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People who matter

The world’s most valuable human beings

The New Statesman has compiled a list of “The 50 People Who Matter Today”, which is helpful, because now we know which people are the people who matter, we can in good conscience abandon the rest of the Earth’s population to bombing, disease and starvation?

Not very exact in its arithmetic, the list actually names, by my rapid count, 58 people, but “The Obamas” apparently only count as one person, just as “Jay-Z and Beyoncé” do? (Beyoncé apparently “walks onstage in an explosion of lights and glitter and sequin leotards”, which sounds really dangerous?)

Also for our nitpicking pleasure, and in the grand tradition of such bullshit enumerations, actually eminent individuals such as Amartya Sen or political leaders such as Hugo Chavez are roughly corralled into the same ordered-list space as Simon Cowell, Anna Wintour, and 9/11 “truther” David Ray Griffin, all three of whom apparently “matter” more than anyone at CERN or Axl Rose?

Still, in a last-gasp nod to the prosaic arts, the compilers do grant place number 50 of “people who matter today” to Dan Brown. (Which is perhaps not totally insane, given this intriguingly thoughtful reading of The Lost Symbol?)

Who do you think matters, readers?

  1. 1  Stan Carey  October 2, 2009, 10:12 am 

    There’s a story doing the rounds at the moment that new babies (or “today’s babies”, “most new babies”, “half of babies”, “more than half of babies”, etc.) will live to be 100 years old. Most of the headlines on this story omit the crucial qualification that this factoid concerns only babies born “in rich countries”; poor babies don’t matter so much.

  2. 2  NomadUK  October 2, 2009, 11:43 am 

    What I think matters is that the proliferation of question marks in your post is driving me bats. Whazzup with that?

  3. 3  shadowfirebird  October 2, 2009, 12:09 pm 

    Who matters? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, I do. And my wife and daughter, the two lifelong friends I made at university, the one lifelong friend I made at school, and a couple of other people I can trust with my life in a pinch.

    Note that none of them are rich or famous — and none of them would *want* to be famous.

    Media makes its own values, and they are backwards.

  4. 4  richard  October 2, 2009, 1:08 pm 

    I’ve been noticing the question marks steadily increasing, and wondering if you’ve been reading Salvador Dali.

  5. 5  richard  October 2, 2009, 1:59 pm 

    I feel Rickrolled by your intriguingly thoughtful link. Except: I can’t figure out why, in the middle of a rant about dissing Christians, we get this aside:
    Also around the edges of the book are a greedy, selfish heir who pals around with the “celebrati” and a friendly Arab named Omar, and a tribute to the New York Public Library.
    It seems cruel to ask what the relevance of that bit is, given the context, but I’m genuinely mystified. If only I could decode this, I’m sure I would understand everything.

  6. 6  sw  October 2, 2009, 2:52 pm 

    Really? There’s a problem with question marks? I don’t think so. But I do think that Stan Carey is completely spot-on! It’s the right segue, one of those rare moments in reading a blog when a series of thoughts, questions really, is answered in another voice, with an answer to a question that wasn’t explicitly asked and yet is so definitive. How “we” decide who matters and who does not is a rather important question – and rather than laying the blame with “the media” as though it is something so distinct from who “we” are and shrugging helplessly, it is worth pausing to ask a few questions – isn’t it?

    And please, richard, Mary HK Choi’s writing begs for decoding the way a model on a catwalk begs for decoding: decode away, sucker, but you’re missing the fashion. It won’t explain everything, but you’ve just spent a few moments in the presence of something that might be beautiful? Or not? Something happened, that much we know.

  7. 7  Steven  October 2, 2009, 3:16 pm 

    I built up a backlog of eschewed question marks, and am trying to use them all up before their sell-by date?

  8. 8  dsquared  October 2, 2009, 4:19 pm 

    Ï’ll swäp ÿöü sömë för ä jöb löt öf ümläüts.

  9. 9  Steven  October 2, 2009, 4:28 pm 


  10. 10  Ricardo  October 2, 2009, 11:04 pm 

    Don’t be taken in! Half of those are diacritics! The whole sentence is a deathtrap!

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