I was teaching our Sunday School class this week. I always write my notes for the class in a Moleskin notebook I carry with me (with all my blog, lecture and research ideas inside). After class many friends reminded me that Moleskin notebooks recently appeared on the list of Stuff White People Like.
I know most of you know of Stuff White People Like. But if you don't, it's an Internet sensation with a new book coming out. So it's worth mentioning the site given our discussions of hip.
Recall from Part 1 that the origin of hip is the interface of black and white culture. Thus, the list "stuff white people like" is a list of squareness, of the non-hip. That is the engine of the site's gimmick. That there is something kind of forced, odd, uncool, weird, needy or nerdy about white culture.
Interestingly, not everything on the list is unhip. There are some hip things on the list. The issue, given the spirit of the last post, is that hip becomes unhip when whites fetishize aspects of black culture. That is, when whites try too hard to embrace the accouterments of hip they come off as "trying too hard." The embrace comes off as inauthentic and needy at best or an act of co-option or theft at worst. See the entries on Bob Marley and on hip hop references for reflections on this subject.
The point is, Stuff White People Like seems to support the notion that hip is a balance between white and black culture. Hip can't be too white or too black. But it begins with the minority group. (To use missional church language, hip is going to come from the stranger.) Thus, being in the majority position whites tend to struggle more with hip as once the phenomenon goes mainstream (goes "white") then the hipness starts to wane.