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The Vulcan Mind Trick

March 9th, 2013

A lot of people are making a deal about Obama mixing up Star Trek and Star Wars when he referenced a “Jedi Mind Meld.”

First, if you hear him say the words, you realize he was searching for the right words and failed before he had to finish the sentence. Had he tacked the word “whatever” onto the end of the sentence, it would have worked perfectly.

Second, what he messed up was not his central point or a planned statement.

And third, at least he knows about the Jedi mind trick and the Vulcan mind meld; he gets points for knowing the cultural references, even if he did mix them up.

Making that specific error was a concatenation, a merging of two ideas in the mind at once. You know that he was thinking of both and trying to work out, off the cuff, which to say, and they got mixed up. Nor was this the first time it has happened; he once mentioned visiting “fifty seven states, one left to go”; from the context, it was clear that he was mixing together “fifty states” and the “continental forty-eight states.”

This is a fairly pedestrian slip-up.

Tell me, would you rather have a president who can’t get simple grammar straight, or botches entire narratives?

There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again!’“

”Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.“

”Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.“

”Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?“

There’s lots more where that came from, including how he immortalized ”The Google“ and ”The Internets.“ Look, he made lots of goofs that can easily be forgiven, however hilarious they sounded—mixing up OPEC for APEC, getting prepositions wrong, even using poor phrasing from time to time, but really… next to Dubya, Obama’s errors look smart.

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