Scott's World

By VERNON SCOTT, United Press International  |  Jan. 1, 2002 at 5:41 PM
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HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- It sounds presumptuous to name "the 25 most intriguing people of 2001," but that didn't prevent People magazine from naming them this week.

Half of them are entertainers.

Nowhere does the magazine volunteer the names and titles of the periodical's reporters, editors and suits who selected these celestial mortals and why they are intriguing, if indeed they are even remotely fascinating.

People magazine failed to mention Osama bin Laden among its most intriguing individuals, in the same way that the suspected terrorist mastermind was not chosen "Person of the Year" by Time magazine. Both publications are part of the AOL Time Warner media empire.

How can any reasoning mind overlook this multimillionaire mastermind of al Qaida and financiers of the murderous Taliban? He should automatically be among the 25 most intriguing people of 2001 or of the entire 20th century, for that matter.

What makes this fanatical madman tick and why does he hate Christianity and the United States maniacally?

If he's worth $25 million dead or alive, how can this son of Islam be ignored by Time and People?

Aside from that, how could an unpopular jock like San Francisco Giant outfielder Barry Bonds, who is every bit as petulant as bin Laden, find himself in the charmed circle of Time's intriguing 25?

At least Bonds slugged 73 home runs to become the king of baseball's home run hitters. Would that Bonds could use his bat on Osama's noggin.

He's never been humble (nor has Osama), but Bonds has said, "I can always improve."

Yeah, well, so can Osama.

Eight of People's favored 25 were more intriguing than the other 17.

They had their pictures on the cover of this week's issue of the magazine.

Topping them all in prominence were George W. Bush and Julia Roberts, followed by Nicole Kidman, Rudy Giuliani, Bonds, Jennifer Aniston, Katie Couric and Prince Harry of England.

Hold it right there.

No one would quarrel with the presence of Julia Roberts on the list. She intrigues the world with her bewitching charm, supercharged femininity and indomitable sex appeal wrapped in girl-next-door demeanor.

She's a thousand times more intriguing than, say, Rosie O'Donnell, Monica Lewinsky or the junior senator from New York. Or all of them combined.

But Dubya? Most intriguing?

The president is as popular as a sitting president can well be, but he's about as intriguing as Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman who got the job done.

He's never had girlies sneaked into the White House like JFK, nor secretly taped visitors as did Nixon, nor pulled his dogs' ears like LBJ.

Dubya has done well in his first year, but he is plain vanilla (which might be a good thing). However, we're talking INTRIGUING here.

A step down from Julia and Dubya are Nicole Kidman and former New York Mayor Giuliani.

Giuliani is intriguing if for no other reason than his flip-flop from philanderer to national hero following Sept. 11. He belongs on the list.

So does Nicole, beautiful and dignified who handled her squalid divorce from $25-million-per-film Tom Cruise with ladylike reserve.

She also could be Oscar-nominated for two movies in 2001: "Moulin Rouge" and "The Other." She belongs.

Then comes enigmatic Bonds and Jennifer Aniston, a surprise.

Aniston is intriguing, one supposes, because she is married to current ladies' lollipop Brad Pitt. She also stars in the TV series "Friends," but who doesn't?

Millions of Americans don't know who she is or what she does. And they probably don't care.

Next are Katie Couric and Queen Elizabeth's grandson, Harry; neither of whom are as intriguing as Al Gore or Janet Reno.

Couric reportedly could earn $100 million as a TV commentator, which is less intriguing than inconceivable. She's a nice, presentable woman who does a good job but that could fit a million others, including Barbara Walters.

As for Prince Harry, what's so intriguing about this 17-year-old royal?

He's more interesting than his father, Prince Charles, but then who isn't?

Now Harry's mother, Princess Diana, was the most intriguing woman on Earth.

Maybe that has rubbed off.

People's best choice may be "The Firefighter of NYC" and their heroics on 9-11. Each one is intriguing.

Considerably less interesting and far from intriguing are several other choices: singers Mariah Carey, Madonna and Diana Krall, actress Kim Catrall, politician Gary Condit and Kathie Lee Gifford's replacement with Regis -- Kelly Ripa.

Don't ask why, but actress Reese Witherspoon made it, possibly because she's cute. Intriguing? Nah.

Condoleezza Rice, Dubya's national security adviser, made it, perhaps because of her marvelous first name.

The rest: Mel Brooks, 9-11 widow Lisa Beamer, stem-cell scientist James Thomson, author Jonathan Franzen, Harry Potter, psychic John Edward, space tourist Dennis Tito, David Letterman and scheeze, the cast of TV's "Friends"!

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