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Time's Person of the Year Is "The Protester" 543

Hugh Pickens writes "Time's editor Rick Stengel announced on The Today Show that 'The Protester' is Time Magazine's Person of the Year: From the Arab Spring to Athens, from Occupy Wall Street to Moscow. 'For capturing and highlighting a global sense of restless promise, for upending governments and conventional wisdom, for combining the oldest of techniques with the newest of technologies to shine a light on human dignity and, finally, for steering the planet on a more democratic though sometimes more dangerous path for the 21st century.' The initial gut reaction on Twitter seems to be one of derision, as Time has gone with a faceless human mass instead of picking a single person like Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi who Time mentions in the story and is widely acknowledged as the person who set off the 'Arab Spring.' In 2006, Time chose "You" with a mirrored cover to much disappointment, picked the personal computer as 'Machine of the Year' and Earth as 'Planet of the Year,' proving 'that it should probably just be "Story of the Year" if they aren't going to acknowledge an actual person,' writes Dashiell Bennett. 'By not picking any one individual, they've basically chosen no one.'"
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Time's Person of the Year Is "The Protester"

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  • I am the 1% (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:41PM (#38374150)

    Who make first post

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:42PM (#38374172)

    Or are not all protesters created equal?

    • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:46PM (#38374250)
      All of the tea party protests were back in 2009 [wikipedia.org] and 2010 [wikipedia.org].
    • What about RTFA? (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by jcombel ( 1557059 )

      Or are not all attention spans created equal?

    • Person of the Year

      That wasnt in 2011. Nice try though.

    • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:47PM (#38374276)
      I would assume Tea Partiers are protesters and thus included in Time's lame cop-out. There are definitely some cases where it appears the tea party was treated like second class protesters, but i don't think this slashdot summary is one of them.
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:50PM (#38374324) Journal
        They definitely seem to have been cruelly ignored by the riot police of America...
      • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @04:42PM (#38375204)

        As a person who actually believes in personal responsibility and in the power of small communities of people working together, and as a person who has attended tea party rallies. I for one believe that there would not be many in the tea party that would want to be grouped with OWS or those people in Greece.

        A bunch of spoiled people demanding more free shit is the antitheses of what the tea party is about.

    • by gorzek ( 647352 ) <gorzek AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:51PM (#38374344) Homepage Journal

      This selection was more for the Arab Spring protests than the Occupy protests. I think it's a sensible choice.

    • Depends on who writes the article.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JustinKSU ( 517405 )

      Or are not all protesters created equal?

      No. We are not created equal. We do however deserve equal rights. Some would even argue equal opportunity.

    • by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @06:23PM (#38376614)
      The Tea Party didn't have protests .. they had rallies. They got permits, paid for security, trash pickup, and porta-potties, as required by law, and moved on when their permits were up. While the goals weren't completely well defined (i.e. reduce spending), they didn't hold large tracts of land hostage, deny workers and consumers access to businesses, and worked to better define the goals. They worked within the system to elect officials to help put into place their goals. People joined the tea party and began to make a difference in very short order as politicians listened and took some action.

      The protestors in the middle east were met with violent resistance from a government that suppressed them when they were unable to work through the system for their goals. They worked for years (decades?) to bring about change without any results, making it obvious this was their only recourse. They were able to effect change through revolution because their government could not sustain order in the face of widespread opposition TO the government.

      The OWS groups, on the other hand, have no real goals that can be met to end their protest. Their stated goals can never be defined. For instance, when does profit become greed? Ending corporate influence is only possible if all groups are tossed out from impacting politics, such as unions, environmental groups, and AARP. And even then the rich will always have more access simply because they can buy more ads and travel more. Utopia is a beautiful concept, but very difficult to implement without trashing freedoms.

      OWS has only been doing this for a few months, have made NO attempts to work through the existing processes, they feel free to deny access to public places and businesses to both workers and consumers, and in general are just a bunch of clueless drones who grab onto catch phrases that have little meaning. They basically have done nothing to even generate the smallest amount of sympathetic emotions among the general population, and the only change I've seen them bring about is more regulations about camping in public places. If anything, their lack of direction and willingness to follow ANY laws has resulted in people making fun of them and outright disgust with their stated goals.

      So I'll agree with Time that the Tea Party shouldn't have been included. But the attempt to place the OWS groups with the middle east protestors denigrates the middle east protestors and their worthy goals.
  • Not a Person (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:42PM (#38374176)

    Maybe the important thing is that a idea is the driver for change, no just an individual.

    It is much harder for the daily news media to sell an idea than it is sell an individual being the center of everything.

    • It is much harder for the daily news media to sell an idea than it is sell an individual being the center of everything.

      That's what's so interesting about the recent wave of protests themselves, they're so leaderless - not only the protests, but the movements themselves. Where's the strongman (or even an anti-strongman like Ghandi)? Is this because technology has reduced the need for a single mouthpiece? Is it because everybody is discontented but doesn't what to do about it, so every specific proposal

      • That's what's so interesting about the recent wave of protests themselves, they're so leaderless - not only the protests, but the movements themselves.

        I think it's a reaction to the normal police method to distrupt protests by going after the leaders.

        If you have a single point of failure in the form of a small core group who are organising (not necessarily the leaders of an event) the police can come along and arrest that core, the entire event fails, even if there are still plenty of people who feel str

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:45PM (#38374234) Journal

    'By not picking any one individual, they've basically chosen no one.'

    Aside from the obvious one percent that didn't protest, there's another element of society that I happen to belong to. I'm not the 1% but I have a job. As such I stood by with at most sympathy and some odd feelings of survivor's guilt as I saw protests unfold in cities around my country. Yet I still had deadlines to make at work. So I'm not Time's Person of the Year but the protesters are because I sat here and sipped Lapsang Souchong tea while they made headlines. And that isn't no one, I think that's actually a very select group of people that were there, were non-violent and had a message. Other people that used the opportunities to loot or arson probably aren't proud enough to say it but Time Magazine has definitely selected a small set of people from around the world to be the Person of the Year. And I disagree that it was a bad choice and that it somehow represents 'no one.'

    Sort of off-topic but every time I hear about protesting, this video pops into my head [youtube.com]. I will opine that in this video you will see what aspects you want to see about protesting. But I think that it encapsulates a lot about protests -- even from the comparatively non-violent protests of G20 last year in Toronto. From the pacifying elements of society to the occasional brutality involved from either side, this video is oddly satisfying for me.

  • by sohmc ( 595388 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:48PM (#38374282) Journal

    When they chose the president, a famous person, non-entity, etc, it's just lame. Last year was Mark Zuckerburg. That was a possible pick since Facebook has changes much of what we do online.

    But when they chose "you" and "the protestor", I feel like they just had a dart board and just saw what stuck.

    Story of the Year is probably a much accurate title, but won't sell as many mags or get as many people talking about it.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:48PM (#38374286) Journal
    The time mag editors are a bunch of wozzies. Instead of selecting the most deserving Superstar Rajnikant as the person of the year, they have gone for some faceless masked angry young man.

    I am going to protest. Big time. Occupy Time Mag. yeah, yeah.

    Now where do I collect the brownie points for being the person of the year?

  • "The protester" must be the one person left in our local "occupy" demonstration. He looks cold.
  • TGINS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @03:54PM (#38374412) Journal

    Thank God It's Not Steve Jobs.

    And although the Occupy people are not as hardcore as the Arab Spring guys, it's good that they didn't restrict it to one movement or country since there seems to be new protests in Russia and China...

  • by Hollinger ( 16202 ) <michaelNO@SPAMhollinger.net> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @04:13PM (#38374718) Homepage Journal

    The way Time is going, next year they'll name "The Subscriber."

    • "By subscribing to TIME magazine, The Subscriber has chosen truth in a time of lies. Chosen real news, news you know is real because it's printed on actual paper, rather than succumb to the unverifiable voracity of the blogs that threaten to wipe out humanity. Make sure that everyone you know also becomes a Subscriber to save their humanity!"

  • by EvilBudMan ( 588716 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @04:26PM (#38374938) Journal

    They also made the PC or maybe it was the computer in general person of the year back in the 80's or 90's. Next up a terrorist is person of the year.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:33PM (#38375990)

    When they made the cowardly decision not to make it Osama Bin Laden. It wasn't intended to be a high school popularity contest; it was the biggest news maker of the year; e.g. Hitler during the WWII era. That's when they started the slide into marketability-driven choices.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger