The worlds of Star Wars and politics intersected on Friday, when President Obama, during a statement to the press about the sequester, said this:
Twitter instantly lit up with comments from White House reporters and other political observers. These ranged from the mildly geeky…
Obama just proposed a “Jedi mindmeld.” This isn’t the #sequester you’re looking for…
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) March 1, 2013
…to the sarcastic…
Jedi mind TRICK, not meld. Impeach this clown. — daveweigel (@daveweigel) March 1, 2013
…to the snarky:
How will the “devastating cuts” from the sequester impact the Jedi Academy?
— Garrett Quinn (@GarrettQuinn) 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
As geeks all over the world and all along the political spectrum digested the presidential gaffe, a Twitter hashtag sprang up (of course!) to make light of the moment:
“Use the force, Jean-Luc!” #ObamaSciFiQuotes
— Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) March 1, 2013
All of this online activity made #JediMindMeld a trending topic on Twitter in the Washington, D.C. area.
— David Crockett (@davidcrockett08) March 1, 2013
But then something interesting happened: Thanks to some quick Google searching, political journalists started to realize that the president, whose geek cred is substantial, may not have made a gaffe after all.
uh, guys? bit.ly/XskrEg — Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) March 1, 2013
Not a mixed reference: There is a Jedi Mind Meld, apparently: starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Force_meld
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) March 1, 2013
Bloomberg News even called Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm’s resident “Star Wars guru,” for confirmation.
There is such a thing in Star Wars books and spinoffs as a Jedi battle meld, according to Pablo Hidalgo, who goes by the informal title of “Star Wars guru” at Lucasfilm. In such a battle meld, those fluent in the Force link their minds toward a common purpose at a time of great conflict.
And though Hidalgo — chuckling throughout the entire interview — suspects it was probably a mix-up of Star Wars and Star Trek, he can’t be 100 percent sure. While there’s no evidence the president of the United States reads or has read Star Wars books, or is conversant in extended Star Wars lore, Hidalgo said, “he may have tipped off deeper knowledge than anyone may have suspected.”
Soon enough, the press had found the appropriate Wookieepedia entry and filed their stories.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 1, 2013
At the end of the day, one thing was clear:
Eric Geller is a college student with a political science major who co-hosts The ForceCast podcast, manages social media for TheForce.Net, and writes The Clone Wars reviews for TFN. You can follow him on Twitter and read his TCW reviews here.