The most mind-numbing non-news story of '09?
In case you've been hibernating, here's the back-story: Phelps, at 23 years old, and the most decorated gold-medalist in Olympic history, turned up in a photo published in the British tabloids smoking pot [insert painfully obvious caloric-intake/munchies joke here].
After catching wind of the incident, Gurkha bogarted free publicity by offering Phelps a sponsorship contract. Given the magnitude of his current endorsement contracts, Phelps would be a fool to shill for Gurkha for a measly $25k. Obviously, this was a marketing ploy.
Gurkha's message to the public: Cannabis and cigars are related.
Really, Gurkha? Given the bad press cigar smokers are enduring with SCHIP, smoking bans and everything else, your Steve Miller brand-strategy is to align tokers and smokers?
Of course, reliable journalists they are, TMZ got the scoop with a piece titled, "Phelps Offered $25k to Blaze it Up."
Really, TMZ? "Blaze it up" is as deep as your bag o' puns goes? When is the last time a cigar smoker referred to "blazing one up?"
Look, I spare judgment on those who choose to indulge in "extra-curricular activities." As long as they're presenting no danger to others, it's their time and money as far as I'm concerned. But there is something to be said for irresponsible timing, an art form Gurkha seems to have mastered.
Furthermore, gossipy "news" outlets like TMZ represent the lowest common denominator of the American media landscape in my estimation. Every story they publish is another chink in the armor of American intellect, and an affront to good taste and good sense.
Gahhh! Enough of my ranting...what do YOU think?
- Hayward Tenney