Though you might think that there is nothing on the planet more inoffensive and less polarizing than Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl, that didn't stop extremely offended right-leaning Facebook users from taking to the event's page in order to express their extreme displeasure at the involvement of the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama as a part of the most ambitious Puppy Bowl yet.
Ten years ago producers at Animal Planet, inspired by the annual Yule Log counter-Christmas programming, decided to offer an alternative to the Super Bowl in the form of two hours of dogs under 21 weeks old rambunctiously running around a small stadium filled with toys in an adorable parody of the big game. These days the show features a kitty half time show, penguin cheerleaders, a cockatiel named Meep who tweets during the game, your eye-in-the-sky blimp camera operated by hamsters, and a tail gate party with dogs watching the players outside the stadium.
In the past there have been pigs, hedgehogs in tutus, and other overly cute additions to what have become a beloved yearly tradition. There are even Internet celebrity animals like the perma-dwarf cat Lil Bun and the Keyboard Cat. It's for a good cause as well, since almost every animal that appears in the program is adoptable.
While all these lighthearted antics had thousands of people commenting and posting on the Puppy Bowl Facebook page it appears the decision to have Michelle Obama participate from the White House lawn with a few kids and the first dogs, including helping to celebrate "touchdowns" with an enthusiastic dance, was enough to spark outrage and hostility from more right-leaning Puppy Bowl fans. Her comments during the Puppy Bowl amounted to suggesting a good walk or run with the family dog was a great way to exercise.
"Why have you ruined the Puppy Bowl by inflicting Michelle Obama on us?" said user Shannon Lucky. "I watch that presentation because of the puppies! I do NOT want to have that nasty, ugly, self-absorbed excuse for a female inflicted on me!"
And Karen Allen Brice posted, "I've been looking forward to this for months and you ruin it by putting Michelle spend all the taxpayers money Obama on it."
Others decided on more personal attacks.
The opposition to the First Lady's appearance seems to have grown out of the equally baffling firestorm of comments on the Subway Facebook page ever since Obama partnered with the restaurant to promote her childhood obesity cause. The vitriol was baffling then. After all, who can muster up intense feelings over sandwiches? Here, during the most cuddly and loveable event on television the passion for people to chime in angrily is frankly baffling.
And of course, as you see from the "gorilla" comment above, racism plays a part.
Other slightly more topical posters focused on the promise of President Obama to adopt a shelter dog for the First Pet, but who ended up accepting a purebred Portuguese water dog from Senator Ted Kennedy as a gift for his daughters because the hypo-allergenic nature of the dog would be easier on Malia Obama, who is allergic. There was also discussion of the oft-debunked notion that Bo Obama has his own plane.
On a personal note from your humble reporter, people being mean on the Internet is not news. When racist YouTube commenters shut down that Cheerios commercial, what did you expect? YouTube comment sections exist to prove Jean-Paul Sartre right about Hell being other people. Facebook is no different.
But honestly, it's the Puppy Bowl. When something that life-affirming and pleasant can't be free of partisan politics that's not only news, it's an evil omen.
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