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I've taken some guff in the past for disliking the Stuff White People Like books. In the beginning, I thought it was kind a funny blog with an interesting concept, presented in an interesting way. But the problem is that Stuff White People Like became something that White People Like, and any edge that the idea might have had has been dulled to America's Funniest Home Videos-level intensity. It's safe, lazy, and boring.

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Chris Lehmann's "Rich People Things" column for The Awl—now collected in a book titled Rich People Things—basically started from the same simple premise as Stuff White People Like. Each post started with a funny generalization: Rich people like The New York Times, rich people like Wired Magazine, rich people like Malcolm Gladwell, rich people like Ayn Rand. But instead of stringing a line of flatulent zingers, Lehmann uses his column's focal point to launch into highly literate, and very funny, criticism of the wealthy.

He lambastes the New York Times for its breathless 2005 coverage (really, less coverage and more cheerleading) of the financial bubble. He attacks brain-dead misreadings of Adam Smith. He condenses Rand Paul's candidacy to its purest form. This is dense intellectual stuff, but Lehmann keeps it funny all the way through, and—perhaps most surprising—he manages to avoid succumbing to nostril-flaring outrage even once. Essay collections of cultural criticism don't get much better than this.

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