Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hispanic Advertising Awards

Report from Miami:
The level of the winners of the AHAA Ad Age Hispanic Awards this year was consistently high and most of them displayed sophisticated, rigorous creative thinking. None of the ads seemed silly or half baked, which has been the case with some entries in previous years. Quite the contrary, the respect afforded to language and craftsmanship, to thorough creative thinking and quality executions is very encouraging. All of the winners seem to belong in the same range of quality. Moreover, most of the winners are based on actual Hispanic insight. They pass the test of "why is this Hispanic?" with flying colors. This is very good news. It shows that our niche market certainly has room for a high level of creative excellence that still delivers on our cultural nuance.
There were two Best of Shows (which as someone pointed out, is sort of oxymoronic). One was the campaign by Lápiz for Pepto Bismol, a wry take on the foods you love that hurt you (a Spanish pun on hurting both your stomach and your feelings). They are funny and insightful, but talking to Lawrence Klinger, Lápiz's Chief Creative Officer, I mentioned that cheesecake is not necessarily hard on the stomach. He concurred and told me that there will be more challenging foods in the next iterations of the campaign. This is a campaign that could easily play in any Spanish speaking country; even in any country where people love to eat heavy, demanding foods.

It's always good to see women on the stage, and I don't mean the models who give out the prizes and who still, in the dawn of the 21st Century, get whistles from our boys in the audience. I mean female creatives. The fact that an openly gay creative director also gets whistled at really gives one pause. Perhaps we can leave that sort of atavistic, puerile machismo behind? Some day?
Remember Little Lulu's friend Toby who would not let girls into his treehouse? This problem is rampant in advertising in general. And the Hispanic agencies are no exception. We need to see more mixed creative teams which are not "El Club de Toby", like the Lápiz winning team.

The other Best of Show winner was a single ad by Latinworks, for the Cine Las Américas film festival, a hilarious use of real footage of President Menem of Argentina giving a bizarre speech about Argentinian spaceships. The tagline: "if this is our reality, just imagine our movies". The campaign includes other surreal executions like Hugo Chávez talking about getting coca leaves from Evo Morales. It is smart and simple and brilliant.
My other favorites were Adrenalina's wonderful spots for Tecate, which are the strategy come to life but with great casting, excellent direction and a smart, infectious sense of humor. The Mexican parents of a young guy read him the riot act about his drinking bad light beer, instead of Tecate. I particularly liked how Adrenalina integrated radio into the campaign. They could have lifted the dialogue from the TV spots but they created a hilarious ad with a long funny disclaimer about who is not to drink Tecate. Very macho, but that's the beer drinking target. My feeling was that this campaign was flawlessly executed and right on strategy and was a strong contender for Best of Show, but my hunch is that it was too Mexican. Lately, a lot of the best creative seems directed to (and acted by people who look like) the people who come up with it, rather than the actual consumers. Thus, the Tecate campaign has merit for being right on target and still being creative and funny. After the controversial DDB Brazil WWF fake ad, it behooves agencies and award shows alike to take a hard look at creative pieces and make sure they are intended to work in the real world, not just to win awards.
My feeling however, is that there were no "truchos" among the winners this year. The work felt refreshingly honest.
Another great campaign was Grupo Gallegos' campaign for Latin Cable Comcast. It's a very clever spin on preferring to watch TV in language rather than with subtitles. It demonstrates the superiority of in language communications simply and hilariously and it found an ingenious way of translating the very visual concept into radio.
I also liked The Vidal Partnership NFL ad where a guy asks what's a yard and his friend responds with a poem to the game and then shows him with his hands the actual length. Again, it shows Hispanic insight in a clever, creative way.

I will say one thing that drives me crazy: when agencies win CREATIVE awards and instead of sending their creative teams to the show, they send some account executive who has no business being on that stage. It takes the creatives of such agencies blood, sweat and tears to come up with those spots, let alone sell them through the line, and convince the agency to spring the money to enter award shows. They deserve respect and recognition from their creative peers.

As the winners celebrated, I thought that Hispanic agencies (at least the ones who win awards) have come a long way. Yet after over 16 years of working in this market I find it amazing that we still have many hurdles to overcome when convincing clients to advertise to Hispanics. It's as if the agencies have grown creatively in leaps and bounds, yet many clients are still taking baby steps. No matter how much marketing research belies the Latino spending power, many clients are still wary of putting their marketing dollars into Hispanic efforts. These days, the appalling anti-immigration rhetoric is not helping our cause, which is all the more reason to fight harder for brand solidarity and visibility. But at least it's encouraging to know that there are agencies out there doing stellar work, in spite of all the hardships.

After Miss Julie

So many things are wrong in this play by Patrick Marber, based on Miss Julie by August Strindberg, that I don't know where to begin.
But let's start with the play. Why is it necessary to revamp Miss Julie? It's a great sordid, brutal play, and it was scandalous in 1888, when it was written. The story is timeless. It's about the absurdity of class differences and the war between the sexes.
I wrote a (yet unpublished) novel set in Mexico City that is a version of Miss Julie. Any time that a rich woman has the hots for a poor man, it's either Miss Julie or Lady Chatterley's Lover or both. Sex is kinkier whenever there is a class divide. However, Marber decides to transport the story to England in the 1940's after WWII. This seems totally arbitrary. Why not leave it where it was? The psychological destruction between the characters transcends eras, even if the class differences have been blurred in our modern age. So the 40s don't seem any different than today. Why not do it today? You don't have to live in a manor and be an aristocrat to feel superior and abusive to those who serve you. Mind games are eternal. So the play seems superfluous. It has a couple of good zingers but it is vulgar and shallow (not unlike other Marber plays).  Perhaps it is better than what it is afforded by the lackluster, absurd direction by Mark Brokaw.
The actors sound stilted and frozen, as if speaking British means pausing a full second after every word. Except for a wonderful moment of stagecraft where a mob is supposed to approach the kitchen, the production is utterly boring. The seismic shifts of mood between the actors make no sense. The fact that the driver and Miss Julie are humping feverishly as the mob approaches looks ridiculous. The whole thing is absurd and dead on arrival.
But the biggest problem is the casting. Neither Sienna Miller nor Jonny Lee Miller have the chops nor the talent to play these roles. Nothing they do makes any sense. Miss Miller is at the level of the class ham in a high school production. She couldn't play an aristocrat if it bit her in the rump. She is not of the school of British actresses that can do high style in their sleep. She's like Michael Caine, not like Michael Redgrave; that is, low class. As amply demonstrated by Mr. Caine, there is nothing wrong with that; she is just not right for this part. However, in her defense I will say that she is heard loud and clear, enunciates perfectly and has some good moments here and there, mostly when she is angry (the easiest thing to do when you are a neophyte actor). There is a semblance of character there, even if it's saddled with embarrassing amateurish tics, like what looks from afar like the constant chewing of fingernails. Mr. Miller is absolutely terrible and worse than her. He has no charisma and there is no rhyme or reason to his motivations. Half the time he mumbles. The rest, he huffs and puffs. He is stuck in a kitchen, what is he so exhausted about? It's not that there is zero chemistry between the two Millers, there is minus zero chemistry. Not a good thing when the play is about lust.
The only person with any theatrical dignity is Marin Ireland, a seasoned American stage actress, as Christine, the maid and fiancee of John, the driver. The moral of this story: Britannia doesn't always rule.
I find it really disturbing that the Roundabout Theater is cynical and craven enough to put these two young actors into such a thankless position in order to sell tickets. There are plenty of qualified actors who can play these roles and even bring box office success. These two are not them.

Armchair Protests

I got wind that there is going to be a demonstration in support of healthcare reform today at noon. If you are thinking the great lawn at Central Park or the Mall in Washington, you are sadly mistaken. This is on the corner of 37th and 8th Ave.
Why is it that racists and bullies and haters can show up at the White House happily and unimpeded and liberals are constitutionally incapable of organizing their own ass?
After that appalling circus from the right wing nut jobs, shouldn't there have been a massive counter protest in the same place drawing the purported majority of Americans who demand public healthcare? Everybody kvetches, but no one wants to do anything about it. Wouldn't it be rich if we had one of those concerts with pop music superstars to demand better healthcare for Americans? Instead, we are supposed to meet at 37th and 8th Ave.
It's pathetic.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Miami Bitch

Just spent three nights in Miami, attending a Hispanic advertising conference.
Here are some generalized impressions about Miami.
There are a lot of new empty high rises.
There are a lot of very tacky people, with extremely tacky tastes.
People like and wear logos around here. They haven't gotten the memo.
It's a superficial and uninteresting version of LA, when LA was a cultural wasteland.
It's humid.
Every hotel thinks the swimming pool should be a disco, regardless of the wishes or opinions of the guests. This being Miami, the playlists seem to be chosen by committees of vulgarian technopop sadists. This idiotic dj-ing at the pool drove me crazy, and for this reason alone I consign Miami to its own circle of hell. 
Another curious idiocy are the check in and out times (at least in my hotel). Check in is at 4 pm, which means, if you took a morning flight, you are to wander around without a room for most of the day. And checkout, get this, is at a prompt 11 am. For a town where tourists party (since there's nothing else to do), this is absurd.
Miami is an outpost of Latin America without the charm. There is absolutely no need to conduct yourself in English.
The beach is nice, the sea is warm, but there is garbage on the beach. Now, when I get into the sea I wonder if the fishies are swallowing my SPF 500. We really are gross, us humans.
But they do have a branch of Paul, the famous French boulangerie. And we don't.
And they have the only airport in this country where you can eat actual food (Cuban and delicious).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mexican Independence Day

It's been 199 years since Mexico declared its independence from Spain.
Mexico has been through an annus horribilis this year. There was the swine flu (which I think they handled pretty well), the horrible war on drugs (which will not let up until the US admits its culpability in the issue and takes measures to stop or legalize drug consumption here), a hurtful decline in tourism, the horrid unsolved murders of women in Juarez for which there is no explanation other than utter political depravity, the world economic crisis, plus a serious drought, hurricanes and earthquakes.  
Mexico is a great country, in many ways more progressive than many, with a rich history and a unique culture, (and the best food in the world), but it is still a developing country. How long is it going to take for it to mature its democracy and its social institutions? How much longer should Mexicans have to wait to have a fair and competent judicial system? How long do we expect the mistreated poor to wait for things to get better? They don't and with good reason; they all come to the States, where even as they are exploited and discriminated and persecuted, they have more of a chance of a better life than in their own country. Or at least they used to.
Rich in resources but rife with corruption and inequality, Mexico is forever poised to break out into magnificence, but it still lags behind. The reasons are many. It's a country with no social mobility, deeply divided by class and race, and very new to democracy. A country with an entrenched, parasitical bureaucracy.
It is, in my opinion one of the most surreal countries on Earth. As anybody who has ever spent time there knows, the concept of time in Mexico is elastic. If you are not versed on local subtext and context, you are going to feel like Alice through the Looking Glass. And despite the warmth and laissez faire of its people, there is a terrifying undercurrent of violent resentment.
Mexico is astoundingly beautiful, generous, and welcoming. Thus it pains me when I hear friends tell me they were shaken down by cops on their vacation in Tulum. It pains me when the perception of Mexico here, aided by the ignorant media, is of a lawless and failed state (lawless almost; failed, by no means). It pains me that most Americans really have no interest in the amazing richness that Mexico has to offer.

So congrats on Independence Day, Mexico, but I would say that it's time for Mexicans to demand better. More equality, more justice, better education, more lawfulness, a better democracy and a better life for all.

Not Voting Today

I always vote. I voted in Mexico against the PRI in every single election, even despite the apathy and the cynicism that one-party rule can breed. Since I became an American citizen, I've voted in 2 presidential elections, Democratic primaries, etc. I am a registered Democrat. I didn't know I could register as an independent. I'm regretting it ever since.
But today I am not voting. I am offended at the barrage of junk mail and unsolicited phone calls from the candidates. I am also offended at the lack of real choices. All the candidates are Democrats. Not that I would vote for a Republican, but I don't see the point. Cy Vance even sent a cute canvasser guy to my door. But frankly, I can't be bothered.  I can't see the difference between the district attorneys. I don't know enough about anybody. 
It seems to me that city politics are as boring and tainted here as they are everywhere else. So I decided to trust the older New Yorkers (the only ones who vote) to make the right choices.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Liberal Jews: It's About Time.

I have been saying this for years:

About J Street, a new, much needed liberal Jewish lobby in Washington (from the NYT Magazine):
We’re trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not, ‘Israel, right or wrong.’ ”

American Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic, but as Jewish groups moved to the right along with Israel in the 1980s, the groups increasingly made common cause with the Republican Party, which from the time of Ronald Reagan was seen as more staunchly pro-Israel than were the Democrats. Jewish groups also began to work with the evangelicals who formed the Republican base and tended to be fervidly pro-Israel. Indeed, when I met with Malcolm Hoenlein in July, he had just come from a huge Washington rally sponsored by Christians United for Israel, whose founder, the Rev. John Hagee, has denounced Catholicism, Islam and homosexuality in such violent terms that John McCain felt compelled eventually to reject his endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign.

As Martin Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and now the director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, puts it, “In the Bush years, when Israel enjoyed a blank check, increasing numbers of people in the Jewish and pro-Israel community began to wonder, If this was the best president Israel ever had, how come Israel’s circumstances seemed to be deteriorating so rapidly?” Why was Israel more diplomatically isolated than ever? Why had Israel fought a savage and apparently unavailing war with Hezbollah in Lebanon? Why were the Islamists of Hamas gaining the upper hand over the more moderate Fatah in Palestine? “There was kind of a cognitive dissonance,” Indyk says, “about whether a blank check for Israel is necessarily the best way to secure the longevity of the Jewish state.”

Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, was born in Poland in 1940, and he often sounds as if only eternal vigilance will ward off the Holocaust in the offing. Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, was born in a camp for displaced persons, to parents who were Holocaust survivors. The prophetic voice comes naturally to such men. So does the sense of besetting peril. Important Jewish organizations are normally reached through a series of locked doors presided over by glassed-in functionaries. The peril may be real. But it can also feel like a marketing device. “You know what these guys are afraid of?” says M. J. Rosenberg, Washington director of the Israel Policy Forum. “Their generation is disappearing. All the old Jewish people in senior-citizen homes speaking Yiddish are dying — and they’re being replaced by 60-year-old Woodstock types.”
Time for new blood and new and constructive ideas that will protect Israel, not help destroy it.

As for Norman Putzhoretz, Leon Wieseltier makes a very good case about why Jews are liberal and how Podhoretz is basically talking out of his tuches.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Great Public Speaking

But I'm not so sure this is why we got Obama into the Presidency, to be a great orator.
I'm disappointed that he talked about the public option as if it was some sort of embarrassment he had to apologize for. If the majority of American people want it, why is he so ashamed to push it? If the majority want it, how come only 5% are going to get it?
He had some good zingers (it's going to cost less than Iraq and Afghanistan and the tax breaks for the rich) and it was good to bring the ghost of Ted Kennedy into the room at the end, but it's all hot air if he doesn't put his foot down and get it done.
I think it is a disgrace when a speech about healthcare concerns itself more with the insurance companies than with patients and doctors. The plan is supposed to rein in the insurance companies, which is good (if difficult to believe), but this hodgepodge still doesn't solve the horror of the richest, most powerful country on Earth unwilling to provide universal healthcare for its citizens. I find this unfathomable.
In the end, I hope we get some sort of improvement. I'll believe it when I see it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Down with Fake Ads

For those of you earthlings that don't know anything about the world of advertising unless you see it on Mad Men, I will divulge to you a little secret. Many of the commercials that win awards at "prestigious" advertising shows (where the judges basically parcel out the prizes to their own agencies), are actually fake. Sometimes they are produced with the complicity of the client, which buys them a time slot at four am in a local station in Wyoming, so they can compete for a Gold Lion at Cannes. This is the case, for instance, of the award winning campaign for Crest, which Procter & Gamble clients approved but would not be caught dead actually showing en masse to its consumers. Sometimes, however, somebody forgets to advise the client, like in the recently notorious case of DDB Brazil, which submitted an incredibly stupid and tasteless fake ad for their client, WWF (not the World Wrestling Federation; the World Wildlife Fund, the one with the Panda).
First, it was a print ad that caused concern and commotion. Then it turned out the agency had produced an even stupider and more offensive TV spot for submission at awards shows. Besides the sickening use of footage of the 9/11 terrorist attack on NY, the ad is offensive because it is beyond moronic. It puts the client in the worst possible light. It is the work of provincial, narrow-minded, ignorant, clueless, Third World idiots, and I say this with every intention to offend.
Now, the first award show to ban fake ads is the prestigious One Show. 
It was about time.
Fake ads are easy. Usually they are glib and facile and really pose no creative challenge. The real challenge is to win an award with a real ad that is seen by millions of people. Real creativity is coming up with ads that have passed through the daunting gauntlet of corporate approvals, real marketing strategies and real media buys (i.e, the nine circles of Hell x 827). Those are the ads that truly deserve awards.
The moment fake ads are banned from competition, this will become painfully apparent. There will be a dearth of creative excellence and, who knows, if everybody else follows the One Show's example, perhaps clients will finally shed their creative inhibitions (I'm being tactful here), take some risks and approve ads that truly deserve creative awards.

Latin American Looney Tunes

Reading the New York Times the other day, I learned that there had been an Argentina-Brazil soccer match to qualify for the World Cup. Brazil won 3-1. They had footage of the goals, so I watched. All of a sudden I see a stonefaced Diego Maradona in the sidelines. And I'm thinking, what's he doing there? Is he the official mascot of the Argentinean team? Turns out he's the coach! This to me is in a nutshell a perfect example of the utter incapacity of our Latin American countries to get with the program.
Maradona was a gifted player and an even more gifted major, world class, fuck up. Who in his right mind would think that this guy is fit to be the coach of the national soccer team? Only a people rooted in self-mythologizing, which is what our countries do best.  Getting a grip on practical matters is a different story. The result bears me out. Argentina, one of the greatest teams in the world and multiple World Champion, is apparently not going to the World Cup. Serves them right. Idiots.
2. The New York Times, instead of reporting on the increasingly scary water shortages in Mexico City, decides to do a piece on how Mexico is becoming a record holder for sundry imbecilities in the Guiness Book of World Records. They have made the biggest meatball, and the biggest torta, the most couples kissing on Valentine's Day, had the world's largest fat man (who lost 500 lbs and now wants to be the guy who lost the most weight), and the biggest cheesecake. And some genius in the article claims that Mexico wants to be "world class". Well how about instead of giant cheesecakes, start coming up with better policies, better education, a higher standard of living, and a law abiding state that is not rotten with corruption and cynicism? Geez!
3. From Mexico to poor Oliver Stone and his paean to lefty Latin American governments, his new film South of the Border. The Venezuelans who oppose Chavez are furious with Stone for rendering Chavez as a hero (which he is, let me remind you, mostly to those who happen to be piss poor, which happen to be the majority of people in Venezuela). The Chavez haters claim Stone got paid for making this piece of commie agitprop. I don't think he was paid. He has always been sympathetic to lefty causes in Latin America (remember Salvador?). His entire career is a provocation against American power and influence: Wall Street, Salvador, Born on the fourth of July, Platoon, JFK... Didn't he shoot a glowing documentary about Fidel a few years back, which by the way, no one ever saw stateside? With all due respect, people who don't like Chavez and Evo and Lula, etc, should understand that if these lefties are in power, 1) this is a direct consequence of benighted American foreign policy in the region. And 2) Stone is not being paid or coerced or brainwashed. He is entitled to his sympathies, whether one thinks they are misguided or not.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Marketing is Evil

And in case you were skeptical, here is my gift for you.
Some members of the food industry pay $100,000 to enroll their engineered products (which can't be called food proper) in a program that uses green labels signaling them as "Healthier Choices". This is instead of each food company doing the same thing on their own, which they had been doing up to now. The people running the program are mostly representatives of the food industry.  Thus, Froot Loops is considered a Healthier Choice. Under their ridiculous guidelines, something as natural and wholesome as Kool-Aid could make the cut since it has vitamin C.
Lunchables, that despicable packaged thing for kids, has made the cut. 
This is nothing but misleading advertising.  It has nothing to do with nutrition, much less with actual food.

People Who Think The Rules Don't Apply To Them

And by that I mean someone like Annie Leibovitz, who apparently mismanaged her money so badly that she owes like 24 million dollars and has had to put her photographs and houses as collateral.  She stands to lose the rights to her own pictures, which is pretty awful. But to judge from the reports, she is just reaping what she's sown.
I have never liked her work. You can read why here. When I read about her financial troubles, I was appalled, like everyone else, to learn that this woman, who was very highly paid, to put it mildly, owed $800,000 to her vendors, and at one point was so disorganized that she would rent cars and not return them, she would never come around to sign her photographs for clients who had bought the prints, would spend lavishly and irresponsibly and was simply an ass with money. It seemed to me she has that syndrome of "I am such a special talent that the rules of civic and professional behavior do not apply to me". I cannot say that I feel sorry for her.
I don't feel sorry for anyone who doesn't pay their vendors.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shoe story

After much debate with myself, I bought a pair of those uglyass MBT shoes that supposedly correct your posture and give your legs a workout. Mine are not so ugly. They are red with light gray trim.  They look retarded yet stylish.
The MBT people have come out with models that are trying to minimize the uglyass factor. That was a huge drawback for me. That and the price. 
I took them out for a morning walk and indeed, I could immediately feel my posture improve. Since you need to gently balance yourself in the middle of the sole, you don't push your torso forward. I also felt more of a workout when walking, a little more exertion. I believe that I felt less strain in my hip joints, but that may be susceptibility to hype. They felt good. And they make you taller. Except, I don't know why, one of them was chafing the upper part of my right heel and now I have a painful blister and I can't wear them. This right heel of mine bristles at certain shoes. I think I have some sort of bone growth that sticks out.
Isn't this stuff fascinating, my darling readers?
Honest, I didn't know what to write about today. I really didn't want to get into the idiots who protested the Israeli film sidebar at the Toronto Film Festival. That stuff makes my liver curdle. I didn't want to go into the revolting massacre at a drug rehab clinic in Juarez. That is so cowardly and nauseating, I can't bear to talk about it.
So we're talking about my feet problems today.
Catch is, I got the shoes on final sale (what, you thought I was going to pay almost $250 for a pair of glorified sneakers?) and so either my right heel toes the line, or I I'll have to sell them on Ebay.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Life Without Cable

The TV set is dormant and I miss it only slightly. I realize that its presence in the home is insidious. If you grew up with it, you miss it, even if you never see it.
As you know, darlings, I decided to forgo cable TV in favor of Hulu, where I can see TV shows, just not on the date they aired. Fine by me. I will be saving more than $90 a month. What took me so long?
So far, I've enjoyed episodes of The Office, The Daily Show, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, etc.
I also saw the Frontline report on Bernard Madoff and how he came up with the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
My conclusion is not that people are greedy (foregone). It's that this guy fooled everyone with his status (and those made up statements, of course). It's that the secrecy he imposed, instead of smelling fishy as it should have, seemed to confer a whiff of exclusivity (of "making it") which led everyone to their doom.
The people who worked at the SEC and did absolutely nothing when more than one whistleblower came in waving humongous red flags, those people should be in the same cell with Madoff. They absolved him. As if they could not believe such a rich and important man capable of such a thing, even in the face of damning evidence.
These people simply were star struck by his money making abilities.
It is also true that the SEC is an understaffed and overwhelmed bureaucratic mess and, according to someone I met who used to work there, people there have no incentive to do their jobs. They are like bureaucrats at the DMV. They go home at 5 o'clock. An investigation into Madoff's practices would have required a kind of effort nobody was willing to make. It's revolting. Even more revolting is that yenta that, looking to cash in on everybody's misfortune, or to exact revenge for the losses she and her organization sustained, came out with a book detailing her affair with Madoff.  Nobody has any dignity anymore.
Listen, I like money as much as the next guy. As I've said before, I like it so much, I'd love to adopt it, but there is something disgusting about this mindless adoration of wealth and status.
This week's Vanity Fair (how I hate this longwinded, vulgar magazine) lists the 100 most powerful people in the media today. With great fanfare, it dubs them The New Establishment. To give you an idea, at number one, sits none other than Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. At number two, Steve Jobs (as evil as they are with their planned obsolence, I have to say Apple deserves to be on this list. I love all my iGadgets.) However, most of the list seems to be made up of greedy bastards, amoral Hollywood peddlers of schlock and Graydon Carter's friends. Brangelina? Michael Bay? Why are these morally debased people considered powerful? There is an amazing lack of fresh blood in this list. It's utterly irrelevant. Oprah? Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks? Old hat, I say, who cares about their millions?
There are other people and forces out there changing the way people live. But America really only worships one God and that is the Almighty Dollar. Quel dommage.