Rudy Giuliani

Than Shwe/ You'll Soon See 'Im/ On the Wall/ Of Some Museum/ Burma Shave


Getting ahead of Time magazine's Person of the Year contest (current favorite: Hugo Chavez), The Onion reports on one candidate's attempt to score the prize:

Than Shwe, the brutal dictator of the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, dramatically increased his already horrific rate of murdering citizens this week in a late, desperate attempt to become Time magazine's 2006 Man Of The Year, who will be honored in the Dec. 25 issue.

Although Than Shwe is considered a sadistic and merciless tyrant within the borders of Myanmar—also known as Burma—his human-rights abuses have long been ignored in the international media. After he failed to make The Economist's list of Top 25 Worst Leaders, Than Shwe introduced a program of "random liquidation," doubled the number of rape and torture camps, and instructed aides to inundate news outlets with press releases in which he is referred to as "The Ripper Of Rangoon." Likewise, he recently added four ethnic groups to his list of subhuman residents, ordered his special police to drag thousands of opposition-party members from their beds between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. to be machine-gunned, and has forced thousands of women and children to work on constructing a national welcome center before being beheaded and dumped in a ditch behind the new facility.

This is, sadly, a parody whose time has come and gone. The Man of the Year decision long ago switched from "legitimate portrait of biggest newsmaker" to "feel-good crap," with the 2001 selection of Rudy Giuliani over Osama bin Laden as the key example of the trend. (I'd argue 2003′ selection of "The American Soldier" over Saddam Hussein was almost as lame, even if it did produce a great piece of journalism in the follow-up.)


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  1. I’m sorry, David Weigal, but you’ll have to delete this story. Only Karrie Hawlee is allowed to post about Mayanmar.

    (I’m enrolled in “Johns Selph-Tawt Coors on Speleen Laik a Militerry Loyer.”)

  2. Christ, people still read Time?

  3. I’m guessing by the trend that we are two years away from getting Kevin Federlines and Justin Timberlakes as selections for Man of the Year.

  4. “This is, sadly, a parody whose time has come and gone. The Man of the Year decision long ago switched from “legitimate portrait of biggest newsmaker” to “feel-good crap,” with the 2001 selection of Rudy Giuliani over Osama bin Laden as the key example of the trend”

    Mass murderers just don’t get the kind of respect they used to. I would call the trend sad if Time ever had looked critically at the people it named as man of the year. No doubt if Bin Ladin had been named the magazine would have portrayed him as inconoclastic and misunderstood rebel.

  5. Man, this Than Shwe cat has been getting some serious play in H&R in the last couple of days. Is he a Democrat?

  6. IIRC calling it Burma is a considered a statement against the evil assholes in charge there.

  7. Maybe there should be a “Tyrant of the Year” award.

  8. The decease now has spreaded to Thailand. I wish that all governments that ignored its grassroots voices should be eliminated by their own people sooner. ( not by another coup)

  9. I’d argue 2003′ selection of “The American Soldier” over Saddam Hussein was almost as lame

    So, getting your statue pulled down and hiding in a spider hole makes you a newsmaker? Cause that’s about all Saddam did in 2003.

  10. Dear Henry Luce,

    Thank you for bestowing me with my third-time Time Man of the Year award. This time, however, I must regretfully decline the honor.

    As a longtime blogger, I have nothing against self-expression. I’m for it.

    But to take a prize this year for effectiveness?

    I’m afraid not.

    I blogged on behalf of the Constitution. But that didn’t stop my Democratic congressman from voting to shred it along with Habeas Corpus.

    I expressed outrage against the mendacity and incompetence of the Bush Administration and the Press. But even though I, like tens of millions of other Americans, voted to out the Republican regime in Congress, neither the President nor the media have seemed to paid any mind.

    So I’m returning the prize. You may keep it for yourself; or perhaps you might want to share it with John Yoo and Jose Padilla: The latter the victim of our post-Constitutional America; Yoo the legal architect of the new regime; and you, the press, for enabling it.

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