Money, power, fame, and acclaim: possess these attributes and you might be the most influential person in the world. Considering the criteria, it is no wonder that AskMen.com’s list of the “Top 49 Most Influential Men” is composed of Hollywood celebrities, wealthy businessmen, professional athletes, and only one politician. Not all of the individuals deserve to be on a “most influential” list, but that depends on the criteria. Not all of them have anything worthy to say; yet we still listen. Hollywood celebrities can influence public opinion only because millions of people already take an interest in their lives. The characteristics of the individuals on the list are representative of the values upheld by our society and the result of media that focus on hype with little regard for morality. We need to consider the social implications of favouring cultural influence over quality influence. Those who hold our attention ultimately have the power to influence society, but if we focus our attention on personalities instead of policies, it is easy to forget in what direction we are being steered. Therefore, it is important to consider whether our public figures are a positive or negative influence on society before we allow put them on a pedestal. Askmen.com compiled this list, but it seems the only people they asked for opinions were the writers of tabloid magazines.
Popularity may be influence but influence is not about popularity. Continue reading