This is such a cop-out.
I mean, even putting aside political differences, this is such a cop-out. (It goes without saying that if we don’t put politics aside, the choice is even more appalling.)
It’s not, however, a surprising cop-out: Of the 85 years Time has picked a Person of the Year to date, 22 years have featured a U.S. President (many get picked more than once). Another 28 have profiled other world leaders (either heads of government or heads of state). Of the remaining 35 years, quite a few honorees — think Ben Bernanke or Henry Kissinger — were extremely high-ranking government officials.
It’s impossible to think of a less interesting, more predictable choice than Barack Obama, who also won the award four years ago. Perhaps there’s someone who wasn’t aware that Obama’s reelection was the big story of the year, and perhaps he will pick up this issue during a routine dentist’s office visit in a few weeks and raise his eyebrows. But I doubt it. What’s more, the Person of the Year has been the winning presidential candidate in five of the last six election years, Conor Sen notes .
Obama’s selection isn’t just boring. It’s a big missed opportunity. Just look at the other finalists —especially Malala Yousafzai , the Pakistani teen blogger shot in the head by the Taliban for her advocacy for women’s rights. As manufactured as the hoopla is, it could at least have been directed toward a worthy cause, one that faded far too quickly from the headlines after her October attack, overwhelmed by (yep) the presidential election and other news.
Clearly, Time suffers from a remarkable difficulty in looking anywhere other than government for noteworthy people and actions, despite the fact that this is obviously the very worst place to look.
This addiction to the state is bizarre, and I, for one, will not mourn when Time goes the way of Newsweek.