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Wear positive attitude| Wise Up: Smart is the New Black says Lisa Germinsky - by Laura Jones

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ow that Obama is a couple months or so into his term and the Dubya jokes are quickly fading from memory, let's just agree that the former president wasn't, how shall we say, cerebral.

I just can't pin our collective mess on the man. What were most of us doing while the country was being run into the ground? Searching for the next "American Idol"? Spelling like a fifth-grader? Waiting for the next pop tart’s wardrobe malfunction?

Let’s face it team, we haven’t exactly been at the top of our game. But the times they are-a-changin'.

Wooed by the refreshing sound of a president and his basic grasp of the English language, I listened to President Obama speak frankly to our mounting obstacles during a February press conference. And while the state of our nation unsettles me, I take comfort in our leader’s unwavering determination, vision and most of all, his intelligence. Then it occurred to me: It’s cool to be smart. Has President Obama single-handedly inspired a nation to pull its head out of its ass? A little evidence that we’re yearning to think again:

1. Our "It Girl" is smart. We can’t get enough of Tina Fey. She might be easy on the eyes but that’s not what we first noticed her for. We love Fey because she made it fun to think about issues we’ve preferred to ignore. She cleverly and courageously used the world stage to say the things we were dying to hear.

2. The ultimate fashion authority says so. Vogue dedicated several pages of its January issue to Katie Couric, Campbell Brown and Rachel Maddow. And not in an investigative "Which-designers-are-in-your-closets-ladies?" kind of way. No, it’s all business. Vogue celebrates the women transforming broadcast news, pushing the boundaries and taking the lead on asking tough questions.

3. The frivolous are taking heed. Meet the Recessionista, formerly known as the Fashionista. They’ve abandoned Carrie Bradshaw’s financial credo -- "I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet" - for more conservative cues from the likes of Suze Orman... who, I promise, will never tell you Manolo Blahniks are sound investment.

4. Demetri Martin. Haven’t heard of him yet? Pay attention. Curiously politics-free and furtively smart, his new show, Important Things, made its Comedy Central debut last month.. "New York" magazine sums it up best, "So if the last election signaled a free-floating desire among young people to embrace a shift toward the smart, the different, and the new, then Demetri Martin is the man arriving at the exact right moment."

5. Even our class-clown is growing up. The ever-charming, celeb-punking Ashton Kutcher is putting his infectious energy and multi-tasking mind to good use. He recently announced his commitment to end human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children through his Presidential Pledge. Kutcher has since rallied hundreds of fellow celebrities to make pledges of their own, and continues to encourage all of us to be the change. He's even using his newfound social media presence to help sick kids.

Brains are back. Fiscal responsibility, the environment, the war in Iraq, human rights, poverty, healthcare -- it’s all got to stay top-of-mind. Take your pick, because there’s a mountain of work to do. We can no longer afford the luxury of ignorance or keep waiting around for someone else do to the job. Sure, we’re still going to dance with the stars and keep Britney steadied at the top of our Yahoo searches (we’re Americans after all), but first, we’re going to do our homework.

Laura developed a love for creating positive social change while earning a BA in Sociology and Social Services at the University of California, Davis. Her work history is based on doing good, working and volunteering with animals and being a nursing assistant for the elderly and disabled while honing her writing skills and gaining experience as a freelance copy writer for small businesses. After living and traveling across the globe,she’s decided to settle down in the Bay Area and combine her desire to make a difference, her skills as a wordsmith and her gift of gab to spread the word about Tonic. http://www.tonic.com


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