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Whether it is Jimmy Carter watching more than four hundred movies in the White House cinema or Barack Obama telling people that the flamboyant killer Omar on HBO’s “The Wire” is his favorite character, presidents have long engaged with pop culture. Below is a brief list—adapted from What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House—on how to avoid some of the perils of pop culture.
Whether it is Jimmy Carter watching more than four hundred movies in the White House cinema or Barack Obama telling people that the flamboyant killer Omar on HBO’s “The Wire” is his favorite character, presidents have long engaged with pop culture. The content of that pop culture, however, has changed dramatically over the years.
On the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe “Ideas” section, there’s a photograph of East Belfast—or, rather, of a concrete demarcation “that separates the Protestant community from the Catholic residents on the other side of the wall.” It is called the “Peace Line,” and maybe it’s what George Mitchell, who negotiated the settlement that ended “the Troubles,” thinks of as peace. Mitchell was Bill Clinton’s “special envoy” to those troubles, and that is why Barack Obama made him his personal emissary to Israel and the Palestinians.
President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are reportedly planning to meet next month on the sidelines of a UN conference in New York. An international Arab-Israeli peace summit might follow, which Israeli diplomats have already nicknamed “Obamapolis” after the most recent failed attempt to re-launch negotiations, the Annapolis Summit.