Matthew Norman: Why a fragile Marine's treatment exposes the hypocrisy of the United States
AFTER a year of unrivalled newsiness, Time magazine's list of 2011's 100 most influential people looks, at first glance, a little odd. If not demented. For reasons which evade me, the magazine's readers have voted Rain, a South Korean singer and actor, at No.1. Susan Boyle is at No.3, just the 43 places above Barack Obama.
All lists of the kind are diverting gibberish, and this one more than most. Yet it does have a saving grace in the form of a cute juxtaposition. At No.8 is Bradley Manning, the US Army's whistleblower supreme whose pre-trial hearing to determine whether he must face a court martial is currently being held in Maryland. Posthumously ranked at No.9, meanwhile, is Christopher Hitchens.
Clearly the Hitch would have been higher had he had the wit to die a week earlier. But from his heavenly berth, he may look down with pleasure on the symmetry, and asymmetry, of being bracketed with the man whose leaking of military and diplomatic confidences gave WikiLeaks its most lustrous scoop.