The first three paragraphs of Bill Keller’s latest column: All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Print:
According to the list makers at Forbes, I am the 50th most powerful person in the world — not as powerful as the Pope (No. 5) but more powerful than the president of the United Arab Emirates (56). Vanity Fair, another arbiter of what matters, ranked me the 26th most influential person in the country. The New York Observer, narrowing the universe to New York, put me 15th on its latest “Power 150,” a list that stretches from Michael Bloomberg to Lady Gaga. New York magazine asked Woody Allen to name the single most important person in our city; he named — aw, shucks — me.
The world conspires to convince me of my significance. A respected Hollywood screenwriter has purchased an option on my “life rights” (a Faustian-sounding transaction, yes?) so that someone can portray me in a movie. When I did a radio call-in show a while back, a media reporter considered it an event of such urgency that he live-blogged the entire hour. Whatever I do, or don’t do, seems to be an event. Recently my sleepless wife sent out a midnight Twitter post — “Insomnia. Who else is awake?” — but she inadvertently sent it on my Twitter account rather than her own, prompting a global Twitter forum on my state of mind.
You may ask yourself, as I often do: What the hell? I run a newspaper. I haven’t cured a disease, governed a country, built a business, discovered a galaxy or written a series of books about wizards or vampires. What makes me so important? But these days even asking the question marks you as out of touch, the kind of naïf who thinks Bill Gates’s value to the human race increased when he moved from algorithms to poor children. It’s a media world, kids, and media begins with Me.
To which I say: what the fuck?