Saturday, May 5
If you remember this and this, then you probably already know what I think about Time magazine's "100 Most Influential" list. Time, I'm going to give you the same advice I gave a friend of mine in college back when he decided it would be a good idea to drink an entire six-pack and smoke a bowl before he went on a date: I know you think this is an interesting idea that will spur lots of talk and analysis, but all you're going to do is make people laugh at you. Seriously, don't ever do this again.
In case you haven't had time to peruse the whole list, here are some people Time thinks are among the world's 100 Most Influential:
· Tina Fey. Look, I love Tina Fey. I've gone on record as saying that "30 Rock" is the funniest show on TV right now, and if she weren't married I probably would've spent most of my trip to New York in March waiting outside Rockefeller Center with a dozen red roses and a diamond ring. But one of the 100 most influential people in the world? Has "30 Rock" made it over to Russia or China yet? And if it did, would they even get how funny "The Rural Juror" is?
· Kate Moss. Tell me one important or influential thing she's done in the past 12 months other than getting photographed in public with coke on her pants.
· Rosie O'Donnell. Right, because her feud with Donald Trump is shaping up to be one of the great cultural schisms of our time. (Oh, and notice that the piece on her was written by Barbara Walters -- what, they couldn't get Kelli Carpenter?)
· Wesley Autrey. Great guy, and one of a very small percentage of people in this country who can truly be called a "hero," but do you even recognize his name right off the top of your head? He's the guy who jumped onto the New York subway tracks last year and saved a guy who had fallen off the platform due to some kind of seizure, thus . . . triggering a nationwide wave of subway-platform-life-savings? Again, a sterling example of humanity, but I'm not convinced he really qualifies as "influential" on a global (or even national) scale.
Meanwhile, here are some folks conspicuous by their absence:
· George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney. No, I don't like them, and I am about 90-percent sure that we can already call them two of the most inept and destructive leaders in American history. But like them or not, you gotta admit they have a powerful effect on things, even if it's mostly negative. Andrew Sullivan sums it up pretty well: "I don't think Bush has ever been as influential as he is now. If he supports something, vast numbers of people around the world -- and a majority of Americans -- will automatically oppose it. Whatever else that is, it's influence."
· Rudy Giuliani. Again, you don't have to like him, and I pretty much don't, but how can you have Michael Bloomberg on here and not him? Yeah, Bloomberg's the current mayor, but what accomplishment of his can you name besides banning smoking in all the bars? Doesn't Giuliani's arguable position as the Republican frontrunner for 2008 (though certainly less dominantly so after Thursday night's debate) count for something?
· Bill Gates. I'm posting this using Internet Explorer on a computer running Windows XP, so there you go.
· Louis Gallois. No, you don't know him, but he's the current CEO of Airbus Industrie, the international consortium that builds the one-half of commercial airliners worldwide that aren't built by Boeing and that is currently attempting to revolutionize air travel with the A380 superjumbo. And even if the A380 turns out to be a financial disaster for the company -- which might yet happen -- it deserves credit for lighting a fire under Boeing's ass and inspiring the turnaround of an industry giant that had been on the ropes for a better part of a decade. Without the shadow of the A380 looming over them, it's doubtful Boeing would have made their own attempt at revolutionizing air travel with the 787, either.
· George Bodenheimer. Otherwise known as the current president of ESPN, which, for better or for worse, pretty much dictates the ways in which sporting events are broadcast and analyzed not just in the U.S. but all over the world.
· Melissa Theuriau. Oh, I'm sorry, maybe you think being the most beautiful newscaster in the world is no big deal.
Oh and hey, now that I think about it, where the hell is my name on this list? I was Time's fucking Man of the Year for crying out loud! Back in December I was #1 in the world, and a mere five months later I can't even crack the top 100? What a bunch of Judases. Is it because they're still mad at me for not renewing my subscription?
I know that lists like this are extremely subjective in a lot of ways, and if you asked 100 people to write down their lists, not only would you get 100 different lists, there probably wouldn't be more than a dozen people who even appeared on the majority of them, much less who were unanimous choices. But man oh man I wish Time would dial their Artificial Gravitas Machine down from 11 and instead pitch these lists for what they really are -- "We Get 100 Famous People To Write About Other People They Like."
Then again, I guess I should just be content that Ann Coulter wasn't on there this year. You take your victories where you can get them, I suppose.