INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE WHO NEVER LIVED

timemagLast month, Contributing Curious Mind, Ron Carmean, stumbled upon a magazine that resulted in today’s blog.  Well, maybe he didn’t actually stumble upon it; more than likely he was bored waiting in the check-out line and picked it up off the rack.  It was one of those special edition magazine that Time Magazine puts out every now and then.  Similar to the weekly Time, which yearly features a rundown of the world’s 100 most influential people, this special edition focused on a related list: the world’s 100 most influential FICTONAL people.

These kind of lists are always a bit arbitrary to me.  There are always people on or left off the list that I don’t agree with.  And, that is exactly one point that Ron makes as he invites you to add or detract from the list of Time’s make-believe influencers.

I suggest it would make some sense to have multiple lists. For example, there should be separate list for young people.  This group is especially influenced by music and its performers and certain trendy characters who come and go in books and movies. There’d be a whole different list for 55+’ers and probably another one for children under 12…and so on.  Actually I think I’ve generated a list for the lists.  But let’s handle one list at a Time, and that would be the one Ron fell into…

RONRANDOMpsd copy

Gregory-Peck-as-Atticus-FinchIt’s a given that fictional people influence our lives.  We root for or against them.  Sometimes, we model our behavior after them, or promise never to do so.  They teach us what path to take or avoid.  We emulate or fear them.  With this reasoning, you can understand how Atticus Finch and The Dude can both be considered everyday heroes on Time’s list of influential fictional people.   Finch was a handsome man who never relied on his good looks.  He was a town’s best and most principled Lawyer, even when no principles were desired.  He was decent, humane, compassionate, and the best shot in the county.  He was the world’s best single parent before the term was coined.  You will be influenced by him with no effort on your part, and seemingly little effort by him.  Of course, he makes the “most influential” list.

dudeAnd then we have The Dude, from The Big Lebowski.  He’s unemployed and sees no reason to be otherwise.  He’s robbed of his precious rug (“It ties the room together.”) on multiple occasions.  He is ignored or assaulted by the police.  He is the fall guy for various crimes.  He is put in the middle of family and financial problems of which he has no interest.  He loses a best friend.  A person could react in many ways to this combination of difficulties.  The Dude just wants someone to pay for his rug or give him an equally good one.  Then, he can go back to bowling and drinking White Russians.  He personifies a laid-back lifestyle.  You can aspire to it or avoid it at all costs.  But you can’t avoid being influenced by The Dude.

Time’s The 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived was divided into various categories.  Nowhere else could you find such unique pairings for influential people: as mentioned, Atticus Finch and The Dude; Barbie and Scrooge; Buffy and Darth Vader; etc.

Who are you more like?  Who do you appreciate or detest?  Who’s been more influential to you or the real world –for better or worse?  Is there anyone you would add to the list, and why?  Some things to think about…

Category: Everyday Heroes.

  1. Atticus Finch
  2. katnissKatniss Everdeen
  3. The Dude
  4. Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)
  5. Rocky Balboa
  6. Mary Richards
  7. Holden Caulfield
  8. Lucy Ricardo
  9. Homer Simpson
  10. 10.Don Draper
  11. .Cliff Huxtable

prideand06Category: Couples.

  1. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy
  2. Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins
  3. Romeo and Juliet
  4. Charlie Brown and Lucy VanPelt
  5. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock
  6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Category: Heroes and Villains

  1. jamesbondJames Bond
  2. Michael Corleone
  3. Lara Croft
  4. Dr. Victor Frankenstein
  5. John Galt
  6. Robin Hood
  7. Indiana Jones
  8. Kunte Kinte
  9. Hannibal Lecter
  10. Lisbeth Salander

barbieCategory: Archetypes.

  1. Barbie
  2. Betty Crocker
  3. Ebenezer Scrooge
  4. Rosie the Riveter
  5. Sherlock Holmes
  6. The Good Samaritan

Category: Outliers.

  1. batmanBatman
  2. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
  3. Cinderella
  4. Darth Vader
  5. Peter Pan
  6. Superman
  7. Wonder Woman
  8. The Wicked Witch of the West

An afterthought: The fictional list of “100 people” is 70% men.  Can you think of women who were omitted from all categories?

*****

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About Marc Kuhn

I am a retired radio exec. I've worked at major stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. That was then. This is now: I've published seven books and this blog thingy. Need to know more? Really? Okay, I bare/bear all at http://marckuhn.com The other links are for the websites of each of the books I've written. I've been busy! Hope you'll stop by and check them out. Thanks for your interest!
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