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December 19, 2004 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Person of the Year. TIME magazine reveals their pick. Is anyone surprised?
posted by wfrgms (81 comments total)

 
(puke)
posted by modernsquid at 8:14 AM on December 19, 2004


Interesting question: if you had the opportunity without the risk, would you kill this man? Personally, I can't decide.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:18 AM on December 19, 2004


How about a very long coma?
posted by Balisong at 8:24 AM on December 19, 2004


Other unpopular picks: Hitler, Stalin, and Khomeini.
posted by trey at 8:25 AM on December 19, 2004


Eagles rather than doves nestle in the Oval Office Christmas tree,
pinecones the size of footballs are piled around the fireplace, and the
President of the United States is pretty close to lounging in Armchair
One. He's wearing a blue pinstripe suit, and his shoes are shined bright
enough to shave in. He is loose, lively, framing a point with his hands
or
gently across the room.

"I've had a lot going on, so I haven't been in a very reflective mood,"
says the man who has just replaced half his Cabinet, dispatched 12,000
more troops into battle, arm wrestled lawmakers over an intelligence
bill,
held his third economic summit and begun to lay the second-term paving
stones on which he will walk off into history. Asked about his
re-election, he replies, "I think over the Christmas holidays it'll all
sink in."

----

Man of the Year, 1939 and 1942:

Joseph Stalin


Man of the Year, 1938:

Adolf Hitler
posted by digaman at 8:25 AM on December 19, 2004


TIME magazine reveals their pick. Is anyone surprised?

Not really.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:27 AM on December 19, 2004


Not at all. Been ripping up my "last time to renew" subscription reminders for several months already. I think they have finally given up. ;)
posted by dabitch at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2004


I can't quite get through that article... I keep getting distracted by the sound of the four horsemen riding down the street outside.
posted by coldon at 8:32 AM on December 19, 2004


I'll recycle my old comment: XQUZYPHYR nailed it in 1!
posted by dabitch at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2004


coldon: nothing like stepping in apocalyptic horseshit!
posted by moonbird at 8:35 AM on December 19, 2004


a slightly more popular choice might have been Saddam or perhaps even Milosevic.
posted by gt16 at 8:36 AM on December 19, 2004


Or perhaps the founder of Diebold.
posted by digaman at 8:39 AM on December 19, 2004


How the hell did I miss a thread with nothing but stomping on bloggers?
posted by angry modem at 8:40 AM on December 19, 2004


Well let's see... who's the person that's come up the most in Metafilter discussions (besides quonsar, of course)?
posted by Krrrlson at 8:43 AM on December 19, 2004


most often, that is.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2004


(yawn)
posted by pyramid termite at 8:48 AM on December 19, 2004


George W Bush. Man of The Year, according to a US publication. How surprising. Not.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:49 AM on December 19, 2004


i am shocked, stunned, saddened and horny confused. what does "person of the year" mean anyway? is it short for "most reprehensible/least worthy person of the year"?
posted by mokey at 8:50 AM on December 19, 2004


Dear NANCY GIBBS and JOHN F. DICKERSON:

I know it's insane, but how does his taint taste?
posted by Eideteker at 8:50 AM on December 19, 2004


Isn't Time's criteria something along the lines of "person who has had the most impact" rather than "person who has done the most good"? Because if it's the former, then yes, there's a strong argument to be made for choosing Shrub.

Of course, he'll take this as validation for what he's doing.. but that's another argument.
posted by orange swan at 8:55 AM on December 19, 2004


Swan, Bush has had as much "impact" as Ronald McDonald has had on eating patterns in America. He's the public face, the spokesmodel, not the architect.
posted by digaman at 8:59 AM on December 19, 2004


Coincidentally, Modern Primate Magazine has picked Bush as Chimpanzee of the Year.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2004


Well let's see... who's the person that's come up the most in Metafilter discussions

"Turds! You make them every day. They're the most likely thing to come up in your toilet. Therefore, TIME is proud to declare poop as excrement of the year!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:14 AM on December 19, 2004


I heard the Time thing on the radio this morning, and immediately felt a little depressed. I'd kind of forgotten about the mess we're in -- and the person(s) responsible -- mostly because I've been working 60 hours a week for the last two months. (Which is depressing enough, thank you very much.)

Thinking about the aforementioned mess invariably leaves me a little confused. The question that always ends up running through my head is, "Am I that out of touch with the way most people think?" Like my co-worker who still has the Bush vs. Kerry national county map posted on his cube wall with the 36-point caption, "This is Bush Country"... even after I've tried to have the population density talk with him. He seems to be of the mind that "more square miles" = "stronger mandate", actual vote totals notwithstanding.

*sigh*
posted by Luciferous at 9:14 AM on December 19, 2004


you are correct orange swan and on that basis time's man of the year 2001 should have been osama bin laden.
posted by three blind mice at 9:24 AM on December 19, 2004


I think there is a strong case to be made for GWB as person of the year. The election was the news story of the year, it was a referendum on the current administration (not to mention a telling demonstration of just how deeply flawed the American political system is). Republican-bred chickens will be coming home to roost for years to come, and Georgie-boy is the face of the whole thing. Singling out one individual as the "most important" for any given year is a silly practice however you slice it, but I can't deny the logic behind their choice.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:34 AM on December 19, 2004


What fingers_of_fire said.
posted by jefbla at 9:41 AM on December 19, 2004


not to mention a telling demonstration of just how deeply flawed the American political system is

The American political system has always been flawed. The fact that a president was elected who most on metafilter gave no chance to win and who is vilified by 90 percent of its members leads to hyperbole such as yours, but doesn't mean it's any more flawed than it has ever been.

Bush should be time person of the year, no matter if you love him or hate him. And be greatful, because although this post couldn't be further from best of the web it does allow us all to pretend we're in an irc kiddizz chatroom.

(puke)

posted by justgary at 9:47 AM on December 19, 2004


Meatafilter: The constant smell of somebody's vomit.
posted by semmi at 9:58 AM on December 19, 2004


doesn't mean it's any more flawed than it has ever been.

It's a good idea not to be hysterical and needlessly apocalyptic, but not a good idea to be myopic, pollyannic, and ignorant of history.
posted by digaman at 10:10 AM on December 19, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, if Time were naming an Excrement of the Year, they would pretty much have to choose poop, wouldn't they? Year after year after year...
posted by coelecanth at 10:20 AM on December 19, 2004


if Time were naming an Excrement of the Year, they would pretty much have to choose poop, wouldn't they? Year after year after year...

I'm certain Dick Cheney would have won at some point.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:36 AM on December 19, 2004


every year there are multiple posts on time's dickface of the year, and every year people express shock and outrage over the choice because people project their own erroneous conception of honor on the designation which has nothing whatsoever to do with honor. see ya next year.
posted by quonsar at 10:46 AM on December 19, 2004


It's funny about Time: even people who find its content kinda trite and obvious, even people who don't read it because it's so relentlessly glib and superficial - even these people will get worked up about whatever Time is affixing with its official seal.

I say this as someone who spent a year or so working for the Canadian edition of Time in a "writing" role that included helping to assemble assorted lists of the X Most Important Ys and such, which invariably consisted of hunting out the most easily justifiable choices, adding maybe one or two unconventional ones, and then tossing in a photogenic woman or something for balance if there wasn't already one on whichever list we were making. My editor once described the overall tone of Time as "sustained obviousness," and he was at most half-joking.

Time's job in selecting a Person of the Year, then, is to come up with a pick that the maximum number of people will, upon seeing the cover on the newsstand, think: "Well, I guess that makes sense." It is the official arbiter of the middle of the road, nothing more. Even the magazine's staff knows this.

So then: you'll know the apocalypse is upon us not when Dubya is dubbed Person of the Year but when you see a Time cover that reads "The Four Horsemen: Up Close and Personal With America's Favorite Harbingers Of Apocalypse." And by then it'll be way too late.
posted by gompa at 10:46 AM on December 19, 2004


Time's job in selecting a Person of the Year, then, is to come up with a pick that the maximum number of people will, upon seeing the cover on the newsstand, think: "Well, I guess that makes sense."

see? even people who have worked there project their own idea of what it is, rather than what time says it is.
posted by quonsar at 10:50 AM on December 19, 2004


Hey, quonsar, you seem to have an intuitive grasp of this whole sustained-obviousness concept. You want an assignment putting together Time's list of The Web's 50 Cleverest Smart-Asses?
posted by gompa at 10:59 AM on December 19, 2004


I was very disappointed that Time did not pick Osama Bin Laden as Man/Woman/Thing of the Year in 2001. It was cowardly.

It's not supposed to be who is the best or most noble person of the year; it's who has impacted events most in the past year. I nearly cancelled my subscription because they lacked the courage to pick the real newsmaker in 2001.

However, I do agree that for 2004, it was Bush. Love him or hate him, he has affected the globe.
posted by Savannah at 11:05 AM on December 19, 2004


Ditto with Savannah and others. Osama bin Laden should have had 2001, and Bush makes sense for 2004.
posted by Bugbread at 11:06 AM on December 19, 2004


gompa, that you thought i was being a smartass perfectly illustrates my point.
posted by quonsar at 11:08 AM on December 19, 2004


sustained obviousness

That's hilarious, gompa.
posted by digaman at 11:13 AM on December 19, 2004


gompa, that you thought i was being a smartass perfectly illustrates my point.

Touche.

Actually, I knew you were being a smart-ass, even though it was a valid point.

My point, though, was that not even Time thinks the Person of the Year is what it pretends to be (i.e. some kinda quasi-scientific determination of the individual whose impact has been verifiably the greatest in the past calendar year).
posted by gompa at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2004


Drudge Report image suitable for photoshopping.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2004


There's even a t-shirt now.
posted by thendisc at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2004


the cover is perfect asswipe.
posted by specialk420 at 11:57 AM on December 19, 2004


Here's a list of Time's Persons of the Year. A few interesting things: posted by ed at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2004


Maher Arar has been chosen as the Canadian newsmaker of the year. Kind of an interesting juxtaposition with Bush.
posted by 327.ca at 12:13 PM on December 19, 2004


In a close competition, pollyannic has come through as Adjective of the Year, just edging out strong contender 'myopic' and rank outsider 'ignorant'.
posted by Sparx at 12:27 PM on December 19, 2004


boring magazine, "safe" boring choice for an irrelevant "award".
and as others have said already, the laughable lack of balls of Time's editors in 2001 (when the world's main newsmaker was of course Bin Laden, even schoolchildren had realized that) really turns their POTY cover into a sad joke

much better: Chris Morris' photo essay. definitely he is one of the best (warning: graphic, heartbreaking images in the last link)
posted by matteo at 1:31 PM on December 19, 2004


graphic images in the "is" kink too, sorry, bad typing
posted by matteo at 1:32 PM on December 19, 2004


"is" link, not "kink", damn
OK, I'm going. bye.
posted by matteo at 1:33 PM on December 19, 2004


MeFite nominees of the year
posted by dancingbaptist at 2:50 PM on December 19, 2004


I really am surprised. I thought that maybe people would start to realize all the smoke and mirrors that the US government uses to improve the US at the cost of other countries. A Good read on this is Blowback by Chalmers Johnson.
posted by Kempt at 3:01 PM on December 19, 2004


The American political system has always been flawed. The fact that a president was elected who most on metafilter gave no chance to win and who is vilified by 90 percent of its members leads to hyperbole such as yours, but doesn't mean it's any more flawed than it has ever been.

justgary, I certainly didn't mean to engage in hyperbole. It is true that I don't support George Bush as President, but that's not why I think his election is a demonstration of the fallibility of our political system. The fact that the race hinged on cooked-up perceptions about the other candidate - and how low people were willing to stoop in order to create those perceptions - THAT is what was so God-awful about this election, in my opinion. I agree with you that it's nothing new to try to paint your opponent as all-things-evil, but in my experience and opinion it seems to have sunk to a new low - I'm thinking of, in particular, the Swift Boat Veterans and the War on Terror in general, which I don't particularly believe in.
Maybe after I live through a few more election cycles all of this will become S.O.P.

My fear, though, is that we are losing the ability to engage in discourse - in today's political climate, people who disagree with you are not simply wrong, they are DANGEROUS. This kind of thinking leads to a very dark place, and I think it is very sad to see our country going there. I can live with a President I didn't vote for. I have a much more difficult time living with the way he got there.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2004


a very dark place

indeed.
posted by specialk420 at 4:04 PM on December 19, 2004



Interesting question: if you had the opportunity without the risk, would you kill this man? Personally, I can't decide.


No. Not because it wouldn't sufficiently discredit him (though it wouldn't.) Not because he's not in charge (because I think, to some extent, he is, though he's got an astonishing amount of the elite behind him). Not because I wouldn't want to see assassination become a more prevalent strategy in political life (I've always wondered why it isn't). I wouldn't because it's wrong -- there is some honor due the office, some due the nation, some due a mere life, and simply killing the guy doesn't qualify.

I was afraid someone might try, though, completing his apotheosis into the anti-Kennedy.
posted by effugas at 4:14 PM on December 19, 2004


This second Bush presidency will determine whether the Curse of Tecumseh will continue or was broken by Reagan.
posted by MarkO at 4:39 PM on December 19, 2004


Oh, and has anyone noticed that in 56 comments, nobody has said anything even remotely nice about the man? What gives?

Here: Bush can run 3 miles in under 21 minutes. I can't do that and I'm less than half his age.
posted by MarkO at 4:52 PM on December 19, 2004


I think Time made the right call on this one. 2004 was all about the election. Whoever won the election should have been Person of the Year.

Bush's win was pretty slim, but it was comfortable and out of legitimate dispute. If anyone read the Newsweek special issue after the election - the one that had in-depth coverage of both campaigns - you'd have to give credit to Bush for running a much better campaign than Kerry.

Forgetting about the 527s, the Bush camp was able to able to jump all over every mistake Kerry made, while Kerry couldn't manage the infighting of his team.

Now that we're not caught up in the mid-election drama, I think we can all look back and realize that Kerry sucked pretty bad as a candidtate. This doesn't make Bush suck any less, but we have to face it: the Democratic candidate lost because he was less likeable and more boring than the Republican candidate.
posted by b_thinky at 5:00 PM on December 19, 2004


Oh, and has anyone noticed that in 56 comments, nobody has said anything even remotely nice about the man? What gives?

posted by MarkO at 7:52 PM EST on December 19


Now that's funny.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:42 PM on December 19, 2004


but not a good idea to be myopic, pollyannic, and ignorant of history.

Ignorant of history? If you think our democratic system was perfect in the past you might want to look in the mirror.

in today's political climate, people who disagree with you are not simply wrong, they are DANGEROUS.

I couldn't agree more with you, but it's happening on both sides. Political discussion is a thing of the past, and its never been a part of metafilter. I don't see an end.
posted by justgary at 5:54 PM on December 19, 2004


I think Time made the right call on this one. 2004 was all about the election. Whoever won the election should have been Person of the Year.

In the context of the War of Error that holds true, but to suggest that every US election winner should automatically be person-of-the-year smacks just a little of self-centredness.

Apart from that, yeh...Osama should have taken 2001, except that would have made the the Ministry of Freedom's *ref: unperson* process more complex than necessary.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:23 PM on December 19, 2004


(note: Ministry of Freedom = MiniFree, in case anybody was confused)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:28 PM on December 19, 2004


Bush can run 3 miles in under 21 minutes.

and still be lost
posted by pyramid termite at 7:21 PM on December 19, 2004


I hear Canada's nice this time of year...


...compared to the US, that is.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:54 PM on December 19, 2004


UbuRoivas: Last I checked Time was an American publication. So I don't think it's self-centered to name an American as "Person of the Year." Most Time readers reside in America and are probably most interested in reading about important Americans.

Besides that, America does play kind of a big role in the world, and Bush is the president.

Osama as Person of the Year? Wouldn't that be suicide for Time as a publication? Here's the guy who murders 3000 Americans and two months later let's name him Man of the Year! I'm sure we'd all go out and buy that issue and nobody would dare boycott any sponsors.

Person of the Year may be about as stupid as People's 50 Most Beautiful list. Some of those people are not even attractive.
posted by b_thinky at 12:38 AM on December 20, 2004


Some random dead Iraqi child rotting in a rubble-strewn street -- that should have been Time's person of the year. Or at least, you know, co-person with Mr Bush.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:47 AM on December 20, 2004


Some random dead Iraqi child rotting in a rubble-strewn street

That guy from Abu Ghraib, maybe? Seeing those pictures, and (maybe more importantly) seeing how so many Americans rushed to defend what was going on there, had a hell of an impact on me and on how I felt about the US. And I doubt I'm alone in that.

That said, I think Bush is the logical choice. He won one of the most important elections of recent years in the most powerful nation in the world. That should probably count for something.

Osama should have won in 2001, though. (Given that, as others have said - Person of the Year is the person who had the most influence on the year, not a mark of approval). But b_thinky is right that it would have been a major blow to Time if they'd awarded it to him.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:30 AM on December 20, 2004


Maybe I am dull and lazy but if the average adult male can walk at 5 or 6mph then surely doing 3 miles in 21 minutes is probably closer to "moderately vigorous perambulation" than "running".

Possibly a quick stroll.

GWB can be Man of the Year and it makes sod all difference - I have a copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica that fell through a wormhole in time from the future and apparently he and his merry band of fuckwits were the first up against the walls when the revolution came.
posted by longbaugh at 4:43 AM on December 20, 2004


Along with those idiots from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:57 AM on December 20, 2004


As the old National Lampoon poster said...Eat shit. Fifty billion flies can't be wrong.
posted by alumshubby at 5:10 AM on December 20, 2004


The more I read about Texas and Texas politics, the more disgusted I get. Forget about kicking The South out-- I say we build a great big wall around Texas and its bloated, Fat Cat Millionaire-worshipping, gun-toting, fundamentalist, environmentally unfriendly politicians who believe in tax relief over any other agenda.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:08 AM on December 20, 2004


Amusingly enough, I stopped renewing my subscription to Time after they failed to hand the award to Osama. Did they give it to the NYC mayor instead, or somebody like that? Rudy, Bush, etc, were involved in 9/11 by accident. Osama had been working so hard for "Person of the Year" for quite a while.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 8:11 AM on December 20, 2004


Maybe I am dull and lazy but if the average adult male can walk at 5 or 6mph then surely doing 3 miles in 21 minutes is probably closer to "moderately vigorous perambulation" than "running".

Three seven minute miles is not an amazing achievement, but I think you'd find that the average runner in a community 5K doesn't actually make it quicker than 21 minutes. Even as a jogger in my 20s in decent shape, I never did.
posted by weston at 9:11 AM on December 20, 2004


huh. i thought it was a joke when i first saw it.

Maybe I am dull and lazy but if the average adult male can walk at 5 or 6mph then surely doing 3 miles in 21 minutes is probably closer to "moderately vigorous perambulation" than "running".

i didn't see any claims to 3 miles in 21 minutes in those links, but i also agree with weston. it's nothing spectacular, but i'd bet less than 5% of the US could do it. vigorous walking is about 4 mph. most people don't walk nearly that fast.

at my 18-year-old best (i am not a great runner), i could run 2 miles in 12 minutes, but that was pushing my limit.

this is still a joke, right? that's why i'm talking about how fast he can run? (where's Peter Funt?) a poorly educated, sometimes incomprehensible embarrassment of a politician is the person of the year because he's moderately athletic? wonderful.

Oh, and has anyone noticed that in 56 comments, nobody has said anything even remotely nice about the man? What gives?

i'll try: perhaps his illegal and immoral war in Iraq wasn't the product of pure self-interest and cronyism, but rather a stupid mistake by a well-intentioned but unintelligent and incompetent politician with very little experience and an underdeveloped valuation of life and our planet.

stop supporting corporate news media.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 AM on December 20, 2004


According to Google,

6mph will get you 2.1 miles in 21 minutes.

To go 3 miles in that time, you would have to go 8.6 mph, which is a hard run, and even harder to keep up for so long.

But besides that, I have one more nice thing to say about Bush: people who meet him tend to like him--he is very charismatic. And I like how he deflects criticism so well, and even turns it into an advantage. Okay, two things.
posted by MarkO at 10:42 AM on December 20, 2004


i didn't see any claims to 3 miles in 21 minutes in those links

Scroll down

Also, Top 1%
posted by MarkO at 10:48 AM on December 20, 2004


6mph will get you 2.1 miles in 21 minutes.
To go 3 miles in that time, you would have to go 8.6 mph, which is a hard run, and even harder to keep up for so long.


I used to do 2.5 miles in 10.5 minutes in combat boots but then I didn't duck out of fitreps to go snort coke.

And I like how he deflects criticism so well, and even turns it into an advantage. Okay, two things.

Some might say that his inability to accept feedback or accept that he is in error is a failure and not overly endearing.
posted by longbaugh at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2004


I'm really surprised Stalin did not get his third POTY award.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2004


longbaugh:

wow thats pretty fast. i'd put WR pace (if they ran it) around 9.8 minutes.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 5:20 AM on December 22, 2004


2004 was the year of a head of cabbage! Its bold decisive leadership affected everything from the war in Iraq to the can-do inertia of the presidential election.

A head of cabbage always offered us steady leadership in times of change. When we wonder “what’s goin on in this crazy world I do not understand” there’s a head a cabbage bein a head a cabbage! Its reassuring vegetableness, its green leafiness, the way it looked natural on a farm, spoke to our deep cabbagey values. And it knew how to stick to its guns! When its critics complained that it was a bad cabbage or that it had food poisoning or that it had pointlessly launched the military into a nightmarish, unjustified quagmire, it knew just what to do: keep sittin there bein a cabbage.

posted by amberglow at 5:55 AM on December 22, 2004


Amen amberglow, amen. I almost LOLed there. Oh that cabbage!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:35 AM on December 22, 2004


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