If you had the fate of the world resting on your shoulders, what music would you listen to on your iPod?
Would you have Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds" constantly in your eardrums? Would the last thing you listen to at night be U2's "If God Will Send His Angels"? Would you not be just slightly tempted to have Slayer's "Silent Scream" always at your fingertips?
U.S. President Barack Obama, in an interview with Rolling Stone, offered none of the above--though that doesn't mean that they're not all neatly tabulated somewhere on his iPod, waiting for the right occasion.
The president did declare that he now has about 2,000 songs that he can use to hum away the effects of meetings with fascinating heads of state and economic advisers with large brains and slightly smaller achievements.
When it comes to music, the president is, like so many of us who have breached the age of 35 and realized that more isn't always better, still musically at one with the past. He told Rolling Stone: "I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff."
Specifically, he mentioned Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and even the Rolling Stones. However, he conceded that he turns to the operatic turns of Maria Callas on occasion. Perhaps he needs something a little dramatic after a meeting with, say, Harry Reid or former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
But when you have such simply, wily technology at hand, your aides can help you take your ears into this century, rather than keep them in the last. The president did admit that his personal aide, Reggie Love, who has not yet released an R&B album but surely has at least the name to follow in the traditions of Luther Vandross and Barry White, has improved his "rap palate."
Jay-Z, Nas, and Lil' Wayne now snuggle next to Maria Callas for the president's attention.
It would surely be helpful, in this world of twittering immediacy and status updates by the second, if the White House could release the president's iPod-listening report at the end of every day.
If we were told what the president had in his ears, we would all have a sense of which way the political winds are blowing, without having to read the portentous speculations of news sites and slightly odorous political pundits.