Posts Tagged ‘Noughties’

Who are the people who have shaped the world over the last ten years? (I promise that this will be the last “…of the decade” list this decade.) A panel of editors and columnists from the Times nominates fifty personalities who have most influenced the world in this period. Here are the top ten:

  1. Barack Obama (US politics)
  2. Simon Cowell (TV)
  3. Tony Blair (British politics)
  4. Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter (Human genome)
  5. Richard Dawkins (Evolution and atheism)
  6. J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter)
  7. Osama bin Laden (Al-Qaeda)
  8. Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google)
  9. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
  10. David Beckham (Football)

I’m guessing they didn’t ‘weight’ the lists given by the contributors. So with Simon Cowell at no. 2, this didn’t mean that people thought him more significant than others, but simply that he turned up on more people’s lists.

Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign by Barack Obama.

It doesn’t feel quite right putting these people in a list together, as if they are contestants in a new series of Celebrity Big Brother, sitting together on garishly designed sofas, swapping stories about the cultural splash they managed to make. I’m uneasy at the idea that it’s possible to ‘compare’ David Beckham or Simon Cowell with Osama bin Laden – it seems to flatten and trivialise the mountainous differences that exist between them in terms of who they are and what their lives mean.

The Guardian instead chooses ten icons of the decade: faces/images that capture something essential about these last ten years. It’s more about symbols and cultural resonances than explicit influence. It’s well worth clicking through the photographs, and seeing whether you agree with the reasons given in the captions for including them. If you don’t have the energy, here are the names:

  1. Osama bin Laden
  2. David Beckham
  3. Barack and Michelle Obama
  4. Carrie Bradshaw
  5. Jamie Oliver
  6. Tony Blair
  7. Madeleine McCann
  8. Britney Spears
  9. Harry Potter
  10. Google

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I can’t resist linking to this provocative list of ‘the best movies’ of the Noughties. There will be thousands of such lists over the next seven weeks as we see the decade out, but anyone who knows me just a little bit will know that I would rather argue about films than most other things. [And I’m now adding another list here: Time Out’s 101 Films of the Decade.]

It’s great to see first place taken by Austrian auteur Michael Haneke (for Hidden), and second place by Paul Greengrass (for his two populist Bourne thrillers) – as if to say that both Hollywood and the arthouse can achieve cinematic greatness.

Scene couple of hours after the Bourne Ultimatum premiere in London's Leicester Square by Alan in Belfast.

But it’s hard to take the list seriously when one of the worst films of the decade – Bond’s relaunch in Casino Royale – comes in at number eight…

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