President Obama inadvertently triggered national geek outrage, after he mistakenly mixed up the warring science fiction universes of Star Wars and Star Trek. During a press conference related to recently triggered budget cutbacks, known as the “sequester,” he said, “I can’t do some kind of Jedi Mind Meld on congressional Republicans,” referring to the partisan gridlock that has prevented Congress from passing a budget. Twitter immediately lit up with comments poking fun of the fact that Obama mixed up Star Wars’ ‘Jedi Mind Trick‘, used for mind control, and Star Trek‘s Vulcan ‘Mind Meld’, for sharing thoughts.
A few savvy (i.e. super-geeky) users pointed out that there is, in fact, a Jedi mind meld, employed in later books of the Star Wars universe. According to a Wikia entry,
Force Meld, otherwise known as Jedi meld or Battle meld, was a technique where a number of Force users joined their minds together through the Force, drawing strength from each other. A refinement of battle meditation, it was known to the ancient Jedi, though dangerous. While battle meditation could influence both the Force-sensitives and the insensitives of both sides, Force Meld concentrates on coordinating and improving the Force-sensitives of the user’s side.
Now, did Obama use the phrase correctly? Probably not. Is he a hyper-wonky follower of the post-movie Star Wars universe? Even less likely. Did I make a horrible mistake as a writer getting into the middle of a nuanced sci-fi debate? Yes, most definitely.