If you decide to accept this award, turn to page 36.

Looks like Time just isn’t trying anymore. They went the Choose Your Own Adventure route and named “You” as the Person of the Year—that’s right, you!

Henceforth, you will be mentioned in the same breath as the Ayatollah Khomeini, Deng Xiaoping, Gorbachev, Hitler, the “Endangered Earth,” the Computer, American women, the “Middle Americans,” the “Generation Twenty-Five and Under” (now aged 40 to 65), U.S. scientists, “the American Fighting-Man,” and Bono!

Mommies will tell their children to grow up to be just like youYou will appear on all the weekday morning talk shows, the Sunday morning politalk shows, and Oprah! You will be the hot topic of discussion at water coolers! You will be read about in waiting rooms and hair salons for two whole weeks! Congratulations.

Unfortunately, “Person of the Year” does not entail a prize, so you will receive no reward beyond the accolades of your friends and families–who are also yous, and thus were similarly honored by Time, creating a recursive loop of congratulation and appreciation.

Imagine if the Nobel Foundation gave a prize to you. Roughly $1 million divided by 6 billion people would come to one-sixtieth of a penny per you–which happens to be just enough money to get a splinter trying to pick it up.

4 Responses to “If you decide to accept this award, turn to page 36.”

  1. ticklemeelmo Says:
    December 17th, 2006 at 11:32 PM

Are you sure that “Time” didn’t award the ewe as person of the year? I mean, it IS a sheep after all, and who doesn’t like a nice tea cozy this time of year?

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    December 18th, 2006 at 6:52 PM

Well, considering the runner-up was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (I’m-a-dam-nutjob, as Bob Arail put it), I’ll take it being YouTube et al instead.

  1. gatorbob Says:
    December 20th, 2006 at 3:10 PM

Quite a postmodernist move from Time, particularly coming only a month after The Atlantic Monthly’s “100 Most Influential Americans” list, which conforms to the “Great Man Theory of History.”


You’ll notice that there is one African American in the top fifty (MLK, natch, at #8) and have to wait until #30 for a women (Elizabeth Cady Stanton). The list would have us believe that American culture is dominated by politics (and Presidential politics at that) whereas an argument could be made that our lives have been much more fundamentally altered by scientists, musicians and writers.

  1. VDV Says:
    December 20th, 2006 at 5:23 PM

I think that humans have an inborn tendency to see politics and power relationships in terms of king and subject, or parent and child, therefore we think that the most important American at any given time is the President. Thus, the list has 17 Presidents.

Scientists and businessmen are probably more likely to make the list than musicians and writers because it’s easier to identify the individual founder of a particular company, discoverer of some scientific law, or inventor than it is to signify a particular individual as the “inventor” of jazz, or method acting, or of a particular genre of writing, etc.

I do think that American culture is dominated by Presidential politics–it’s the biggest sporting event of them all, and it only comes around every four years. Like the World Cup, but with a multi-trillion dollar budget and the fate of the free world on the line.

I’ll never forget when one of my coworkers sincerely blamed George W. Bush for the leak in her ceiling, or when another one blamed him for the distribution of my school’sFCAT bonus money. If that doesn’t show how much politics dominates our psyche…