Ah, TIME’s Person(s) of the Year. This cover just makes me laugh.
(Does this feature seem totally tired and irrelevant these days to anybody else?)
the queer possibilities are endless with that threesome…
(i agree, the only thing more passe is people’s sexiest man of the year.)
I’ll venture the following guesses about the cover photo:
1) Nobody knows what Melinda Gates looks like, nor does her picture sell magazines, so they migrated her to the background of the shot.
2) Graphically, Bono’s huge Irish melon of a head would look strange on the left or the right of the pinheaded Gateses. Hence, he needs to be in the middle.
3) Originally, the man of the year was just going to be Bono — hence they laid him out right in the center of the page. But even Time thought that just making Bono man of the year was pretty ridiculous, so they added the Gateses, and photoshopped them in — which somehow makes the choice of Bono more acceptable. (How ridiculous is a “Man of the Year” award when it needs to be split three, or two-and-a-half ways?)
4) They posed for the photo, and Bill Gates agreed to give $1 billion to African charities if Bono would put his hand up Gates’s butt. (Melinda’s just along for the ride.)
Seriously, though, while these awards seem pretty outdated to us, I bet the audience for Time (and a fortiori for People) still laps this stuff up.
The blogs also lap this stuff up. And with newsweeklies’ circulation dropping, they have to hold onto these franchises like their lives depend on it.
Person of the Year is easy, automatic publicity. It’s no less tired and irrelevant than any other year-end “Top 10 List” or “Best and Worst” feature.
I won’t argue with easy publicity — but “Person of the Year” it definitely does seem a lot weirder than, say, “Top 10 Books of 2005.” This is not helped by the fact that TIME is always goofing around with it.. like choosing THREE people this year, or that year when they chose U.N. Blue Helmets.
It seems like Time‘s never been good about picking a single person for “person of the year.”
2003: “The American Soldier”
2002: “The Whistleblowers” (Enron et al)
1998: Bill Clinton and Kenneth Starr
1993: “The Peacemakers”: Arafat/Rabin and Mandela/De Clerk.
1983: Ronald Reagan/Yuri Andropov
1982: “The Computer”
1975: “U.S. Women”
1969: “The Middle Class”
1968: “U.S. Astronauts”
1966: “Young People”
1960: “U.S. Scientists”
1956: “Hungarian Patriot”
1950: “G.I. Joe”
1937: General and Madame Chang Kai-Shek
I mean, picking Nixon and Kissinger together is one thing, but “The Computer”? They may as well have picked “Google” for 2005. At least legally, corporations are considered people.
Why not “Story of the Year”? That’s what these selections are usually trying to indicate, anyways.
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