Monday, June 17, 2013

Bum Hundred: Least Influential People of 2010

(By Joel Stein , Time Magazine, April 2010)

Putting together the most-influential list is easy: The President! Oprah! The President of someplace else! A person who appears on Oprah! And besides being easy journalistic lifting, it's also the best thing you can do for your career: you get to call powerful people and tell them how very powerful you think they are. Not only do you increase your chances of Steve Jobs' calling you back for a quote for your next article, but with journalism going the way it is, it's pretty comforting to know you can e-mail your résumé directly to Han Han.

But making a least-influential list, that's a fool's task — one that only a true journalist, a brave journalist, a handsome journalist would venture. Even the truest, bravest, handsomest journalist, however, has some trouble putting such a list together. First of all, the list I made does not actually consist of the least influential people in the world. Those would be infants, people in comas and North Koreans who aren't Kim Jong Il. And it's not a list of those with the most negative influence: the underwear bomber, that tattooed chick who messed up Sandra Bullock's marriage, Jay Leno. My list is, technically, the Least Influential People Who Used To Or Ought to Have Influence. Which also rules out those who simply had a bad year: Tiger Woods is still immensely influential, only now his influence lies in preventing men from texting their mistresses. None of Tiger's mistresses are on my list either, since they influenced fame-seeking sluts all over to make sure their famous boyfriends text them.

So it was very difficult to fill up a list of 100 uninfluential people. For help, I called news anchor Rick Sanchez, who hosts Rick's List on CNN from 3 to 5 p.m. E.T. I figured that when you're trying to book guests in the afternoon on CNN, you get to talk to some pretty uninfluential people. "Don't shy away from easy pickings," Sanchez advised. "When someone says something dumb, Joel, it's your job to report it." Sanchez airs a segment called "The List You Don't Want to Be On," from which he gave me some names. "A lot of times these guys are famous for 35 seconds," Sanchez said. "I'd never heard of the president of Toyota until he was on the list. I can't even remember his name now." That man's name, by the way, is Toyoda. When someone says something dumb, it is my job to report it.

As Sanchez suggested, I tried to stay away from his first choice in guests — people involved in American politics — and instead focused on publicity hounds such as Heidi Montag, Balloon Boy's mom, the H1N1 virus, Google Buzz and Senator Roland Burris. To give the list structure, I broke it into four categories, just as TIME does for its most-influential list. Only I divided mine into Losers, Flameouts, Morons and Slimy Bastards. The Slimy Bastards section was like the Harvard of the uninfluential, with not nearly enough slots for all the deserving candidates. Sadly, I had to scratch off Rod Blagojevich, who I know is eager to get on any list he can, in order to fit in Levi Johnston, the Kato Kaelin of American politics. Making the Flameouts section, however, was as easy as winning a Rhodes scholarship if you were born in the South: I scrounged to fill it with George Clooney's ex-girlfriend, Carson Daly, 2-D and Bo Obama. Seriously, after all that hype about what breed to pick, the First Dog hasn't written even one book yet.

I leave it to you and the Pulitzer committee to decide which list is better, mine or the one that is taking up 800 pages of this magazine. I will just point out that unlike the most-influential list, which is clogged with foreign names you've never heard of (seriously, "Han Han"?), mine has only 19 foreigners, and that's including Mayor McCheese, who might actually live in the U.S. In fact, there would be only 16 foreigners if I hadn't gotten lost in a Wikipedia hole about the Icelandic financial crisis. And keep in mind that six of the uninfluential have posed completely naked, while the closest the most-influential list gets is Lady Gaga and the tight, transparent, low-cut white T-shirts of Simon Cowell. Also, it should be noted that, percentage-wise, my list is way higher in reptilian humanoids.

TIME should really be throwing a big party for my list instead of its list. I'm sure Han Han is a lot of fun, but if you mix alcohol, deposed world leaders, professional-wrestling referees, Tila Tequila, Paula Abdul, Tom from MySpace and the entire nation of Greece, you're going to need a lot of cops to break it up.



Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Emir of Dubai
Oh, it's got to hurt to go begging for money from Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi! That's like Trump asking for money from his uncle who put his salary in Vanguard index funds. It's like UAE Smack down.

Google Buzz
Some kind of thing on your computer
Remember when gmail invited you — just you! — to join Google buzz where you could connect all your social networks with your email? Or maybe it was something totally different. All I know is that I already had more things that did that crap than I wanted.

Leonid Tyagachev
Ex-Head of Russian Olympic Committee
Eleventh in gold medals, and none in hockey — despite having Alexander Ovechkin on your team? In the past, someone who performed like this would be banished to Siberia. But they have a pretty good hockey team there right now. So I don't know where they send you now that you quit.

Tom Tom
Car GPS device
Six years ago, these were from the future. Now they come with your phone. I think they sell them now in the discount bins they used to use for Yngwie Malmsteen cassettes.

Space Shuttle
Formerly Cool Vehicle
You know how all these other countries built space shuttles after we did? Well, that's because they didn't. Everyone stuck with rocket ships because rocket ships are cool. Space shuttles are airplanes that don't even go to other countries. Have you ever seen a comic book or a sci-fi movie where the hero goes up in something that looks like a space shuttle? Finally, we're going back to rocket ships.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Ex-President of Kyrgyzstan
Bakiyev was barely influential when he was President of Kyrgyzstan, because it's in Kyrgyzstan. But when his massive corruption got him tossed out, he couldn't even get his brother and son out of the country. He gave both the US and Russia bases in your country and even they didn't have his back.

Mamadou Tandja
Ex-President of Niger
Even Bakiyev was able to get out of his country when he got coup d'etated. But Tandja was stuck and arrested in Niger. The best way of telling that you have no influence: You can't even get someone to post a better photo on your Wikipedia page. Not flattering.

Rue McClanahan
Betty White has usurped all the power from remaining Golden Girls.

Lorelle Young
President of the US Metric Association
He's about 99 kilometers from being influential. Or 99 metrometers. I have no idea how that works.

Manuel Zelaya
Ex-President of Honduras
Another guy who got coup d'etated. He wound up in the Dominican Republic. And, as every baseball fan knows, you don't walk off the Dominican Republic.

Palm Inc
Makers of the Pre phone
Remember when it was cool to have a Treo? And then Palm came out with this well reviewed, awesome new smart phone? Thing is, that was a few years after the iPhone came out.

Gourmet Magazine
The country is obsessed with food, and Gourmet folds after 68 years. Conde Nast would rather keep Bon Appétit, which is a magazine called Bon Appétit.

Professional Wrestling Referees
Dream Job For Weird Kids
So few rules to enforce, and yet, they always fail.

Ueli Maurer
Head of the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports, Switzerland
Those are all things Switzerland sucks at.

People in Windows 7 Ads
Windows 7 was not your idea at all.

Giorgio Napolitano
President of Italy
He makes decisions and Silvio Berlusconi ignores them. It's pretty funny.

Dmitry Medvedev
President of Russia
Yeah, sure he is.

Former Kentucky Derby front-runner
I know it's hard for horses to keep their calendars up to date, but when you're the front runner to the Kentucky Derby you might not want to do whatever it was you were doing to hurt your leg right before the race. Lame.

Bertha Lewis
President of ACORN
I didn't follow this controversy at all, but I know ACORN doesn't exist anymore.

Michael Steele
RNC Chairman
After lavish spending and criticizing Rush Limbaugh — Rush Limbaugh! — many in the party are trying to get rid of him. Even though that would mean losing his blog on which, though now untitled, used to be called ""What Up?"

Mark Rosenthal
CEO of Current TV
If someone from MSNBC's The Ed Show caused an international incident in which two reporters were captured by North Korea and had to be freed by a trip from Bill Clinton, at least a few of us would tune in to an episode of the Ed Schultz Show. But no one has still seen that blur-of-short-You-Tube-looking-segments that calls itself Current TV. Al Gore is even worse at starting networks than he is a running for President.

Gil Kerlikowske
Drug Czar
That whole drug czar thing hasn't really worked out.

We Are The World 25 for Haiti
Fund-Raising Song
Wow, that sucked.

Billy Tauzin
CEO of PhRMA, a pharmaceutical company lobby group.
After losing on the health care bill, he's being forced out of his job in June.

Admiral Aranda
Chief Naval Officer of Bolivia
As the website said, "Runs Naval Forces of a land-locked country that can't afford a navy. Enough said." I hope the website is right.



Heidi Montag
Star of MTV's The Hills
You used to be famous for being famous. Then you were famous for getting lots of plastic surgery and selling only 658 copies of your album in its first week. Now you’re not famous. That was fast.

Spencer Pratt
Boyfriend of Star of MTV's The Hills
Montag fired him as her manager. It's like we need a whole other list of the un-influential to the uninfluential.

Paula Abdul
Ex-American Idol Judge
Now you have only yourself to judge. That can't be fun.

Toll Brothers
That was a lot of McMansions you built. You'll totally get a segment on I Love the 2000s.

James Arthur Ray
Self-help guru
Even if he hadn't kept people in a sweat lodge so long that they died, the sauna is a poor place to motivate people. It's more of a chill-out area.

Desiree Rogers
Former White House Social Secretary
If you had purposely invited one of the Real Housewives of D.C., that would have been influential.

Floyd Landis
Every other cyclist in the last 20 years has gotten away with doping, except for you.

Mayumi Heene
Balloon Boy's mom
Any wife who can't talk her husband out of that plan really has no influence.

Roland Burris
Still a senator!

Conrad Murray
Michael Jackson's doctor
Not a lot of people in Murray's waiting room right now.

Brian Dunkleman
Former Co-Host of American Idol
After quitting Idol after the first season, Dunkleman is now doing voice work playing Ruiga in Naruto.

Julius Malema
President of South Africa's African National Congress Youth League.
Malema is just like Joe Biden, if instead of innocuous, silly slipups, Biden delivered violent, racist misogynist rants. It got so bad he's been censured by his party and convicted of hate speech. So he just said violent things about the party.

Joaquin Phoenix
That weird Andy Kauffman-esque thing where you filmed yourself pretending to rap badly? Even if you made a great documentary about it, I'm not seeing it. In fact, deep down, I'm pretty sure you were really just trying to rap.

Lyndon LaRouche
Political Extremist
After eight tries, it's time to give up the running-for-President thing. You're starting to seem like Ralph Nader.

Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Justice
Still hasn't talked from the bench. Not sure he's even paying attention.

Matthew Balan
Contributor, NewsBusters
Rick Sanchez told me to put him on because they got in a fight about whether Sanchez was serious or kidding about being surprised volcanoes exist in cold places like Iceland. I forgot to ask Rick what category he thinks Balan should go in, but I was short on morons so I put him here.

Ex-Lead Technician at the Clinic in Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1
When you're fired for getting in a fight with Kari Ann Peniche (the woman who was naked in that video with Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart), the woman who was herself thrown out of both VH1's Sober House and VH1's Sex Rehab, you are not highly valued.

Carrie Prejean
Former Miss California
Two things you can't do: 1) Make a sex tape after talking about how immoral gay people are; 2) Make a sex tape without any sex in it.

Nadya Suleman
No one really cares anymore.

Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam
Ex-Rebel Leader
After 33 years of trying to separate from Sri Lanka, your Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were defeated. Then you got arrested. Now I'll go visit Sri Lanka.

Tom Leykis
Radio Host
The misogynist shock jock lost his radio show when his L.A. station changed from all-talk to all-Lady Gaga. Now, once a week, he has a show where he talks about wine where his chance of becoming Robert Parker is about the same as his chance of getting sommeliers to show him their boobs.

Apple Employee Who Left the New iPhone Prototype at A Bar
Heavy Drinker
He's not being given a lot of responsibility at work right now.

David Shuster
Ex-MSNBC reporter
Shooting a pilot for a rival network (CNN) without asking your bosses is a pretty easy way to get suspended. Also, you should have shot a better pilot.

David Paterson
NY Governor
A year after Eliot Spitzer got caught with a hooker, and everyone likes Spitzer better. The President flew to meet you just to tell you to give up the governor race. And you said no. Now you literally have less power in the party than Spitzer.



Chris Dodd
Connecticut Senator
When they ran for President in 2008, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden were exactly equal in power: two domestically liberal, foreign policy conservative wonks who couldn't get a vote despite being well qualified. Now Biden is veep and Dodd will give up his Senate seat before he looses it due to some sweet deals he got from the banks he was committee-ing.

Bo Obama
First Dog
No book telling us to exercise or eat leafy greens? No hilarious video of chasing a squirrel to distract us from the fact that our unemployment benefits are almost up? After all that talk about what breed of dog to buy, the family decided to go with Total Loser?

I got a shot for this loser! I made my baby get a shot! This was the biggest loser epidemic since bird flu. Or SARS. I bet H1N1 never even killed a pig. I've eaten about 3 pigs this week and I'm not technically a virus.

Fictional Creatures from Land of the Lost
You guys bought Escalades with pimped out rims and Beverly Hills homes thinking you'd finally made it. Then Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell bombed and your big-eyed, giant scaly heads realized your one chance was gone.

Patrick Kennedy
I like this guy, but it's all over for him now.

Sarah Larson
George Clooney's Ex-Girlfriend
While dating George Clooney, People named you as one of their most beautiful people. Now try getting People to call you back. They're not really your friend, Sarah.

Kindle Owners
Too-Early Adapters
Do you use them as coasters? Or to bash iPad users over the head with frustration?

Carson Daly
Talk show host
Really. He is. He has a show on NBC. It comes on right after Jimmy Fallon. He was given the show eight years ago so he could practice in obscurity before he took over for Conan. The show has offices and everything.

The Doors
Classic Rock band
We've all decided that they actually sucked and just had a handsome lead singer.

Rick Wagoner
Former Head of General Motors
It's one thing to get fired by your board. But you got fired by the Federal government; 300 million of us gave you a pink slip.

RU Sirius
In the 1990s, everyone wanted to hear from this guy about cyberculture. It was an innocent time where we knew so little about the internet we had to listen to people even if they called themselves RU Sirius.

Elmo is taking all your airtime, yo.

Taipei 101
Ex-tallest building in the world
On January 4, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai made the Taipei 101 irrelevant. You think little boys read the Guinness Book of World Records and ask their dads: "One day, do you think I can go to the top of the second tallest building in the world?"

Dan Rather
...on HDNet. I don't know what that is or why it's still so proud of being in HD, but this is not retiring gracefully. This is like if Michael Jordan came back now and played for HDNet.

Katie Couric
Network Anchor
She keeps showing up. You have to admire that.

Tom DeLay
Former Congressman
Not sure what kind of career he was trying to jumpstart by appearing on Dancing With The Stars, but camp-loving gay men don't like a quitter.

Carrot Top
All that success, and yet he hasn't spawned a generation of prop comedians.

Yves Leterme
Former Prime Minister of Belgium
Yes, I know the Belgians speak three different languages, but, really, when the prime minister can't keep Belgium together as a nation, he's not all that influential.

Practioners of Magic
Charmed was, like, 10 years ago. It's all vampires, werewolves and zombies now.

Any mother of any eighth grade girl
You'll regain influence in a few years, moms.

General Larry Platt
"Pants on the Ground" has not stopped one kid from wearing his pants on the ground.

Mayor McCheese
"I'm not aware of his stance on a single issue." — Ross Autry, personal advisor to this project on Facebook, where I asked for help from anyone. Hey, 100 is a lot of people.

Out-dated technology
This is the sole reason I haven't seen Greenberg yet.

Stedman Graham
Oprah's Boyfriend
Everyone else who knows Oprah has their own show by now.

Christie Hefner
Former CEO of Playboy
She couldn't get her dad to leave the expensive mansion; he got a hit TV show on E!; she quit. Lesson: Never try to remove your parents from their house.



John Edwards
Former Presidential Candidate
He already was irrelevant, then he allowed news of an affair and love child to come out so slowly, we forgot he was already irrelevant.

Eric Massa
Ex- Congressman
It's hard to be influential when you have no clue how the world works. You don't explain how ungay you are by saying that you just were having tickle fights with the guys you live with, like you did when you were in the Navy. Liberace was more subtle.

Tom Anderson
Founder of, and everyone's friend on, MySpace
Have you clicked on MySpace lately? It's like you wandered into some section of Las Vegas so seedy it should be in Tampa. You can get venereal diseases just from logging on.

Jon Gosselin
Ex-Reality Dad
We once thought he was the henpecked husband of a crazy chick. Now we love the henpecker. Killing the Ed Hardy trend was the last influence you'll ever have.

Lindsay Lohan
Things are not good when you're suing babies.

Michael Lohan
Lindsay Lohan's dad
He's engaged to Jon Gosselin's ex-girlfriend.

Mark Sanford
Governor of South Carolina
Before he "hiked the Appalachian trail" with an Argentinean journalist, the still-sitting governor of South Carolina was a top contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Now he's going to enter the private sector. A sector so private, a man can go on a fake hiking trip alone and no one will care.

Angelina Pivarnick
Reality Washout
To get kicked off of MTV's Jersey Shore is an accomplishment, but not one that gets you on the next season of Jersey Shore.

Björgólfur Gudmundsson
Former owner and chairman of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki
Iceland's second billionaire ever — the first was his son, Thor Björgólfsson (in Iceland, your last name is just your dad's first name plus either sson or dottir) — he went from being worth $1.1 billion to $0. And he's being investigated. And he destroyed his country's economy. And Gordon Brown used anti-terrorist laws to freeze Landsbanki's U.K. holdings. And he named his bank Landsbanki. The British hate him more than they hate his country's volcanoes.

Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson
Icelandic Businessman
When you're a good-looking dude who sells clothing, you have to really screw up to have people protest in the streets against you. And for your ex-mistress to talk about your sex life during an accounting trial. Anyway, no one is lending him money now. Not even in krona.

Hreidar Már Sigurdsson
Former head of the failed Icelandic band Kaupthing
I kind of went down a Wikipedia hole with the Icelandic financial crisis.

Bernie Madoff
Wall Street fraud, Prisoner #61727-054
Prisoners won't even invest their cigarettes with him.

Levi Johnston
Actor, model, baby daddy
Who knew American politics needed its own Kato Kaelin.

European Country
Hairy chested, aggressive with women, charmingly backward — you briefly charmed us with that big, fat wedding. Then you spent so much more money than you made you forced the EU to bail you out. It will be a long time before we watch a movie about you again.

Angelo R. Mozilo
Ex-CEO of Countrywide Financial
He came in second on Portfolio magazine's list of "Worst American CEOs of All Time," right after Dick Fuld. Also hard to put on a resume under awards and obnoxious magazine lists. Plus now he has to list this one.

Portfolio Magazine
Former business magazine that never really took off
And now it's a website. Which, really, is sadder than not existing at all.

Joe Cassano
Former AIG exec
Rolling Stone
's Matt Taibbi named him "Patient Zero" of the global economic meltdown. TIME magazine's Joel Stein called him "a big fat nunny pants." One of those is going to stick.

Jim Gibbons
Governor of Nevada
He had a 10% approval rating. He had too many scandals for Nevada to handle.

John Ensign
Nevada Senator
His sex scandal is so confusing — he gave a job to the husband of the woman he was cheating on his wife with (I think) — that it's taking forever for him to be thrown out of office.

Shelia Dixon
Ex-Mayor of Baltimore
You have to be a pretty corrupt politician in Baltimore to impress us after watching The Wire. But with just one year to serve as mayor after being appointed when the previous mayor became governor, Dixon was found guilty of misappropriating gift cards meant for the poor. As if gift cards in and of themselves weren't enough of a racket.

Jamie McCourt
Dodger's sort-of, maybe owner
Due to an ugly divorce case (she may have slept with both her chauffeur and, awesomely, the team's director of protocol) the former CEO of the L.A. Dodgers and ex-wife of owner Frank McCourt has been thrown out of the organization. But I'm sure her fantasy league team is very influential.

Tila Tequila
I Have No Idea
I could tell you that Tila Nguyen changed her name to Miss Tila, that she released sonogram pictures of her baby to radar online or that her new single is called "I Fucked the DJ." All of which you'd never know if I didn't just write it. But the only data point I need, I believe, is this, from Wikipedia: "In December 2009, Nguyen partnered with Joe Francis to launch a dating site called ''.

Jack Abramoff
He is only in prison until December, so it's got to be hard organizing long-term sports gambling there.

Nicolette Sheridan
The other, non-fired Desperate Housewives don't have her back in her lawsuits against the show's creator.

Dick Fuld
The Last CEO of Lehman Brothers ever
That has to be hard to explain on a resume.

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