Mainstream Media

So much outrage, so little action

A minor rant. Short and sweet today:

The really wearying thing about 24/7 news cycles, social media and smartphones is that everybody has access to just about everything constantly. So no matter where you turn, there is someone on a soapbox lamenting (in FULL CAPS!!!) wrongdoing somewhere. I'm not saying these aren't real issues, I'm just saying that in a lot of cases, these continuous rants are full of sound and fury yet signifying nothing.

It exhausting and disheartening. Sometimes I have to unplug from all of it and rediscover some Zen. I get confused. It seems as though activism is fleeting and unsure of its purpose these days. I see a lot of outrage and irritation and not a lot being done to back it up. Twitter/Facebook activism is only effective is there is activity to prop up the rhetoric.

Case in point -  Did you see Susan G. Komen get their epic back pedal on? Classic campaign started in social media - spread the word, get a bunch of people riled up, exert some pressure, take it to mainstream media, threaten to withhold funds, organize ways to unleash unholy hell on the organization, repeat and escalate until someone makes a change. 

I signed about 6 petitions to get Jan Brewer's wig snatched when she tried to scold the President like he was a house boy beyond his station. I also sent the Obeezy campaign some dollars. Granted, they shan't be naming me contributor of the year but every time I get offended, ticked off, outraged and scared shitless of a Romney-led America, I drop a lil sumthin' sumthin' in the O-Please-Let-Barack-Get-Reelected Fund.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm going to start calling people out the closer we get to this election. I want to see the same people who campaigned ferociously for 2+ years to bring friggity-frackin' The Game back to television working just as hard if not harder to keep America out of the clutches of crazy entitled folks who may or may not be in discussions to send all the poor and "unreal" Americans back from whence they came. (Okay that's extreme but I wouldn't put it past them. I'm just saying. If Obama loses and someone tells you that you won a free cruise, don't get on the boat.) 

It's one thing to talk smack, finger point and head wag. But in the words of Sean Connery's characters from The Untouchables: What are you prepared to do?

The Spitzer Dilemma: Does sexual stupidity equal lack of leadership ability?

Follow me for a minute: Infidelity is immoral (not inevitable - that's a different post). Immorality reeks of poor judgment. Poor judgment hints at flawed character. Flawed character is not a desired trait in a great leader... right?

I watched Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer on Bio Channel the other night and it was... illuminating. There were so many machinations and subplots going on in the back drop of that scandal. There's no getting around the grimy 'married but paying for cocoa' element but the determination of pissy entitled old guard billionaires to bring him down seriously got my dander up. 

Now I'm not in any way saying that Spitzer wasn't a damn fool for all the hooker shenanigans. But it made me wonder, does swimming knee deep in heaux shiggity really impact his ability to lead the state of New York? Was Clinton not an effective President because of the Lewinsky (et al) of it all? Do we think less of Kennedy's public service knowing he was a complete and total hound dog? Would Gary Hart have made a good president?

These questions confound me because I believe that Eliot Spitzer was doing some good things. Admittedly some bad things as well. Does his bad outweigh the good that he could have done? I'm just not sure. What do high profile trailblazers do after they piss on their own trail? Can we trust men who trip over their own d**ks to lead us? Is sexual impropriety as tragic a flaw as embezzling? Or is dishonesty and weakness in any form unacceptable for men in leadership positions?

I don't know... it sort of becomes a slippery slope when you start thinking: well, there are worst things they could have done. Hmm, would their wives agree? Sure, these men owe their wives apologies but do they owe us the same thing?

The other fascinating aspect? The varying levels of disdain for the Cheaty McCheatersons. Some of these guys are reviled, some are still revered. Most everyone agrees it's especially heinous to cheat on your dying wife. Sneaking out for quickies while your wife is getting her chemo treatment just speaks to a callousness that makes John Edwards the least sympathetic of the group. I believe azzhole behavior was expected of Arnie but to impregnate the wife and the side chick (who works in your home) at the same time adds an 'eww ick' element that is hard to get around. 

Spitzer came across as such a Dudley Do Right that his fall from grace was shocking on a visceral level. Mark Sanford was just so whacktastic with his cheating. I mean his affair was a bad Lifetime Movie of the Week written by meth addicts. My goodness with the Latina lover, the long cheesy emails, the Appalachian trail? Dude, stop.

Clinton, well, his Oval Office slap-n-tickle was tragic because he lied about it (convincingly). One wonders what would have happened if he just said yeah, I did it, so what? What if Andrew Weiner had come forward and said that in a tequila-induced fugue state he twit-pic'd his privates to a random broad? Might he still be in office. 

The downfall of these guys is no longer shocking. In fact, it's almost expected. One of the best shows on TV right now, The Good Wife, is centered around these very scenarios. These events are so commonplace, I wonder if we'll get to the point where we don't even care anymore. And what will that say about us?

I guess my question is - Should cheating on your wife automatically disqualify you for running for (or staying in) public office? [squinting hard at Newt] Or is it the lying that really does it? What makes one situation worse than the others? Do these public figures owe the public an apology? Should they step down? And what in the world do they do next? I'm curious to know your thoughts. The floor is yours...

Time to call the Tea Party what they are: A Terrorist Incubator Group

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” ~Jonathan Swift

Terrorism: The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear ~Princeton WordNet

We've talked (and even laughed) on this blog about how words are weapons and can be used for good or evil. It's an intriguing and lively debate in reference to relationships. But Saturday, we saw how the vapid rhetoric of the Tea Party Leadership (namely Sarah Palin) manifested itself into pure evil. The graphic above shows the "Target List" of folks Say-Pay decided were holding back the interests of "real Americans." You'll notice the catchy target signs used to indicate the locations of each person and Gabrielle Giffords name listed. Ms. Palin has also been proud to share her motto, "Don't retreat - RELOAD." 

Well, a crazy military-reject in Arizona did just that Saturday. From MSNBC:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing at least six and injuring 13 in a rampage that rattled the nation. Among the dead: A federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
The suspected gunman, identified by federal law enforcement officials as Jared Loughner, 22, opened fire at point-blank range with a pistol with an extended magazine. Loughner was tackled after the shooting and was in custody.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Giffords was the intended target and that a second suspect was involved. Dupnik would not provide further details on the individual, but said investigators have pictures.
Remarkably, Ms. Giffords is alive but in critical condition. The events of the day have shaken politicians nationwide. Obama called the shooting "an unspeakable tragedy" and said that such "a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society." During an early evening press conference, Sheriff Dupnik said what many before him should have:
"I think that the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from the people in the radio business and some people in the TV business and what we see on TV - Arizona has become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry."
On a YouTube video by Loughner, he did not call himself a member of the Tea Party but he recited straight from the RightWingNut Handbook: 
The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution.
You don’t have to accept the federalist laws.
Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.
You’re literate, listeners?[...]
The property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution.
Thus the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and laws.
Sound at all familiar? Rush? Beck? Although the media (Fox in particular) is spinning not to call this a terrorist attack, how long until someone points the finger of blame right the eff where it belongs? You cannot spew hateful ignorance 24/7/365 and not expect it to take seed and blossom into evil and despicable acts. 

The Tea Party has been allowed to spread their message of hate virtually unchecked. We have laughed, pointed and shaken our heads at all of their crazy rallies. But people are showing up to those things and listening to this crap as if it is gospel. How long did they really think it would take until somebody decided to "reload" and "take back the country"? Let's call a spade a spade - if Jared Lee Loughner was Jared Lee Jackson or Jared Lee Muhammed, they would have stamped "terrorist" on his mugshot five minutes after booking.

And while the Tea Party faithful backpedal away from this tragedy as fast as they can, they have the blood of innocents on their hands this evening. Is this what it takes for America to wake up? To see that seething in silence is only non-verbal acceptance? Are we still the kind of country where innocents must die before injustice and ignorance becomes intolerable?

I hope to hell every American who abstained from voting in the mid-term elections takes a long hard look at what is going on in this country and most notably Arizona right the eff now. In the absence of rational leadership, people will follow the loudest voice. We can NOT allow those voices to be the only ones heard any longer. 

So you're angry today? Shocked, bruised and appalled? Scared sh*tless? I give you this solution: 2012. And in the meantime, let your voice drown out a crazy one. Do something, say something and let's do more than rally to restore sanity. Let's just do it.

Pop Culture is bleeding and you pulled the trigger… (a guest post)

Next up on Smart Guest Post Week, it's the fellas' turn. Kicking off Thursday morning with some knowledge dropped from the incomparable thinker, Inkognegro. If you have not had the chance, check out his weekly blog talk radio show: The Black Odd Couple. Today, The Inky One will be going on of the state of popular culture today and just who exactly is to blame…

In honor of my guest spot here in BnBworld, I celebrated by actually purchasing a copy of Chele's book, Heard it All Before. I say this not because I am looking for brownie points from her, or even because I think she needs a jump on the March mortgage. I bought it because it is part of my master plan.

What Plan???

My Plan to help rehabilitate Black Popular Culture.

After spending a considerable part of 2009 watching family, friends, and strangers decry and bemoan the state of popular culture: HipHop is dead, there is nothing on TV, all our legends keep passing away in music, all the books are about drug dealers and hookers, the movies are all remakes…etc. etc. etc. I had to say something.

While the simple answer is media consolidation and the endless appeal to our baser instincts, I am starting to see things little differently.

I think history has shown our propensity to view media consumption as an escape mechanism. As someone who uses media consumption for everything from a refuge to a store house for information to therapy to a babysitter to inspiration for all manner of tasks, I completely understand how irrational the decision making process can be when it comes to just what we consume from the mass media portals.

But seriously, folks, if you find yourself watching things because you enjoy talking bad (we'll call it snarking) about the proceedings, especially in regards to these celebrity vanity shows and celebrity incubator shows… are you part of the solution or part of the problem? I am loathe to outright criticize folks' viewing habits until those same people complaining that there is nothing "good" on TV on Tuesday are huddled around the Twitterverse hooting and hollering about the Thursday night hijinks of four women from somewhere near Atlanta who may or may not be housewives.

And while I don't begrudge anyone a guilty pleasure or two, I will say that filling your diet with guilty pleasures will seriously mess up your state of being.

Don't believe me?

Come along with me, let's play Chase the Foolery. Watch as your tolerance to foolishness builds up:

Watch as RHOA (said housewives) gives way to Fantasia for Real (and her beyond-ignorant brother Teeny) which gives way to keeping up with those girls with the famous Black Athlete Boyfriends (their names start with K) which gives way to the Bad Girls Club which begets Jersey Shore. One day, you'll look up and you will be trying to figure out how some random Italian girl ended up on the business end of a 2 Piece and a Biscuit, sprawled out on the floor of a lounge like she was a chalk outline model. And you were there to witness it all. (For those not in the know, just Google it).

During that time you could have read a book, or at least watched a show you actually respect and LIKE.

Unless of course…you LIKE such things, in which case feel free to take your lovely parting gift and wait for Friday's guest post.

As for the rest of you?

Remember as you snark and chuckle it up, that time is the only thing they aren't making more of, and time you spend watching escapist TV is time not spent stepping your proverbial game up.

The moral of the story?

You really shouldn't brag about how many eggs your chickens produce AND then complain about how much chicken shiggity ends up on your shoes. It's a package deal.

Alright folks, Monsieur Ink has spoken. Let's hear it. Fess up – who's guilty of escapist TV watch-n-tweet? What are your thoughts on reality TV today? Is there any redeeming value to these shoes (if so, please share!) And while you're in a sharing mood, please share what you feel is the best show on TV right now and why. The floor is yours, BougieLand… let me hear it.

Smartest or loudest? Thoughts on the rampant rhetoric of now.

I've noticed an irritating communication trend lately. It's happening across mainstream media, the blogosphere, social media and all out in public. And I must say, I don't care for it at all. Time was when you wanted to hear an opinion; you asked it of the smartest person in the room. Now everybody has a freaking microphone and he (or she) who screams loudest gets heard. It seems that the majority of the American public is accepting volume over value. And sometimes it's hard to hear yourself think with all the noise. I also find I have to unplug from Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere a lot more often.

All of a sudden, everybody is a political theorist, a sociologist, judge, jury and executioner. Sometimes, I just want to talk about how cute my boots are and what kind of wine helped to smooth out my mood. And yet, I find myself assailed and assaulted by all these loud (often angry, often ignorant) voices. In fact I would argue that nowadays the louder the voice, the less intelligent the speaker. What's stunning to me is that more these people scream, the more people stop and look and the greater their false sense of self grows. It's a vicious circle. Folks, I don't rubberneck at car wrecks on the side of the road, I keep driving. Focused on arriving at my destination sanely and safely.

I'm choosing to take the time to look beyond the screaming and get to what makes sense for me. Here are some examples:

Music – there's a whole lot of crap out there. I mean a lot. Not sure what flavor of deep-fried idiot is sitting up in Manhattan and LA offices dictating the music that blares from radio and television. I really don't need to hear whoever the latest no-talent-pop-princess is (who the heck is Ke$ha? I mean, seriously?!). I would be tempted to give up on new music altogether if wasn't for hidden gems like this giving me life from Eric Roberson and Lalah Hathaway:

Television – surely you have heard me rant about reality television enough that I don't need to go in any further. What's worse is that the "original programming" sucks for air as well. Network television (with the exception of one or two shows) has gone to hell in a handbasket. Seriously, are we back to the 50s? In the 90s we had a slew of programming featuring African American casts and telling stories of life outside the mainstream (read Caucasian) experience. Now, I have to be happy if there is one face of color in a cast. But there are some wins on cable, specifically Southland on TNT:

News and Politics – I quite frankly don't want to hear one more word about what a crappy job people think Obama is doing or how let down they feel. That's their opinion and they are welcome to it. But what is their bitching doing to help? Yes, Martha Coakley lost the Kennedy seat in Massachusetts and guess what… the world continues to spin on its axis (though I'm positive Teddy is spinning in his grave right about now). It's a blow but not a harbinger of an eminent apocalyptic disaster in America. Get some perspective people, folks are dying in Haiti. Hell, they're dying here!

And speaking of Haiti, boo and hiss to the folks talking about all the so-called "wild looters" running wild in the streets of Port-au-Prince. According to actual feet on the street, there a few folks out there cutting up out of sheer desperation but most of the Haitian citizens are well-behaved and thankful for any aid that can come their way. And don't get me started on the deliberate smear campaign directed at Wyclef and his Yele organization. Turns out the loudest people are the meanest ones too. To counterbalance, let me share this great story of Jeanette: A Haitian woman rescued after six days because neither she nor her husband would give up:

Public – So I'm at the gas station the other day minding my own damn business when the pump starts acting all crazy. I mean it won't let me pump more than a few drops at a time without cutting out. So I go inside and ask Habib to come check out it. Hold up… I'm not being racist, his name tag actually said, "Habib." Habib comes out, cheesing and striking up a conversation about Kanye West (since I'm black I gotta talk about Ye, right? Le sigh!) and whether I think his music has gotten too electronic when JimBob pulls up in a big old Ford pickup. Okay, now I'm being a little racist, I don't know if the boy's name was JimBob – he looked like a JimBob to me. (I'll go back to diversity sensitivity training this summer). Anyway, JimBob had drama with his pump as well and turned around in a circle before loudly declaring, "She broke the pump system and now we all have to wait."

No one said anything to him and Habib fiddled with the pump while still getting his chat on. So then JimBob said, "If she would stop flirting with Akmed, maybe we could get outta here." Brother across the way said, "Dude, chill out! She wasn't doing anything." JimBob whirled on him and said, "Who the f*** are you telling to chill out?" Sensing some bullshiggitty about to pop off, two of Habib's more beefy coworkers came out and asked, "Is there a problem out here?" JimBob started going in on them, not noticing that the pumps were fixed and the rest of us were filling up and moving on. That's a whole lotta drama for a Shell station on a Wednesday night. And his loud ass held all of us temporarily hostage while we figured out whether he was about to go all disenfranchised psycho-killer. I ask you, is it really that crucial?

So go ahead angry, loud people… get your best scream going. I'll have my music on, my head down and my keys at the ready. I will unplug, change a channel or disconnect before I allow crappy music, half-done TV or fruitless commentary to take over. Carry on. Thoughts, comments, music or TV you are proud to share with the group?

Under the Covers: The Tiger/Reggie Bush Haterade Flows

The picture on the left is Le Tigre with knit cap and weights on the cover of Vanity Fair (picture was taken prior to MistressGate). The picture on the left is of oiled up, platinum dog tag-wearing football player Reggie Bush on the cover of Essence. Both men are black athletes. And both covers have drawn the ire of many. Let's talk about it for a minute.

Personally, I'm not feeling Tiger. He's never been sexy to me. Nothing about him oozed cocoa-sexy. And that was before he white-washed his public persona to the least common dominator, colored himself Caublanasian (or whatever) and married the whitest woman on the plant and then cheated repetitively on her. Good for him. What I admired about Tiger was his mind and his game. And now that I know his mind can't wrap around simple concepts like not announcing yourself on your jump-off's cell phone or sending traceable text messages, I just admire his golf game. Wildly interested to know what that will look like when he returns. That about it.

Reggie Bush I never thought a lot about one way or the other except to gloat when my Longhorns beat his team in the Rose Bowl in 2006. Or where he impacted my fantasy football team. For as long as I've heard of him, he's dated the pseudo-celebrity Kim Kardashian who is about as deep as a saucer of milk and just as interesting. Good for him. I gave him credit for assisting (sporadically) the New Orleans Saints in their past few winning seasons and wearing the all-black uniform quite well. But that about it.

Then within the span of 24 hours, I was assailed with multiple tweets and emails about these two magazine covers. Let me start by saying I haven't read either article. They could be great insightful exposés, I just don't know. For now, let's talk about these covers. I didn't care for Tiger's cover at all. First of all, I'm so tired of Tiger. But Vanity Fair could not resist in cashing in. Good for them. Secondly, he's still not coming with the sexy. The cap, the pouty expression, the sloopy-hairy nipples and not quite a six-pack just weren't working for me. I don't know whether Tiger was trying to look "urban" or "edgy" or what – none of it worked. The majority of folks on Twitter and the Blogosphere agreed. Some thought he was going Hammer (referring to when clean-cut rapper MC Hammer tried to go all hoody street with the infamous 'Pumps and a Bump' song and video), I don't know. I just wasn't feeling it. A lot of the sisters will never forgive Eldrick for not checking for Shaquanda so they took the opportunity to pile on about just how "unsexy" Tiger's picture was. Never in the history of Pro Sports have more women felt less enthusiastic about a half-naked billionaire. Right about now, you put Tiger and Bill Gates in a room with 2 sisters – Bill's getting lucky. Tiger's getting knocked the eff out… just on GP.

Reggie's picture stirred up a controversy I did not see coming. I looked at and appreciated the cocoa-sexy and the 6-7-8-pack he had going on. Made a snarky remark that Tiger needed to see what a cover shot looked like. Immediately, I was pounced upon by the sisterhood. Was I not insulted that Essence, a magazine geared for Black Women would feature a man who (as far as we know) had no time for Shaquanda and Ne-Ne? Didn't I think that putting Reggie on the cover of Essence was like putting Robin Thicke on the cover of Cosmo? {which I thought was a hilarious analogy}. Especially since this was the Black Love issue!? Okay true, target audience may be a little off but ur, uh – I was just saying old boy was fine. I didn't realize it was a social commentary. Furthermore, if we stopped putting Black Celebs/Athletes who don't date Black Women on the cover of magazines, aren't there only 3 or 4 folks left to photograph? [sorry, couldn't resist]

So I turn this over to you, BougieLand. Both the fellas and the ladies. What do you think about these cover photos? Which picture do you prefer? Would you buy either magazine of read either article? Do share.

I’m tired of talking about it! (So I’ll just blog for a minute)

One of the joys of writing (and especially writing a blog) is that you can talk about anything and everything under the sun. Pop culture, current events, politics, relationships, money, family, music, movies you name it… on any given day I blog it if the mood strikes me. However, when you spend a lot of time reading blogs, watching news, checking your email, Facebook and Twitter – you can sometimes hit information overload. And lately, I find myself developing a bit of burnout about some topics that I feel are over-played right now. So much so that I'm going to get the last of my thoughts out about them now and put them to rest for a minute or two.

  1. Hair – With the arrival of the docu-comedy; Good Hair, Chris Rock brings to light all the drama, nonsense, pain and good time that is the Afican-American female hair experience. Personally, I think this topic has been discussed to death, especially in the blogosphere. You have women who are very pro-natural (non processed), women who are anti-weave, pro-perm, etc. Fellas weigh in on long, short, synthetic, afro – eeek! I'm over it. As long as your hair is clean and suits your face and personality, I say go for it. I was stunned when women were insulted by Chris' documentary claiming it degraded women and gave away too many of "our secrets" to white women. Someone stop the madness please. It's not like we females of African descendants have any secret sauce about how we get our hair to look however it looks. Personally, I wasn't aware that anybody gave that much of a damn what we did to make it do what it do. Long story short: get over it, put you on some cute earrings on and rock it.

  2. Black Men vs Black Women – a ton of posts and discussion and Twittering about whether Black men and Black women hate each other, can't get along, don't date, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I personally have no beef with Black men as a group. One or two ya'll I have to give a stern side-eye to but beyond that, I'm good. About twice a week, some Black Bloggers Fight Club of Mars vs. Venus Twitter Battle breaks off. It always ends with one party accusing the other one of hating on their own race and vowing to verbally eviscerate the other on their blog. Is it that crucial? It's really not. The battle of strong black man vs. independent black woman won't be won in the social media arena. Your 140 character tweet is not going ot make anybody see the light. Long story short: take it offline and find something nice to say (it's a start).

  3. Celebrities – I don't care what Mike Tyson said to Oprah, why Lamar Odom married one of those random Kardashian chicks or who A-Rod may be shacked up with. None of those people keep the lights on up in here and I am a little weary of celeb-hungry culture that has decided that Jon and Kate's divorce settlement is important enough for mainstream news… Le Sigh. Let me knock out a few high(low) lights right quick so we can move on: I don't know what the latest in the Amna Nicole wrongful death suit is and yes, Roman Polanski belongs up under the jail. Usher's new song is terrible, no I don't think Jamie Foxx is an authority on anything other than entertainment and sure, I don't see any reason why Kanye can't back from his pilgrimage to India a better person. Long Story Short: I'm going head in the sand on all celebrity news for a while.

  4. The Obama Hateration- It's gotten so bad that if a news anchor even mentions Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck – I change the channel. Whenever the latest Wingnut of the Week stops by CNN or MSNBC, I turn it off. It's not that I'm super sensitive to criticism of Prez 44, it's that I no longer care to listen long enough to see if the criticism is valid or a hate-laced rant. My tolerance threshold is only puddle-deep at this time. Poor Obama wins one of the most prestigious prizes known to man and still people found something (many things) critical to say. The arguments against his policies aren't even based in policy anymore but a philosophy that they more they tear him down, the higher they can elevate themselves. I'm really interested to see how that's going to work out in 2010 and 2012. Long story short: Until he does something to personally offend me; I'm going to continuing praying and cheering for the continued health and success of Barack H. Obama.

What's a topic you like to see retired from media (social, mainstream, blogosphere) at least for a minute or two? What's a topic you wish was getting more air/blog time?

Saturday Short(s) - She's got legs!

We present to you… Michelle Obama's legs. (gasp!) Tired of discussing healthcare and mired in the dog days of summer slow news cycle, the mainstream media spent ridiculous amounts of time discussing Mrs. Obama's apparel while visiting the Grand Canyon. Umpteenth call-in shows, viewers' polls and candid interviews later we discovered… nobody gave a damn. From Associated Press:

When Anya Strzemien, style editor at The Huffington Post, saw Obama's shorts, she knew there would be interest.

"I thought the fact that she wore shorts was newsworthy because she's the first first lady to wear shorts on Air Force One," Strzemien said. "I was interested as a newsperson because it was a first. A lot of things the Obamas have done have been firsts."

She posted a poll for readers to explain what they thought: Most were in favor of the outfit, but others thought the shorts were inappropriate or too short.

NBC's "Today" show poll had similar results with a whopping 300,000 people responding to the vote. The blog post was the show's most commented-on of 2009, said Dee Dee Thomas, a "Today" senior producer.

"People love talking about Michelle Obama," Thomas said. "She's pushing the envelope on how we see the first lady."

And it's clear the media loves talking about Michelle Obama, too. Many news outlets rallied to the first lady's defense, noting that she was on vacation when she wore the shorts over the weekend, in sweltering desert heat.

"What should she have worn to the Grand Canyon? A tweed pantsuit? A ballgown? What do you wear on your summer vacation?" asked Elizabeth Snead of the Los Angeles Times.

But others wondered from whom, exactly, the media was defending the first lady.

"Everyone is up in arms — if by 'everyone' you mean no one, or rather a large, shadow-y group of no ones," Kate Dailey wrote for Newsweek. "August is a slow news month, and covering people who are actually shocked and outraged about health care can only fill so many minutes in the Twitterfied news cycle."

True, there were critics online, as there tend to be.

"Why not wear linen pants ... more tasteful," Charlie Smith, of Montgomery, Ala., wrote on the "Today" site. "She may have been on vacation ... but she should respect the Office of the President and the USA."

But it was clear most responses fell firmly on the side of shorts.

"First Lady Michelle Obama looks great in her shorts and it shouldn't even be a news worthy issue ... Leave her alone," wrote Joann Begonja, of North Bellmore, N.Y.

"Get a grip folks — these aren't 'Daisy Duke' shorts," echoed John Johnson of Dover, Ohio. "Looks O.K. to me and I am NOT an Obama fan by any stretch of the imagination!"

Mrs. Obama's office had no comment on the matter.

Thomas, the "Today" producer, said she wasn't surprised by the support for the outfit.

"I would be surprised to hear of any woman in her 40s who has not worn shorts," she said. "She's a mother of two tweens on vacation in the hottest place in the country."

Mary Tomer, founder of the New York City-based blog, which chronicles Mrs. Obama's style, said the brouhaha over her legs is media-created.

"From what I can tell most people are wondering how this became major news," Tomer said. "Who doesn't wear shorts while hiking in the Grand Canyon in mid-August with your family?"

Wearing shorts is disrespectful of the Office of the President? But starting a war to jack some oil isn't? Lying out of both sides of your face (daily) was fine because even though G-Dub was a liar, traitor and a cheat, at least his wife never wore a sheath dress to any of his speeches? Don't get me started.

Here's what I know… no one wanted to see Laura, Barbara, or Hillary in shorts so we thank them for their discretion. If Michelle rocks a tankini on Martha's Vineyard, all hell will break loose. Comment as you will...

Excuse me but… your personal opinion is showing

I have avoided writing about this topic like Rush Limbaugh avoids reality – ferociously and unapologetically. But after watching the escalation of crazy, I can't hold back any longer.

Let me say for the record, it's not just the healthcare crazy (though that's a whole new level of wackadoodle). It's not just the swastika painting, the Joker poster hanging, the Neo-Nazi militias getting jiggy, the gun-toting "tree of liberty" folks or the slamming of 80-year old grandmas into the ground. It's the pontification, the superior, snarky, I-can-speak-louder-than-you noise emanating from that which passes itself off as news these days.

I miss Walter Cronkite and Bernard Shaw (where he at?). I miss the solemn, stone-faced stodgy delivery of straight (in as much as it can be) news. I miss news without nuance. Talk without texture, facts without flourish, and statistics without scenery. I want my news like old school Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am." I want my news like tequila at a Cinco de Mayo happy hour, "Straight no chaser." I could do this all night but you catch my meaning.

I have long since boycotted local and network news. If I happen upon it, I'll listen long enough to make sure I have no need of my Emergency Preparedness Manual and move on. The old "if it bleeds, it leads" standard of ABC/NBC/CBS news wore me out. After a long day living in the real world, I did not want to share everyone else's pain. Selfish? Probably? Self-preservation? Definitely. There's only so much negativity you can be bombarded with before it weighs heavy on your soul. I prefer my soul like pancakes – light and fluffy. (I'm killing with the metaphors today… apologies)

Having worked from home for a number of years, it was my practice to turn on Headline News (now irritatingly referred to as HLN) for about an hour to get the mcnugget news for the morning. Then I would shift over to MSNBC for some liberal in depthness before getting down to work. Near the end of my workday, I would generally switch between CNN and MSNBC for a few hours. During the election, I followed Countdown with a religious fervor previously reserved for NFL football and potato skins.

Let me take a moment to assign a special place in Hades for whoever created potato skins. And as long as we are talking about the seventh circle of Hell, let me get back on topic by bringing up one of Lucifer's anointed ones, Nancy Grace. I dislike her with the intensity of a thousand suns. Beyond the twang and the gleeful snitchy finger-pointing, anyone who makes their living off the tragedy and misfortunes of others is sub-human as far as I am concerned. Have you noticed that Jane Velez-Mitchell is just Nancy Grace with more "flavor" and darker hair?

Maybe I became burned out, maybe I got jaded. Or maybe, all of these talking heads got puffed up by the all the "White Girl killed by Husband/Lover," "Missing Baby" and "Shiny new Black President" ratings and lost what bits of their minds they had left. Somehow, somewhere along the way, the news became about opinions and accusations, not facts. At some point, someone decided you get better ratings by saying what you felt, not telling up what happened.

That's not reporting… that's just talking out of your ass. (Pardon the blunt verbiage)

These media outlets have a ton of rear-end mouthpieces out there. What school of Journalism did Glenn Beck graduate from? Whose Radio-TV-Film program granted Rush Limbaugh a degree? And even for the so-called "qualified" newsmen/women, when did fact-finding and non-partisan delivery of said facts turn into "he who screams the loudest wins"?

Can't even make the effort with Fox News. I find it so difficult to watch that when I was in my orthopedist's waiting room where the TV was programmed to Fox News; I told them I would stand outside until he was ready to see me. I believe I have hit zero tolerance for the bullshiggity.

CNN has gone from being a trusted news source to a place where you're never sure who or what you'll get. The most authentic voice they have left is James Earl Jones announcing, "This is CNN." Soledad stays losing with me over her Black in Americaness. Anderson Cooper is a philantrophist in reporter's clothing. Larry King is pimpin' Larry King. Wolf Blitzer just barely holds his own (he got a little too happy during the RNC/DNC conventions for me… act like you've been there, Wolf.) And let's take a nano-second to hold a candlelight vigil for Lou Dobbs career. Poor Lou Dobbs once considered "the most trusted man in news" swift boated his damn self by wading into the nutso birther waters and then acting like it was okay. Clue to newscasters, when you are starting your sentences with the phrase, "I believe…" you have gone adrift of the fair and impartial path of journalistic integrity.

Even Keith Olbermann who is less offensive than others (in my opinion) spends a lot of time judging the actions of newsmakers, grading them from bad to worst and taking a moment (when he's really riled up) to share a special commentary (read supercilious rant filled with words like "travesty of justice", "you sir are a scourge upon humanity" and "appalling lack of judgment." That being said, I feel like Keith at least makes an effort to deliver the truth. But that could be my liberal bias rearing its daisy-chained head. J

When I took my journalism 101 class (back in the day, ya'll), we were told over and over again that REAL news is covered by answering the question: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE. Editorials or op-eds happened with you delved into the WHY and the HOW. So is modern day news casting just one big Op-Ed? From people with skewed and unvalidated opinions?

BougieOlderBro believes that major news outlets should go independent and distance themselves from the ethically-challenged shackles of corporate ownership and influence. He has a point. How much of what gets shown on Fox is dictated from the Rupert Murdock philosophy on life (I shudder to think). How much weight does a board member of GE have on who appears on Hardball? How much Disney is in the ABC newsroom? It gives you pause and makes you question the validity of any (and every) broadcast.

So I've had it with news "personalities" running with "the hot story" whether it is valid or not. I've had it with the endless panels of professionals telling me what they think and how I should feel and why the country is going to hell in a basket TONIGHT, in time for the 10:00pm update. I'm weary of increasingly pretty people with nothing in their pretty heads mouthing off about the topics of the day. I can hear no more opinions on what Obama does wrong (or right), what Michelle Obama wears (or buys) and who killed Michael Jackson. I'm done, son.

I get my news in quick bites from all sources now. I actually get more breaking news on Twitter than CNN these days. I've found that the commentary I read on blogs is far more witty and three-dimensional than that offered up on TV. Huh, I just thought of something. I'm already over most of Primetime Television. I am not a reality fan, you KNOW my feelings about the BET of it all and now I am boycotting news shows. Pretty soon, I'll be watching nothing but the NFL Network, QVC, TNT and the History Channel. Definitely maximizing my 800 channels, ya'll.

So I'm talked out of the talking heads. Today, I found myself watching CNN on mute and I just read the scrolling headlines at the bottom. Yes, it's come to this.

What do you think? Is the mainstream media way out of control? Is there a one of them that you trust and respect? Please share.

Oh, I figured out how to add polls to my page (clearly). I'll give these a try and see if they slow down the page-load time. Talking head poll embedded below.