Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Person of the Year Is Dead

Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2006 is (yawn) YOU! Cuz you, y'know, did stuff. You posted videos on YouTube and, um, voted and stuff.

If it feels like another Time Magazine wimp-out, well, that astuteness is just one reason why YOU are Person of the Year.
Five out of the last six Persons of the Year have been bogus, safe, avoid-a-choices. The worst, of course, was Rudolph Giuliani in 2001. Yeah, sorry, no. That would be Osama bin Laden. If anyone's unclear on this, just build yourself a time machine and check out the history books of the future.

We all know that Time's ostensible criteria is not wonderfulness but impact, right? Not a moral choice, but, theoretically, a journalistic choice.

After Giuliani, we've had WHISTLEBLOWERS, SOLDIERS and THREE RICH PHILANTHROPISTS. The whistleblowers might've qualified if we'd had a Congress interested in whistles at the time. The soldiers might have qualified if they had done something other than what they were instructed to do by the commander-in-chief at the time (whose invasion of Iraq in 2003 is really the one thing that historically will justify Bush ever having been Person of the Year). Bono and Bill Gates? And, um, Mrs. Bill Gates?

Yeah, I think the world is still reverberating with the impact of their, um, stuff. What Time Magazine should have done was chosen one or a few of the architects of the Democratic seizure of both houses of Congress. You know -- the way they did when Newt Gingrich spearheaded a LESS successful coup. Howard Dean would have been the obvious choice, though Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer would have been interesting, provocative additions, too.

See, Time seems to have made the mistake of forgetting they're looking for whomever has had the greatest PLURALITY of impact. In other words, assuming no one was responsible for more than 50 percent of the world's direction in a given year (the way, say, bin Laden was), then you go for whomever had not the majority of the impact, but more impact than anyone else.

Time Magazine has now succumbed to what would have been a brilliant Onion reductio ad absurdum of its wussyish inability to actually make a choice the past few years. They can't choose anyone, so they choose everyone. There's only one place to go from here.

In the year 2007, Time will actually have to return to doing journalism and choose whomever actually has the greatest impact on the year, or just give in and name Everything Ever as 2007's Person of the Year.

Oh, and I don't want to appear ungrateful to Time, of course, so, um, thanks for the recognition. It's going on the resume.

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