Mainstream media reports on geek-oriented gaffe by Obama
The Herald Sun reports on Obama’s gaffe, linked to his explanation of the Republican/Democrat stand off on Friday:
“I am not a dictator. I’m the president,” he said, explaining that he wouldn’t do a “Jedi mind meld” with Congress’ top two Republicans to persuade them “to do what’s right”.
Jedis are from Star Wars, while mind-melds happened on Star Trek.
Obama might as well have joined the Dark Side.
My response to the Herald Sun:
THE DARK SIDE HAS COOKIES. WHERE ARE OBAMA’S COOKIES???
Also, the Dark Side is WHOLLY STAR WARS.
Seriously, Herald Sun, an off-the-cuff flub by a pollie is excusable. A flub by a journo trying on a pun? Not so much.
UPDATE: Obama was right! Petey from the MIT centre for Civic Media says
Obama did not, as Jardin claimed, “blow” his reference: he was more correct than any of his critics could possibly imagine…
But not only is the Jedi Meld, through general acceptance and uncontroversial use, authoritatively established within the official Star Wars universe: it was the right reference for Obama to make.
Jedi Mind Tricks, according to Wookieepedia, “refer to a spectrum of Force powers which influenced the thoughts of sentient creatures”; the Vulcan Mind-meld, according to Wikipedia, “is a technique for sharing thoughts, experiences, memories, and knowledge with another individual.”
Both are powerful methods of influence, to be sure, but neither fully captures what Obama was suggesting when he said he could not “do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.” (emphasis added) Rather, the most appropriate method for Obama would be a Jedi Meld. For it is the Jedi Meld, rather than its more familiar cousins, which would allow Obama to be as effective as he suggested he would like to be, and arguably the only one which allows him to be effective in the particular way he describes.
While I’m not as widely read as Petey and his friends, my first thoughts about Obama’s comment were the comparison between Obi Wan Kenobi’s quotable line ‘These are not the droids you’re looking for’ and Spock doing a one-on-one to share memories with the Vulcan mind meld. I wasn’t sure about the ‘meld’ word, but what else could Obama have called it? A ‘Jedi mind-trick’? Possibly, but he was on the fly.