Now, having issued that challenge — based more on the play on words than anything else (I find the neuter “person” designation off-putting, and am therefore compelled to mock it; once you settle on a man and not a woman, TIME, why can’t you say “Man of the Year?” You saying he’s not a man?) — I’m not quite ready with mine. Mainly because I just started thinking about it a minute ago.
One thing’s for sure, though. I’ll not be going with Frank Rich’s pick, Tiger Woods, which was based in the kind of jaded smirkiness and contempt for the world that helps explain why I don’t read his stuff (this was brought to my attention by Kathryn):
If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy).
As of Friday, the Tiger saga had appeared on 20 consecutive New York Post covers. For The Post, his calamity has become as big a story as 9/11. And the paper may well have it right. We’ve rarely questioned our assumption that 9/11, “the day that changed everything,” was the decade’s defining event. But in retrospect it may not have been. A con like Tiger’s may be more typical of our time than a one-off domestic terrorist attack, however devastating.
Being the conventional sort, I’d be more likely to go with the pick Rich scoffs at, Ben Bernanke.
More likely, but not quite. Although I like the way TIME is thinking, picking a South Carolinian. It’s interesting how many South Carolinians would make a national list of most embarrassing men (why “men?” because women have more sense than to make the list). Rich’s mention of The New York Post reminds me that that paper employed me for two days of the past year, which in turn reminds us of You Know Who. And once you start thinking along the lines of most embarrassing, you find several South Carolinians who coulda been contenders (as opposed to a bum, which is, let’s face it, what I am), such as:
- Our gov, who got the ball rolling with his adamant refusal to take stimulus funds for his state AFTER Congress had appropriated them, and then went on to… well, you know the rest, even if all you read is The New York Post.
- Joe Wilson, whose willingness to cash in on his “You lie!” outburst showed us to be the most nekulturny of states. Look it up, you non-Clancy readers.
- Jim DeMint, who set a new standard for partisan cynicism by seeing health care reform not as a chance to help America, but as an opportunity to bring the President to his “Waterloo.”
- Robert Ford — no, not the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard, but the state senator, who between advocating Confederate Memorial Day and calling for the return of video poker seemed determined to keep the Democratic Party in the game against all those embarrassing Republicans. If you check out the Jon Stewart video below, you’ll see he’s right up there — or down there — with the aforementioned GOPpers. And Michael Phelps, whom I had forgotten…
- My fellow Rotarian Rusty DePass, who perhaps should be disqualified for being the only one on this list to have apologized, repeatedly and consistently, for his behavior.
Then, if we turn away from South Carolinians, there are other possibilities — such as my old buddy Joe Lieberman, who seems to have pretty much killed health care reform all by himself (and folks, there’s really no point in passing what the Senate came up with instead of health care reform).
But actually, you know what? Inspired by an old gag of current U.S. Senator Al Franken, I may have a candidate in mind who tops them all. This candidate spent the last nine months without a job, which helps him personify the times. He has at one time or another endorsed Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson and Joe Lieberman, making him sorta kinda responsible for all of them. In fact, probably no one in the country has personally been let down more by Sen. Lieberman’s antics this year. And he’s really good-looking, so choosing him should please the ladies. Hmmm….
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Thank You, South Carolina!|