President Obama Flashes Vulcan Salute (Twice) At Correspondent Dinner – Is Trek Cool Again?

Last night was the annual Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington DC. Traditionally it is a light-hearted evening attended by the current President with comic entertainment. The Daily Show’s John Hodgman was the entertainment who focused on President Obama’s ‘nerdcore’, including Star Trek credentials. We have video below, plus an infographic analyzing how Star Trek is ‘cool again’.


Hodgman declares Obama ‘first nerd president’
In the below video of Hodgman’s routine, there are multiple references to Star Trek as well as other pop culture nerdy references. The refs start around 6:50 and are peppered after that, including two moments where Obama shows a Vulcan salute (at 9:30 and 13:40). The last minute or so is an homage to Star Trek II.


Star Trek Cool Again?
This is just latest recent example of Star Trek showing up in media. With Star Trek being the number one box office of the movie so far and with it showing up on chat shows, SNL, awards shows and in politics, it seems that Star Trek is mainstream and (dare we say it) cool again. In fact this week SciFiWire decided that this subject was worthy of a handy infographic. 

SciFi Wire analyzes Trek coolness factors


Thanks Marko and Drew.

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It’s good to be cool… Trek LIVES!

Ha. Awesome. =)

final few seconds of that clip are beyond words

Somebody pass Obama some pointy ears already!

lol that was great!

That’s awesome!

As As far as I’m concerned, “Trek” has been, and always shall be, cool.

That whole John Hodgman speech is really worth it. Thanks for posting it Trekmovie, PTM, whomever. :)

And a big Vulcan salute to the President of the United States!

The masses are finally realizing Trek’s vision has a lot to offer. Awesome.

Guys, this article is just like all other articles where we report on Star Trek showing up in popular culture. It is not an excuse to turn this into a partisan political fight. Please no political trolling. If you feel very strongly about politics and want to attack some politician or group, there are tons of political blogs and sites for you to do that.

This site is about Star Trek. This article is just bout Star Trek showing up in the mainstream and being ‘cool again’

Guess the pie chart was made up before Trek showed up at the Country Music Awards, too.

Trek Rulz!

Star Trek cool again??? Are you kidding me???
Star Trek has ALWAYS and will ALWAYS be cool!
Remember this is a franchise that has existed for 45 years!
What Abrams and Company did in a brilliant way was make it relevant again, and of course capture the masses!

that hodgman guy is brilliant

Not bad for a PC!

Anthony, sorry about the technology partisanship!

The last time Trek felt impoortant and cool was in the peak of the TNG years. “Best of Both Worlds” era.

It’s good to be back.

Yeah, just because Trek’s been around doesnt mean its been cool for the entire time, and yeah, I think the only time it was really considered cool at all were the best of the TNG days and also when First Contact came out. That was, at least in how accessible it was to the non-Trekkies, the closest thing to this new Star Trek. And it does help to have a president who’s a big and vocal fan of it, especially one who’s approval ratings are rather good.

And this is news?

it was always cool, but now the others know it too

ST09 just passed ST:TMP on Friday as the highest attended Star Trek film of all time. My guess it will top out at about $250 mill.

It also looks like Up will pass it up in about 10 days, and Transformers 2 will probably pass up both of those. Still, it was nice to have Star Trek as the top movie of the year for a month.

its 1982-86, 1990-91 (and 1996 sorta) all over again!!

So when is he going administer 23rd Century answers to 20th century problems that don’t involve massive taxes?????

#22 – as funny as that is (and I thank you for the laugh), I hope you’re prepared for the tidal wave of hate that is going to overwhelm you.

As a philosophical question, does it follow that Star Wars fans should all love Reagan because he loved Star Wars and made public reference to it?

And personally, I’m really sick of the whole “Revenge of the Nerd” angle that people take whenever something with a sci-fi sensibility is successful. X-Files supposedly showed that nerds were cool. Star Trek is *once again* supposedly showing nerds are cool. Current cultural history is replete with these moments.

But they occur at specific points that the series/franchise/story detaches itself from its hard-core nerdiness and makes an effort to be less nerdy by default — example: Star Trek IV. Even Star Trek VI, which wasn’t even thinly veiled as socio-political commentary, but rather current history with phaser effects and pointy ears.

X-Files moved into the realm of the government conspiracy during the 1990s, when everyone was realizing that politicians were no longer even thinly veiling their corruption and self-serving nature.

And this iteration of Star Trek, as much as I really, really enjoyed it, lacked the “sci fi core” that a die-hard fan of real science fiction seeks. So, it was viewed as good and accessible, and by being accessible it is by definition less nerdy.

And yet none of us are less nerdy – because we grok Spock, debate bitterly about canon details and regard these characters more as friends than fiction.

And just because Obama likes Trek doesn’t make him, or us, cool or correct in anything. It just means he’s younger than the average president and smoked less weed than Clinton.

I like your pie chart, especially since it is the classic TOS Enterprise and not the JJprise. Not a dig against the new movie, I just like the original Enterprise design better. I miss the glowing red nacelle caps….

Obama even does the salute properly, unlike one of the movie’s writers. I couldn’t believe that pic in the latest Trek mag.

Not trying to get political, BUT this is my favorite President!

Not Cannon! The nacelles are upside down!


(always wanted to do that)

I want to see President Obama in some alien makeup playing the Federation President.

And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!

Does this mean Obama is a big Dune fan?

Eh. Obama’s not the arbiter of “cool.” I give more credence to Wired and The Onion.

Obama doing the Vulcan salute is the coolest thing I have ever seen.

OK one more time I ask people to stop trying to turn this into something political. TrekMovie has long held a policy of reporting when Star Trek shows up anywhere, be it SNL, MTV, Country Music Awards or a political event or whatever. It is not an endorsement, just a fact. We would report this regardless of what party the politician is, In fact earlier this week we put up a video of a Republican talking Trek.

This all shows that Star Trek is bi-partisan. Do not troll this thread with partisan and personal attacks, that is not what Star Trek is all about.

Shai-Hulud, a thumper, the Water of Life. :)

That was hilarious!!

Great references throughout.

#33 – I remembered ‘thumper,’ but the other two were way past me. Well done – doubly well done if you didn’t Google it first :-)

That was awesome and I loved the Obama and Superman picture. I think Obama should be in the new movie in a cameo role as a Vulcan. Maybe him and Spock Prime can have a scene together.

Isn’t John Hodgman the guy who plays “PC” in the Apple commercials?

Yeah, “It was actually good” in the pie chart kinda got me thinking. STXI was definitely a good movie (no 8/10, mind you) but was it actually decent Star Trek? Not really.

I’m not sure that movie was at all Star Trek. Star Trek I think was originally about taking issues and ideas and wrapping them in sci-fi and fights so nobody censored them. Later, it became about openly exploring those things and engaging with theory, philosophy and history, without having to hide it under action. I think… this new ST movie was kind of the opposite. It looks like the team got a run-of-the-mill action pic and dressed it up in sci-fi … but that’s not Trek. They’re missing the middle part, where the action and sci-fi service intellect and social discussion. In STXI there was no idea. JJ et al kept saying they wanted it to relate to today — but how does it relate, except that it’s telling me audiences don’t like to wait or think and that bangs and colour are all that matters…

I’ve heard many times that one cannot write smarter than he or she is in reality. We’ve definitely got creative, energetic people in charge… but how smart can they write? Guess we’ll see.

I’ve not only downloaded the soundtrack for the current Star Trek movie, but played my favorite parts about twenty times apiece. No exaggeration. I’m wearing out my MP3 player. The new movie — it stays with you. The music alone, stays with you.

I don’t have any doubt whether this new movie is Trek. It is.


As for the Obama toast, it is not only Trek-wise, but a classic good-natured reference to nerdishness, geekiness, and the tendency of certain people, yours truly hopefully included, to avoid making prejudgments simply because we are all too busy learning about the infinitely complex world in which we all must live rather than deciding we know enough about it already to blindly condemn others for transgressions, whether real or perceived.

There is a reason that so many smart people are nerdy, and it’s not because the world is such a simple place.

I’m a PC. And I’m a Mac, too. And so should we all.

#36: Thanks, it was indeed from memory. I just about wore out those books when I was a kid. :P

Hodgman’s whole bit was outstanding! Definitely worth it to watch the entire clip.

Cool to see President Obama flash the salute again..and again. I tell you what though, I was expecting Hodgman to transition from that pic of Leonard Nimoy as Spock to the photoshopped Obama/Spock one.

That would have just capped it all off perfectly.

Trek will remain cool despite Obama’s attempts to hitch his star to it.

Trek will remain cool despite JJ Abrams’ attempts to hitch his star to it.

Star Trek will always be cool.

But Obama saluting Star Trek is even cooler.

my congratulations to new star trek cast!

You have to realize that why some trekkers go semi orgasmic when there GOD does something Trek like they are delighted more than you could imagine. They can have their fun now, it’s just how long can it last.

We have to remember it may be centurys before it happens again.

Star Trek is getting much attention now due to it’s newness and unique aspects, in time the shine may fade, but the real test is can JJ and crew keep the Trek Emblem polished, bright and shinny for more years than he puts into it.

Gene Roddenberry had these talents, and I do hope JJ Abrams was granted with the same talents. Either way may JJ and crew live long and prosper.

By Crom! Star Trek was always cool to me.

I remember Crom, the Thumper and the Water of Life. Couldn’t remember the Fremen name for the sandworms though

Star Trek has never been cool including right now. Yeah, sorry.