Hard-Hitting NYTimes Hails Michelle Obama's 'Elegant Arms' and Barack's Shirtless Photos

The New York Times' Sunday Styles section offered some hard-hitting journalism about the toned-up and good-looking First Couple, complete with fabulous photos. Joyce Purnick mock-criticized Michelle Obama for looking so "toned and elegant" in "(Psst: We Feel Bad About Our Arms.)" Text box: "It's time to face the truth: we don't all look like the first lady."

I had expected to keep mum about my problem with Michelle Obama until after the election, but my frustration has gotten the better of me. I can contain it no longer.

I refer not to her politics, but to her arms-- her bare, toned, elegant arms. Enough!

The first lady has made it unacceptable for women to appear in public with covered arms. However innocently, however unwittingly, that is what she has done. Those bare, toned, elegant arms of hers have spawned an epidemic of sleevelessness, exposing arms, arms, arms, and not all of them toned and elegant.

This should not come as a surprise. Not all women are blessed with the first lady’s workout discipline or genetic gifts. That is especially true of most of us over the age of, say, 50, or, to be more liberal, 50ish. Or, to be more candid, older.

Stuart Emmerich took up the other side in "Hot-Button Issue: The 'Hot' Factor."

John F. Kennedy was a striking man -- by most accounts, the best-looking person ever to occupy the White House -- but he lived in an age before Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, chat groups and discussion threads made that a subject to debate with as much fervor as health care reform and offshore tax havens. Not so this year’s presidential candidates.

Thus, if you typed “Is Barack Obama hot?” into Google last week, among the 10,600 results would be a link to a Facebook page “How hot is Barack Obama?,” with instructions to “ ‘like’ this if you think Barack Obama is the hottest U.S. president ever!!!” Results: 1,238 “likes” as of Friday morning, and comments like one from an admirer identified as Juanita Mitchell Dillion: “Fine, Fine, Fine.”

Meanwhile, a “Barack Obama shirtless” search got 68,000 hits, most with links to pictures of the president on vacation in Hawaii.

A similar search turned up just 8 results on Google to the question “Is Mitt Romney hot?” But there was also a “Mitt Romney is Hot like a Muffin in the Sack” Facebook page with 21 likes, as well as 5,300 Google hits for a “Mitt Romney shirtless” query. (But most of those seemed to be of links to blog posts and pictures about his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan.)


Last week, when he and the first lady were on “The View,” the president made it clear he didn’t seem entirely unaware of his physical appeal, joking (or was he?) with the cast that “I told folks I’m just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys.”

Of course, Mr. Obama’s looks didn’t go unnoticed when he was just a candidate and not yet the president. Most famously, a video called “I Got a Crush on Obama” by Amber Lee Ettinger, who became known as Obama Girl, went viral in 2007 and was named one of the decade’s top memes by Newsweek. (Sample lyrics: “You seem to float onto the floor/Democratic Convention 2004/I never wanted anybody more/Than I want you/So I put down my Kerry sign/Knew I had to make you mine.”)