[ 2006-10-20 09:44 ]
A Marlboro billboard in
Denver in an undated photo.
They influence everything from how we look and act to eat and speak and
have even helped sway the course of history - but they are not real.
And topping a list of "The 101 most influential people who never lived"
in a book released on Tuesday is the Marlboro Man
- a macho American cowboy who emerged in the 1950s and
helped boost sales of Marlboro cigarettes.
"The figments of our imaginations, the creatures we push out of our
minds into the real world are fully capable of pushing back with
surprising consequences," Jeremy Salter, one of the US book's three
Coming in at number two on the list is Big Brother
of George Orwell's 1984, followed by King
Arthur , who the authors say
embodies for many the ideal monarch, and Santa Claus comes in at number
"Santa Claus governs our entire economy for the last quarter of the
year and without him businesses would go
broke," said co-author Allan Lazar.
Barbie "the bodacious
plastic babe who became a role model for millions of little girls, setting
an impossible standard for beauty and style" makes the list at number 43.
"The idea came to us that influential characters didn't have to exist,
that fictional characters were just as important in our lives, even in
maybe some cases more so than real people," Lazar said.
Even the Loch Ness Monster
makes the list at number 56.
"As the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland, Nessie's influence
on the cash flow of that country has been significant," wrote the authors
of "The 101 most influential people who never lived."