Obama salute (hands optional)

The Big-O

He has a slogan.  He has a seal.  And now Obama has his own salute.

Some are calling it The Big-O, some are calling it The Obama Salute.  And some are calling it a gang symbol, a Nazi salute or a cult phenomenon.

Other critics are comparing it to a Star Trek salute made famous in “The Way to Eden” episode.  Hmm.

Whatever you want to call it, Rick Husong’s creation is raising eyebrows and headlines this week as people from both sides of the political fence voice opinions as to how they feel about it.

start a thongversation

As of today, supporters of the salute can go hands-free with official Obama salute t-shirts, relieving salute-happy California drivers everywhere.  And if you like to keep your salutations private, you can always start a thongversation.

I spoke with the salute creator today, and he explained that he created the symbol out of a desire to do something inspirational because this is a “moving time in history,” and that after the last 8 “despicable” years he feels that it’s high time that America is inspired by politics.  He also, for the record, has not seen “The Way to Eden.”  But perhaps he might watch it now…

One interesting point in the debate behind the salute is that this kind of debate didn’t arise with Nixon’s double-handed V, Phil Jackson’s trademarked “threepeat,” or even George W. Bush’s prong-fingered inaugural contribution to the custom salute.

(Well, not this debate specifically, i.e. the debate of gangs and cults and Hitler and Star Trek.  Apparently the Norwegians misinterpreted the Bush salute as a nod to Satan, but hey.  That’s Norway.  Norway has, however, thus far not commented upon the Obama salute.)

Coincidentally, we do publish official Star Trek scripts.  So out of curiosity I took a look at the “The Way to Eden” script today to determine whether the salute in question was specified by the writers, and whether the Big-O might be one in the same.

It seems that this episode is about a bunch of space hippies cruising around the galaxy.  It would also seem that the symbol in question means “One,” which is interesting given that the script seems to call for an egg shape rather than an “O.”

Indeed, the Big-O may have been more appropriate for this episode than the actual symbol demonstrated.  And Leonard Nimoy seems to have taken some artistic liberties with an egg shape, unless Vulcan eggs are in fact triangular.  Hmm.

So: pop culture phenomenon?  Inspired contribution to political history?  Worrying evidence of despotism, a cult following or gang mentality?  Or a sign that Obama’s popularity reaches beyond our atmosphere and into the realm of intergalactic hippies?

That, readers, is for you to decide.  And some good homework to do on the matter is reading some “Star Trek.”  Or, if you prefer…

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