Friday, October 21, 2005

Influential Intellectuals

A few weeks ago Foreign Policy published a list of the top 100 most influential intellectuals. There were lots of holes on that list. So James Tata has come up with his own list. Lists, as he comments, are silly, but they are also interesting. I think they say more about the people that make them than the people who are on them. Maybe it's a California connection, maybe it's a literary connection, but I like James' list better. But of course it has already inspired controversy as lists do. I thouhgt about who I would like to see on the list and I can say that it is not as easy as you might think. I too wanted more women on the original list and quickly stalled out over women and anyone not from the United States or Europe. The sticking point is the influential part. It is, unfortunately, still very much a man's world. I would consider adding Arundhati Roy, Barbara Ehrenreich, Wislawa Szymborska, and Jane Goodall. But then that's where I stalled. I think James came up with a pretty comprehensive list. He even included visual artists. The only visual artists I could think of are dead. So you give it a try. Who would you add to the list? Who would you remove?