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Fascination is in the eye of the beholder

April Clark
Staff Photo |

This week, broadcast journalist Barbara Walters compiled her list of the 10 most fascinating people of 2013 for her annual year-end primetime special.

She might want to check it twice.

Apparently the people out there dancing around with tongues sticking out sideways and revealing the country’s top secrets are considered fascinating in Barbara’s world. The list includes Miley Cyrus and Edward Snowden, respectively.



I smell a ratings grab.

Also making the list is Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Britain’s royal infant Prince George, world record-holding swimmer Diana Nyad, the popular Pope Francis, breast cancer survivor and anchor Robin Roberts, and A&E’s hairy “Duck Dynasty” cast.



Santa isn’t the only bearded man popular this season.

Kimye rounds out Barbara’s top 10 which likely needs explaining for people like my dad who would confuse the name for a spicy Korean cabbage dish.

Suddenly I’m hungry.

Kimye is technically two people, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West. In today’s bizarre world of celebrity fascination, Hollywood followers will morph two celebrities into one persona. This started with Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez), then reached new Hollywood heights with Brangelina, a mix of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

People really have too much time on their hands.

So when Kim and Kanye hooked up to be the newest Hollywood supercouple this year, voila. Kimye was born. Along with baby North West.

I can’t even make this stuff up.

Maybe Barbara is right about her list, but I’m naturally skeptical. I’m certainly fascinated. But in more of a spellbound trance-type of fascination as opposed to the feeling I had the first time I ever stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

That memory still captivates me.

While our culture deems those who make millions off a sex tape or pull outrageous publicity stunts fascinating, there are still the people on Barbara’s list who stand out for the good they bring to the world. Take, for example, Robin Roberts. The “Good Morning America” anchor and breast cancer survivor was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 2012. She received a bone marrow transplant in 2012 and made her TV comeback in February of 2013. Her high-level broadcasting status sparked a 1,800-percent jump in the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry the day she went public.

Now that is fascinating.

I do find it enthralling Diana Nyad broke the world record for being the first confirmed person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage this year. Especially doing it at 64. By definition, she’s one year away from the start to her Golden Years.

Take that for redefining life.

I am pretty much terrified of being eaten alive by sharks, or anything that lives in the water for that matter, so the fact she accomplished this feat with no protection from that chance intrigues me. I am also a sub-par swimmer, so those who excel at the sport interest me. I’m 23 years Nyad’s junior but my lack of skill, training and dedication to the sport puts me decades behind her in achieving such a record. I wonder if I could even swim from one end of Glenwood’s Hot Springs Pool to the other, even if I were double-dog dared.

I don’t seem to have a problem soaking in it.

Excelling at the field sport of hunting and selling duck calls earned the “Duck Dynasty” cast inclusion on the list, but I would have to see more episodes to see what the fascination is all about. They seem to be a funny bunch – especially Uncle Si — with an appreciation for family values, love for others, and spreading peace and happiness.

That’s fascinating these days when violence seems to take center stage.

I may not agree with everyone on Barbara Walters’ list. But I do take it for its entertainment value. I also know there are many more fascinating everyday people out there doing great deeds in the world.

And, thankfully, they are being recognized.

I just read a story about 2013 CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke, who has dedicated his life to U.S. waterways clean-up through his nonprofit Living Lands & Waters. He and more than 70,000 volunteers have picked up more than 7 million pounds of trash in the past 15 years. He is splitting his prize money with the other top 10 finalists in CNN’s hero contest.

Color me utterly fascinated.

— April E. Clark would like to thank all the selfless volunteers who stand outside of stores and ring bells, help feed the homeless, and collect toys for military families and children in hospitals during the holidays. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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