Ian’s annoyed that the women on the Supreme Court have been tossed off the Forbes influence list in favor of the likes of Sarah Palin, Gisele Bündchen, Greta Van Susteren, and Lady GaGa. I think there’s some justification to his annoyance: Bündchen and Van Susteren do have influence, but it’s not necessarily substantive or lasting and it’s limited to a couple of realms. Palin has influence in that she’s able to drive news cycles, but there’s no evidence that she will get votes, can influence the passage or failure of legislation, or that she is herself terribly convincing (all the television shows and media projects she’s been involved with have dramatically underperformed). Compared to these three women, the influence of the women on the Supreme Court is less immediately visible — we don’t, after all, see the conversations the justices have in chambers—but it’s certainly more important.
But I’m prepared to defend the idea that Lady Gaga may be more influential than a Supreme Court justice. She’s a major commercial and artistic force who has also managed to turn her fans into a political base when she wants to, and her influence is international as well as domestic. I tend to think the influence of celebrities is generally overstated, but in this case, I think Gaga isn’t a ridiculous choice.