Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The White Stuff

Corporate narcissism dictates that generations eagerly anticipate a book to define them. For Generation X, it may have been the novel of that title by Douglas Copeland (1991), which was arguably supplanted by David Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000). Christian Lander, in what is now the book version of the blog everyone's heard of, doles out high praise for Eggers:
"Honestly, I'm not afraid to call this the book of our generation. He captures all we are and aspire to be."
This is not, of course, what Christian Lander actually thinks of the book, but his advice on how to impress another white person should the book come up in conversation (which it inevitably will, because "just as hunters will mount the heads of their kill," white people boast about the books they've read). Haven't tackled Eggers? No worries. Let Lander be your guide:
"It is an old white person trick to steer conversation away from books that you have not read."
And now that I'm onto such tricks, I can assert that those who think Stuff White People Like passé but have not read the book are under-informed. It's better than the blog (I stole my post-title from the back of it), though I imagine The New Republic is still not amused. Furthermore, because of its bullet-point format and multi-million-hit blog base, it's possible that many more young upper-middle class left-leaning "white people" will encounter Lander than either Copeland or Eggers; hence he may be poised to supplant them in communicating all that a generation "is and aspires to be." And when you read the book, you'll know that's not a compliment to said generation.