Working Wounded: Time's Person of the Year

If you haven't heard, Time magazine selected me as its 2006 Person of the Year for the considerable contributions that I've made on the Internet -- well, sort of. I'm having trouble typing this, because I'm still shaking from a mixture of joy and exhilaration.

First, let me thank my girlfriend, my ISP (that's Internet Service Provider for everyone whose Internet experience is limited to just surfing porn) and Starbucks for making it all possible.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that terrible bosses, heartless corporations and dimwitted employees are the real heroes of this story, because they're at the heart of Working Wounded's success. Without their collective sleeping-at-the-wheel-at-work -- my entire empire would just occupy my own fertile imagination instead of silicon wafers at a warehouse in some run-down section of some town, somewhere.

You'll see the Person of the Year issue on newsstands this week. You'll recognize the cover because it has a computer screen that reflects your picture as you look at it. This mirror-on-the-cover technique has been used countless times in the past, but seldom has it resonated so compellingly to me. Thank you, Time magazine.

The competition for the Person of the Year was tough. According to the Associated Press, Time acknowledged 26 "People Who Mattered," including North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Pope Benedict XVI, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. According to the editor of Time, Richard Stengel, my selection bumped Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the top spot.

As do most things in life, there is a slight complication to this honor. And when it comes to complications, who knows better how to make things complicated than a company that is also one of the major cable providers in the U.S. You know the folks who made the phrase, "We'll show up sometime between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.," a staple in so many of our lives. But I digress.

I don't want to get all nitpicky on you, but Time declared the Person of the Year to be "You," the citizens of the new digital democracy. But since so many of "you" are limited to surfing the Web and not adding to the flood of meaningless data residing on it, I saw this as a simple pronoun problem. One that is easily repaired by changing the winner from "You" to "Me."

OK, you've put up with my ranting for long enough. I do think the Internet is going from a series of semi-interesting billboards to a 24-7 worldwide dialogue. It's gone from a joke to being a force in retail, advertising, politics -- and everywhere else.

It just seems ironic that an organization that has sat out so much of the Internet revolution -- remember the millions Time wasted on Pathfinder? -- is trying to appear cool by association. Unfortunately, the magazine's attempt to pander to the masses is too leaden to gain any street cred.

Quote of the Week

"No man can be a pure specialist without being, in a strict sense, an idiot." -- George Bernard Shaw

Book Excerpt of the Week

Instead of a excerpt, this week I'm going to offer a second quote: "It is not the critic who counts, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short time and time again; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- Teddy Roosevelt

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