Trump takes ‘dis’ honor
Donald Trump is now in the same league as Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth II, three *popes and the Apollo 8 astronauts. In what must have been the easiest decision ever to confront the editors of Time magazine, they chose him as their “Person of the Year” for 2016.
The runners-up were Hillary Clinton, Beyonce and several world leaders whose names no one knows.
Trump could and probably should have won the award last year, but the magazine passed on him in favor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump disagreed with the decision, saying at the time: “They should have picked me,” instead of the “person who is ruining Germany.”
This year, however, the award goes to Trump, who’s been *unfavorably compared to the man who really destroyed Germany. “To be on the cover of Time magazine as the Person of the Year is a tremendous honor,” Trump said. It’s also, he *elaborated, “a great honor” and “a very, very great honor.”
It is not an honor. As Time’s editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs explained, the Person of the Year is “the person who had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year”. The “for better or worse” part is crucial.
There’s no honor in *merely being newsworthy. There is a difference between influencing people’s lives and making their lives better. If you want to get attention, all you have to do is murder somebody, go *streaking or talk about grabbing people’s *genitalia. But please don’t.
Past *recipients of Time’s “award” include Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979). What did Hitler do to attract the notice of Time’s editors? To quote the Jan 2, 1939, edition of Time: “Hitler became in 1938 the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”
Very newsworthy. Not very honorable.
Trump, unlike some of his supporters, *eschews Hitler *analogies. Instead, it seems he prefers supermodel analogies, comparing himself to “a supermodel, except like times 10”. The comparison isn’t as *outlandish as it might seem. Trump is a lot like a supermodel, except that he’s 10 times as vain and 10 times as bad at answering questions about world peace.
Whether he succeeds or fails as president, Trump will have already accomplished his primary mission. Whatever he does, we will talk about him. What we say is irrelevant. What matters is that we talk about Trump, who will talk about how much everyone is talking about him.
Being the president is a great way to be famous. Trump, who *craves attention more than he craves power, is interested in the job only to the extent that it enhances his celebrity.
Given that he was just elected president, he might be Person of the Year each of the next four years. Time’s editors will face the same *dilemma that confronts the people who vote for the NBA’s MVP: How do we pick someone other than LeBron James? At some point, perhaps, we will become so enraptured by Trump that he will bore us. More likely, we will just pretend to be bored.
For now at least, Trump has managed to be both man of the people as well as person of the year, the people’s choice as well as Time’s. That’s quite an accomplishment for a supermodel.
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