10 Most Fascinating People of 2009

I had the pleasure of being in the audience (at the absolutely gorgeous Winter Garden Theater) while the CEO of Chapters Indigo (a bookstore chain in Canada) interviewed Barbara Walters when her autobiography came out. Barbara was incredibly engaging. I found her extremely funny as well. Overall, it was a very pleasant evening and I even got her to sign my book.

So I’m kind of baffled by her choices for her annual Most Fascinating People of 2009 show, which will be airing on December 9th. The #1 person hasn’t been released, but ABC has released the other 9 (courtesy of EW): Lady Gaga, Glenn Beck, Tyler Perry, Kate Gosselin, Brett Favre, Adam Lambert, Sarah Palin, Jenny Sanford, and Prince Michael, Paris, and ‘Blanket’Jackson.

“Fascinating” is defined as “of great interest or attraction”. So, in one sense, I can understand why people like Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert are on the list. Lady Gaga has been making headlines for months now with her songs (which are mostly catchy) and her insane fashion sense. I think she is very, very good at self-promotion, but she actually has some insane talent to back it up. Same for Adam Lambert, who was quite good in the exactly two performances I saw of his on American Idol and he’s been making recent headlines because of his raunchy performance at the AMAs. I also sort of get Tyler Perry, because of his recent bout of movie success, including the critically acclaimed Precious (which is an excellent, if soul-crushing, movie).

But I don’t get Sarah Palin. And I’m not saying this because I literally loathe the woman – I do – but because I simply don’t get the attraction. She quit being governor and, as far as I can tell, holds absolutely no political office. She doesn’t even have an actual job. So what’s the attraction? Are people fascinated by the fact that this woman, who is primarily nonsensical, has managed to become such a major figure in the US? And lest people start claiming I am some sort of Obama-supporter, I’d like to remind you that I am Canadian and didn’t vote Liberal in our last election. My political affiliations have nothing to do with this.

In the same way that I don’t understand Sarah Palin, I also don’t understand Kate Gosselin. Kate has 8 kids. She was on a television show. She had a douchey husband. But why is she “fascinating”? When did the word “fascinating” come to be associated with merely being a celebrity for no particular reason? Is she fascinating because she has endured a humiliating divorce in the public spotlight?

Finally, we come to Michael Jackson’s kids. I feel very bad for those kids. No matter what people say about Michael, it’s clear that he loved his children and it must be very shocking for them to have lost him so young. But why are they fascinating?

Honestly, I don’t even know who some of the other people are (downside/benefit of being Canadian), so I’m not going to comment on them.

What do you think about the choices? Who do you think will be #1?

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