Newlywed George Lucas received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama this week during a ceremony that honored 23 other writers, dancers, poets, and those who have "used their talents in the arts and the humanities to open up minds and nourish souls . . ."
The president praised George for making "it look like those planes in space are actually flying . . . I'm just saying, I remember when I first saw Star Wars, and there's a whole generation that thinks special effects have always looked like they do today, but it used to be you'd see the string on the little model spaceships." Our thanks to you, George and the Lucasfilm team, for those real-looking planes!
President Obama's and the White House's love of Star Wars is well known. Earlier this year, after a petition requesting resources and funding to begin the construction of a Death Star by 2016 gained viral attention, the administration responded in appropriately cheeky terms, saying it "does not support blowing up planets." Instead, the required petition response was used as an opportunity to remind Americans of all the space programs currently under way and to encourage STEM education:
If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star's power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
And then there was the time during a press conference addressing a possible congressional sequester the president said he couldn't "Jedi mind meld" politicians to work together, which unleashed some Twitter fury. For the curious: it's a Jedi mind trick and Vulcan mind meld. An innocent mix-up of the most epic space adventures!
Of course, the administration responded to the gaffe in kind, posting the above image to Twitter. The one thing geeks need to know now from the White House: how does the president feel about J.J. Abrams taking over future Star Wars films?!
Click on to watch George Lucas accept his National Medal of Art this week.