He listens to Roy Orbison and The Beatles. He reads Mark Twain and John Steinbeck. He watches Friday Night Lights and American Idol. So, is Mitt Romney qualified to be the commander and chief of pop culture?
As part of EW’s on-going effort to help keep voters informed, we’re launching an investigative series into the entertainment tastes of the major candidates. In other words, we’ll be periodically clicking on their Facebook pages and analyzing what they’ve listed as their favorite books, TV shows, and movies. Newt Gingrich, tellingly, doesn’t list anything pop cultural under his “Personal Interests” section (just stuff like “paleontology” and “visiting zoos in different cities”), so we’re starting with the other Republican front-runner.
As you’d expect, there’s nothing even slightly controversial about Romney’s taste in music. Clint Black. Randy Travis. Johnny Cash. You won’t find Sista Souljah, or even Common, anywhere near this candidate’s playlist. The former governor of Massachusetts also has pretty middle of the road tastes in movies—Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Henry V. But he gets coolness points for including a Coen brothers picture on his list, even if it is O Brother Where Art Thou? Romney’s TV choices are a bit more interesting. Two of his favorite programs—Modern Family and 30 Rock—also happen to be among the best-loved shows of liberal viewers, according to a recent study conducted for EW that measured consumer preferences along ideological lines. But Romney also likes Justified, the federal marshal show with plenty of red state appeal.
Romney’s tastes in books may offer a more revealing window into his character. Last May, he took some heat after confessing to a reporter that he enjoyed reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series; more recently, he’s been telling the press that his favorite reading material is The Bible. His facebook page, however, lists East of Eden, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid, Ender’s Game, and—get this—Battlefield Earth. That’s right, the sci-fi novel by Scientologist founder L. Ron Hubbard that got made into the 2000 Razzie-sweeping stinker with celebrity Scientologist John Travolta.
Of course, we’ll check back again on Romney’s Facebook page in a couple of weeks to see if Battlefield Earth is still one of his likes. It’s always possible he’ll change his mind.