2007's Person of the Year Is ...
Game, set, match, asterisk. The contest/discussion about who or what will be Time's "Person of the Year" is over.
(AP / CBS)
It's Steroids. Yesterday's federal indictment of Barry Bonds only sealed the deal.
From the home run king to 2000 Olympic champion Marion Jones's public confession to professional wrestler Chris Benoit's double murder-suicide to the forthcoming George Mitchell investigation to Americas competitive bicyclists, steroids have been in the news every month of this year, casting a pall over the sports worlds and American culture as a whole.
And let's not get too attached to visualizing "Person of the Year" as a walking, talking human being. As noted in this space last week, past PoYs have included 'the computer' and 'the planet Earth.' So a fluid or powder – or 'cream' or 'clear' or whatever euphemism is being used today – would not be a stretch.
Particularly when that powder or fluid can also serve as shorthand for America's bottom-line fixation. Any feature writer or opinion-monger at the magazine could wax philosophic about how steroids is a symptom of our culture's "ends justify the means" competitive mentality. And though the topic would fly in the face of Time's 20-year 'feel-good' streak, it could still be written in a way to show how justice is served and The Truth Will Out.
Picking steroids would be the perfect concept. It's timely. It's culturally relevant. It's completely apolitical. (A big plus in the run-up to the primaries, since they don't want to alienate readers.) It's gimmicky enough to create added buzz. And it would fly off the shelves over the holidays. Whether readers are sports fans or not, every single reader has been tempted to take competitive shortcuts over the course of their lives.
Time has an online poll now featuring "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling as the frontrunner, ahead of Al Gore, Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice and Steve Jobs. But the decision for this year's "Person of the Year" has been made for them -- and will continue to be for the next month, as Bonds is arraigned and the Mitchell investigation is released.
Time should name steroids the newsmaker of 2007.