Lady Gaga is really, really influential according to voters in TIME Magazine's poll on who should be Person of the Year. photo by John Robert Charlton
Lady Gaga is really, really influential according to voters in TIME Magazine's poll on who should be Person of the Year. photo by John Robert Charlton

The Influence of Entertainers, Athletes and Writers

For 83 years TIME Magazine has been choosing a Person of the Year.* This year, you get to help decide the honor. Maybe. Sort of. It doesn’t exactly work like Dancing With the Stars so don’t bother trying to rig the vote. The TIME editors will be choosing the year’s most influential person and they may — or may not — take your votes into consideration. Actually, it’s really just a poll.

Here on CultureMob we pretty much stay out of politics. After all, as Ernest Benn said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” Who needs that headache?

However, we do know our entertainers, writers and athletes, and five of that ilk are on the short list this year for Person of the Year: Lady Gaga, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, LeBron James and Jonathan Franzen.

You can go to the TIME website and rate on a scale from 1 to 100 how influential you think each of these people have been in 2010.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are grouped together thanks to their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and while they both blur, befog, smear, smudge and otherwise blear the lines between comedy, politics and news – and admittedly those lines are already thin to the point of vanishing – they are entertainers. Very influential entertainers judging from the poll results so far which place the dynamic duo at #4.

Lada Gaga is leaving them in the dust, currently ranking at #2. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Here’s TIME’s explanation for her current standing in the poll:

With only two albums under her belt, Lady Gaga has breathed much needed new life into pop music. The 24-year-old star has become an icon by combining dance numbers with performance art to create something that appeals to teenagers and critics alike.

LeBron James is at #21 – and let’s face it, who hasn’t had something to say about The Decision.

Novelist Jonathan Franzen comes in at #23 so far and is a breath of fresh, intellectual air.

At a time when the world of fiction can seem overtaken by wizards, warlocks, Jane Austen zombies and teenage vampires, Jonathan Franzen stands out with his carefully crafted, increasingly rare type of writing: the big American novel.

Check out the current poll results and put in your two cents. After all, YOU were the TIME Person of the Year in 2006 so your voice deserves to be heard. Yes, you. And me. And him and her…

And if you need more material in order to make a thoughtful, informed vote, check out some of our articles:

*and by the way, the honor was known as the Man of the Year until 1999 when it was changed to Person of the Year. They were more than a little late to the politically correct party, but up until that time – 72 years in all – only 4 women had ever been named Woman of the Year, so they obviously just kept misplacing their invitation.

Sports Lady Gaga, LeBron James, Jon Stewart on TIME’s Short List for Person...