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How “May the Fourth Be With You” Originated With Margaret Thatcher and a Guy Who Was Nearly Fired
by Jamie Frevele | 4:29 pm, May 4th, 2012
Star Wars fans and fans of fun wordplay alike are loving life today because it is May the Fourth. And while this is also considered Cinco de Mayo Eve, May the Fourth is widely considered (by geeks) to be Star Wars Day because: “May the Fourth Be With You.” See what they did there? But I’ll bet you had no idea that this geektastic phrase has historically-relevant origins — with former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher, and a guy who almost got fired.
Well, the first guy to say it wasn’t almost fired. He merely mentioned it in a newspaper ad that appeared in the London Evening News right after Thatcher was elected to become Prime Minister on May 4, 1979, just two years after the first Star Wars movie hit theaters. And it read exactly what you’ve been seeing all day: “Congratulations Maggie, May the Fourth be with you!”
However, while that was all in good fun, a researcher for a Member of Parliament could have lost his job for bringing Star Wars references to work. Good thing he had the respect of his boss, MP Harry Cohen, who mentioned the phrase while suggesting a suitable date to debate defense strategies, including Ronald Reagan‘s Strategic Defense Initiative, which came to be known as “Star Wars” because it was seen as a fantastical strategy that was impossible to achieve with existing technology.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse): Order. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that that is not uncommon in this place, whatever is supposed to happen.
Mr. Cohen: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If that point of order was an allusion to me, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I was here for the opening speeches, and for some of the speeches that followed.
May the fourth is an appropriate date for a defence debate. My researcher, who is a bit of a wit, said that it should be called national star wars day. He was talking about the film “Star Wars” rather than President Reagan’s defence fantasy, and he added, “May the fourth be with you.” That is a very bad joke ; he deserves the sack for making it, but he is a good researcher.
So, now that May the Fourth is nearly over, relish this little piece of Reagan-Thatcher-era nostalgia and how nerds have always found a way to infiltrate the government.
(via Geek Tyrant)
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