Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Most Influential People in the World? Not soFast

Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli

A couple years ago Colin Firth won the Oscar for best actor in the emotionally charged film, The King’s Speech, giving a dead-on performance as King George VI and his real-life battle against stuttering.  Shortly after the awards, he found that he had made the list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Surprised, he told his middle son, age ten at the time, and the boy gave him a long look and answered matter-of-factly, “You’re not even the most influential person in this house.”

Chuckling, Firth realized that his son had spoken the truth.
The list, for the most part, is a good thing.  Published by Time Magazine each spring, it names those that have made a positive impact around the globe, but have all of the 100 choices accomplished that goal?   

Naturally our president and his wife Michelle made the list, as did the pope, Rand Paul—who I think is a jerk—Justin Timberlake, Steven Spielberg, and Malala Yousafzal, the fifteen year old Pakistani girl, who while protesting that girls have a right to learn, was shot in the face by the Taliban.  Miraculously, she recovered and vowed to fight on.

Techno giants, medical researchers, artists, heads of states, designers, sports heroes, and many entertainers joined these notable numbers.  Jay Z, Daniel Day-Lewis, and even Jimmy Fallon to name a few.
Jimmy Fallon
Now I love Jimmy Fallon.  I love his razor-sharp wit, his quick impersonations, and his true inventiveness.  I also congratulate him for winning Jay Leno’s slot in late night TV.    But how much does Jimmy Fallon move a generation?  I don’t think he’s in a position at this time to claim that he does.  Maybe after taking over The Tonight Show he’ll turn comedy on its head, but I don’t see it yet.  

And Jennifer Lawrence?  Like Colin Firth, she won the Oscar this year for Silver Linings Playbook, but how does she impact us now? I asked a few people this morning who won for “best actress” this year, and no one remembered. 

And then there's Wayne LaPierre.  Rock star, Ted Nugent, wrote a glowing tribute about this monster, whom I guess he considers human.   If you don't know LaPierre, he' s the amoeba who represents the National Rifle Association and fought hard against closing any loopholes in the gun law--even after Newtown, even after everything.  And he's a positive influence?  You mean like Hitler?

While most of Time's influential people are readily seen as movers and shakers, I got to thinking about Colin Firth’s son again. His father might not be the most influential person in the house, but I bet this boy is funny, smart, and well-adjusted because both his parents have given him lots of time and love. 

Comedian Henry Youngman used to start a story with, “Take my wife…”  Then he paused, and said, “Please.”  What he really meant was, you want influential?   It all begins at home.