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Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2001 / 9 Teves, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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TIME caves -- "The classic definition of TIME's Person of the Year is the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse."

                        —   TIME Managing Editor, Jim Kelly

TIME Magazine selected their Man Of The Year. Ta-dah. Mayor Rudy Guiliani. A hero in a terrible time of need to be sure. But, come on. More than Osama bin Laden? More than "The Universal Terrorist?"

Evil incarnate bin Laden's deeds and ideal have affected the world's economies, the world's psyches, the world's security. As horrible his deeds his total impact is still in doubt. President Bush has reminded us ever since 9/11 that this will be a "long one."

The "one" the President speaks about is the fight against terrorism. Osama set this off. Guiliani reacted spectacularly, throwing politics and political division out the window. But his reaction was to the event, not the entire world crisis that followed and continues. Osama did that. And since we're going to continue this fight against terrorism even after Osama is gone, then "The Terrorist" should have been TIME's selectee. Making a group the selectee is not beyond TIME. They made Many Women were placed on the cover in 1975. In fact, the entire "Earth" took top honors in1988.

In no way and I speaking in terms of who is the better person. If that was what the Time cover was about, Rudy is the Man...or the Person, and should win hands down. But this is about impact and bin Laden's impact was far greater. Simply put, was Osama's evil greater than Rudy's leadership? Unfortunately, the answer is too simple. Bin Laden set off the impetus that has changed the world forever. Rudy is to be applauded this year. Osama is to be demonized forever.

TIME's decision was pure sugar coated, watered down, no guts, placate the advertiser and short-shrift-the-reader stuff. If they needed to put Rudy on the cover, perhaps they should have considered him sharing it with Osama. Face of Good and Evil.

Within that context wouldn't the weight of each be ever more obvious. In fact, if you wanted to put a hero on the cover, one who resurrected patriotism and a willingness to fight for our freedom no matter what the risk, TIME should have placed "The Firefighter" on the cover. And "The Firefighter" sharing the cover with "The Terrorist" would have been a extremely gutsy selection and one that would have said volumes about good and evil and the state of world today.

The classic definition of TIME's Person of the Year is the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse. In 2001 TIME's decision didn't meet their own standards.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002 Comment by clicking here.

12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2001, Steve Young