July 16, 2012

"Obama... was known in [his Occidental College dorm] for his wicked impression of Mick Jagger."

"He could do the walk, the strut, the face, and act out the dramatic scene of the Rolling Stones onstage at the Altamont Speedway outside Livermore, California, on December 6, 1969, as violence that would lead to murder broke out in the crowd below: 'Hey, hey people, sisters and brothers, brothers and sisters, come on now! That means everybody just cool out! They’re fightin’ a lot. Will you cool out, everybody?'"

Page 341 of "Barack Obama: The Story," by David Maraniss.

The line I remember from that scene is "Who's fighting and what for?" Here's a good on-line clip of the Speedway incident, taken from the excellent Maysles Brothers documentary "Gimme Shelter."

It's interesting to think of Barack Obama seeing himself in the Mick Jagger role. It's not just that Obama envisions himself as the rock star, but that he saw the partying dorm-mates as the rough crowd at the Speedway who needed instruction from the stage on how to cool out.

53 comments:

Pogo said...

Who was his David Bowie?

ndspinelli said...

Most every college dude sees themselves as either a rock star of sports star. Why don't you consult a man before overanal yzing.

Jay said...

So he really did see himself as white?

ndspinelli said...

And, Jagger saw himself as black. Win/win for Obama

wyo sis said...

Obama is a facil imitator. He imitated a competent person for an entire campaign.

shiloh said...

So he really did see himself as white?

Nonsense aside, interesting Jagger tried to portray himself as black as the Stones were originally a rhythm and blues band who got their name from a Muddy Waters song.

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain ...

Brown Sugar how come you taste so good.

chickelit said...

Mick Jagger was Mr. Ineffectual at Altamont.

So who played Sonny Barger in Barack's little college role play?

shiloh said...

Whereas mittens can't get no satisfaction ...

But Ann still loves him! :)

Ann Althouse said...

Obama to this day identifies the Rolling Stones as his favorite music -- along with one other performer: Stevie Wonder.

damikesc said...

No...Obama is convinced he is cool. He impersonated Jagger because he thought he was cool enough to do it.

He is many things. He ain't cool.

MayBee said...

Yeah, I don't think Obama thought his dorm mates needed him to tell them to cool out. I think that was just the impression he could do.

Just like on Saturday, I was going all "Steeeellllla! Steeeellla!" but I didn't really think my audience needed to hear about Stella.

The interesting thing is how hard it is to imagine Obama having fun like this. He no longer seems like the guy that just lets loose and has fun.

wyo sis said...

Careful with the word cool. I understand it's now a racist code word.

Dr Weevil said...

So did Obama identify with Jagger's swaggering, or his ineffectuality at Altamont? And where did Meredith Hunter fit in his little fantasy? He was the drugged-out black guy with a gun who was stabbed to death by a Hell's Angel while trying to rush the stage. Odd that Obama picked a scenario to reenact in which the one black guy ended up dead.

Ann Althouse said...

Obama's book ("Dreams...") doesn't mention Jagger or the Rolling Stones.

Bill said...

When I think of my college life, the things I said and did, the things I was known for, how I acted when I was goofing around with my friends, how it would affect any aspirations to public service, I can't get too worked up about anything that either Romney or Obama did back then. Not that I was so terrible, just young and foolish.

I don't see any of these revelations as fodder for criticism or insight into either one of them, or at least I choose not to.

MayBee said...

Does Obama's book Dreams give the impression Obama ever had any fun?

ndspinelli said...

Rahm played Sonny Barger.

Christopher in MA said...

Obama's book doesn't mention Jagger or the Rolling Stones.

Guess Bill Ayers wasn't a fan.

shiloh said...

Althouse, when you write you're auto-biography, please leave out the chapter re: this blog. :-P

Ann Althouse said...

On the word "cool"... in his autobiography, there's really only one place where he talks about that racial idea of "cool":

"...I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere. Still, the feeling that something wasn’t quite right stayed with me, a warning that sounded whenever a white girl mentioned in the middle of conversation how much she liked Stevie Wonder; or when a woman in the supermarket asked me if I played basketball; or when the school principal told me I was cool. I did like Stevie Wonder, I did love basketball, and I tried my best to be cool at all times. So why did such comments always set me on edge? There was a trick there somewhere, although what the trick was, who was doing the tricking, and who was being tricked, eluded my conscious grasp."

So the context is: his uneasiness.

ndspinelli said...

Bill, Absolutely correct. But we have a lot of nitpickers here who often can't see the forest for the trees. This could be a fun, lighthearted thread but the tone was set by Althouse that this is some fucking psychodrama.

Ann Althouse said...

"There was a trick there somewhere, although what the trick was, who was doing the tricking, and who was being tricked, eluded my conscious grasp."

Speaking of context... that's quite a quote when taken out of context.

MayBee said...

Thanks for that excerpt. He at some point went from being uneasy with the idea of being the cool guy who likes basketball and Stevie Wonder, to using basketball and his cool taste in music as his public persona.

I always wondered why it didn't hit anyone else as racist that our first black president had to talk about basketball all the time. Even Arne Duncan and Eric Holder, when nominated to their cabinet positions, had to talk about Obama and basketball and them.

This time around I guess we are going to be treated to the soulful singing performances of our first black president.

It would surely make his "Dreams" self uneasy.

chickelit said...

In Rahm's Way (2016), directed by Otto Premonitionger:

An Obama staffer demoted during the first term is later promoted and gets a second chance to prove himself against Chicago's enemies.

Deloras said...

He's been doing a piss poor impression of POTUS for the last 3 1/2 years - unless your one of the Choom gang.

chickelit said...

(My last comment was directed to Spinelli)

wyo sis said...

Obama is consciously cool. Like a typical college kid is cool. But, he's not a college kid anymore and he's still playing the "cool" card. I agree that stupid stuff a person does in college isn't very relevant 40 years later, unless there's been no maturity since then.

BarrySanders20 said...

"There was a trick there somewhere, although what the trick was, who was doing the tricking, and who was being tricked, eluded my conscious grasp."

Eluded is awkward but not wrong. Evaded or escaped is probably better.

Or admitting that you're just not smart enough or determined enough or just don't care enough to figure it out. Better to blame the elusive trick than to admit weakness.

Mick said...

Nonsense. Made up story to curry favor with my fans in the 45-65 age group. He was born British though, of a British subject father, and therefore not eligible.

My case is being appealed, and I can destroy the judge's transparently Obama protecting dismissal. The light of history will spit on him, the judiciary and the "legal experts" in their university ivory towers who did nothing to protect the Constitution.

BarrySanders20 said...

"There was a trick there somewhere, although what the trick was, who was doing the tricking, and who was being tricked, eluded my conscious grasp."

Eluded is awkward but not wrong. Evaded or escaped is probably better.

Or admitting that you're just not smart enough or determined enough or just don't care enough to figure it out. Better to blame the elusive trick than to admit weakness.

BarrySanders20 said...

And the reality of the early 70's hipster culture is exposed again. At least this small section of it there, that night. Chaotic and grotesque.

Pettifogger said...

Speaking solely from personal experience, I suspect all little boys cast themselves as the lead character in their fantasies.

traditionalguy said...

Barry Obama has always been a leader with star quality. That is why Romney has to get out and do some more events that will let people see an ability other than being Not-Obama.

Or what the heck,Mitt can just hide out until inauguration day and probaby still win it all. I imagine the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is warming up in the wings now on Romney's planned agenda.

As a middleclass white man that owns property and has kids and grandkids, I take this election very seriously. It is not a case of my hating Kommissar Obama, it is a case of The Kommissar planning to end our existence as a blood sacrifice offering made to the Karl Marxian Gaia goddess Cult.

Ann Althouse said...

"Nonsense. Made up story to curry favor with my fans in the 45-65 age group..."

The story is told by college dorm-mates, not by Obama.

edutcher said...

Considering the Mick has always strutted with a certain sexual ambiguity, are we looking at another summer of "Does he or doesn't he"?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Reminds me of this:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xoy7hw_mick-jagger-fait-chanter-le-blues-a-obama_news

EDH said...

A case of the Hells Angels "acting stupidly"?

Meredith Hunter, the black dude in the lime-green suit stabbed by the Hells Angels, looked like Obama's son, if he had one.

Hunter enters the opening from the left, his hand rises and the silhouette of a revolver is clearly seen against Bredahoff's bright crocheted dress. Passaro is seen entering from the right and delivering two stabs as he pushes Hunter off screen. The opening closes around Bredahoff. Passaro is reported to have stabbed Hunter five times in the upper back. Witnesses also reported Hunter was stomped on by several Hells Angels while he was on the ground. The gun was recovered and turned over to police. Hunter's autopsy later confirmed his girlfriend's report that he did have methamphetamine in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

Passaro was arrested and charged with murder for Meredith's death, but was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense after the jury viewed the footage from the concert showing Hunter drawing the revolver and pointing it in the air.

ndspinelli said...

Chickelit, I love the riff on Preminger.

MayBee said...

There is the possibility Obama was too high to remember his Jagger impersonation fun.

If we believe his story about fasting every Sunday once he left Occidental, it seems there was a relatively sharp turn in Obama's personality. He became less fun and less social, and more serious and self-important.

Mick said...

Ann Althouse said...

""Nonsense. Made up story to curry favor with my fans in the 45-65 age group..."

The story is told by college dorm-mates, not by Obama."


That doesn't mean it's not made up. Can one born a British subject be a natural born Citizen?

Old Dad said...

If you’ve got a killer Jagger impression -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Pass the Choom.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse succumbs to the inane celebrity culture even when it revolves around an irredeemable no-talent narcissist

Carol said...

Ugh. I'm a couple years older than Ann, and was down with all this boomer stuff while it was going on...but in retrospect it has no worth to me at all.

Our "culture" was dreck. All very embarrassing, really.

wyo sis said...

traditional guy
You have that exactly right from my standpoint too. In fact, I wish with all my heart Mitt wasn't a Mormon, but there you have it. Unless something dramatic happens it's hard to see how Obama can win at this point.

autothreads said...

Well, I admit to doing "Keith... Keith... Keith", now and then as Jagger did, trying to get Richards to stop playing as the chaos erupted around them, Richards somewhat oblivious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUGOsmWxmrk&feature=youtu.be

I wonder who does a better Jagger, Pres. Obama, Mike Myers or Keith Richards?

george said...

He should have stuck to doing Mick Jagger because he does a truly miserable job of imitating a president.

gadfly said...

The Stones video reminded me that Rush talked about Barry's felonious adventures today yes, a felonious POTUS!)

RUSH: Let me give you the quote here. This is from the book Dreams... What's the title? Is it Dreams of, Dreams for, Dreams by, Dreams did? What is it. It's Dreams from My Father or whatever. Obama wrote, "[T]hat's what my last two years in high school had been about, after Ray went off to junior college somewhere and I had set the books aside; after I had stopped writing to my father and he'd stopped writing back. I had grown tired of trying to untangle a mess that wasn't of my making. I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. [Marijuana] had helped and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though..."

"Smack" was heroin.

He didn't do any of that.

But he's admitted the rest in his book here. ... So if I'm Romney, I can simply say, "Look, you're out there blowing some weed, you're out there snorting a little coke and whatever you did ..."

"And, hey, Obama, how could you afford cocaine when you were in high school?"

EMD said...

Considering the Mick has always strutted with a certain sexual ambiguity, are we looking at another summer of "Does he or doesn't he"?

At this point, I would take Abraham Lincoln spooning with Joshua Speed nightly in the White House.

jeff said...

Well.....the Stones decided The Hells Angels would be ideal for crowd control, despite all available evidence. Kind of like Obama's economic plan. I believe one of them punched out Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane earlier that evening. Of course the guy that got stabbed probably made a bad choice in tripping out and trying to shoot someone with all the Hells Angels around. SO bad decisions from The Rolling Stones all the way down to their security to their fans. Another accurate metaphor.

Ralph L said...

when a woman in the supermarket asked me if I played basketball
I got that several times as a tall skinny white boy.

leslyn said...

I can't believe anyone is giving this page space. College students do this kind of thing all the time.

Next we'll be finding out how often he cut his toenails, and what significance that has.

leslyn said...

I can't believe anyone is giving this page space. College kids do this all the time.

Next we'll probably be hearing about how often he cut his toenails, and what significance that has.