So he is Time’s “Person of the Year”. Its cache long since dead. Do you honestly read Time (or the bulk of it) anymore? Didn’t think so. It hasn’t ‘re-designed’ itself to mimic Entertainment Weekly entirely but it’s not far behind. We get it, flip through (sometimes) and toss – often in one fluid (we hope) motion. Kerchunck.
So Putin must take all of that into account. He (or his staff) surely must know that when the Corporal was “Man of Year”, Henry Robinson Luce strode across the American media — and New York Society — like a behemoth. Even when Gorby won in 1988, Time still meant something.
Today? Joe Klein, like battleships of yore, rages against those mosquito (airplanes to complete the analogy) bloggers. If Time sent Annie Leibovitz, Putin could at least get off knowing that via her camera he joined the immortal ranks of Lennon, etc. The cold plain fact is that “Man of the Year” is less important than People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” Both in media saturation and utility. At least People gives Putin some entre into studios and first pass on decent scripts. What can Time do anymore?
We could go into a long discourse about Putin’s political choices, not a little bit of American hypocrisy since 1991 and the like, but this is not the time or place. That conversation deserves both seriousness and, well, Henry Robinson Luce. Perhaps we will offer some musings later on. We just note in passing that if Time is irrelevant, so are calls for Petraeus or other minor historical functionaries to receive the ‘honor’. Might as well include Ashley Simpson or the like. Is this year’s choice any different from the infamous “you”? We’ll leave that to others to debate.
Putin has other worries on his mind such as the Russian “Man of Year” curse. Since he won in 1988, Gorbachev proved himself largely incompetent domestically but useful geopolitically to the Americans. (Baker’s coup de main bringing the entire intact Germany into NATO a historic diplomatic achievement (although Cher Condi may have written an article about it years later). At least Gorby knows that along with Schevardnadze he helped end the Cold War and the threat of global incineration. Today he hawks Louis Vuitton hand bags.
Vlad, don’t look down it’s a long long way to fall. We don’t see Putin doing Louis Vuitton. Or any of the Xtreme sports stuff. A Bentley anyone?