Sure, Pony Ma, the Chinese tech entrepreneur on the TIME 100, is important. If you're completely detached from reality. To find out who really matters, I held a lunch where today's real powerbrokersXzibit, rapper and host of MTV's Pimp My Ride; Bridget Marquardt, 1/3 of Hugh Hefner's girlfriend and star of E!'s Girls Next Door; Eddie Sanchez, UFC fighter; Tommy the Clown, krump dancer; Dr. Boogie, hairstylist and contestant on Bravo's Shear Genius; Jimmy Jimmy Coco, spray tanner; Glenda Borden, party plannercompiled a list of 100 people who actually influence society. Herewith, the Alt TIME 100:
1. Al Gore, environmentalist
Gore was everyone's first choice. He is, they felt, the only politician who matters at all. "He got an Oscar," explained Xzibit. "That counts for something. At least he's talking about something that matters." To the panels knowledge, no other politician has ever been important enough to win an Oscar.
2. Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor
After Al Gore, the Alt TIME 100 believes that Anderson Cooper is the most important person in the world.
3. Russell Simmons, owner Phat Farm
Simmons appeared on a surprising number of the panelists' lists. It turns out that's because most of them knew him. "He's a really nice guy," said Bridget Marquardt. I had a chance to work and live with him," said Dr. Boogie. Russell Simmons, despite all the meditation, is not a quiet homebody type.
4. Heather Mills, dancer
The panel just loves Dancing With the Stars. And they're impressed that "her leg doesn't just fly off." As you'll see throughout, the panel has only a vague understanding of medicine.
5. Anna Nicole Smith, model
"She had presidential levels of press coverage," explained Glenda Borden. There was some talk about putting her daughter Danielyn, on the list, but they decided that would be too much.
6. Martin Scorcese, director
The Oscars are very important to the Alt TIME 100.
7. Will Smith, actor
No good reason other than people love Will Smith.
8. Tom Anderson, founder of MySpace
There was a spirited discussion about whether parents should let kids on MySpace. Xzibit doesn't let his son on the internet unless they do it together. Glenda says letting her daughter on MySpace gives her more info about her daughter's life than she would ever have without it. The Alt TIME 100 hopes to air this debate on All Things Considered. Tommy the Clown, by the way, has over 160,000 friends.
9. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, creators of YouTube
The panel thought YouTube might even be more important than the MySpace. "More shit breaks there than on CNN," said Xzibit
10. Hugh Hefner, editor
Everyone thought Hef should make the list. Then I explained that Bridget was one-third going out with him which made the panel very excited. If Bridget was two-thirds going out with Hef, I don't think the panel could have taken it.
11. Nancy Davis, MS fundraiser
She throws big parties and gets Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie and Tara Reid to come. "Everyone participates," Glenda said.
12. Paris Hilton, celebutant
The panel wanted to create a side list called "Trainwrecks" which would include Paris Hilton (or, as Xzibit called her, "Paris Hitler"), Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Nicole Ritchie, Anna Nicole Smith and the Bush twins. But 100 is an awful lot of people, so I listed them separately. I left off the Bush twins because I'm not sure the panel really meant it. We were drinking quite a bit by the time their names came up. It just didn't seem fair.
13. Lindsay Lohan, celebutant
14. Britney Spears, celebutant
15. Nicole Ritchie, celebutant
16. Angelina Jolie, actress
Adopting babies, the panel thought, was a good trend to start.
17. Lance Armstrong, cyclist
Two years later, still loving a sport they've never watched.
18. Tyra Banks, TV host
The panel felt that if they had to choose between Tyra and Oprah a rule they invented themselves they'd pick Tyra. In fact, they called her the new Oprah.
19. Oprah Winfrey, TV host
Still, they love old Oprah too.
20. Sanjaya's hair, American Idol contestant
As Xzibit pointed out, "It's working, and that's the disturbing thing."
21. Simon Cowell, American Idol judge
More people vote on American Idol than the Presidential elections, Xzibit pointed out. And almost as much is written about it.
22. Paula Abdul, American Idol judge
Randy Jackson, it seems, is utterly expendable.
23. LeBron James, basketball player
He's really good.
24. Debbie Allen, choreographer
She does a lot of stuff with kids. The panel loves kids! You mention "kids" and you get on this list.
25. Osama Bin Laden, head of Al Qeda
The panel pointed out that he's likely to outlast Bush as head of an organization.