Today I came home to find that my weekly Time magazine had come and featured on the cover were the 100 most influential people for 2008. Inside were 100 short profiles of innovators, actors, ambassadors and terrorists. As shallow as TIME can be at times, I appreciated the diligence in their selections. But that appreciation quickly faded when after reading, I realized just how ridiculously gushing some of the profiles were. Anytime you have anything written by guys like Donny Osmond and Andie Roddick, you have to expect your audience to come with reservations. Sorry TIME, but I don't order your magazine to hear rich celebrities tell me just how great their rich celebrity friends are. But don't get me wrong. There were some good aspects. I really liked that they asked Bishop Desmond Tutu to contribute and Ben Stiller's profile of Robert Downey Jr. was randomly really intriguing (and well-written might I add). But again, who knows how much of what was actually written made it through editing.
Going back to the most influential of 2008. What I took from skimming through that magazine (since for the most part, that's all that it allowed you to do) was the realization that it doesn't take much to be influential. Bunched in the same group of the "most influential" were humanitarians and terrorists sharing the same pages. And what I mean by "not taking a lot" is that if I were to leave the US, join some militant guerrilla terrorist unit in the middle of nowhere, and go about wreaking havoc on America all the while dropping my name in as many places as possible, I would have a great chance at cracking the top 100 without breaking a moral sweat. Strong moral conviction typically connotes some sort of good, but by definition, it can go both ways. Notoriety and influence are not one and the same. Let's not forget that.
Funny to realize I just rebuked myself through this rant.