Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, June 1, 1998 Published at 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK


Eat my shorts, Godot!

Bart Simpson (front, centre) is hugely popular worldwide, but especially in the United States

Bart Simpson has elbowed playwright Samuel Beckett out of the way to make it into Time magazine's list of the 20 most influential artists and entertainers of the 20th century.

Bart lines up alongside Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and Pablo Picasso. But there is no place for Beckett, author of the classic Waiting For Godot, Elvis Presley, Marcel Proust or J R R Tolkien.

A senior writer at Time told The Guardian newspaper it was a choice between Beckett and Bart and said: "So of course we chose Bart in the end."

[ image: Samuel Beckett...did not make the top 20]
Samuel Beckett...did not make the top 20
Bart's place on the list is perhaps more due to what he represents rather than who he is.

Power of television

Time chose him because he represented the cynical, junk food generation of the late 20th century and the power of television over books, art and the cinema.

The magazine points out a classic Bart Simpson scene which sums him up.

Hugging a television set, he turns to his layabout father Homer and says: "It's done more to raise me than you have."

Explaining how the list had been compiled a Time spokesman said: "In an effort to identify the 20 most important artists and entertainers of the century interviewer Charlie Rose led six diverse individuals in a freewheeling conversation that spanned film, theatre, painting, television, literature, music, fashion, photography and architecture."

Hundred most important people

The debate was held earlier this month at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and formed the second of six Time 100 symposia, designed to compile the 100 most important people of the century.

[ image: Frank of the first names on the Time list]
Frank of the first names on the Time list
The full list is: Pablo Picasso, Martha Graham, Le Corbusier, Igor Stravinsky, Coco Chanel, James Joyce, T S Eliot, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Bart Simpson.

There were surprises earlier this year when Time chose its Top 20 Leaders and Revolutionaries.

Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin were omitted from the list in favour of feminist icon Margaret Sanger and the nameless Chinese youth who stood in front of a tank during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media
Relevant Stories

01 Jun 98 | Entertainment
Friends pay tribute to murdered comic

01 Jun 98 | Entertainment
The world according to Bart Simpson

Internet Links

Igor Stravinsky page

Time magazine's Top 100 most influential artists and entertainers

The Samuel Beckett homepages

Bart Simpson's blackboard sayings

Martha Graham (choreographer)

Lucy-Desi Museum in Lucille Ball's home town

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.