Saturday, April 20, 2013

My most moving magazine

When theTime issue of 100 Most Influential People comes, I get ready to be stirred.  I guess about a quarter or so of the people are names I have seen before, people that I know a little about.  The rest are new to me.  They come for popular arts like movies, tv and music but also for science, industry and politics. The moving part is the authors of the short biographical bits.  When a former president writes about a current president, of the US or somewhere else, or a president of one country writes about the president of another country, I admire that.  I admire the person who is explained to be important in one way or another, I admire the person who wrote the piece, often someone as famous or more so than the focus person and I admire the staff of the magazine for thinking of the possible author and obtaining that person as the writer. 

So, we get the Brazilian chef Alex Atala being written up by Rene Redzepi, chef of Noma in Copenhagen.  I had never heard of either of these but the idea of a top-notch chef saluting and praising another gives me a lift.  We get Joyce Banda, the woman president of Malawi (its first woman president) described in an article by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the woman president of Liberia.  I had not heard of Joyce Banda but I do happen to know of Sirleaf since she gave an impressive address to a graduating class from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

The article on Republican Tom Coburn, the junior senator from Oklahoma, aged 65, was written by his good friend, Barack Obama. Time helpfully informs us that the author is the 44th president of the US.  Obama says that after he and Coburn, an MD and a Baptist deacon, worked out a piece of legislation to make public more US government data, Coburn received dozens of letters complaining that Coburn seemed to be too close to Obama.  Hearing that any Democrat and any Republican even talk to each other, much less are friends, gives me another lift.

With 100 articles on all sorts of occupations and activities, the issue is a fat one.  It has 5 separate covers, one after the other, starting with Malala Yousafzai, the Afghan 15 yr old girl, shot by the Taliban for advocating education for herself and other girls who is now attending school in Britain. The others are Jay Z, hip-hop artist and multi-millionaire, Jennifer Lawrence, the Academy Award winning actress, Rand Paul, rising GOP star, and Elon Musk, entrepreneur founder of PayPal and more, Li Na, Chinese woman tennis star and Aamir Khan, Bollywood star and activist for improved social conditions in India.

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