Person-of-the-Year Is an Idea Whose Time Has Passed

Alicia Menendez delivered this monologue on her show, Alicia Menendez Tonight on December 12, 2013.

Dear Time Magazine,

Congratulations! Your Person-of-the-Year stunt is officially 86 years old. With the emphasis on “old.” Honestly, Time, the whole idea is one whose time has passed. It’s a holdover from the “great man” era, AS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT “PERSON OF THE YEAR” WAS ORIGINALLY “MAN OF YEAR” — A TITLE THAT YOU DIDN’T CHANGE UNTIL 1999.

The concept dates back to a time when Churchill, Stalin, and, er, Bing Crosby pushed on the levers of history and big things happened. But that’s not how things work.

And yet every year you go on anointing a king or — less often, queen — of the world and the rest of the media breathlessly reports the fact.

Now we are living in a media world, and I am a media girl. And, accordingly I like a good fake piece of news as much as I like a good piece of fake meat. Especially over the holidays. Because the ugly truth is, I gotta fill up 22 minutes of programming whether or not there’s actually anything new to talk about. But let’s be clear on what the title “PERSON OF THE YEAR” means: absolutely nothing.

There’s no objective measure, no algorithm for “person-of-the-year”ness. It’s the result of some clever people sitting in your offices at Time discussing who’s likely to garner the biggest reaction and wondering whether certain ideas are just a little too cute.

I’m not going to play this year.

So, guess what? I’m not going to tell you who the Person of the Year is. Because I don’t know. Admittedly, it was difficult trying to avoid knowing — kind of like insisting that no one tells you what happened on this week’s ‘Scandal.”

But I don’t know because I truly don’t care. Need a Person of the Year? What about that Kate Upton? She’s cute. And a lot of people were talking about her once upon a time.

Okay so the Person of the Year, as far as I’m concerned is Kate Upton. Now, there are things going on in the world that merit our actual attention and the public’s attention and if you want to stay alive in print, you would do better to take its captive audience of media pack animals and focus our attention on that.


P.S. And by the way, let’s just say it was, I don’t know, the Pope…. Shouldn’t we be talking about the Pope and the amazing things he’s trying to do every day of the year? Shouldn’t every day be pope day?