TIME's PERSON OF THE YEAR IS VLADIMIR PUTIN
Every year, TIME Magazine profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or worse has done the most to influence the events of the year". Many times this is a controversial figure, not an admirable person. Examples in the rollcall of the infamous are: Adolph Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 & 1942, Khrushchev in 1957, Richard Nixon 1971 & 1972, and The Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
There was massive public backlash in the U.S. over Khomeini as Person of the Year. After that, TIME began steering away from those generally viewed as having a negative influence on historical events. Still, even with this newfound sensibility, TIME named Newt Gringrich in 1995, Kenneth Starr in 1998, Geo W Bush in 2000 & 2004, and Rudolph Giuliani in 2001 (even though Osama Bin Laden, by all possible criteria, was the Person of the Year for 2001).
Last year, TIME named "YOU" (yes, YOU!) as the Person of the Year for 2006. This gave many people a grand sense of self-importance, and perhaps led to unreasonable expectations for 2007. After all, once YOU have been named as Person of the Year, I think it's pretty much time to retire the whole catagory, don't YOU?
In contemplating a list of possible 2007 candidates for TIME Person of the Year, I must admit, I never even considered Putin. Here are a few possibilites I entertained (in no particular order):
BARACK OBAMA -- for capturing imagination & providing a bright ray of hope as the first african-american with a real chance to be elected president.
AL GORE -- nobel peace prize, academy award for a world-changing film, and (hello!?!) helping to bring the world's attention to bear on saving our planet.
GENERAL PETRAEUS -- for being the scapegoat and/or willing shill in the incredible months-long bush build-up to his flat squish of an assessment of the Iraq Occupation/War (complete with graphs & charts).
BENAZIR BHUTTO -- for risking her life in a self-appointed mission to return Pakistan to democratic government and dedicating her efforts toward a moderate Islam that would marginalize extremists.
THE MONKS OF BURMA -- for standing up & speaking out against a repressive regime, leading the people of their country to protest, even at the cost of their lives and torture of their bodies.
Nope, no Putin anywhere on my list. I guess I should be glad it wasn't Geo W Bush again. But truthfully, one person who scares me more than Bush is Putin. (note: to learn more about Putin, and why TIME selected him, click on above links for multiple-page articles, but I have to say, the more I learn about him, the more I dislike him.)
**** UPDATE: Click here to see the TIME runners up and People That Mattered. Am I nuts? I can't believe some of the names: Gates, Gonzo, Barry Bonds, Don Imus, B-B-B-Britney?!? (I'm speechless) ****
OK, What about YOU? If there is any validity to the concept, who did you think would be the TIME Person of the Year for 2007? Or, if you don't care about TIME and their criteria, which public figure would you say most influenced your events this year? In that catagory, I would nominate Keith Olbermann, for his "Special Comments".
It may not be everyone's cuppa, but I can't get this song out of my head today. The loss of Benazir Bhutto is a failure of humanity.