For reasons which may never be fully known, it’s clear that some people are still paying attention when Time magazine trots out its annual gala pageant of naming their Person of the Year.
To the shock and largely muted dismay of one subset of readers, the winner was not Barack Obama. We could spend the day merrily chewing over the relative merits of giving the nod to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, but in light of the long diminished status and stature accorded this recognition, we will likely make better use of our time in reviewing those who failed to win and the unwashed masses who weren’t even nominated.
Before we begin, however, it’s worth noting that there was a time when the Person of the Year award was actually held to mean something. In its heyday, Time magazine was widely read and well-respected, viewed not only as a premier portal of hard news in the dead tree media, but having a board of editors who were seen as both kingmakers and opinion shapers around the globe. Sadly, as time passed and the world grew up in a digital age, their increasingly bizarre choices of winners turned the once prestigious honor into something of a joke.
In a quick tour of the blogosphere, I immediately focused on the coverage of this momentous occasion provided by that most perspicacious of pundits, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Ed seemed to take particular glee in pointing out the fact that President Obama not only failed to win, but didn’t even make the top five, bumped out of contention by such notables as Usain Bolt and Nancy Pelosi.
It is at times like this when I almost begin to feel sorry for the president. Poor Barack Obama. When he is awarded some bauble completely beyond his control, such as the Nobel Peace Prize, he is lambasted for being undeserving. If he fails to bring home the laurel wreath in another meaningless beauty contest (over which he also has no control), he is chided for not making the grade.
Rather than focusing on the author’s cogent analysis, I decided to dip a toe into the lively, crowded and never shy comments section of Hot Air readers who struggled to answer Ed’s question of who was really the person of the year. Some interesting dark-horse candidates emerged, such as the Russian hacker cum whistleblower who snatched the CRU climate data emails from out of the ether. Another popular selection was the tea party patriots. (Yes, the award can be given to a group or class of people. In fact, “the Chinese worker” also beat out Barack Obama for top five honors on Time’s final list.) There were other suggestions, such as the American soldier, but let’s face it, you would be hard-pressed to name a year when our military wouldn’t qualify.