Earlier this week, Time celebrated its annual selection of the 100 most influential people in the world with a gala in New York, and while we’re suspicious of any list that includes both Ashton Kutcher and Amartya Sen, we enjoy the logistical wonder that is the Time 100 double issue. The massive editorial effort, led by assistant managing editor Radhika Jones, commissions a diverse group of notable figures—many of them Time 100 alumna—to write a paragraph or two about the chosen influencers. Yes, this strategy can result in a Ted Nugent-penned paean to Sarah Palin, who he would “be proud to share a moose-barbecue campfire with” provided that he can shoot the moose, and Palin’s own ode to Glenn Beck (“America’s professor of common sense”), but it also gives us Ruth Reichl on David Chang (“Whipped tofu with sea urchins and tapioca? Bring it on!”) and sphere-headed prophet and monkey newsman Karl Pilkington on Ricky Gervais (“He opens the locks on toilet doors with a coin when I’m using them”).
Time tapped Shepard Fairey to muse on the elusive Banksy, who created this self-portrait for the magazine. “He has a gift: an ability to make almost anyone very uncomfortable,” writes Fairey. “He doesn’t ignore boundaries: he crosses them to prove their irrelevance.” Ryan Pfluger‘s elegant full-bleed photo of Marc Jacobs, standing pensively beside his desk (on which sits a Philippe Starck for Flos gun lamp) offsets Victoria Beckham‘s less than memorable prose (“You can always tell when someone is wearing Marc Jacobs,” she writes, wrong-headedly, considering the designer’s astonishingly diverse output). Meanwhile, Donna Karan discusses Zaha Hadid—who is grouped with the thinkers, not the artists—and compares her buildings to a gust of wind: “organic, forceful, and utterly natural.” Our favorite matchup? Steve Jobs as exalted by Apple fan Jeff Koons, who brings his usual up-with-people verve while invoking a rival operating system. Writes Koons, “The tools [Jobs] has given us, from the Macs at my studio to the iPhone in my pocket, are like clean new windows, fitting between our selves and our work elegantly, naturally, and unobtrusively.”