When newspaper columnists are short on ideas, they turn to the internet.
One irony-deficient reader complained that the blog was less about white people than it was about yuppies. And without knowing it, she was cutting to the heart of the joke. Lander is gently making fun of the many progressive, educated, upper-middle-class whites who think they are beyond ethnicity or collectively shared tastes, styles or outlook. He’s essentially reminding them that they too are part of a group.
“I’m writing about the white people who think they’re absolutely unique and individual,” Lander told me. “I’m calling them out and poking fun of myself. The things I post are all the things I like too!”
And what are those things? Recycling, expensive sandwiches, standing still at concerts, Toyota Priuses, natural medicine, irony, public radio, breakfast places, vegetarianism, organic foods and being an expert on ethnic cultures are just a few.
It’s called the Dyatlov Pass Accident. Oh my God, yes. I stumbled over this delicious tale just recently over at Metafilter and it’s one of those stories that contains all the best elements of a deep, resonant creep-out. Inexplicable behavior. Bizarre factoids. Inconclusive evidence. Missing body parts. And not a single clue, almost 50 years later, as to what really happened.
The nutshell: In 1959, nine experienced Russian cross-country skiers – seven men and two women, led by a man named Igor Dyatlov – headed to the Ural Mountains, to a slope called Kholat Syakhl (Mansi language for “Mountain of the Dead,” ahem) for a rugged, wintry trek. […] Then, something happens. In the middle of the night all nine suddenly leap out of their tents as fast as possible, ripping them open from the inside (not even enough time to untie the doors) and race out into the sub-zero temps, without coats or boots or skis, most in their underwear, some even barefoot or with a single sock or boot. It is 30 degrees below zero, Celsius. A few make it as far as a kilometer and a half down the slope. All nine, as you might expect, quickly die.
And so it begins.
Coming up next: Maureen Dowd writes about how she misses the old Plastic.com and Howard Kurtz says something about Facebook. Actually, the second one is real. Nevermind.