Time magazine is currently in the process of selecting its Person of the Year, that annual exercise in making the reading public wonder where exactly the gas leak is in Time’s offices. The magazine’s editors have made a list of nominees public (though they’re never explicit that the final winner will come from this group). Here’s the roster:
- Sheldon Adelson
- Ai Weiwei (Chinese dissident)
- Bashar Assad
- Felix Baumgartner (he of the famous “space dive”)
- Joe Biden (to quote James Taranto – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
- Michael Bloomberg
- Bo Xilai (disgraced Chinese politician)
- Chris Christie
- Bill Clinton
- Hillary Clinton
- Stephen Colbert
- Tim Cook (Apple CEO)
- Gabrielle Douglas (American gold medal gymnast)
- Mario Draghi (European Central Bank president)
- Mo Farah (British gold medal track star)
- Sandra Fluke
- Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner)
- The Higgs Boson
- E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey author)
- Jay-Z (Yep, there’s that gas leak)
- Kim Jong Un
- The Mars Rover
- Marissa Mayer (new Yahoo CEO)
- Mohamed Morsi
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Barack Obama
- Michael Phelps
- Psy (that would the “Gangnam Style” guy/UC-Berkeley Law Professor)
- Pussy Riot
- John Roberts
- Mitt Romney
- Karl Rove
- Paul Ryan
- Jon Stewart
- Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein
- Undocumented Immigrants (!)
- Xi Jinping
- Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban)
A few thoughts:
- If this is supposed to be the person who had the biggest impact on the year 2012, anyone who required a parenthetical after their name doesn’t make the cut.
- Athletes or entertainers should be automatic disqualifications. If Psy is the person who had the biggest influence on 2012, then this will be 2013’s winner.
- This could double as the invitation list for the best dinner party ever. The cops would get called.
My initial temptation is to select Aung San Suu Kyi, who has lived out the struggle for liberty in an awe-inspiring (and heartbreaking) fashion. The dissidents are similarly inspiring, but these are all people I’d rather have win Nobel Peace Prizes than Person of the Year. The implications of the Higgs Boson are sufficient to make a strong case, but given how badly Time butchered just a short capsule, I’d hate to see what they’d do with a feature.
Time has always contended that Person of the Year is a value-neutral distinction, given to the person who simply had the greatest influence, regardless of whether it was for good or ill. For that reason, even though I’m repulsed by what he’s wrought, I’d have to give it to John Roberts. At least in an American context, the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling will be the most enduring legacy of 2012; the one with the deepest implications for the United States going forward. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the Chief Justice. That’s one more reason I’ll be happy to close the door on this miserable year.
Who's your choice? And who else should've made the list of nominees?