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Time's Person of the Year: Ingenious selection or complete cop-out?

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 19th 2006 9:09AM
Time Person of the Year 2006By now you've probably seen it: The reflective cover of the current Time magazine, touting the Person of the Year to be... You.

What the hell do they mean by that? Well, they figure that because of Web 2.0 applications, from blogging to Facebook to MySpace to YouTube, the public at large is largely responsible for shaping how the world informs and entertains itself. To demonstrate what they were talking about, they interviewed 15 people who have made a name for themselves online, from the guy who ratted out Mark Foley to the guy that Senator George Allen called "Macaca" to the woman who reviews seemingly every book on Amazon.com. YouTube gets a lot of play here, with a big profile of founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.

It seems like a profound selection, doesn't it? All of us, communicating with each other, shaping the way we think about things and bringing the power to the people. If John Lennon were still alive, he'd probably write a song about it.

Problem is, there was way too much going on this year to have such a conceptual, feel-good selection for the POY. Remember, POY isn't supposed to be a selection given to the person or persons who have done the most good; it's supposed to be given to the person or persons who had the most impact on the news and people's lives in the past year. Heck, Hitler was the POY once, and Stalin was the POY twice (the first time was the year after Hitler was POY... talk about a dark period).

So, let's think about who could have been POY this year, in both the evil and non-evil categories: George W. Bush, all the Democratic winners in Congress, Kim Jong-Il, Mahmoud Amahdinejad of Iran, Stephen Colbert... Heck, I would have even accepted Chad and Steve From YouTube. I could think of a dozen better examples than "You."

To me, it seems like Time's selection of "You" was a complete cop-out on their part. It makes me wonder if they didn't want to chose someone like Kim or Amahdinejad for fear of a backlash; they haven't selected someone from the "evil" category in quite a long time, and maybe they just didn't want to chance it. And the impact of Web 2.0 applications over the last year has been significant. It just seems like a case of giving people the warm fuzzies instead of going for the hard choice.

By the way, this isn't the first time in recent memory that Time has taken the easy way out, as our friends at Lost Remote explain in excruciating detail.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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GhaleonQ

"The rise in popularity in his intelligent satirical dissent has done more to illustrate the catastrophic madness of the Bush administration then any other source."

*stares blankly*

ANYWAY, how about Kofi Annan? Besides the good things that he's let happen or spearheaded in the United Nations, he's also been responsible for allowing Russia and China to protect the dangerous Middle Eastern and East Asian states, let Putin escape from organized political killings, ignored Darfur and the other crises again, used information to battle various humanitarian efforts by the United States, Japan, Australia, et cetera, left Eastern Europe to flounder in terrorists' influence, and escaped from any prosecution in the Oil-For-Food program scandal.

The United Nations doesn't always have an important year, but this seemed to be a big one for it. Annan had a lot of good and bad, which seems to fit "Time"'s definition.

December 20 2006 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seth

Cop out.
Should have been John Stewart.

The rise in popularity in his intelligent satirical dissent has done more to illustrate the catastrophic madness of the Bush administration then any other source.

But comedy never gets academy awards, nobel peace prizes, or even Time's Man Of The Year.

December 19 2006 at 8:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

Yep very lame, nothing else to say.

December 19 2006 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam McConnell

I won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 19 2006 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bebop

I don't think it is as much of a cop-out as it is lame.

December 19 2006 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Boomfoxx

Definately a cop out, but on the bright side I've already added the following line to my resume:

"2006 - Time Magazine Person of the Year"

December 19 2006 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CJ

More of a gimmick than a cop-out.

December 19 2006 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
\'size

cop out. the daily show's piece on this last night pretty much took care of any question...

December 19 2006 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mandy

Time has been copping out for a while. In 2001 the person of the year should have been Osama bin Laden. But Time was afraid of offending advertisers and instead used Rudy Giuliani.

So yes, I do think choosing "You" as the person of the year was a cop-out.

December 19 2006 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle

I thought it was a cop out. Oh, come on, already. There is no one individual that was an important story this year? I'd fired the editors for this one.

On a completely unrelated note, but on the topic of firing, for those who are remotely interested in the American Inventor show, they are saying bye bye.

http://www.americaninventorspot.com/judges_youre_fired_americaninventorspot_com_exclusive

December 19 2006 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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