I guess the train of thought was that it would be there because it would feel good on your arms for long typing sessions, which I can understand but there would be some cushion necessary there, and then you get into heat dissipation issues...No, I am with you 100%. Leather would at least have some appeal. Some spongy synthetic car interior material? Not so much. Sounds like it would be a dust and crumb magnet too.
But maybe you could hang one of those little pine air fresheners from it? Or really go all 70's super-suede retro with a lava lamp