Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) is a fascinating and surprisingly likable look at the world of “big data,” from the co-founder and president of OK Cupid. (Just one part of a career that has also included playing in the band Bishop Allen and starring as the dreamy boy in the first mumblecore film, Funny Ha Ha.) In a world where most data journalists are sociopaths — and Rudder is not immune, look at his ill-conceived Hey, We Experiment on Human Beings! blog post — this particular look at data is weirdly charming because it’s so funny and human.
In what’s sure to be the most controversial chapter, “Tall for an Asian,” Rudder sets up some tables and charts based on some very specific OK Cupid data, which is “what specific phrases appear in the profiles of men/women of specific shared ethnicities.” The result are various lists of what pop culture speaks to people who are white, black, Asians, and Latinos. But the real takeaway is this: Belle and Sebastian may be the “whitest” band on OK Cupid, as they are very close to the top of the “most antithetical words” for black men and they win for black women.
So there you have it. Belle and Sebastian. The whitest band ever. Speaking of which, Belle and Sebastian’s lead genius, Stuart Murdoch, has a film called God Help the Girl out this weekend, about some kids in Scotland who start a band. It seems very cute and very twee.