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TIME’s Person of the Year: Hedging bets and thwarting Brian Williams

TIMEPOY05.jpgSorry Mother Nature – Time‘s coveted “Person of the Year” slot has split the difference and gone with people: Bono on the one hand and Bill and Melinda Gates on the other, though they are packaged as a unit which basically makes Time‘s “Person of the Year” The Rich Philanthropist (and really, the second word should always modify the first).

Which is, in a word, awesome, because – because wasn’t Tom DeLay one of the choices? (He’s mentioned in their year-end roundup of “People Who Mattered” but with no commentary as to why – we’ll let you fill in that blank).

Jeff Jarvis makes two good points on this: (1) shouldn’t the non-rich philanthropists who opened their wallets after the tsunami and Katrina get a nod? and (2) he notices a trend toward leadership of the superrich (cough upper echelons of government cough) that he’s fine with as long as they use their money/power for good. Jim Kelly gives the nod to donations from the hoi polloi in his introductory letter, citing $1.6 billion in American tsunami donations and $3 billion for Katrina:

This got me to thinking about the nature of giving, and what makes for temporary relief vs. lasting change. Sudden disasters get the big headlines, but day after day other tragedies of avoidable dimensions unfold: the one child who dies of malaria in Africa every 29 seconds, the one person who is infected with HIV every 6.4 seconds, the 8 million who die every year because they are too poor to stay alive. And who is proving most effective in figuring out how to eradicate those calamities? In different ways, it is Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation, and Bono, the Irish rocker who has made debt reduction sexy.

In this way he dispenses handily with the Mother Nature nomination (poor Brian Williams! Poor Bea Arthur!) by setting it up as the power to wreak vs. the power to respond.

(NB please note that Jon Friedman’s favorite mag the New Yorker was there first in the October 24th issue with “What Money Can Buy” which isn’t online but is well-summarized here).

Time got a lot of PR out of the lead-up to the POY (Newsweek counters it by putting “The Da Vinci Code” on this week’s cover – smart move, except for Tom Hanks‘ hair), and hedges bets further with the aforementioned “People Who Mattered” with nods to Patrick Fitzgerald, a freestylin’ Kanye (NB Time I believe that in order to freestyle one actually must rap) and the Plame-Wilsons, in one a really disturbing and weird photo of the couple in which Valerie looks like she’s trying to remember where she put her pills (Joseph in the foreground, natch). Also: you’d think they could have found a little more to say about Saul Bellow.

Thoughts? Comments? Kick ‘em off the dome to me Kanye-style here. Oddly disturbing photo of the Plame-Wilsons plus Tom Hanks’ bad hair after the jump.

p.s. I used to get my Time email alerts from Diana Pearson, former Director of Public Affairs. This week, I did not.

damn why didn't i wear the jammies with the footies.png

“Honey, do you remember where I put my pills?”

tom hanks has bad hair.png

And we’re supposed to believe that HE can score HER? I’d sooner believe in a secret society devoted to protecting the descendants of the Baby Jesus.

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