Mall Demographics

Written with humor in mind, ‘Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic’ actually provides wry alternatives to classification of socio-demographic groups in the US.

A new book by Robert Lanham “explores new ways to classify groups of individuals based on their behavior, dress styles and means of expression as opposed to their skin color, race, and religious affiliation.” Written with humor in mind, ‘Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic‘ actually provides wry alternatives to classification of socio-demographic groups in the US.

His field research in food courts, college campuses, offices, and JCPenneys the author has identified groups like:

* Cherohonkees: White baby boomers obsessed with turquoise jewelry and all the trappings of Native American culture. Found primarily in the Southwest. Hobbies, accroding to the book, include dancing with wolves, congregating in sweat lodges, organizing drum circles – and relaxing in the nude, the better to rebel against their Protestant heritage.

* Stretchibitionists: So-named for their tendency to stretch suggestively in the gym, contorting their surgically enhanced bodies in ways that demand to be noticed – though some prefer rolling around erotically with a medicine ball. Nor do they ever break a sweat, except for some artfully applied moisture atop their cleavage.

* Hexpatriates: These expatriates never actually leave the America they’re dissing though when they are abroad, they pretend to be Canadian. Often found at Truffaut film festivals and Benetton stores, they keep their eyes open for Australians and sign their letters “cheers” or “ciao.”

* Cryptsters: Aging hipsters who fail to realize it’s time to throw in the towel, even after they’ve found gray hairs in their faux hawks, and there’s a beer gut peeking out underneath their Ramones T-shirt. If you love emo but have no idea what that means, your hipness date has expired.

Other groups include:

Sportriots - who think soccer is un-macho and un-American.

Lieberals - overly PC Democrats who’ve traded in their VWs for Volvos and are partial to “Prairie Home Companion.”

Zingers - pop-culture vultures who love to shout out movie and TV punchlines.

Holidorks = those who favor holiday-themed clothing

Perpendiculoids - people who remain ridiculously erect in an attempt to look healthy and/or fashionable

Poppies - Iggy Pop-like, muscular hippies

African Amerigoths - Goths of color

The list goes on and on. Each profile offers a detailed description of everything from sex appeal and favourite pick-up lines to popular names and habitats.

But not everyone agrees that suburbia is boring, monotonous, devoid of life and culture. Christopher DeWolf writes in the Maison Neuve blog that “Suburbia is becoming increasingly diverse. More and more middle-class immigrants are skipping traditional ethnic enclaves and heading straight for the boonies, where strip malls are now filled with ethnic businesses, bubble-tea parlours dot the landscape and schools fill up with kids from any number of different backgrounds. Forget suburbia; this is ethnoburbia.”

Time to leave the city? You bet.

Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic
New York Post Review

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