On the (Rest of the) Net.

the hills teen vogue

Gender politics and the cautionary tale of not leaning in on The Hills. [Vulture]

The fault in sick-lit. [Kill Your Darlings]

Lupita Nyong’o and the fetishisation of black women’s bodies. [Black Feminists]

Too much Kim, not enough Kendall. [The Style Con]

In praise of Lisa Simpson, Harriet M. Welsch and Scout Finch. [The New Yorker]

ICYMI: Gossip Girl—Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lonely Boy Scorned.

Image via Cosmopolitan.

TV: The Dire Shire.

There is no hope left for Australian TV if The Shire is airing on Ten, screamed my Facebook newsfeed last night. My question is: if you hate it, then why are you watching it?

Hypocritical, I know, as I watched the show that’s been dubbed Australia’s version of Jersey Shore but is closer to The Hills or Laguna Beach and it physically pained me. But it’s for research purposes, okay, like Being Lara Bingle and the upcoming Brynne Edelsten show!

Seriously, though, at least the cast of The Hills and Jersey Shore actually had lives, things going for them, and talked about stuff other than the way they look. Snooki was a vet technician before she went to Seaside Heights. Lauren Conrad agreed to have her life documented, with the “dramality” turned up to ten, in a bid to further her fashion career. Even after Heidi Montag underwent her physical transformation, she had other things to worry about: namely, Spencer. Her family and friends were shocked with her surgical enhancement; they didn’t encourage it as a way of life like The Shire cast does.

I’m not going to comment on whether Vernessa, Sophie and Beckaa look good, as there are thousands of online comments trolling their physical appearance to more than make up for my opinion. What bothers me, though, is that all they talk about is their looks. I wish my lips were bigger. I love my boob job. Let me suck the fat out of your thighs. Would you rather your children be pretty or smart? Gag me. At least Beckaa talks about money and shopping to break up the monotony of her recent Dubai nose job and whether she should get a breast augmentation.

The other “characters” whose looks aren’t their primary focus can’t act for shit. At least Lara Bingle feigns shock at her bestie and brother hooking up well. Former lovers Mitch and Gabrielle just widen their eyes and wiggle their foreheads up and down at each other. Which is more than Sophie and Vernessa can say…

But with all the backlash and pure virtriol being spewed on social media—and at water coolers today, no doubt—you have to wonder if Ten is taking the mickey. Of course they would have to know the dire lack of entertainment The Shire provides and are poking fun at the fact that these people exist, that they can make a show out of it, and that people will watch. The Shire might be getting attention for all the wrong reasons, but Ten’s the one who’s having the last laugh.

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle.

Brynne Edelsten’s “No Barbie”, But Should She Aspire to Be?

Image via Ten.

Style VS. Fashion.

If you could be fashionable or stylish, which would you choose?

One incorporates fluro, Sass & Bide rats, digital prints and oversized tees; just some of the trends in the past few years that flatter most no one. The other consists of a personal style that transcends the trends. Think Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Richie and Kate Middleton.

I know which group I would rather belong to, however, when people comment on my clothes, they usually call them trendy. Personally, I can’t think of a bigger insult!

Most of the clothes I buy, or want to buy, are things I’ve been lusting over for years, and are usually vintage or from a myriad of outlets, from “old-lady stores” like Brown Sugar and Blue Illusion, to second-hand markets, to Target, to Sportsgirl. I will admit to buying a plain red cami from Dotti a few weeks ago, but it’s the kind of item I’ll wear for years to come and is quite timeless… well, as timeless as Dotti can be!

One of my friends, whilst rifling through my closet, even commented that I really don’t have that many clothes. I asked why, then, can I not fit them all in. (I have several bags full of clothes hiding at the back of the wardrobe, which I alternate between seasons.) Said friend attempted to recover by saying, “well, you wear the same outfits a lot.” Like the Duchess of Cambridge?! (I wish!)

This is true, though. My favourite pair of shoes are five-year-old electric blue ballet flats that are hanging by a thread. My staple black trench coat for winter is also five years old. Long time Early Bird readers might remember the fantastic mustard yellow dress I picked up at a vintage fair for $30, which is one of my most prized sartorial possessions. I have a marcasite leopard brooch that is permanently affixed to my pleather bomber jacket (about three years old), which I paid a pretty penny for at an antique store… Shall I go on? ;)

Really, the only things I buy frequently in the clothing department are plain white, black and grey tees, jeans, and underwear.

I do like to look good (and my walk to work, where I’m confined to the limits of an unflattering uniform, is always a fashion parade!) but, when it comes down to it, clothes are just clothes, as the sometimes-fashion victim, but usually stylish, Whitney Port said on The Hills.

And you can still have a personal style without subscribing to the skinny jeans, crisp blazer and ballet flat norm of Kate and Nicole.

I have a few co-workers whose style I don’t necessarily like, but who remain true to it. One favours printed tees, badges and Etsy jewellery. Another likes to match her dress to her boots to her tights to her scarf to her hat to her bag. The third is hipster through and through, and has the most amazing collection of bright coats and bags from her grandmother.

These are the items of clothing that quintessentially “belong” to them and their personal style: you can’t find them in Bardot or Myer or Sass & Bide. And even if you could, they ain’t got nothin’ on the original: priceless.

So what I’m trying to say here is that money can’t buy style. Or that fashion fades, style is eternal. Or something. What do you think the difference between “fashion” and “style” is? Can you have both at the same time? Which camp would you rather belong to?

Related: The Way We Wear Vintage Market.

Images via Hills Freak, Saskia 4 Fashion, Franc Trunner, People Style Watch.

TV: Top 10 TV Moments of the Year.

 

1. OMGSW: Derek Gets Shot on Grey’s Anatomy.

I spent the season six final of Grey’s bawling my eyes out as Reed Adamson and Charles Percy died, Derek, Alex and Owen get shot, and Meredith loses her baby. One of the best season finals I’ve ever seen.

2. Another Day, Another Gun Shot Wound: Chuck Gets Shot on Gossip Girl.

While season three’s finale wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, it certainly set the ball rolling for an epic season four thus far (see below).

Chuck issued Blair an ultimatum; Dan was revealed to be the father of Georgina’s baby; Chuck raped Jenny; Jenny went to boarding school; Blair took Chuck up on his ultimatum; Blair found out Chuck slept with Jenny; Serena and Blair went to Paris; Chuck got shot in Prague.

3. Katy Perry’s Chest is Too Ample for Sesame Street.

Sure, Katy’s dress was a little revealing to be prancing around the street named Sesame, but wasn’t it the responsibility of the show’s costume designers to put her in something a little more child-friendly?

4. Airy Fairy: Sookie is a Fairy on True Blood.

What the?! Aside from lots of Eric action and the introduction of hot werewolf Alcide, season three was a confusing exercise in vampirism, culminating in the revelation that Sookie is a fairy, the idea being that her blood is so irresistible to Bill, Eric et al. because it helps them walk amongst the living. (More on Sookie’s allure to come.)

5. The ANTM Debacle.

Well… at least it got Aussie Top Model into the international (entertainment) news. It probably boosted sales for Harper’s Bazaar, with the two finalists on the cover.

6. It’s “Britney/Brittany”, Bitch! Britney Spears on Glee.

In what was probably one of the most anticipated TV moments of 2010, Britney Spears appeared for (literally) a moment on Glee.

7. What Once Was LOST, Now is Found: LOST Finale.

The last ever episode of LOST seemed to ask more questions that it answered, but ultimately was a bit of a letdown.

8. Romeo Serena & Juliet: Serena’s Stalker Saga on Gossip Girl.

GG has always been a guilty pleasure of mine since it debuted in 2007, but it hasn’t always had the greatest of storylines. This season, however, has been one of my favourites, with the mystery surrounding Juliet’s entry into Serena’s life getting stronger each episode. The story arc was resolved in the U.S.’s most recent episodes, but instead of spoiling it for Aussie viewers (which The Scarlett Woman has been known to do *blush*), I’ll wait til it airs here to catch you up on the saga.

9. Sexual Double Standards on Jersey Shore.

Speaking of guilty pleasures, Jersey Shore is the epitome of “guilty” if ever there was one!

Violence, racism, sexism and sun damage run rampant in the show, which seems to have gotten even worse in its second season.

Femme fatale Angelina Pivarnick is vilified for sleeping with two guys in one week, when the men of the house have a rotisserie of women for every night of the week. The resentment of Angelina for being a “single girl” and “enjoying herself”, which she constantly made reference to, comes to a head with a cat fight, a “dirty pad” found on the bathroom floor, and Angelina exiting the house for the second time in as many seasons.

10. The Hills’ Curtains Draw to a Close… But Not Before Lifting Them on Reality TV.

Living vicariously through The Hills’ girls hedonistic Hollywood lifestyles is something I’m really going to miss in 2011.

I suppose there’s always Heidi Montag’s tabloid transgressions and Lauren’s new reality show to indulge in…

Related: Gun Shot Wound to the Head: Grey’s Anatomy Season Final.

The Last Tango… For the Season: Gossip Girl Season 3 Finale.

The Underlying Messages of Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

It’s All About Britney, Bitch!

Glee Against the Music.

What Once Was LOST, Now is Found?: Lost Finale.

Surfing the Third Wave: Second Wave VS. Third Wave Feminism on Gossip Girl.

The Hills Finale: All Good Things Must Come to an End.

Poor Little Rich Girl: Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Jersey Shore: If Men Can Wax Their Eyebrows, Why Can’t Women Sleep Around?

Magazines: Poor Little Rich Girl—Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

 

I’ve blogged in the past about how sorry I feel for Heidi Montag. And now, apparently, she feels sorry for herself after undergoing ten completely unnecessary plastic surgery procedures in one day.

It was only a matter of time before regret seeped into her consciousness and , once again, Montag’s expressing it publicly.

Seen on the cover of Who with bandages covering her nose, Michael Jackson-style (whom she references in the accompanying article, saying “I don’t want my face to fall off like Michael Jackson’s), and dark roots (“I’m just done worrying about my looks. I haven’t died my hair for months and I hardly even put on makeup anymore.”), it seems Montag has had a change of heart.

Unfortunately, there’s no going back, and with her plastic surgeon, Dr. Ryan, dying in a car accident last month, it looks like there’ll be no amending the work of her beloved surgeon by the man who created Heidi 2.0 (well, actually, 3.0, as she had a nose and boob job a few years ago after she first started on The Hills and, incidentally, met über-douche estranged husband Spencer Pratt).

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

The Hills Have (Dead) Eyes.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

In the vein of “What’s the use of being Supergirl if I can’t even get a date?”, comes the perils of being a 1940s boy in the dating world.

Feminist commentator Greta Christina muses on the appeal of Don Draper and the bad boy fantasy:

“Why are so many women hot for Don Draper? The lying, philandering, self-absorbed, work-obsessed, emotionally-warped, goes-through-mistresses-like-cigarettes, sexist prick of a lead character, Don Draper?” It’s because he “isn’t a standard bad boy… And look at his taste in women. Every woman Don cheats on his wife with is intelligent, independent, unconventional, and in some way defiant of gender roles… (In fact, I’m wondering now if part of the Don Draper fantasy has to do with wanting to be one of the strong, edgy, fascinating women he gets the hots for.)”

She then goes on to defend the bad boy fantasy: “… when women fantasise about bad boy rogues who treat women like dirt, the bad boys almost never treat us badly. They’re fascinated with us. They find us hauntingly compelling: so hauntingly compelling that, even though they usually use women and toss them aside, they somehow can’t tear themselves away from us… I think that’s something people forget about bad boy fantasies. Much of the time, they’re not about bad boys. They’re about bad boys going good because of us.”

“When did men in America go from being masculine steak-eating, plaid shirt wearing, Old Spice smelling, cigar smoking cowboys who like football, hunting and Clint Eastwood movies to skinny jean wearing, satchel carrying, pierced ear heterosexuals who like chick flicks, The View, and Bath & Bodyworks? The American man is an endangered species due in large part to the over-feminisation of society.” That’s right, blame it on the feminists!

Brush up on your Muppet who’s who with this Muppet Name Etymology chart.

Your permission slip from the universe allows you to walk out of movies that suck, quit your job, and fail, amongst many others.

The great Photoshop debate continues, with Jezebel’s article about Jennifer Aniston’s un-Photoshopped pictures, followed by Mia Freedman and Erica Bartle’s takes on the issue.

Gala Darling republished this fantastic response to a whale versus mermaid gym advertisement. Gorgeous!

Check out Nubby Twiglet’s quirky photo dairy of her trip to L.A. and Disneyland.

Anyone who watched The City or The Hills will remember People’s Revolution boss and mentor to Lauren and Whitney, Kelly Cutrone, and her hilariously truthful insights. Now, you can brush up on all your favourite Kelly quotes here. My favourites? “I don’t need to defend my company against a girl who wears pink!” and “You know where nice people end up? On welfare”, the latter of which I have used as a Facebook status!

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Taking inspiration from Gala Darling: These stunning pictures make me nostalgic for summer days at the fairground… oh, that’s right, I never spent summer days at the fairground. And certainly not in a playsuit with balloons. Via The Cherry Blossom Girl.

Jezebel really has it in for Facebook, doesn’t she? My favourite anti-FB post from the site this week is “When it Comes to Women’s Issues, Facebook Still Hasn’t Figured Out How to Play Fair”.

I absolutely LOVED Through a New Lens‘s post on “How Your Audience is Like the Mogwai”! While I’m certainly not a Gremlins fan, Joey Strawn draws some good points from the film and how they relate to blog audiences. Will be keeping his thoughts in mind.

More Gala goodness; it’s an oldie but a goodie. Gala counts down her “Top 5 Fictional Female Style Icons”. I have to confess, I’ve never seen The L Word or Henry & June, so I’ll have to take her word for it. However, I am totes down with Cher Horowitz, Blair Waldorf and Carrie Bradshaw as 3, 2 and 1, respectively.

Following in the vein of her workaholism posts, Rachel Hills uses Zen Habits’ assertion “that, instead of scheduling our days and weeks and months with small tasks that eventually lead us to whatever place we’re trying to get to, we should just go with wherever our will takes us on any given day.” Like going to bed at 8 o’clock on a Monday night, sleeping through til 8 o’clock the following morning, doing a spot of blogging, and watching 90210 for the rest of the day? Definitely worth a look.

Also at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, Hills looks at the Kyle & Jackie O rape scandal, as well as the Matthew Johns group sex scandal (which continues to get my goat), and the issue of “grey rape”.

In other GG news, this circa-season one post perfectly encapsulates the addiction to the show its audience faces. Admitting it is the first step, right? More on this post here.

Styleite lists “6 Things Elle Magazine is Doing Right”, three being their heavy online and television presences, and their intelligence section, which I couldn’t agree with more. Half the reason (okay, more than half) I continually buy Elle is because of their great articles and book reviews, and their book blog Lit Life is on my blogroll.. “Think Vogue meets Vanity Fair“.

Still with magazines on reality TV, The New York Times profiled Teen Vogue, which you may remember from (other than the newsstand/agency) The Hills.

Postcards to Alphaville “is a project dedicated to film characters featured in guest-made illustrations”. Below, my favourites.

Finally, try an enlightening personality test this weekend, with the Myers-Briggs test. I got an INFJ result, which means I’m Introverted and expend energy in social situations; iNtuitive and focus on the bigger picture and the possibilities; prefer Feeling to thinking and give more weight to emotions than logic; and I’m Judgemental and like to have my plans made well in advance. Oh, how accurate!

TV: The Hills Finale—All Good Things Must Come to an End.

 

A lot of viewers might have argued that The Hills had passed its prime awhile ago, probably around the time its star, Lauren Conrad, bid farewell midway through season five.

While that may be somewhat true (personally, my favourite seasons were the second half of season three, and season four), The Hills has always been what it was intended to be; a guilty pleasure.

It was also one of the first shows to really catapult the “scripted reality” notion into the mainstream, in the footsteps of which so many others followed: The Real Housewives, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Girls of the Playboy Mansion and pretty much every other MTV show since The Hills’ debut (bar Jersey Shore, which Perez Hilton, in last week’s column for Famous, called “raw [and] real”the antithesis of The Hills).

But the buzz has been around the show’s final episode, which aired two weeks ago in the US, and which Australia is still waiting for.

After so much criticism of the action on the show being fake vs. real, with scenes being shot several times for the best angles (both camera- and storyline-wise) and “cut up to death”, the producers and writers (?) decided to capitalise on that allure.

SPOILER ALERT: The final scene sees Kristin Cavallari and Stacie Hall packing the rest of Kristin’s things into a waiting car, as she’s moving to Europe (E! television personality Joel McHale of The Soup hilariously noted that Europe is a continent, not a country, and Kristin never once mentioned where in Europe she was going!), to “find myself” and “figure out what I want”. Brody Jenner is waiting by the car to say a final goodbye to Kristin, who told Brody she loved him but was knocked back. He says he would have got together with her if he knew she would move away when he rejected her. Kristin says “that’s all I’ve ever wanted to hear”, but she’s still going. They hug, kiss, cry, and the car drives away with Kristin inside, leaving Brody brooding beneath the Hollywood sign.

As the camera pans out, the Hollywood sign starts moving, and it is revealed that Brody is standing on a film lot. Kristin runs from the car as the director yells “cut!”, embracing Brody as the two are congratulated by the crew for wrapping the last scene. END SPOILER ALERT.

Confusing, much?!

While The Hills season final may not get as much publicity and/or examination as, say, The Sopranos or LOST, it is a clever poke at the media and Hollywood. Brody said:

“I think the show has always battled with what’s real and what’s fake, and this ending was perfect because you still don’t know what was real, what was fake and it’s kind of like LA in a sense.”

Oh, how poignant!

There are still a lot of loose ends that fans are left hanging with, though, and I guess that’s the dilemma of having a “reality” show that is based on the real lives of its stars, but it scripted to within an inch of its life, and some of its stars (ie. Speidi) can’t reconcile those difference.

I would like to know what happened with Heidi and Spencer, and if they ever reconciled with Holly, Heidi’s sister, and their mother, Darlene. And if Audrina finds what she’s looking for by moving out of Hollywood. Ditto Kristin in Europe.

But I guess we will find these things out in Heidi’s new reality show with The Hills alum Jen Bunney, and Audrina’s rumoured show, The Audrina Patridge Show.

Until then, there’s always the tabloids.

Related: The Hills Have (Dead) Eyes.

Elsewhere: [MTV] Brody Jenner Reveals Alternate Hills Ending with Lauren Conrad.

The Hills Have (Dead) Eyes.

 

While The Hills has come to an end (more on that to come), its final season has been one marred with controversy.

First, Heidi Montag debuted her plastic (not-so-) fantastic look in the lead up to the premiere.

And in other Speidi news, the couple accused a producer of sexual harassment and left the show soon after.

Kristin Cavallari was suspected of having an eating disorder and a drug addiction, while Stephanie Pratt came clean in the tabloids about her past food and alcohol problems.

And finally, Heidi filed for divorce from Spencer, who demonstrated signs of drug dependence and anger management issues in his final episodes.

Phew!

A recent episode, aptly named “This is Goodbye” for Speidi’s last hurrah, was troubling, in that it showed just how distorted Spencer and Heidi’s perception of reality has become.

Kimberly, in a topical blog post on I Love Wildfox (a component of the brand Wildfox Couture), came to the defence of Kristin, Audrina et al, saying that with the seemingly low expectations the producers have of its cast, it’s no wonder Heidi, in particular, “has a warped perception of who she should be”:

“Maybe I need to watch the prior seasons to understand what MTV was really going for, but basing my opinion on this [one] episode I gathered this message from the astoundingly popular series: look pretty, gossip, sunbake, flirt, look pretty…

“The girls on the show are all incredibly physically beautiful. Looking good in every light at every camera angle is not normal. Most girls don’t look half as pretty on camera as they do in real life.

“It saddens me that MTV chose the easy suck-you-in route once again, telling all girls everywhere, ‘this is what you should talk about, this is what you should want to be,’ without showing (even once in an entire episode) what these girls actually struggle with, what they are good at, or what they dream of; even The Girls of the Playboy Mansion managed to do that!”

The buzz surrounding the final episode, which aired last week and featured Kristin leaving for Europe, with a saddened Brody Jenner (Kristin’s ex) watching as she drives awayonly to have the Hollywood sign Brody’s standing in front of revealed as a green screen, and that the whole final scene was shot on a film lot, seems to be taking a stab at the “scripted” label, leaving audiences wondering whether the whole thing was a set-up or if it somehow morphed into one along the way.

Kristin has been quoted as saying that The Hills was just her job, and she would never put her real friends and the people she cares about on TV.

So why did “Heidi’s family appear on the show to discuss her surgery, further condoning the need for limelight on their daughter’s sad and massive insecurities”?

You will notice that it’s really only the Pratt and Montag families who were caught up in the “drama” of the whole show, which bodes the questions: were Speidi’s marital woes all a set up? What is the extent of Heidi’s body dysmorphia and the necessity of her multiple surgeries? Did her family really express shame at her new look, or were they all in on the act, if it was an act, too?

Going back to “This is Goodbye”, there is a scene at a club that Heidi and Spencer rock up to, uninvited, during a fun night out with most of the other cast members. Spencer speaks of he and Heidi’s life together, saying, “I don’t let her go on [watch] TV, no computers. The only thing Heidi does is read and write poetry, and pray, and pet puppies…”, while Heidi sits there genuinely and enthusiastically nodding along, only interjecting to add, “and I read books”.

When Kristin confronts her about being isolated from her friends and family, Heidi says she’s just focussing on her love for Spencer and asks, “who am I without Spencer?” If she’s not an emotionally battered wife, I don’t know who is. As Holly said, “she’s brainwashed”.

Furthermore, Kristin and Audrina add that “there’s nothing going on behind those eyes anymore” and “there’s no emotion”, respectively.

I would tend to agree with these statements, however I don’t agree with what comes next.

When the girls discuss what to do about the abusive state of their friend and sister’s marriage, Lo asserts that “Heidi is guilty on all counts… she hides behind Spencer and plays the victim”.

If this was real life, I would say that Heidi’s alleged friends and family should have stuck by her a little harder, supporting her through her inevitable marriage breakdown.

But we don’t know how real The Hills really is, so I have to say that maybe Heidi did willingly become a victim to Spencer’s controlling ways or, to take it a step further, to Hollywood’s ideal of what a woman should be.

Kimberly declares that she hopes “those of you out there who criticise yourselves and your bodies, who look at thin girls all over the place in fashion, who watch outlandishly pretty young ladies on television, who admire movie stars and supermodels and yearn to be like them can know: That’s not what it looks like. Ever.”

It is also interesting to note that Heidi, and to a lesser extent Stephanie, Holly and Audrina, is the only one whose succumbed to this ideal.

Lauren Conrad, the original star of the show, got out when the going was good, and now leads a relatively quiet life as a fashion designer-cum-author slashie. Kristin, as her earlier comments illustrate, knows it’s only a job. Lo is fairly low-key and we really don’t know that much about her, which is probably the way she likes it. And while Audrina, Holly and Stephanie may have had surgical augmentations of some kind or another, they all remain fairly down-to-earth girls, or so it would seem.

Kimberly also notes that while almost everything on the show is fake, The Hills “is the realest account of female self-destruction I’ve ever seen on television”. This may be true, but this unravelling of Spencer and Heidi can be taken as an exercise in critical discourse about “reality” television, Hollywood and celebrity culture, which bodes the question: why can some people handle fame whilst others become the next Lindsay Lohan, trapped in a prison sentence, both literally and figuratively?

Elsewhere: [I Love Wildfox] That’s What Girls Are Made Of.

Lady Most Likely: Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People

Every time I turn on the readio, it seems like there’s a Will.I.Am collaboration (“3 Words” with Cheryl Cole; Usher’s “OMG”; “Imma Be” with Black Eyed Peas) or Will.I.Am sounding collaboration (“Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B.; “If We Ever Meet Again” by former über-producer Timbaland and Katy Perry) getting airtime. The BEP front man may indeed be the new Timabland, so I was surprised he didn’t make it onto the list. There’s always next year, I suppose…

Someone who did make it on, though, is Lady Gaga.

Cyndi Lauper, Gaga’s partner-in-crime for the MAC AIDS Fund, profiles her for possibly the most talked about ranking this year. I have no doubt Gaga is the most influential person in entertainment today, as she’s collaborating with and inspiring the fashion, beauty, art, advertising, music and film worlds with her own performance artas Lauper writes, “she is inspiring other artists to go further in their own work”and striking up water cooler conversation with her boundary pushing antics, both onstage and off.

Time is spot on in naming Marc Jacobs the only influential fashion figure. Jacobs, who is profiled by fellow fashionista and friend, Victoria Beckham, glamorised grunge, began the bag lady chic movement, and is now championing voluptuousness in his new season looks for Louis Vuitton and his titular line. Perhaps Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour would have made welcome additions, but Jacobs certainly has the respect of all facets of the fashion world his peers, his models, his muses and his loyal subjects.

I am utterly dumbfounded to not see George Clooney on the list. Not only did he single-handedly organise the Hope for Haiti Now telethon but, like a fine wine, he only gets better with age.

In other “Artists” notes, shoe in Oprah is profiled by Phil Donahue, while her partner, “Mr Oprah” Stedman Graham makes the Least Influential list (more on that below); Robert Pattinson is bafflingly included (for influencing legions of teens and, worryingly, tweens ready and willing to let Pattinson bite them? Perhaps Brad and Angelina would have been better choices, as they actually contribute something to societyas well as being really, really ridiculously good looking. Or even Stephenie Meyer, without whom Pattinson wouldn’t have an Edward Cullen to broodingly portray); and “new media mogul” Ashton Kutcher, whom I was pleasantly surprised to see on the list.

Of course, President Obama makes an appearance as one of, if not the most influential leaders. While he certainly is the most well-known leader on the list, whether he’s been as influential as he could have during his first year in the presidency is a point of contention for a lot of politicos and American citizens.

My second favourite President (after Obama, George W. Bush is the only other President whose reign I was [un]lucky enough to grow up during, so Clinton wins via default), I find Bill Clinton funny, charming and smartalthough, hey may not have been utilising the latter during Lewinskygate. Nonetheless, he’s making positive change, and that’s all that matters here.

On the other hand, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin makes the list. She is certainly fascinating and controversial, but I wouldn’t call her influential. Perhaps she would be more at home on Barbara Walters’ annual most fascinating people list?

Speaking of other lists, on page 96 you will find Joel Stein’s “The Time Bum Hundred”, relaying how he chronicled the 100 least influential people of 2010, split into “four categories… Losers, Flameouts, Morons and Slimy Bastards”. The complete list is not available in the mag, but it is on Time’s website.

Here is a sneak peak of “the Least Influential People Who Used to or Ought to Have Influence”, not including babies (who really are the least influential people in the world!), “the tattooed chick who messed up Sandra Bullocks’ marriage” (negative influence), and Tiger Woods, who just had a “bad year”, but is “still immensely influential, only now his influence lies in preventing men from texting their mistresses”: the Tom Tom GPS navigation system; “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”; Paula Adbul; Michael Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray who, unfortunately, was influential enough last year to play a key role in the death of Michael Jackson; Joaquin Phoenix; gay-disapprover, sex tape “without any sex” star and Former Miss California Carrie Prejean; “first dog” Bo Obama; George Clooney’s ex, Sarah Larson; former MTV TRL host Carson Daly; questionably, The Doors, who “actually sucked and just had a handsome lead singer”; Grover; Carrot Top; news anchor Katie Couric; John Edwards; the quintessential douche bag reality show dropout, Jon Gosselin; keeping it in the familyLindsay and Michael Lohan; Jersey Shore outcast Angelina Pivarnick; Bernie Madoff; Levi Johnston; Tila Tequila; Nicollette Sheridan; witches (“Charmed was like, ten years ago. It’s all about vampires, werewolves and zombies now”); anddrum roll pleaseSpencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, collectively known as Speidi. Let’s hope Heidi truly is uninfluential, especially for The Hills‘ primarily teen audience’ssake, or we could have an army of over-inflated, frozen-foreheaded Barbie clones on our hands.