What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted
200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House
Presidents, you know, are people too. They read the newspaper (including the sports page and the funnies), settle in with books (yes, beach reading too), watch movies and TV (after all, they have a private theatre in the White House), and listen to music (“President Obama, what’s on your iPod?”).
Ordinarily, we don’t pay a lot of attention to this sort of stuff, even in the White House. It can be funny in a “human interest story” sort of way, but it’s rarely ever seen as important for understanding how our most important leaders lead. This neglect–or, rather, trivialization–of presidents’ popular cultural tastes, according to Tevi Troy, is a mistake. In his fascinating book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House (Regency, 2013), Tevi not only tell us about the reading, watching, and tweeting habits of our Commanders-in-chief, but also why it has mattered and continues to do so. Listen in.