It’s a special Time of the year for snarky culture commentators, because Time has released their annual 100 Most Influential People List, or as I like to call it, People Time Staffers Like List Plus a Few More. Because there’s no way anyone who works at Time magazine likes Mitt Romney.
The list, which has previously included Zac Efron, Mia Wasikowska, and countless other non-influential celebrities and artists, this year attained a new level of uselessness. Louis C.K.? After a number of failed sitcoms, he has finally found one that can scrape up just enough viewers to stay on cable. Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain? Fine actresses, neither a household name, both Oscar losers for “The Help.” Chelsea Handler? Her profile, written by Kathy Griffin, assures us that Handler’s “authenticity is 100 proof.” In other words, Handler is 50% authentic. Even a more pertinent choice like pop megastar Rihanna has little influence outside of collecting YouTube hits, stirring up the webmasters at naked celebrity sites, and setting a terrible example for young victims of domestic violence.
Of course, the people on the list who do have some influence on world affairs is pretty dull reading even by intelligent, well-informed standards: Salman Khan, Elinor Ostrom, Henrik Schärfe, Ron Fouchier, Robert Grant, Alexi Navalny. All doubtlessly more influential to the world as a whole, none of whom are going to inspire the average reader to pick up a copy of Time at the newsstand or surf over to their website. And really, if they had to pick a bunch of actors for their list, why leave out Michael Fassbender, who had a great year and seems poised for major stardom?