White House Turns Star Wars / Star Trek Mistake Into Funny Meme

from the own-the-mistake dept

As I’ve said before, you better have a sense of humor if you’re going to be a politician. Not too long ago, the White House issued a direct response to a petition that America build a Death Star, for instance. The writer of that response proved he had his wookies in a row when it came to knowledge of the Star Wars universe. The President last week? Not so much.

President Barack Obama mixed Star Wars and Star Trek metaphors in response to a question from CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin in the White House Briefing Room on Friday, saying he didn’t have the power to “somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”

The internet, as you’d imagine, lost their collective Sith (editor: is this a typo? I think this is a typo.). Message boards went crazy over the revelation that President Obama couldn’t keep the Vulcan mind meld and the Jedi mind trick square in that noggin of his… so how can we trust him with drone strikes. Okay, so it wasn’t that big a deal, but you have to give his staff credit for being able to own a mistake, silly as it may be, and turn it into an opportunity for the administration. Rather than get defensive about the silly news item, or even just ignoring it, the White House owned the mistake and poked a little fun at themselves while still trying to get their point across.

But then I saw the White House’s response to Obama’s unwitting mash-up and I had to admire the cheekiness of it. By the end of the day the White House Twitter account had posted the following meme photo, which in one fell swoop owned the error, proved that the White House knew its stuff in regards to Star Wars and Star Trek, and informed those following the story of the issue that the President was discussing when he made the slip-up.

In case you can’t see the tweet embed above, here’s the image separately. If you’re not familiar with the details of the two franchises, the yellow outlined words are a classic Star Wars font, while the white letters are typical Star Trek. Ditto the statements that match with the proper fonts. It’s a “melding” (if you will) of the two properties in an attempt to “own” the mistake and try to actually get some political leverage out of it by pointing people to the White House’s position on the matter.
I’m going to leave the politics of the statement waaaaaaaaaay over there (I’m pointing to a fictional place that eats political commentary) and just say that I like politicians that don’t take themselves too seriously. For the White House to also take that mistake and turn it into their own meme, utilizing the hash tag that was making fun of them for their own purposes, is simply deft.

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Comments on “White House Turns Star Wars / Star Trek Mistake Into Funny Meme”

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Anonymous Coward says:

What a great gesture to fans. This shows how to appeal to a relative minor part of the population without much effort.
I realize that running a country is serious business but sometimes politicians really need to loosen up a bit, even if it is through their staff, or they just wont seem human.
I wonder if it will be used in a smear campaign at some point: “Obama likes sci-fi. Just like nerds. Would you elect a dangerous man like this for anything important”.
If they can use WOW, they can probably find some way to use this 😀

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and no president has ever run for another office

Just some of the highlights:
? John Quincy Adams: Won nine terms in the House of Representatives starting in 1830, right after losing a second term as President.
? Andrew Johnson: Won a term as Senator in 1874, 5 years after losing the nomination for another Presidential term in 1868.
? William Howard Taft: Not an elected position, but served as Chief Justice starting in 1921, 8 years after losing his second Presidential bid.
? Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses Grant: Both ran for a third term as President 4 years after retiring after their second term; both lost.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_former_United_States_presidents_who_ran_for_office_after_leaving_the_presidency

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Treason is only making war against the US or materially helping those who are making war against the US. This is certainly not treason. As Nasch says, it’s nothing more nefarious than openly participating in the legislative process. Hint: things aren’t treason just because you find them abhorrent.

It’s also not going to happen unless 3/4 of the states ratify it, so you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Serrano has been putting this proposal forward every two years since 1997.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Obama's mind meld

I believe that is covered in full on fox making stuff up for the crazies

See, you might disagree with Obama’s policies but if you think he’s an idiot, well then you’re in need of an intervention.
He can speak in full sentences, he can use the correct words, he actually knows what he’s talking about.
For me, he’s a far too much to the right politician, owned by corporate interests, has low moral standards and should be imprisoned for war crimes.

The last Bush however, could never be imprisoned for war crimes due to not having the mental capacity to understand enough to actually stand trial. Now, he really was an idiot, and he got elected (not terribly legitimately but then the US seems happy enough about that) twice.
It said a lot about the US,
it said that they are thuggish, criminal terrorists, who are quite happy to elect as their representative a moron.
Obama’s election at least removed the happy to be represented by a moron tag, see if you guys can work on the rest eh?

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Obama's mind meld

That really was funny. Obama has proved more than once, he cannot speak intelligently or in complete sentences when he doesn’t have a teleprompter to read from. He only sounds smart when he has good speech writers. Bush 1 or 2 and especially Regan could speak off the cuff and from the heart and one could tell they loved this country and only had it’s best interest at heart. Obama well he wants to convert us to a socialist country and we cannot stand for that.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Obama's mind meld

“See, you might disagree with Obama’s policies but if you think he’s an idiot, well then you’re in need of an intervention. “

It was covered by all politically bias media and the budget cuts were largely ignored. You want to call out bias on FoxNews, fine. FoxNews sought to point out it was a financial discussion while the other political mouthpieces, CNN and MSNBC, focused on the gaffe and distracted the general population away from some of the dick moves pulled in the budget cuts…

Obama is a financial idiot. He’s the first president in US history that remotely demanded for a raise in the debt ceiling. It’s usually the president of the United States who has to try to convince Congress not to raise it…Think on that for a bit.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Obama's mind meld

Did you know that Congress invented the National Debt Ceiling as an attempt to scare the president into signing bills…?? Congress controls it and the president has the power to propose budgets. Congress usually raises the debt ceiling to threaten the president’s financial credibility. Obama demanded another $2-trillion higher during the first “Financial Cliff” negotiations when we had already surpassed the US GDP…The GOP filibustered that proposal and got laughed at…then during the budget cuts, the president, during his “Jedi Mind Meld” speech (and I watched it on C-Span), slammed the entirety of congress for not agreeing with him on his finances where all he does is spend….that’s all political parties being attacked and forced to cut budgets in education, federal employees and contractors, NASA (who is actually spending LESS because the use of Private organizations).

So nasch I reasonably ask you to try to tell me how I’m wrong in stead of asking me to back my claims with links, and if you think I’m wrong I politely ask you to back your counterclaim that I’m wrong instead of doing it with no explanation as to why I was wrong.

The assertion of “citation please” only works when you have the links yourself to counterclaim the argument or statement made by another person.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Obama's mind meld

The assertion of “citation please” only works when you have the links yourself to counterclaim the argument or statement made by another person.

You’re wrong. If you don’t want to defend your claims, of course you don’t have to, but it’s not up to me to disprove them.

However, I’ll do so anyway. Just to review, your claim is “It’s usually the president of the United States who has to try to convince Congress not to raise it.” Here’s a reference that indicates Reagan was in favor of raising the debt ceiling:


Here’s one that says the administrations of Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Nixon asked for a debt limit increase:


Here’s one that says Clinton wanted to increase it against the wishes of Congress:


I’ll stop there.

I think you’re developing a reputation for throwing out statements that are poorly understood, misunderstood, or flat out made up and trying to pass them off as fact. This is why you keep getting asked for citations. You may notice some other commenters actually provide links to back up what they’re saying. You don’t have to do this of course but it may help your credibility. I’m also curious why you seemed so sure you’re right when I challenged you. Did you actually have some reason to believe this?

Lurker Keith says:

LucasFilm response

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article of LucasFilm backing Obama. I’m not going to post the link for 2 reasons 1) I no longer have it & 2) when I visited the page, after reading the article, something triggered a fake virus scan.

I will try to explain why they’re saying it might not have been a slip up, but a deep understanding of Jedi abilities.

I’m not sure when it first appeared in the Expanded Universe, but there IS a Jedi Battle Meld. I originally came across it in the Legacy of the Force series, True Stealth Xs (Stealth X-wings) strip out any unnecessary equipment, requiring Force users who can use the Force to sense things to safely pilot them (there are less stripped down versions for non-Force Sensetives). Jedi tend to form a Force Meld so they can keep track of one another & communicate w/o using the trackable comm system.

I doubt this is the case. Someone would have to be pretty clever to pull it off… & the response suggests it was a slip up. Just reporting what a friend pointed out, which I have come across in some books I read.

Crashoverride (profile) says:

This is the official Lucasfilm Response:

…….But a spokeswoman from Lucasfilm said the president wasn’t too far off the mark.

“President Obama might have created a mash-up of Star Wars friends at Lucasfilm and Star Trek but he also might be a lot more savvy with his knowledge of Star Wars than anyone is giving him credit for,” Lynne Hale said. “In some of the Star Wars spin-off books there is a ‘Force Meld’.”

She continued: “All of President Obama’s friends at Lucasfilm would love to believe that his expertise in Star Wars knowledge runs deep…”

So what is a “Force Meld”? Besides an excellent trivia answer, a force meld is apparently “a technique where a number of Force users join their minds together through the Force, drawing strength from each other,” according to “Wookieepedia,” the Star Wars wiki.


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