Alternate headline: “Feds really, truly have no Plan B.”

Filmmaker James Cameron and another Canadian who built submersibles for the director’s 1989 thriller “The Abyss” joined talks on Tuesday in Washington on innovative ways of capping the Gulf oil spill.

Cameron and Phil Nuytten, head of North Vancouver-based Nuytco Research, were to join several deepwater and oil sector experts meeting with Environmental Protection Agency officials, a spokeswoman for Nuytco told AFP.

No details of their talks were immediately available.

Two things. One: Is the world’s submersibles industry so bereft of talent that James Cameron is the go-to guy when a national crisis in the deep sea erupts? This is like NASA announcing that they’ve detected a killer asteroid on course for Earth and Obama immediately dialing up Michael Bay. Two: Even if, for whatever insane reason, Cameron’s worth talking to about this, wouldn’t you want to keep it hush-hush if you’re the feds? The One’s wilting from the perception that he’s both powerless to deal with the spill and clueless about what to do even if he wasn’t. This makes the desperation seem that much worse, to the point where even his unofficial fan-club newsletter, a.k.a. Newsweek, is groaning about it. Don’t think it’s taking a bite politically? Here’s the latest from Gallup’s generic-ballot survey:

I doubt Joe Sestak’s job offer is driving that sharp diversion at the end, which means there’s only one possible explanation. But who knows? Maybe Cameron and Kevin Costner will put their heads together and turn this nightmare around. Exit question: Hasn’t the White House’s big talking point lately been that everything’s cool because we have a Nobel-winning scientist on the case? We’ve gone from that to “the guy who directed ‘Titanic’ is helping out too”? What?