Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Revising Barbara Walters' 'most fascinating' list of 2012

Published: Friday, Dec. 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson

Jennifer Brett, MCT

Enlarge photo»

I’ve always wondered why Barbara Walters chooses the word “fascinating” to describe the people she discusses at the end of each year. After all, the word can mean fantastic — or freak show. Sometimes, the people she highlights are both.

They are a wide variety of pop stars, reality stars, politicians, authors and actors. And while they all come from different backgrounds and live vastly different lives, they all have one thing in common: People can’t stop talking about them.

Walters' most recent list of her "10 Most Fascinating People" included actor Ben Affleck, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, Prince Harry, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, Gen. David Petraeus, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, British boy band One Direction, author E L James, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

I'm not sure I agree entirely with Walters' list, though. Some of these people have been dubbed "most fascinating" before, including Petraeus. Hillary Clinton has also been featured previously, and quite frankly, the most fascinating thing Barbara Walters talked about on the TV special was her hair.

So here's my modified version of Barbara's list, including some commentary and a few additions of my own.

One Direction

I definitely agree with the selection of British boy band sensations Harry (currently dating country superstar Taylor Swift), Louis, Niall, Zayn and Liam. These guys have more than 11 million Facebook likes, 8 million Twitter followers and 900 million views on YouTube. They have won three MTV Video Music Awards and are estimated to have made $160 million. Not bad for two years.

I discovered through watching the special that I have something in common with One Direction: We were both discovered by another British icon, Mr. Simon Cowell.

Originally cut from the reality show “X Factor,” the singers were brought back to compete (hmm … again, oddly familiar!) but this time as a group. Simon signed them to his record label after the show, and since then they’ve been around the world “absolutely having the most amazing time and enjoying the moment.”

Seth MacFarlane

An actor, producer, writer, singer and voice of most of the main “Family Guy” characters, MacFarlane is described by Barbara Walters as a “genius.” He wrote and directed “Ted,” which is the highest-grossing rated-R movie in history. He is also slated to host the Oscars this spring, which may make some people a little ... uncomfortable.

When asked by Walters how he seems to get away with doing so many crude, racy and sacrilegious jokes, he laughed a little and said (in a normal voice), “It’s called ‘tonnage.’ It just can’t be in the same place. If it makes you laugh, it’s an honest joke.”

I’d argue that it’s an easy joke, but then again, I’m not the "genius."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

One of the first questions Walters asked Christie was if he thought he helped President Barack Obama win by praising his efforts after Hurricane Sandy. “No,” responded Christie, going a little deeper. “Was I supposed to lie? I was grateful for his help.”

His fans call him frank, candid and open. His critics call him “hotheaded.” But when asked if he thought he had a temper, he laughed and said, “There are times where anger is an appropriate emotion to show.”

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