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Time Magazine Reveals Completely Unsurprising Award Choice

Posted on Dec 17, 2008
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Here’s a news bite that could have written itself a few weeks, if not months, ago: Barack Obama is Time’s 2008 Person of the Year. Even the magazine’s editorial staff members knew that the choice would hardly shock anyone, but they allowed themselves to be swept along by the tides of history—or perhaps inevitability.

And what’s with the rumor that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was going to make the cover?


It’s unlikely that you were surprised to see Obama’s face on the cover. He has come to dominate the public sphere so completely that it beggars belief to recall that half the people in America had never heard of him two years ago — that even his campaign manager, at the outset, wasn’t sure Obama had what it would take to win the election. He hit the American scene like a thunderclap, upended our politics, shattered decades of conventional wisdom and overcame centuries of the social pecking order. Understandably, you may be thinking Obama is on the cover for these big and flashy reasons: for ushering the country across a momentous symbolic line, for infusing our democracy with a new intensity of participation, for showing the world and ourselves that our most cherished myth — the one about boundless opportunity — has plenty of juice left in it.

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By kcdrew, December 20, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

He’s just a black man who got elected President of the United States, that’s all.  And he only did it be getting rich, poor, white, black, asian, conservative, Republican, Democratic, liberal, moderate and Independent voters to work and vote for him, that’s all.

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By CJ, December 19, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

Or news-stand sales. What was it Obama did this past year that impacted the world? Other than talk about it? He got himself elected U.S. president is all I know of. Maybe next year, certainly not this past year. “Time” is forever explaining that “man (person) of the year” isn’t a matter of popularity but of impact on events. Okay. Why Obama then?

As though there ever could be just one person, the very idea ridiculous from the outset.

But since “Time” insists (on this annual ad campaign), I’d say the person was Hank Paulson, or maybe al-Maliki, or maybe whoever thought to pay Sunni minority to stop shooting. Or maybe Chihuahua media insofar as it impacted thinking about events in accordance with standard agenda, which judging by CNN lately amounts to nothing more than reducing whatever might be relevant from the minimally sublime to the profoundly ridiculous. If there is such a thing as “profoundly ridiculous.”

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By kcdrew, December 19, 2008 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

that’s good, Maani—you have a point there.

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By Maani, December 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

They chose too fast!  My nomination would go to the shoe-thrower!


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By kcdrew, December 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

The point of the annual Time magazine “Person of the Year” was not, originally, to shock, necessarily, nor should it be and that’s the case here.  So Barack Hussein Obama is this Person of the Year.  No, we’re not surprised but it’s still as is should be.  Let’s not complain just because it was obvious.

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