Time Magazine reveals its Person of the Year on Monday, and I never pay attention to it. But it is a tradition in news/reporting that goes back 94 years so I guess it’s kind of a big deal. Charles Lindbergh was the first Time Magazine Man of the Year (it didn’t become gender neutral ‘til 1999). Luminaries of the 20th and 21st centuries to earn the mantle include Gandhi, FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Ike, JFK, MLK, LBJ, Nixon, Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich (!), Jeff Bezos, Rudy Giuliani, Putin, Obama, Zuckerberg and, yes, Donald Trump.
During the course of the thing we’ve also seen nonliving entities and groups win the award. “The Computer” won it in 1983. “US Scientists” in 1960. “Middle Americans” in 1969. “Women” won in 1975. “You” won it in 2006, for your internet content.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won it last year, together, for defeating an imbecilic clown with authoritarian aspirations. Well earned.
This year it’s hard to pin down. Readers of Time (sorry, not me) chose Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as the TMPOTY in an online poll, though I don’t know why. If the TMPOTY is the person who “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year” I don’t see Braz Prez J-Bo as that. If you do, enlighten me.
A couple of other mentions in that poll were “Frontline Healthcare Workers” and the scientists who developed the vaccine. Sympathetic choices I wouldn’t argue with. We owe them both a lot.
Trump was mentioned again and got the second most votes (behind Braz Prez J-Bo). He’s the choice, I should think. From the time 2021 opened and he aided and abetted an insurrection attempt at the Capitol, and got booted from Twitter, he has shaped the course of the year’s events, for better or for worse. Well, really, just for worse. He is the dominant news story, still. He still wants to conquer America, still wants to be the king, and he has his enablers, minions, and adherents to support him. He is the choice.
But not mine. I would probably choose Anthony Fauci if I were on the editorial team and had to choose a person. The virus is still the biggest shaper of events in the world today, and Fauci is the face of its opposition.
However, did you catch the caveat and reveal? In truth, I would not choose a person at all. I would say that Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, this year, should be “The Virus.” “The Virus” has done more to shape events in the world this year, and last, than any man or woman, and more than the “The Computer” did in 1983. And “The Virus” is smarter than the “The Computer.” Hell, “The Virus,” so far, is smarter than “US Scientists.” Smarter than “Middle Americans.” Smarter than “You.”
And it ain’t done.
It evolved this year into the Delta Variant and continued its crusade. And now it’s come along as Omicron which, by all indications, is more contagious and not as deadly as Delta. That’s good until you factor in the idea that a virus dominates by spreading, and something very contagious and not as lethal will spread much further and quicker. “The Virus” wants to survive and be with us forever (if it can’t replace us) and that’s the key to doing so, right?
So there you have it, Tom’s selection for the 2021 Time Magazine Entity of the Year. “The Virus.”
However, if you happen to be on Time’s editorial board and you want to suggest me, instead, I’d be happy to take the honor on behalf of all humanity. I’ll even write a speech. A long one. Believe it or not I have a lot to say, about almost everything. Except cars. I don’t know shit about cars.
Please feel free to use the space below to suggest your own Time Magazine Person of the Year. Or don’t, if you’re one to say “who the fuck does Time Magazine think they are, anyway?” That’s how I’ve always felt, too, so I’m surprised I got 750 words out of the subject myself. So, think of it this way instead and give me your best response:
Who do you think, dear reader, had the biggest influence on 2021, man, woman, child, group, or entity?
When you think about it that way, it’s a fun exercise.
Just don’t choose this guy. That would be cheating.