America’s dads were salivating right over their zip-up jumpers Monday when Spotify released the first two episodes of “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a new podcast from Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. That’s right: the boy in daddy’s jeans and the boy in the dirty, sexy butt jeans took their respective jeans to a recording studio and established what Spotify calls “a series of conversations … about their lives, music, and lasting love for America, despite all its challenges. “That wording seems to suggest that Obama is talking about its music, aside from Springsteen, an exciting but unlikely implication that isn’t exactly disproved by the show’s promo photo.
I have no real desire to hear this podcast – Obama was the most listened to guy in the world for at least eight years, and I’m not sure what else Springsteen can tell me about how much he loves. America, but I have an irrepressible need to stare at this photo for at least a full hour, maybe longer. There’s so much to love here – the mirror image power poses. The opulent variety of drinks. The vibraphone glistening in the background, presumably heralding the moment on the podcast when Obama decides to pick up a mallet and improvise a hauntingly uniquely American tune.
Let’s put aside the biggest reveal of the photo: Are these men touching their toes? Or do your feet rest on different parts of the same table leg, which, by the transitive property of male union furniture, would still constitute a variety of feet? Either way, the co-hosts speak high-level body language with native fluency. Her crossed arms signify emotional detachment, while her toes seek intimacy. They could also dismiss the conversation about their strained relationships with masculinity that they scoff at in the trailer series. His booties have said all there is to be said.
On other issues, however, Obama and Springsteen have a little more explaining to do. As a humble podcaster, I was surprised to see men chatting casually in a cavernous room with windows. Have the rest of us been courting spinal injuries and eyestrain for nothing from etching inside strong narrow pillows and dark closets? A small footprint is supposed to offer a marginal improvement in audio quality. Could I have been recording from my personal guitar and organ storage all this time?
This embarrassment of wealth extends to the drinks offered at the “Renegades” recording session. Obama is shown enjoying at least Three different drinks: something in a mug, something in a glass and something in an insulated mug. We can assume none of their beverages are dairy-based, unless the podcast privilege of the ultra-rich extends to phlegm-free throats, so coffee, iced tea, and … vegan hot chocolate? A cold (heated?) Juice Each host also has their own private jug of what appears to be water, but judging from the shape of the jugs, it could easily be Patron. In other words, Obama’s drink display – a little caffeine, a little sugar, some antioxidants and, just speculating, a whole pitcher of tequila – exists at the precise nexus between identifiable and aspirational. It is tailor-made for the target audience of a meditative podcast on the life, love, and “unlikely friendship” between two of America’s richest and most famous Boomer men.
Finally, “Renegades” is billed as a series of informal talks, but these hosts arrived prepared for their conversation. I count two phones, a tablet, a laptop, a notebook, a notepad, and a large bundle of papers on his desk, a visual representation of the often invisible work involved in making an impromptu-sounding audio production. . It’s even more refreshing to see Springsteen in white jeans. You no longer have a need for tattered, dirt-stained blue jeans. He does not contemplate the concept of national unity as he runs his fingers around American soil. He’s sitting in his home study, talking about his childhood with a former president in leather ankle boots, drinking from his mug, and cashing those Spotify checks as they come in. The humble podcaster’s dream!
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