Mr. Obama Channels Mr. Mackey, mmmk?

Matt Lewis
Posted: Apr 30, 2009 9:45 AM

For the first time last night, I noticed Barack Obama ending a soliloquy with the word, mkay? (or "m-kay" or "mmmk?").

To be sure, the transcripts have him saying, "Ok."

 ... For example,
So this is a decision that I'm very comfortable with. And I think the American people over time will recognize that it is better for us to stick to who we are, even when we're taking on an unscrupulous enemy. OK?
and ...
So what we want to do is to show that we are competent and getting results around immigration, even on the structures that we already have in place, the laws that we already have in place, so that we're building confidence among the American people that we can actually follow through on whatever legislative approach emerges. OK?
But I clearly heard him say, "m-kay" (any video experts out there who are willing to provide a side-by-side YouTube comparison will be fully credited).

According to the urban dictionary, there are two definitions ...
1. mmmk Bill Cosby made this word popular. Now days, Mr. Mackey on South Park says it. Drugs are bad.....mmmk?

2. mmmk to agree with someone to get someone's opinion. person 1: you're coming to the beach mmmk? person 2: mmmk!
... I don't think either definition accurately describes the usage. In my mind, there is also an implicit dismissiveness involved.

For example, on South Park, Mr. Mackey, frequently employs the word as such: "Mrs. Cartman, we have had it with your son's behavior, m'kay!"

Yes, m'kay! is technically a question -- but it is really meant as a statement (hence the exclamation point). It is also a subtle way to end the conversation -- or in Obama's case -- move on to another questioner.

It occurs to me that both Mr. Mackey and Mr. Obama have spent time in front of a classroom (yes -- I realize Mr. Mackey is a cartoon character). Could it be this is a device that comes in handy for teachers and professors?