Here’s how old I am: I am old enough to remember when Time’s December publicity event was called Man of the Year. The machine started early with the possible short-listers leaked for speculation, and finally: THE MAN OF THE YEAR. Ronald Reagan. Ted Turner. Anwar Sadat. And so on.
Now that I think of it, there were occasional women of the year. Wikipedia — for the purposes of this trivia, let’s call it an unimpeachable source — tells us Wallis Simpson won in 1936, her step-niece Elizabeth II in 1952. But it’s basically a man’s game, even if the whole thing was changed to Person of the Year in 1999.
I was amused, today, to see Twitter light up with the news Pope Francis was this year’s PoY, a few days after the story was floated that the finalists included Miley Cyrus. Great work, Time! Flogging a few seconds of the hive’s attention away from whatever it had been paying attention to a few seconds earlier, and then? The big reveal! A pope! Leap into action, Twitter!
I think what’s happening here is a reflection of something Hank put his finger on a while back: The web still isn’t real enough. Ask yourself why the college newspaper still exists. It serves a generation that’s been online since they were toddlers, digital natives. These should have been the first print publications to fall, and yet? They haven’t.
To quote Don Draper, who saw plenty of Men of the Year: You can’t frame a phone call. How will we know who Salon named the 100 Greatest Hacks of 2000-whatever? Just thinking of the search gymnastics needed to find that in 2023 makes my head hurt, but Time — there will always be a Time, on microfilm in some library, somewhere.
With its obvious, safe, not particularly interesting Person of the Year story. Now Miley — that would have been newsworthy.
How y’all today? I just realized I’ll be having some sick days coming up. My cataract surgery is a week from now, followed by a sedate period of lying-in to sleep off the anesthesia. And with that, I close a little over six months of eye nuisance. I had the first surgery close to the longest day of the year and the second on about the shortest.
I just want to drive at night again.
Twelve stories of very bad Santas. The worst one we ever encountered was actually just baby Kate’s experience — my babysitter took Kate and her own two to Southtown Mall in Fort Wayne, thinking to miss the crowds at Glenbrook. What they found was a booze-stinking Santa who told all the kids gimme five, holding out a dirty glove.
The FDA is “taking steps” to “phase out” antibiotic use in livestock. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Over the hump. I think.