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TIME Magazine's Misguided Salute to the Self-Absorbed

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John E. Carey
By John E. Carey
December 19, 2006

Shamefully, TIME magazine this year paid homage to the many self-absorbed time wasters among us by plastering across the cover of the "Man of the Year" (now called "Person of the Year" in our politically correct society) issue a piece of reflective material.

The point is that the Person of the Year is YOU!
In a beautifully written explanation, TIME's Lev Grossman wrote, "Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion? The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

I, for one, am saddened. TIME has a long and distinguished history of recognizing the important, the relevant, the monumental, and the historic.

This week, as we near Christmas and the New Year, TIME overlooks important people involved in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war against terror, the hunt to eliminate cancer and AIDS, nuclear proliferation, and many other important issues worth remembering from 2006 to say: each person in the world is equally to be extolled because you all (we?) contribute to the internet and U-Tube.

Time to teach some humility.

Let's just review some of the memorable players who have graced the cover of TIME in this special issue at the end of the year. Charles Lindbergh (1927), the first man to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean (after many had tried and died) premiered as the first "Man of the Year." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who managed the end of a depression and most of a World War, is the only person to have been named three times: 1932, 1934, and 1941. He coined the term "Day which will live in infamy" and became the first president to use media to spread his message through the "fireside chats."

Villians such as Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin both became cover subjects due to their evil death camps and genocidal tendencies. They each had qualities wourth remembering and deploring.
Several groups became cover topics including: the American Fighting-Man (1950), the Hungarian Freedom Fighter (1956), U.S. Scientists (1960), Twenty-Five and Under (1966), the Middle Americans (1968), and American Women (1975).

Gandhi graced a cover as did Generalissimo & Mme Chiang Kai-Shek.

Dwight David Eisenhower, who spearheaded the invasion of Europe on D-Day (1944), Winston Churchill (1949) and John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961) were all heads of state that made the cover.

Astronauts Anders, Borman and Lovell (1968), Ayatullah Khomeini (1979), Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (1987), Bill Clinton (1992), and Rudolph Giuliani (2001) became cover-boys and rightfully so.

Philanthropists Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, & Bono were on last year's cover. All made an impact on the world that might otherwise be forgotten.

While I applaud TIME for their creativity and their explanation, I believe many in our society will miss the point and mistake their own self-absorbed existence with something that contributes to the greater good of mankind or otherwise impacts the world community, positively or negatively.
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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.
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