Archive - 2006

December 18th

Acceptance Before Denial

« December 2006 »

Memo to Time Magazine: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS.

Imagine how surprised I was when I found out I'd been named Time's Person of the Year. Oh wait, you don't have to imagine it, because you were too. At least, if you're reading this, you were. You're riding the Interwebs. You blog. You MySpace. You... tube. And as a result, the fine people of Time Magazine, who weren't fucking phoning it in AT ALL, have decided that each and every one of us is equivalent to Winston Churchill, the Ayatollah Khomeini, or half of George W. Bush.

Which, any way you look at it, is pretty fucking insulting to everyone involved.

Yes, this year, the collective second person pronoun gets the abstract nod for embracing the true nature of the Internet: filming yourself getting hit in the nuts and employing a subsidiary of Google to let your friends see it. I know I'll proudly display my certificate on my wall. We're all getting certificates, right? At least a PDF we can print out? God, they're fucking lazy at Time.

It doesn't matter. Because I regret to inform Time Magazine that I must decline their honor. It just wouldn't be right, accepting an accolade based entirely around a concept that I find morally abhorrent. Now I know how Kissinger must have felt when he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, he kept the money, the smug little bastard.

But I can't be a party to any award given out for... well, let those lazy bastards' words speak for themselves. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

Oh, fuck off, Time. All this stuff's been there for years. Before Wikipedia, if you wanted to know the names of all the Green Lanterns, you had to search Yahoo, find the Green Lantern Fan WebRing, and look through them until you found a nerd that had listed all of them, from Alan Scott to Hal Jordan's Resurrected Corpse. But you know what? SOMEONE ALWAYS HAD. All Wikipedia does is keep the nerds from having to have hosting and basic HTML knowledge.

And the many wresting power from the few? Is that really what's happening? Is that really the phrase you want to attach to American society circa 2006? When all the money is moving from the many to the few. When the executive branch is pulling power from the many to the one. But thanks to MySpace, the poetry of 14-year-old girls is being set to music and distributed globally, instead of staying in purple notebooks. I'm so glad Time recognizes this.

And the worst part is, they know the "many" are a bunch of fucking morons, and they don't CARE.

"Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred. But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail."

First, I love that they admit they're romanticizing this, but only as much as is strictly necessary. Yeah, strictly necessary to make deadline and not piss off your readership with a politically divisive choice. The great thing about this year's pick is it will piss everyone off in a nice, friendly, generic way. Except me, who's been saying for years that the Internet's ability to allow us to know what other people are thinking is the worst thing about it. And Time wants to tell me that not only am I part of the problem, I should be happy about it.

And on top of that, they actually want me to buy my own copy of the magazine with me on the cover. Which is fucking ridiculous. Does Condi Rice get this treatment? She does not. I bet even those foreign kids standing in front of their bombed-out houses get comped. But nothing for the peer-to-peer Internet Changemeisters. Maybe they just assume we'll all torrent a scan of the issue. THAT'S REAL POWER.