Jim: Angela Merkel isn’t a bad choice. It’s always hard to narrow these things down to one, and of course Time seems to fluctuate in their criteria. Is it the best person of the year, the most notable, the most newsworthy? I could name the Occupy movement, since Time itself has long opened the door to picking something that isn’t a single person. And it wouldn’t be fair for me to do that, as I stopped paying attention to Time’s person of the year about 1980 when they picked the computer as the person of the year. A computer is no more a person than a corporation. And then there was the year they put a crappy mirror on the cover and said that each of us were the person of the year. I thought that sort of rendered the whole idea pointless. Still, Time aside, it is interesting to think of who the person of the year is. I could say Obama, though picking the president is always kind of obvious (though for that reason they probably get picked less than they deserved). Sure, the Republicans have essentially blocked everything he has tried to do. And he did get Bin Laden, and that alone should almost make him person of the year. (Can you imagine if Bush had gotten him? Rush Hannity O’Reilly would still talk about it every day and Bush would be a no-brainer for person of the year just for that. Whether or not you agree with just going in and taking him out, it has been entertaining to see how much the move has neutered the blabbing heads on the right. Of course now they’re just making stuff up, with Hannity a few days ago giving Bush credit for getting Bin Laden and saying if Obama had his way we wouldn’t have gotten him. You have to just laugh.)
I also think in person of the year I have to look beyond politics. In the long run, and the short, art in all its forms I think is often more important than politics, and particularly in years like this one with the election heating up (just showing we have way to long of an election season), it is easy to think politics is all their is.
Looking at it worldwide, i’m tempted to pick one of the women who won the Nobel Peace Prize. They are probably all more deserving than any American. Time would never pick one of them since the vast majority of Americans have never heard of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, or Tawakkol Karman, but they should.
So who would I pick? I have to go with who was the most influential, the most newsworthy, and not in any way the best. I think I might say John Boehner, simply for taking up so much public space, and for doing more than anyone to keep us mired in our current mess, allowing nothing to be tried, sticking up only for the wealthy who have already gotten every advance in wealth the past generation. He has certainly had the most impact on my life, and not for the good. So I name him person of the year as a way of calling him out, asking him, if you will, to tell the universe what he has done.
(If you really want a positive person of the year, let me know. Not that there has been much positive this year. I’d probably have to go to the arts, or business, or something.)