'Who Made Your Choices?': Time Divides Internet Over Its Annual List of Most Influential People
Every year, Time Magazine offers a list of 100 people that it views as the most influential in the world, annually triggering heated debate over how accurate the list is and how well-deserved the nominations are.
Celebrating the most influential people of 2021, Time rolled out its view
of the year on Wednesday, with the list including various figures from different spheres, age gaps, and viewpoints.
Therefore, it immediately prompted discussions online about whether those listed are influential enough to even be on the list. This time, many have blasted the magazine's choices as "weird" and "most woke ever".
Here is a roundup of all the Time nominations for the most influential people - and how they were received by the audience.
Icons - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Accompanied by people like Britney Spears, Dolly Parton, Alexei Navalny, and Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were named the most influential "icons" of 2021.
"In a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don’t know, the duke and duchess have compassion for the people they don’t know. They don’t just opine. They run toward the struggle", their profile reads.
While some netizens also raised questions about the scope of the influence of others listed by Time, Harry and Meghan's triumph sparked ire among many users, some of whom were particularly amused by the couple's photo.
One user argued that "rich people whose giving doesn't change their lifestyle but boosts their 'status' are calculating not compassionate". Others went on to slam the couple as "privileged woke brats", sarcastically wondering what had happened to the desire for privacy that the two cited when leaving the UK royal family.
However, others enjoyed Time's choice, celebrating the Sussexes as "thriving" and "deserving", as well as a "perfect example of a power couple".
Pioneers - Billie Eilish
A teenage American pop icon, Billie Eilish, was named by Time to be the most influential person in the "Pioneers" category, alongside American gymnast Sunisa Lee, executive director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol, and former English cricketer Roger Cox, apart from others.
The opinions, as usual, were divided, but many users welcomed the decision, praising Eilish as a "great artist" and recommending that those who claimed she only received a Time nomination for her most hyped songs listen to her less popular works.
Titans - Simone Biles
In "Titans", US champion gymnast Simone Biles received a nod from Time, along with Apple's Tim Cook, famous American screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, American football player Tom Brady, and musicians Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.
Biles' profile for "Time" was penned by tennis icon Serena Williams, who described the gymnast as "a shining example of what success looks like when you let go of what the world thinks and gather your strength from yourself".
Biles' nomination was generally welcomed by netizens.
Artists - Kate Winslet
Actress Kate Winslet was viewed as the world's most influential artist, along with musicians Bad Bunny and Lil Nas X, award-winning director Chloe Zhao, and actress Scarlett Johansson, along with many others.
While Winslet was hailed by netizens as "one of the greatest actresses of our time" and "very talented", other nominations raised eyebrows and triggered debates - particularly Lil Nas X, whose eccentric looks and music videos often spark controversy online.
Leaders - Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Now this is where the Internet went crazy after seeing the nominations, as despite naming Director-General of the World Trade Organisation Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the most influential leader, Time decided to go for an explosive mixture of other leaders to keep her company.
Among those included in the list are former US President Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, prominent American conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson, and even Taliban co-founder and official in Afghanistan's newly-formed government Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Needless to say, netizens had many things to say about the list, with many people blasting the choice of almost everyone.
The profiles, however, could hardly be called celebratory - particularly in the case of Donald Trump, who was said to have "arguably surpassed Nixon as a menace to the Constitution" in 2021.
"Although Donald Trump has left office, he remains a magnetic force, propelling others who have taken up his antidemocratic mantle and challenged the validity of our elections", his profile reads.
Iranian President Raisi did not receive a very flattering profile either.
"Ebrahim Raisi does not control Iran’s foreign policies, but his presence has already complicated the Biden Administration’s goal of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal that Donald Trump exited", his Time profile says.
In his turn, Abdul Ghani Baradar received a much warmer description in Time, being touted as one of the Taliban's "most charismatic" military leaders - something that raised the eyebrows of many.
Innovators - Jensen Huang
The "Innovators" list drawn a lot less debate, with Time anointing the CEO of the Nvidia Corporation, Jensen Huang, as the most influential, accompanied by SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, Senior Vice President of BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals Katalin Kariko, and Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, known for being one of the co-founders of the Ethereum blockchain.
“With still emerging AI technologies creating an insatiable hunger for more computation, Huang’s team is well-positioned to keep driving technological advances for decades to come”, Huang's profile reads.
Despite Huang triumphing in the nomination, the majority of the Internet's attention was drawn to Elon Musk, with users divided over whether the billionaire is a "mercurial and brilliant" innovator or an "a**hole".