Twitter #Hashtag: #ObamaSciFiQuotes

The #Hashtag for the last week of February is #ObamaSciFiQuotes, inspired by President Obama’s apparent SciFi reference gaffe.

During a press conference about the impending sequester President Obama said, “This has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s floating around… Most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal” to Republicans. “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.”

Cue: OUTRAGE!!!!!

There is no “Jedi mind meld,” Mr. President!  It’s a Jedi MIND TRICK (actually a quote from the first Star Wars prequel which should be erased from all our memories), and a VULCAN MIND MELD (do I have that right?  I’m not really sure).  The president did the unspeakable: he mashed together Star Wars and Star Trek, two science fiction segments that have famously warred over which was the “original” or the “best”.  (George Takei said it best when he begged for “star peace” in the face of a greater threat: “Twilight”.)

Apparently, mixing up Star Wars and Star Trek is a grievous sin, because since the “incident” the president has been mocked in social media.  If William Shatner and Carrie Fisher spend time arguing over which is better, then you can be sure that hundreds of thousands of other web denizens out there spend plenty of time obsessing over this kind of thing.

President Obama (or his team, whichever) had a clever response to the outrage and sarcastic #ObamaSciFiQuotes trending topic:

Obama Jedi Mind Meld

In a brilliant move, the president took his blunder and ran with it: thus getting more people than he could possibly have dreamed of talking about his “mistake” and actually talking about the sequester. This is good PR: take a faux pas that could potentially alienate some (crazy) folks, and make it a coming-together point, a kick-off for conversations on a topic that needs to be discussed.

Someone else who is getting some good press out of this is the guy who sat down and wrote about why the president’s reference was actually accurate.  Chris Peterson of MIT wrote a blog post in which he explains exactly why Obama’s reference is correct and how it proves that the president is, in fact, more of a nerd than anyone ever thought.  His article was referenced on and has since been tweeted and retweeted with the #ObamaSciFiQuotes hashtag.

Brilliant.  It keeps the debate and conversation going, and gets Mr. Peterson some good visibility while he’s at it.  His article is funny and so well timed as to make it go viral.  One expects something the president says or does to go viral, but the secret formula for a viral post, video or tweet is elusive and no one is really sure how or when it’s going to happen.  So congrats, Chris!  You have successfully done what all online marketing managers are dying to achieve: you went viral.


The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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