Perception Is Reality

The TIME 100: Thoughts and Observations

Posted on: May 12, 2008

The TIME magazine and 4-bar Twix: A great combination, indeed. Whenever I take an international flight, whether it be down to the United States or across the Atlantic to Pakistan, I usually pick up these two items. It’s a ritual. Picking up the magazine from the airport means that you get the latest issue – before it’s even released. And this issue was of particular importance: It was TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people.

So today, I plan on doing a two-part review of the issue, specifically related to the influential people. I will be picking out things I found interesting (at random, ofcourse), observations I made and thoughts that were in my mind as I went through. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed reading and coming up with the idea of blogging about it. At this point, it is appropriate to bring in an image I saw on Sameer Vasta’s Blog:

True said

The TIME100 is divided into the following sections: Leaders & Revolutionaries, Heroes & Pioneers, Scientists & Thinkers, Artists & Entertainers and finally, Builders & Titans. Many individuals in the list were obvious choices, people such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Zuckerberg, founder of the (in)famous, Facebook. Others were individuals that came as a surprise, people such as Muqtada Al-Sadr, Baitullah Mehsud, Andre Agassi and Robert Downey Jr.

There’s a lot more people I wish to list that came as a surprise for me, however, what came as more of a surprise were the authors of the roughly 300-word articles. The authors included people such as Bill Clinton, Ben Stiller, Stevie Wonder and Laura Bush (Note: Laura Bush and her Husband Georgy Porgy are perhaps the only couple in the TIME100 at the same time. Correct me if I’m wrong). Yet more surprising is who these authors wrote about. George Clooney writes about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and then is featured as one of the people in the list later on. Similarly, Michelle Obama (Barack’s lady) write’s about Oprah Winfrey while Barack is featured in the earlier part of the feature. Everything seems to be revolving around the same people, or stakeholders of similar capacities who stand to gain. Which makes me think: Is there a hidden agenda or is T100 less an informative, and more of a publicity/advertorial publication?

Dalai Lama

We are all aware of the Dalai Lama’s story and the story of the Tibetans. Dalai Lama was first on the list of the T100. The interesting thing was that his photograph was taken by war photographer, James Nachtwey on what seems to be a terrace high up in the mountains. Interesting irony between Nachtwey’s style and what the Dalai Lama promotes.

Barry McCain

Okay, there’s no such person. That’s title up there is a mixture of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. These three individuals occupied a page split into three columns. Clinton, however, was in the center column and the text was in bold setting. That drew my attention straight to her column first. I wonder if the T100 has a hidden agenda to promote Clinton. Interestingly enough, however, the May 5th Issue of TIME magazine’s cover had Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s portraits, whereas the May 19 issue feature’s a portrait of Obama on the cover.

Georgy Porgy

None other than George W. Bush. The interesting thing is, the article was written by Silvio Berlusconi, the Prim Minister of Italy. The article did not really mention how Bush is/(was) influential, rather, written in a way to protect his image. The article reads,

“My thoughts return again to that G-8 summit, where Italy had brought to the top of the agenda the fate of the world’s poorest nations. And Bush was an early and enthusiastic supporter…”

An early Enthusiast and nothing more, I guess. I have no more words.

Baitullah Mehsud

Allegedly a Pakistani terrorist who was involved in Benazir Bhutto‘s assassination, Mehsud is the first Pakistani to make it on the T100 for this edition. What disappointed me was how the article was a little more than tilted towards linking Islam (which comes from the root word, Salam, which means peace) with terrorism. The article reads,

And so we can add another name to the list of Islamist terrorists with global reach.”

Very quickly then, Mr. Peter Bergen, is “Islamist” even a word? And who said anything about Mehsud being a religious fanatic?

Sheik Mohammed al-Maktoum

Perhaps one of the most honest inclusion of an individual in the T100. Interestingly, he is known as Sheik Mo by some of his subjects. I doubt this happens, but it’s a cute name to giver to a sheik.

Yoani Sanchez

This is for everyone that blogs. Very briefly, she blogs about the real life in Cuba. The article reads that her dissertation “was perceived as a veiled criticism of the Castro regime.” Conveniently, the United States government dislikes Castro and so the T100 publishes an article which reminds the North American’s about this stance. Hidden agenda?

Still, what is interesting is how Yoani practices freedom of speech which most journalists in Cuba cannot. Without giving away the article, This is Yoani Sanchez‘s blog. I wonder if her blog works in pro-Cuban countries.

Robert Downey Jr.

This is the last one for now. Ben Stiller writes about Robert Downey Jr. The article is very interesting, yet It doesn’t explain how Downey might be influential. Perhaps he is though: Stiller was influenced to use the word “genius” for Downey 4 times in one paragraph of roughly 4 sentences. Perhaps Wikipedia should update its entry on Genius which includes the likes of Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. Google should also redirect it’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” click for “genius” to Robert Downey Jr.’s fan page. Just maybe.

So this took a while, but If I’m up for it, I’ll add a second part soon. Hope you all enjoyed reading this.


5 Responses to "The TIME 100: Thoughts and Observations"

Downey was a surprising one. All he did was star in the latest Hollywood blockbuster that wasn’t exactly ground-breaking.

I liked the way they had other well known people discuss the individual. Cate Blanchett talking about Kevin Rudd I thought was perhaps a little bit misplaced. Just because they’re both Australian… does that really make them relate? Sure she was a part of the Australian 2020 summit, but she’s an actor!

Or am I right in assuming that perhaps that article was only published in the Australian version of Time?

[…] up the magazine from the airport means that you get the latest issue – […] Read more at: Design, Photograph, Communicate Tagged as: andre agassi, angelina jolie, baitullah mehsud, barack obama, ben stiller, brad […]

Stephen Colbert v. Rain. That’s genius.

no it was published in the american version as well heh. I thought the same thing, I was wondering if anyone else picked up on it.

eyeningtenure yeah, eh? 😀

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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