While the front page of Monday’s Arts section of the New York Times showed a crop of the paper’s political reporters mocking Trump supporters as uncultured yahoos and praised a hostile SNL skit about Brett Kavanaugh, the inside pages featured a “news” story by Christina Caron with the exact opposite angle: Praising a former Democratic president’s cultured tastes: “Out of Office but Still in Step.” The paper really gave the list the full treatment, even providing linked to previous New York Times reviews when applicable.
Former President Barack Obama on Friday shared some of the books, movies and music he found most inspiring or thought-provoking in 2018, including works that he “just plain loved,” compiling them into a year-end list posted on Facebook.
Mr. Obama started sharing his reading lists and playlists during his presidency, and has continued that tradition into retirement. The selections are a carefully curated mix of works that have found critical acclaim or mainstream popularity, punctuated by nods to lesser-known artists.
Mr. Obama, an avid reader with a deep appreciation of pop culture, not only celebrated art during his presidency but also brought it into the White House.
There was the luncheon with the novelists Zadie Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers and Colson Whitehead. Visits from numerous rappers and R&B singers including Common, John Legend and Queen Latifah. And the multicultural “Jazz at the White House” event in 2016.
A love of books has always been one of Mr. Obama’s defining features. The New York Times’s former chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani, reported that nearly every night in the White House, Mr. Obama would read for an hour or so.
“Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama,” Ms. Kakutani wrote.
Here it is in full, with links to reviews where applicable.
In full! Oh joy.
Republicans don't fare nearly so fondly with these lists. Mitt Romney’s musical playlist was bashed as sexist when he was a Republican candidate for president in March 2012. "On Romney Song List, Guys Win, 18 to 1.” The paper was far more enthusiastic about President Obama’s playlist in August 2016, with Times reporter Gardiner Harris making the president an avatar of cultural cool.