Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (2020)
January 3, 2021 8:55 AM - Subscribe

Jimmy Carter's election to the presidency of the United States in 1977 was helped by the links that this fan of pop music had with stars.

For people of a certain age, Jimmy Carter was the first president they could remember. This movie looks into his ascendancy to the presidency and his love of rock & roll, country, and gospel music. Remember when there used to be big concerts on the White House lawn? Me neither.
posted by jessamyn (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Highly recommended. This is not an "eat your veggies" documentary, this is the story of how rock'n'roll made his political career. Party time in the 70s, baby! We all knew how good a man he is, and what a shit hand his Administration was dealt, but I had no clue how real and cool a dude he was.
posted by whuppy at 10:57 AM on January 4, 2021

I caught some of this. It consists of about an hour's worth of concert clips, interspersed with a half-hour of gentle argument that Jimmy Carter was actually a pretty good president. If I made a Jimmy Carter documentary, it would be an extremely angry 60 minutes screed about darker impulses of American political life interspersed with a half-hour argument that Jimmy Carter was actually a pretty good president. The concert clips make for better watching.

I was born after Carter, but I grew up in the 90s when Democrats were embarrassed by him (and the 00s, when everyone was mortified that he had the temerity to criticize the sitting president even though he was right and the wars were ruinous). It's nice to see people no longer reflexively praising Reagan and bashing Carter. The Carter administration might not have done everything right, but sometimes I wonder if there's an Earth B dimension where the whole planet is doing much better because he won in 1980 and Reagan lost.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:58 AM on January 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

I watched this last night and enjoyed it. I was pretty young when he was president but I remember the hostages well because we talked about them every single day in fifth grade. I had no idea about his connection to so many musicians or just what a downright cool guy he was.

I also had no idea he had sons. I remember Amy Carter being a huge deal back then but I have no memory of any mention of sons.

I didn't really care for the story about Cher drinking from the finger bowl. I'd have done the same thing.

I wonder if Willie was the first person to smoke pot in the White House.
posted by bondcliff at 12:07 PM on January 4, 2021

I was born after Carter, but I grew up in the 90s when Democrats were embarrassed by him

Yeah I grew up with him being the first president I really remembered and he was sort of played as a hayseed who didn't really know foreign policy and had a weird family and then the hostage crisis and then the Reagan Years (with Nancy's "Just say no" nonsense) really changed how we thought about the presidency.

Likewise Amy was the big deal and I didn't even KNOW he had sons, much less ones that were living int he White House. It was sort of curious that we didn't hear from anyone but the guy running the Carter Foundation but it was clearly a very specific kind of story--one with SO much archival footage of cool music--that maybe what they had to say didn't really work out there. I appreciated how you get to feel that while Carter was seriously Christian, he was the right kind of Christian and the stories of him being able to bring people together and to forgive people and just do good works was going to be the lasting legacy of his presidency for the history books.
posted by jessamyn at 2:16 PM on January 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

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