Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The 100 People Who Shape My World????

Warning: Expect snarkiness all ye who enter here.

Today was not a good day. Lowe's informed me that, while they would be happy to install my new floors, "due to liability issues," they cannot tear up or remove the damaged floors. Hello? Do I look like Cathy the Construction Worker?

My friend Ken and I spent several hours trying to determine how big a problem I was facing. We started in the kitchen and pulled up the vinyl (the beautiful Armstrong Solarium I'd had installed not all that long ago) to find more vinyl beneath. We pulled that up, too, only to discover that my subfloor was damaged during my recent house floods. I'll need a carpenter to install a new subfloor. Fortunately, before I resorted to the fetal position, Ken assured me that he knows a good carpenter. Thank God for friends (and insurance checks).

I tell you all this to explain the tone of the rest of this post.

I'll be the first to admit that I approached the new issue of Time magazine in a snarky mood. The May 8th issue presents "The Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World." The first 25 names I read were the "Artists & Entertainers." While there were a few persons I agreed with Time on (George Clooney, Jeff Skoll, Howard Stern, Rob Pardo and Matt Drudge), for the most part, I found myself going, "Say, what?" For some reason, this reaction was more pronounced when I saw the distaff side of the list.

The Dixie Chicks? Okay, one of them had the courage/nerve/bad taste to diss George W. Bush from the stage during a concert overseas, but that doesn't make the country/pop trio a group of "Harriets" (I'm thinking of both Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe in terms of social advocacy).

While I was still trying to understand the rationale for the Chicks being included on this list, my gaze drifted down to...

Rachel Ray?? Okay, so she's cute, marketable and she knows how to cook. She's Katie Couric with an apron. Rachel is like an adorable kitten that makes you want to smile whenever you see her. She's on the television 24/7. But one of the 100 people who shapes the world today? Give me a freaking break. And then I saw...

Tyra Banks??? When I read that name, I had to get up and go back out to my kitchen. My torn-up floor with its moldy subfloor made more sense to me than Tyra Banks as one of the 100 people who shapes the world today.

One (note: I said ONE) of the problems with the Time article was that, instead of a reasoned explanation of why they selected the various persons on their list, the magazine depended on fluff bios written by other celebrities. Tyra's was written by Heidi Klum who gushed about how whip-smart, but "always nice," Tyra is. I can say the same for the sixth grade crossing guard at the elementary school. Tyra has a couple of television shows: America's Next Top Model (Now THAT's something to be proud of) and a talk show. How do either of these shape the world? Or even New Jersey?

Time is confusing celebrity with influence. There are some celebrities who wield tremendous influence in the world--Oprah for one. I would have applauded Oprah's name on the list under entertainers. I might even have accepted Angelina Jolie's name here--because, during her enthusiastic tenure as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N., she's drawn attention to the plight of some of the world's most disadvantaged people.

Oh, wait! Angelina Jolie DID make the list. She's over under the "Heroes & Pioneers," right up there with Elie Wiesel and Mukhtaran Bibi, the Pakistani woman who risked her life to enter a courtroom and face down the men who raped her to satisfy a debt of "honor."

While I do think Angelina deserves some credit, the attention she has brought to the world's refugees came as the result of her notoriety as an entertainer. She does not belong on a list of heroes and pioneers.

I could go on, but I'd only point to another Time "Hero"--Katie Couric. And that would be overkill.

Go to:, and check the list out for yourself.

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