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December 17, 2006

TIME 2006 Person Of The Year: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (No?)

Time-Person-Of-Year-06

You?

TIME’s ‘06 Person of the Year is You?  I mean, Me?  I mean You?

What a cop out.  I’ll tell you who they wanted to pick — but didn’t have the chutzpah.  For weeks, TIME has been obsessed with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as their Person Of The Year.

As TIME writer Scott Macleod notes in the introductory paragraph of last week’s  “75 minute” interview with the Iranian President, this sit down was TIME’s second with Ahmadinejad  “in just the past three months.”  (…Okay, so either there’s not a whole lot of presidential business to do in Tehran these days or you guys are being used!)

That’s not the best of it, though.  Check out the article’s promo headline:

Ahmadinejad-Time-Head

Maybe the media is just too pathetic to be analyzed anymore.  (And, maybe the American Idol winner should also be automatically nominated for a National Medal of Arts.)  Either way, “You” was a lot safer choice than actually getting married to the secret boy friend.

So, out goes Ahmadinejad.  Out goes the nasty speculation about the flip-side of America’s empire-building and the perpetual need for an over-glorified uber-villain.  Out goes all that nasty chatter (from “You 2.0,”  by the way) about the delusional side of America’s fundamentalist instinct and the need for an over-glorified, antagonistic religious infidel.  And out goes even more gnashing and grinding about the elevation of these bad boys as a form of self-fulfilling prophesy.

So AH ends ‘06 merely as a runner-up.  Still, as the chief beneficiary of the neocon’s make-over of Sunni-Shiite relations, and a skillful gamer in the massaging of western media, I was on the edge of my seat over how TIME was going to frame Mahmoud as  POY.

Specifically, I was wondering how they would do the cover.

Knowing how interested they were, I can’t believe there wasn’t a specific image already in mind.  Would they have highlighted him as the singular “everyman,” like they ultimately did in his 2006 People Who Mattered profile?  Would that have been the cover shot?  Or, were they contemplating a slightly foreboding painting, like the ‘79 treatment of AH’s revolutionary inspiration, the Ayatollah Khomeini?

If they really had the balls, though, they would have gone with The BAG’s recommendation.  I mean, TIME did use a “Rabbi” shot from Iran’s so-called Holocaust conference to accompany the interview referenced above, but only in the most oblique, I’d call it “yellow-bellied” way.

I say to TIME, thanks for the honor, but you blinked with “You.”  You were angling to do it, you were teasing to do it, you should have done it.  And, in doing it, you could have gone all the way — by recognizing Ahmadinejad for his true calling, as one part “evil-doer” creation, and the other part, a well-skilled political and racial P.T. Barnum.

Short of naming Bush the POY for his historic one-year descent, perhaps photographing him in bed with Nancy Pelosi, or Barney Frank even, you had the opportunity to show Ahmadinejad in his finest form.  I mean, you blew the chance to showcase your boy in the midst of the be-all, end-all of photo ops, lauded by some of America’s most commensurately ultra-extreme, including white supremacist David Duke, and this handful of loving, immaculately dressed, and wonderfully photogenic anti-Zionist Jews.

… But then, you can only do “You” once.  The way things are going, however, Mahmoud will probably be even bigger next year.

(hat tip: Leo)



(image: Hossein Fatemi/Fars News Agency. farsnews.com)

  • http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2006/11/going_begging.html#comments Charlie C.

    Absolutely – Time’s selection of YOU, as in, the people, the everyman — everywoman is a sloppy, artsy, pasifist attempt at appeasement, to enhance readership and a sagging magazines popularity. A camel was a horse designed in committee,…. YOU, as Time’s Person of th Year is a selection based on advertising numbers and soft girliemen trying to please women bosses in dark paneled board rooms.
    I expect this dubious honor to go the way of the Miss America Pagent and the Office of the President. Lost in its creeping triviality.
    Haven’t they selected The Planet Earth, and The Computer, a pair of People and other stupid choices in the past?
    Just pick a Person, as in Person of the Year, and let the discussion begin. Your little fake out choices based on attempts to be clever and fool the people makes you look shallow and insignificant. Which it is.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    YOU BUY ME = YOU
    (a fitting tribute to The Century of the Self ;-)

  • croatoan

    Really more of a tribute to The Big Lebowski.

  • http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org/elgrito nezua limón xolografik-jonez

    people, chill out. they were talking about ME.

  • Quentin

    There’s still the head of decaying corpse in the left-hand column. That is a corpse, isn’t it? Or is it a rubber Halloween mask? I’m very staid and old-fashioned, don’t care whose corpse it is, even if other media organizations published it previously. One way or the other it’s a seering example of how we’ve lost sight of respect for ourselves. I’m in a very moralizing mood tonight. I haven’t been here for months and this is the first thing that struck me: the picture, not my moralizing.

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    I’m glad that the Bag chose to highlight Amedindejad and the Holocaust denial conference in Tehran. I think he should have been the person of the year, because his words and this conference say more about the gulf that lies between Jews and Muslims, the Middle East and the West than anything else I can think of. Does Ahmedinejad give voice to the belief’s of many in the Middle East? I suspect that he does, and as such I am filled with despair. For if the hate for Israel is so powerful that it requires that the Holocaust be denied in order to give moral coherance to the widespread calls to destroy the state of Israel, then how can there be any hope for peace? What are newspapers and leaders in the Muslim world, saying about this conference? If peace requires empathy for the suffering of all involved in a conflict, does such a leader spell the end of hope for another generation?

  • Cactus

    Well, I’m surprised they didn’t pick Princess Di, still dead after all these years…..and by accident, too!
    Really, the first time I heard this my thought was, what a cop-out. Now that I’ve seen the cover I’ll change that to: what an inane cop-out. It denotes dissension among the ranks behind the scene at TIME; strong feelings on both sides and no one willing to give an inch so this was the result. C’mon now and really, don’t we all know the reason they backed off from Ahmadinejad was exactly that anti-holocaust conference. Had the conference been set for, say February, TIME could have pulled it off. But within the week, they would have been blasted by every anti-semitic organization in the world. It’s the third rail in politics, diplomacy and media. As in everything, timing is all.
    And WHY did they pick you? You of all people should know. They didn’t pick you because you finally voted in enough numbers to turn out some of the crooks in government. Nor because you finally woke up to what this administration is doing illegally in Iraq. No, that would make too much sense. But because you control the information age?? (Not if the republicans have any say in the matter.) Good grief, charlie brown, is TIME just figuring that out?
    BTW, I love The Bag’s selection for the cover…….Ahmadinejad’s hand gesture (jester?) one of implying, “Me? Awww shucks, you guys love me, you really love me.”

  • TF-MA

    Really. Who gives a CRAP about this right-wing rag’s gimmick to lend itself credibility and garner attention. Cripes Time is so hardup for subscribers it acts like the Paris Hilton of magazines – glib, facile, contrived, partisan and irrelevant as all hell.

  • Mad_nVT

    BagMan has produced a great cover, a picture of reality, but not the picture that we will see on the magazine.
    Okay, so they couldn’t put Ahmadinejad on the cover, because of the timing as mentioned above. And putting “You” as Person of the Year is a complete crap-out.
    So who else could be the Person of the Year?

  • ummabdulla

    I couldn’t care less about their “Person of the Year”; it’s amazing how much hype this thing receives every year.
    Having said that, I think this is a silly choice, especially since they seem to be talking about websites like youtube and myspace.

  • http://piglipstick.blogspot.com/ nolocontendere

    Time’s choice may be either a cheap and quick copout or a valid recognition depending on your point of view, but one thing is clear. Their online poll asked ~YOU~ to pick from a list of eight choices, then promptly dismissed ~YOU’S~ opinion.
    By the way, ~YOU’S~ choice was Hugo Chavez, and one would suspect that they dismissed ~YOU’S~ selection because it wouldn’t have looked quite right for the CIA to assasinate Time’s POTY.

  • Grumpy

    Timing or no, Ahmadinejad would’ve been a bad choice. What all did he do, really? Or Chavez for that matter? They made some speeches, rattled some sabers. Even Kim Jong Il’s nuke test was just another headline rather than a world-altering event.
    So if all the obvious candidates fail to measure up, who are we left with?
    It should’ve been Daniel Craig, who performed the monumental feat of Not Sucking at Bond.

  • http://thestupidestthing.wordpress.com Totally Infected

    This post isn’t really about the TIME cop-out at all. no need to comment there, I totally agree with the finding… and that’s probably why I get my most stimulating political news from a guy who cut his teeth drawing on lunch bags for the elementary school audience… hehe – love it! But I saw a headline link on drudge about a tabloid photo ’storehouse’ X17 suing a tabloid blogger over the use of photos they took… lots of complexities in that battle for sure… but wondering what the take out that case is in these parts? Obviously a large portion of the pics here are taken from others, presumably without the ‘expressed written consent’ for each one and the idea is that this site is providing a critique of newsworthy events and the photos themselves comprise that news. Any thoughts?

  • http://carlospinto.blogspot.com Carlos Pinto

    I really can’t believe it!

  • Paul

    I like “The Bag News”, I like viewing the photo’s and the accompanying comment. But, you aren’t writing about Times cover at all.
    I thought it a poor choice of subject (considering the Bag News is about “images” is it not?). You wrote about the magazines “choice” rather than the image itself. You could of written that with no image at all.
    So here’s my rant…
    I believe the POTUS to be a far more dangerous person to world peace than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in fact, George Bush, the Smirking Chimp, is probably more of a danger to peace in the Mid-East than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
    Bush has given his enemies the leg up they needed and the reason they wanted. America and the West in general, will be a target for many generations to come because of this incompetent ignorant fool.
    If peace in the region is ever to happen then the Palestinian/Israel conflict. need to be solved. Hamas were democratically elected yet they are being refused to be recognised by the US and Israel?
    Yet Israel (and the US) screams loudly when the reverse happens.
    But that’s Americas version of Democracy… Only the ones she wants.
    GO HUGO!!!!

  • lower_case A

    I have only one thing to say to TIME; don’t point your finger at me! I may be considered part of the fiasco that is U.S. hegemony and imperialism because I live here, but I loudly reject all of it vocally, and with any other means I can find.
    And I refuse to be considered part of TIME’s *reward* group. I choose my friends more carefully than that.

  • Al

    President Ahmadinejad’s real views are summarized on this website: ahmadinejadquotes.blogspot.com

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