As Liz pointed out earlier this morning, Maureen Dowd’s Star Trek-themed Times op-ed this weekend was…a doozy. And while, normally, any attempt to determine the logic—or, as Liz noted, the putting aside thereof—in a MoDo column would be a futile (sorry) Enterprise…I actually think I’ve cracked the code when it comes to the latest MoDopus.

This weekend’s column, I’m pretty sure, was produced solely so that Dowd could see the terms “Barack Spock” (teehee! it’s funny because it rhymes!) and “Rahmulen muscle” printed in The Newspaper of Record—and so that, online, her column could be accompanied by the following Wonder of Photoshop:

Indeed. Data points on request.

So: was Dowd’s column making clever use of a pop-cultural phenomenon—or (sorry again) Kirk-ing journalistic responsibility? Regardless, one thing’s pretty clear when it comes to MoDo’s own star ship: resistance, alas, is futile.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.