At the conclusion of very year, since 1927, Time Magazine has selected a "Person of the Year", to headline a special December issue of their magazine. Everyone from Adolf Hitler to Franklin D. Roosevelt; the computer to the endangered Earth have been given this distinction. For 2011, Time has selected "The Protester" as the person of the year. And though I agree that "The Protester" is a fair selection, I have a problem with Time selecting a very generic "person" to headline their "Person of the Year." This isn't the first time that Time has chosen a generic figure. In 2006, Time selected "You" for person of the year. In 2002, the honor went to "The Whistle blowers", and in 1993 the award went to "The Peacemakers."
Now, I realize that Time is trying to do two things with these types of selections: first and foremost, sell magazines and second, I do believe they are trying to be objective. However, I personally believe that a "Person of the Year" needs to be just that: a PERSON! Picking a large, generic group of people just seems like a cop out.
With that said, here are my 10 selections (from 10-1) for the 2011 Person of the Year:
10.) Muammar Gaddafi
The former Lybian dictator, who was killed on October 11 of this year, kicks off my list. I chose Gaddafi not because of anything great he did but rather for all of his horrible acts towards the people he claimed to "love" so much (those same people are the ones who killed him). Gaddafi was the epitome of a narcissistic dictator who used his position of power to exclusively benefit himself. The irony is that his style of leadership is ultimately what led to his pathetic demise. He is deserving to be on this list because he is essentially the embodiment of a changing Middle East. His long reign of terror is finally over. Adios, puto!
9.) The Scientists as CERN
Ok, I know I started this post off by complaining that Time sometimes chooses a group of people for their person of the year, and here I am doing the same thing (I actually do it twice on this list. Another "group" is coming). I chose the scientists at the CERN laboratory for one big reason: they may have proven Einstein wrong. Earlier this year, CERN released the findings from their neutrino studies conducted at the Swiss/French Hadron Collider. In a nutshell, what they discovered is that neutrinos apparently can travel faster than the speed of light. This is a monumental discovery because, if substantiated, it would prove a portion of Einstein's Theory of Relativity to be wrong, and would force us to reevaluate some of the ways we look at physics.
8.) Princess Kate Middleton
Ok, I know that most Americans don't understand the importance of the British Royal Family but that doesn't mean that they are irrelevant to the rest of the world (and especially to Britain). Earlier this year, Kate Middleton married Prince William, the future King of England, making Kate the future queen. Kate has become an icon for the British people. As the spouse of the son of the Late Princess Diana, the pressure for Kate to meet expectations is extreme. Needless to say, she has met those expectations. Kate Middleton, a "commoner" by birth, actually has a great deal in common with her mother-in-law. She has been a vocal advocate against poverty and children with cancer. Kate was also a vocal proponent in favor of the new British law (passed this year) which no longer gives favor to males as heirs to the crown. This means that if Kate has a daughter first, she will be the first future Queen of England to have preference over a brother.
7.) Mitt Romney
As we all know, Romney is running for president in 2012. But unlike the other candidates, Romney has managed to stay consistent and relevant in what has been a whirlwind mess of a GOP field. It seems like every other month a new Republican candidate gains a ton of momentum and then fizzles out. Romney, however, has been the epitome of steady consistency, which according to many political experts, makes him the biggest threat to an Obama reelection.
6.) Ai Weiwei
Most Americans are probably not very familiar with Weiwei (I wasn't until earlier this year) but he has done some wonderful things in China. Weiwei is by trade an artist, but in recent years has taken to being a very vocal supporter of Chinese reform. A former communist himself, Weiwei is now a staunch supporter for democratic reform in China. His work has landed him in prison on a number of occasions, where he has been the recipient of several police beatings. Unlike other Chinese advocates who usually fizzle out, Weiwei is extremely popular throughout the country.
5.) Barack Obama
Anytime you are the President of the United States you are probably a perennial person of the year. Obama has fallen in popularity this year but is still a powerful contender for 2012. Among his other accomplishments this year, Obama concluded the war in Iraq, cut taxes (yes, he really did cut taxes), and ordered the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. Obviously, 2012 is going to be the most important year for Obama's presidency as he seeks a second term, but his role as President of the United States in 2011 secures him a spot on this list.
4.) Gabrielle Giffords
In January of this year, Congresswoman Giffords was nearly killed in a horrific shooting that claimed the lives of six people. Giffords' prognosis was grim for most of 2011 as she struggled for life while on a ventilator and in a coma. Doctors were unsure if she would survive let alone return to her seat in the House of Representatives. And though she initially had several complications including an inability to walk, talk and breathe on her own, Congresswoman Giffords eventually made a near complete recovery. Less than eight months after being shot several times (including in the head) she was back in the House attending to the affairs of her elected position. Regardless of one's political leanings, Congresswoman Giffords is one heck of an example and inspiration!
3.) Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan, who is the Prime Minister of Turkey, is the personification of the many changes that are taking place all over the Middle East. A devout Muslim, career politician, popular protester (he served time in prison for opposing Turkey's dictatorship), and a former professional athlete, Erdogan's politics appeal to a wide range of Turks who have been hungry for change. Erdogan has helped Turkey emerge as a serious economic juggernaut. Next to China, Turkey is currently the second fastest growing economy in the world. Erdogan has also been a champion of Islamic pacifism by promoting secular democracy and by opposing Syria. And though he has opposed the United States on its policies regarding Israel and Iran, Erdogan is considered an important American ally in the Middle East.
2.) Seal Team 6
Seal Team 6 is my second "group" nominee for person of the year. Needless to say, Seal Team 6 succeeded in killing a man who had been on the run for almost 10 years. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a righteous achievement, though not one in which we as Americans should boast. The taking of any life is never an occasion for celebration. With that said, the men of Seal Team 6 did a remarkable job in completing a very complex and important mission and they deserve to be praised.
And the winner of the Brad Hart Person of 2011 is...
1.) Steve Jobs
On October 5 of this year, Steve Jobs passed away after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Jobs was a rare and special talent to say the least. As the co-founder of Apple, Jobs became a pioneer in the computer and technology world. He revolutionized the music industry, improved the entertainment business and made personal computers a reality (heck, a near necessity) for humanity. Jobs was the epitome of a dreamer, an innovator, an inventor and a visionary. Jobs' genius was that he wasn't a genius. He was a normal person who knew what he wanted out of life and did it. He expected greatness from himself and all others around him, but not so much that he didn't know how to cut loose. It is a well known fact that Jobs was a drug user in his early years while creating apple (especially LSD). Even though at the end his body fell apart, Jobs' mind was always sharp. He was the primary advocate for the creation of the iPad and the iPhone, innovations that have catapulted Apple to an even greater level.
And even in death Jobs saw what we couldn't. His final words were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow!" One can only imagine what Jobs was seeing but I would imagine that it would have to be pretty damn impressive to get that kind of a reaction from Jobs. There is no doubt that the world lost an icon in 2011. Thank you, Steve Jobs for all you gave us! And don't rest in peace (since we know that's the last thing you want to do). Instead, go dazzle the heavens with your next innovation!
Steve Jobs' EXCELLENT address at Stanford University: