Reason's People of the Year

Screw Time magazine. Here's a list to ponder.

When Time announced its latest "Person of the Year" as "You. Yes You," the nosferatu newsweekly wasn't simply signaling its editorial exhaustion (it does that several times a year by running stories about whether the dinosaurs believed in God and how to follow the Virgin Mary Holy Water Diet); annual lack of imagination (it does that routinely by naming sociological groups Person of the Year, including "The Middle Americans" and "Twenty-Five and Under"); and desperate need to flatter a dwindling number of subscribers (Time's current circulation of about 4 million is down roughly 15 percent from 1988).

It was also a call to arms to all of Us--Yes, Us--to pick our own Person of the Year. In response to Time's lackluster gesture, Reason has asked its staff and other journalists, pundits, policy wonks, and the like to name someone--or some group or some thing--particularly worthy of our attention, adulation, and/or our opprobrium.

Peter Bagge
Reason resident cartoonist and the creator of, among other national treasures, Hate.

While I'm inclined to choose Kim Jong-il (though I'd argue that he's holding 20 million political prisoners rather than the "mere" 200,000 the press routinely reports), I refuse to vote for someone simply because he was this year's biggest badass. So my vote goes to Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko for his tireless efforts in exposing the horrific casualty rate resulting from our War on Drugs, especially his investigative work on Cory Maye, the Mississippi man unjustly convicted of killing a policeman during a no-knock raid gone very, very wrong. Of course, the same could be said of Reason's Jacob Sullum and many others, but I can only pick one!

Ronald Bailey
Reason science correspondent and author, most recently, of Liberation Biology.

The Suicide Bomber. NPR wakes me up nearly every morning with another report of 20, 40, 70 people dead in suicide bombing attacks. Reports used to be from Israel and Chechnya, but now mostly from Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan, with occasional forays into the West, of course, most spectacularly the atrocities of 9/11.

Radley Balko
Reason senior editor.

If Time magazine picked "you," as its Person of the Year, then everyone alive is "person of the year," except, ironically enough, for the staff of Time magazine. Even the two dozen or so marketing professionals the magazine just laid off can take solace from the fact that now that they're no longer with the company, from Time's perspective, they're no longer "us," but "you," meaning that they too now inherit the title of "Person of the Year." So I'm going with the staff of Time for my "Person of the Year," for two reasons: One, it seems silly to leave them out. And two, their gimmicky stunt gave the rest of us an extra line on our resumes.

Dave Barry
Bestselling author and one of Reason's most best interview subjects ever.

I would give it to the editors of Time, for discovering the Internet.

James Bovard
Journalist and author, most recently, of Attention Deficit Democracy.

George W. Bush is Man of the Year for vindicating cynics everywhere. Bush's trumpeting of his illegal wiretaps and his championing of torture should quash mindless idealism about democracy. Bush capped off the year by impaling the Bill of Rights on the Military Commissions Act. What a guy.

Alexander Cockburn
Author and editor of Counterpunch.

Hizbullah's leader, Sheikh Nasrallah, surely. He leads the outfit that sent Dan Halutz and the Israel Defense Forces scuttling out of Lebanon, thus rearranging assumptions about power in the region, thus maybe even stopping the US and Israel from attacking Iran (as least at time of writing).

John Derbyshire
Journalist and author, most recently, of Unknown Quantity.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • alan||

    Hey man, this comment field is open!

  • alan||

    Besides, one of the few things I hate more than the "Person of the Year" award itself is all the critics who act as though Time's choice is somehow significant. You think you can make a better pick? Start a blog, list your own choices, and ignore Time entirely. You can do that now. That's why you're the Person of the Year.

    Ah, back in the starry eyed days of the one-up meta. We were so young then, and the internets too.

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