President Obama attracted a bit of geek ire (mostly in the form of good-natured ribbing) when he mixed his pop culture metaphors yesterday while discussing the automatic spending cuts. But the White House showed us how to recover gracefully from a geeky gaffe: by owning the mistake and using it to turn attention back to the important issues.
While discussing his failure to come to an agreement with the Republican leadership to avert the automatic spending cuts during a press conference yesterday, Obama said:
"I'm presenting a fair deal. The fact that they don't take it means that I should somehow do a 'Jedi mind-meld' with these folks and convince them to do what's right."
That lit Twitter right up. Most of the responses to the mixing of Star Trek's Vulcan Mind Meld and Star Wars' Jedi Mind Trick were gently poking fun:
President Obama is a Fake Geek Girl.— Jill Pantozzi (@TheNerdyBird) March 1, 2013
Guys, it wasn't a mistake. The sequester means we can no longer afford both Star Wars and Star Trek. #jedimindmeld— Chris Taylor (@FutureBoy) March 1, 2013
Loose talk of a “Jedi mind meld” is the inevitable result of the JJ Abrams Cliff.— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 1, 2013
But there was some bizarre pearl-clutching over the mispoken allusion, with a few genuine cries that Obama had lost his "nerd cred." The man is under a lot of stress and dealing with genuinely important issues; I think we can forgive him for a little pop culture blurring.
But the White House figured out a way to harness the phrase to turn our attention back to what Obama was actually talking about: the automatic spending cuts. The White House tweeted this image:
And sure enough, if you go to WhiteHouse.gov/JediMindMeld, you're forwarded to Obama's plan to avert the sequester and reduce the deficit. Perhaps the President should misspeak more often—after all, he managed to create a powerful meme and quickly use it to bring even more attention to an important political issue.
Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy.