Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

Time magazine has just selected its 2006 Person of the Year and the choice is even more bizarre than last year when they picked someone who was dead. This year, in a desperate attempt to inflate newsstand sales, the magazine selected everyone on Earth as Person of the Year--except me. "For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you," the editors wrote.

Why You and not Me? What have you done that deserves this honor more than I do? I was not expecting to be named Time's Person of the Year, but I certainly didn't think you would get it either. So big deal, you uploaded a few crappy videos to YouTube, updated your rambling and incoherent blog regularly, and harassed a few journalists. Am I supposed to be impressed?

Time magazine could have picked Him. He certainly did a lot this year. I don't agree with everything he did. In fact, a lot of what he did was pretty terrible. Some people think he's an idiot or even crazy. But Time claims that the Person of the Year is the person who had the biggest impact on the news and there's no denying that he had a big impact. Maybe it's because Time used to pick a Man of the Year and it is trying not to appear sexist.

So why not pick Her as Person of the Year, in that case? She did some amazing things, especially considering she's a woman. Of course, she also did some things that were downright embarrassing. Was Time bowing to pressure from conservative groups by not putting her on the cover? Was it afraid that unless she was in a burka sales of the magazine would plummet in some Middle Eastern countries?

Time could always have selected It. Inanimate objects are not disqualified since one year the magazine chose the personal computer as Person of the Year. Perhaps the magazine decided that choosing it this year would just be too impersonal. And frankly, I'm more than a little tired of people telling me that it's the biggest new thing only to tell me a week later that it's not so great. I'm exhausted trying to keep up.

If Time had said We are Person of the Year, it probably would have caused a lot of controversy. People would be asking, Is that the inclusive we or the exclusive we? That was the point Lynne Cheney was making when she asked CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "Do you want us to win?" Blitzer seemed surprised that the Vice President's wife appeared to be questioning his patriotism after they seemed to get along so well at so many dinner parties in Washington. Essentially, she was asking if the liberal media in America consider themselves to be Americans, or whether they think of Americans as you instead of us. By choosing you instead of us as Person of the Year, I think Time may have reinforced the suspicion of many conservatives that members of the liberal media aren't one of us.

I think if Time was going to choose a pronoun as Person of the Year, the best choice would have been Them. More and more people see the world as Us against Them. They seem to hate us for some reason. And lately we haven't been so fond of them either. Some people believe they aren't just different from us, with different ideas or different opinions or different cultures. They are the enemy. They have to be stopped. If we don't do something now, they are going to take over, imposing their ideas and culture on us. The funny thing is, they think the same thing about us. They think we want to impose our culture on them when in fact we are just trying to help them. I have no idea why they are so angry at us. What did we ever do to them?

If Time really wanted to choose someone who had the biggest impact on the news, the magazine should have chosen them. They had the biggest impact on our lives and not a good impact either. I wish they would just leave us alone.

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29 comments:

mkfreeberg said...

I'm the Person of the Year. So are you.

Can only speak for myself, but it's time to update the resume.

Carol said...

This Post made for some interesting and enlightening reading..I really enjoy your insight and the way you have with words.
Regarding Time's Person of the Year...sigh..says alot about the state of the Nation..IMOSHO!

outofcontext said...

When everybody wins, nobody wins. Part of the beauty of being a winner is staring out at billions of losers. The guy who first coined the term win, win situation had to have been a big loser...and probably a Defeatocrat.

Miss Cellania said...

They decided that having winners and losers is damaging to the self-esteem. So everyone's a winner! Yay!

Well, that was informative.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Who's gonna cater this award ceremony?

Daniel said...

Is that 'you' formal, or 'you' familiar? English doesn't distinguish.

And will Time change it to 'Y'all' for the US South edition?

What's Happening Right Now said...

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Ellee said...

It's great to win such a title of distinction. And consider yourself blogrolled!

Michelle said...

Well, I'm thinking it's about bloody time! They gave it to Hitler once for fucks sake, surely I'm more deserving than him for this honour.

sonia said...

How amusing! Golly..

so I'm the Person of the Year. Next time i'm applying for a visa and the guy at the counter is like ..no. 558 please come up - it's your turn - i'll say - you're treating me like a no./! Do you have any idea who I am?

Heheh

Bill Gnade said...

Mr. Swift,

I disagree (with most bloggers, it seems) about WHO really received TIME's "Person of the Year." It is not you, or me, or us. It is the Internet itself. TIME has anthropomorphized the Internet, as if it is a "you," an "us," a Being. One headline in the TIME article even refers to the "Person Of The Year" as the Beast... "The Beast with a billion eyes." It is not really about US. It is about what we are building: the Great Thing.

Besides, it appears that most contributors to the WWW do so pseudonymously, even anonymously. There are few "persons" here; there are mostly personae, alter egos; mere fictions at worst and mere fragments at best. TIME's appellation has little if anything to do with personality; the mirror cover on the magazine is really a giant blank. It suggests that you will find yourself on the WWW (the mirror is a computer screen); it implies that meaning and purpose and identity are inside the Great Machine, the great thinking, feeling Machine you MAKE IN YOUR OWN IMAGE.

What's really telling, I think, is that TIME's own editor, shown in a picture holding a copy of the "Person of the Year" issue, is also shown as the face on the cover. In other words, and this should disturb us all, TIME has awarded the "Person of the Year" honor to itself.

This "honor" is not merely pathetic. It is, frankly, quite scary. But if it is not scary, it is at least curiously twisted. Hopefully we are shrewd enough to see it: TIME has actually noted, not the "Person of the Year," but the "Thing of the Year."

Blessings!

BG

PS. In all honesty, I shamelessly posted this (near) exact comment on another blog. Forgive me. See? It is impossible to be original, even to myself (I have no self, really, in this cyberworld).

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

You are a great American. Good luck with guestposting at TomDelay.com

It seems to me that the folks who had the greatest impact on the news was everybody else. Everybody else demanded important stories assuring us that no news cycle turned without missing pretty girl and celebrity feud stories; co-joined twins and missing winter rec victims. Thus, relegating the "you"'s to the margins. Sure, "you" helped some in politics, but who cares?

Everybody else made sure.

LD

James said...

Time likes me. Time really likes me.

I'm verklempt.

Mark said...

Dear Jon; I am so pleased to see that you did not win Best Humour Blog! It was clever of you to see that the winner would not be taken seriously in that event, and the way you finessed the voters to take a perfectly respectable 4th was sheer poetry. Those who nominated you in the first place need their heads examined for putting you at risk in such a cavalier manner, but the way you handled it set a new benchmark for tactics.

Winning Best Humour Blog would, as you yourself have often suggested, send the wrong message to terrorists. If I may, I submit this is the very reason I was chosen Time's Person of the Year rather than yourself. I don't matter; terorists will not be interested in me, and I am the unlikeliest target imaginable. You are needed to continue in the journalistic trenches, fighting the good fight.

This is a thumb in the eye of terror everywhere. Well done.

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RobW said...

Next year they should award it to "Some Loser". That would be post-modern!

grasshopper said...

Don't know if I'm eccentric this way, but you know how you rely on Fox, Rush, and Leno to keep you informed? Well, I rely on JON SWIFT for the news. Really, who has patience and leisure for all the other blather?
So until now, I had no idea about TIME'S Person of the Year, 2006. And as always your exegesis was enlightening. One question, though: Isn't there a superstition that the magazine's Person of the Year faces imminent personal humiliation or even literal demise? Am I the only one even more frightened now that TIME has fingered YOU?

Blader said...

We couldn't agree more!!

Troy Van Dellen said...

this dosen't make any sense. you should post JOKES.

eatbees said...

Imagine if this Time cover falls into the wrong hands. We're sacrificing our blood and treasure to fight the War on Terror, and then Blam! the terrorists see themselves on the cover of Time (because it's a reflective surface, like a mirror), if that isn't aid and comfort to our enemies, what is? It's so easy for Them to think they're Us through sloppy use of You, and that's what's happening here, a blurring of boundaries that is dangerous to our national security. You should have been a lot harder on Time, Jon. This is how wars are lost.

Jae said...

I swear I walk around with shades and an umbrella to hide from all the attention of winning! I admit I use it to cut in line at Wendys. People are upset until I lift my face and they scream "you!" Yes, it is I (you, me, whatever!) Time's Person of the Year! I have decided to drop the use of the word "you" out of my vocabulary so people don't get confused into thinking they are the Person of the Year. That way, all you's are referring to me and can rest assured they are never my you!

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