What is it with Obama and ‘Star Wars?’


George Lucas, right, and Mellody Hobson arrive at the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on  June 16  in Beverly Hills. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

President Obama was probably trying to be nice when he reminisced about the special effects George Lucas devised for the original "Star Wars" back in the 1970s.

"I remember when I first saw 'Star Wars,' " Obama said during his opening remarks as he presented the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to Lucas and other recipients. "There's a whole generation that thinks special effects always looked like they do today. But it used to be you'd see, like, the string on the little model spaceships."

Obama, who also honored former Princeton University president William Bowen and playwright Tony Kushner, showed visible affection for Lucas, giving him a hug before placing the medal around his neck in the East Room ceremony.

Describing the group as whole, the president described them as epitomizing what "American philosopher Will Durant once wrote, 'The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.'  And that's an extraordinary skill -- to tell the untold stories of history; to reveal the sculpture that's waiting there in a block of stone; to transform written music into song; to make it look like those planes in space are actually flying like they are."

Well, some artistic achievements are more soaring than others.

The Obama administration is clearly pro-"Star Wars," having issued a humorous response to last year's public petition to build a Death Star. But the nation's first nerd president has also mixed up his "Star Wars" metaphors from time to time, referring to a "Jedi mind meld" when he either meant to refer to the Trekkie "Vulcan mind meld" or "Jedi mind trick."

But maybe we're quibbling too much.

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Sean Sullivan | July 10, 2013