Thursday, May 19, 2011
Has Time magazine lost its mind? I recently had the misfortune to peruse its "100 Most Influential People in the World" issue and am saddened and dismayed to behold the rag which this one great news weekly has become. Who are they kidding?
For one thing, there's a huge picture of Chris Colfer of "Glee" smack dab on the cover. After winning the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a TV series, this kid is everywhere -- the late night talk show circuit, day time talk shows, magazine spreads, a plum spot on a Saturday Night Live sketch, and now the cover of Time. Colfer pretty much admitted he didn't deserve the honor, saying in reference to a gathering for the honorees, "I still don't know what I was doing there."
Neither do I.
Okay, I realize the list honors Time's opinion of the most influential people in entertainment, as well as those in communications and politics. But that's precisely the problem. These people are supposed to be the most influential in their field. Certainly there must be more influentual people in the field of entertainment than a 21-year old actor on a hit TV show who just happened to give a stirring acceptance speech at a Hollywood award show.
Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of "Glee," think Colfer has a lovely singing voice, and highly respect his effort to raise awareness of the "gay predicament." But seriously, if Time wanted to honor an actor for promoting gay tolerance, what about openly gay entertainer and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres? DeGeneres, who wields more influence in her little finger than Colfer has in his whole body, shapes the national dialogue on her popular talk show each and every weekday by choosing her own guests and topics. To my knowledge, Colfer isn't even out of the closet. At least DeGeneres is out there walking the walking and taking a serious stance in matters of concern to the gay community.
What was Time thinking?
Colfer isn't even the worst of the bunch. When it comes to naming lackluster entertainers, some who may spend more time shaping their eyebrows than public opinion, Time really hit the motherload. For goodness sakes, what on earth has Mia Wasikowska done to land on such a supposedly prestigious list? Look waif-like and attractive in a Tim Burton movie? Her write-up by Glenn Close mentions her "signature outfit" -- a combination of wool, black and brogues -- and energetic seductiveness, but not much more. Is Time telling sane people to believe such trifles actually influence world opinion?
I could go on, but you get my drift. There are definitely others who don't belong. Hopefully, you'll take a look at the list yourself to form your own conclusions.
When it comes to the field of entertainment, I can think of half a dozen people off the top of my head who did more than some of the people on this list to influence world opinion in the past year. Roman Polanski, who was arrested by the Swiss government, held for extradition and then freed, continues to make controversial and provocative cinema. Sandra Bullock showed the world how to leave a bad marriage and cheating spouse with grace and dignity. Conan O'Brien also showed tremendous grace under pressure by walking away from his dream job as host of "The Tonight Show" to preserve the legacy of the show. Tom Hanks continues to produce award-winning television. Donald Trump. Steven Spielberg. James Cameron. George Clooney. Lady Gaga. Take your pick. These are just a handful of entertainers who influence the world stage.
Oops, I accidentally named more than a half dozen. Given time and a little effort, I bet you could too.