Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time: The Protester as Person of the Year for 2011

Okay, yeah, I guess I can see the "logic" that TIME's editors used to pick "The Protester" as the TIME Person of the Year for 2011, but still, it seems rather off-key and slightly off-base. I do see that the protesters in the Middle East are very deserving of such recognition; if TIME had endorsed them, that would seem quite reasonable indeed, but to lump the Occupy Wall Street (et al) protesters into the same boat seems far too much of a stretch, almost as much as Obama getting the Nobel Peace prize for imagined future actions rather than actual accomplishment.
The TIME Cover Story does give a little background on the Occupy Wall Street (et al) movement, but no significant new detail and maybe simply a little different color. For example, they mention that organizer/anarchist David Graeber coined the phrase "We are the 99%!" The writer of the article also chronicles his own nephew's involvement in the movement in NYC. The article notes that Graeber "nudged the group to a fresh vision: a long-term encampment in a public space, an improvised democratic protest village without preappointed leaders, committed to a general critique — the U.S. economy is broken, politics is corrupted by big money — but with no immediate call for specific legislative or executive action." Kind of lame for a self-professed "anarchist", but hardly a vision worthy of "Person of the Year." Well, even though Graeber and the other "organizers" weren't selected as "Person of the Year" themselves for their instigation, the results to date for the OWS protesters who followed them hardly seem noteworthy enough for such a nomination.
Maybe the best I can say is that the editors were "stuck" and even though the accomplishments of OWS in terms of "real change" were hardly noteworthy, they were "protesters" and that somehow magically entitled them to sit in the back of the same bus as the Middle East guys who actually did achieve some real change.

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