the most are the very people he is, essentially, simultaneously offending with every word. As he notes, he is not referring to all white people in his blog and book (both numbered lists of, as the title suggests, Stuff White People Like), but rather the stereotype of wealthy, tertiary-educated, politically and environmentally conscious individuals. “You don’t have to be white to be white”, Lander mused, “but you have to be rich”. White people like hummus, and shorts, and having gay friends, and eating organically and having arts degrees and living by the water and embracing diversity and the film Juno. The best part is that that Lander himself is, by his own admission, a white person and as such is poking fun at himself – and can laugh at his vintage-t-shirt-wearing, bike-riding self to boot. The tale of the past year of Lander’s life was fascinating to hear, and is a prime example of the speed at which new media is changing the cultural and literary landscape. At the beginning of 2008 he started a blog on a whim, listing Stuff White People Like. Within two months he was averaging over 300,000 hits a day and was signed by a big-shot agent; within another two months he had quit his job as a copywriter and had a book deal; and by the middle of last year, could suffix his name with “New York Times Bestselling Author”. Lander’s charming, engaging and utterly unpretentious manner - not to mention his obvious fierce intellect and deliciously sardonic humour – made listening to his story; and the subsequent chapters he read from his book, a real delight. Despite both book deals and writers workshops making the scathing list of Stuff White People Like, Lander’s writing is fundamentally laugh-out-loud funny whilst being wonderfully sophisticated in its simplicity, and he is a blogger-cum-author who is truly deserving of his success, however quickly-found it may be.

About the author

Alison Nadebaum recently moved to Sydney from Western Australia, and has worn many different hats within the arts industry, including actor, director, writer, usher, administrator, publicist, producer, finance officer, avid theatre-goer, and follow-spot operator (to varying degrees of success – particularly that last one). Prior to her west coast defection, Alison held the role of Producer at independent performance company ThinIce, and now works at the Sydney Opera House.