Anyone inclined to find joy when a president’s taste collides with yours had a lot to choose from with Barack Obama.
There was the time he dropped by the Los Angeles garage where the comedian Marc Maron records his podcast or when he sat between the two ferns where Zach Galifianakis pretends to be a boob hosting a talk show. At the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, he did a bit with Keegan-Michael Key as Luther, Mr. Obama’s fictional but legitimately irate “anger translator” from “Key & Peele.” He called Kanye West a jackass, invited Lin-Manuel Miranda to the White House Poetry Jam to perform a song from “Hamilton” before “Hamilton” was even a thing, and, for two straight years, dropped traffic-stopping, thoroughly convincing Spotify playlists. That doesn’t even include the New York Review of Books conversation (in two parts!) between him and the novelist Marilynne Robinson. They talked about … about … well it’s just sobering and oracular, and you should read it.
But of all the culture Barack Obama has been a part of, inspired, commented on or cultivated, of all the ways in which the culture seemed to evolve around — and unconsciously respond to — him, the thing that says so much about his unprecedented relationship to art and popular culture is actually, in the vast scheme of things, just a footnote. Which is to say it’s pretty small yet so illustrative of his sense of respect, professionalism and awe. It was the time he was emailed for a quote.Read More...
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