Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Was Time's Man of the Year. Twice

It's really something to put on my résumé. Twice now I have been Time Magazine's Man Person of the Year.

Every year since 1927 the editors of Time Magazine have chosen a Man of the Year -- since 1999, Person of the Year --  that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that  "for better or for worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year". It's a pretty elite and diverse group. Everyone from Charles Lindbergh (the first MOY) to Adolph Hitler to Wallis Simpson to Henry Kissinger to the Ayatollah Khomeini has been chosen for the somewhat dubious honor. Dubious in that, prior to Faux News, Time Magazine was the propaganda arm of rightwing American-exceptionalist jingoism for most of its life.

In 1966 the Man of the Year was "The Inheritor", which was everyone 25 and under, and I was in that target demographic, having just turned 21 that spring. Of course over half of the US population also fit into the demographic at the time. If you click on The Inheritor from that Person of the Year page, you get redirected to Baby Boomers, but that's not entirely accurate since, as I've taken great pains to point out (pedantically some might say...) over the years that I am not a Baby Boomer, having been born when WWII was still being fought. Officially the Baby Boomer generation started popping out on Jan 1, 1946. (Yes, I am that old...)

Then exactly 40 years later, in 2006, Time's Person of the Year was, simply, "You". In other words, everybody, thanks to the pervasive influence of the Internet and the World Wide Web, the "millions of people who anonymously contribute user-generated content to wikis (including Wikipedia), YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and the multitudes of other websites featuring user contribution" became Person of the Year.

Actually I've technically had it three times -- if you want to count 2011's award, The Protester, honoring everything from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. But since my activities were strictly limited to local fair-weather demonstrations, I don't feel right about putting myself in the same league as the real protesters.

Pretty much all of you fall into the demographic for the 2006 Person of the Year. But if that's not enough for you, you can create your own with a simple Facebook app that puts your photo on a faux cover.