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David Poland

By David Poland

What A Shame

With everything going on in the world, Time Magazine decides to give their greatest honor to a monopolistic billionare, his wife, and an aggressive activist quarter-billionaire?
Did Karl Rove take over editorship of the magazine?
I am surprised that I am this angry about this, but this is a year where real people suffered and suffered deeply and some of them fought back with the kind of effort that is truly honorable. I respect the charitable efforts of the rich, but I don’t know that it requires this kind of applause. How about someone whom it really hurts to give?

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71 Responses to “What A Shame”

  1. Nicol D says:

    Even though I admire Bono and think he is sincere, I agree with your overall sentiment. I think what it really shows is that mainstream media achievements such as this are becoming less and less significant.

  2. qwiggles says:

    Bono’s wardrobe could feed Africa for a year, two times over.

  3. Angelus21 says:

    How about George Bush for liberating two countries from tyrannical rule?? Or will Time only give credit if it’s a Democrat doing the freeing?

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    David: The Gates and Bono do more for humanity any day of the week than you or I or anyone else on this blog likely will do in our entire lives. You may feel feel to argue contrariwise until you are blue in the face, but any objective investigation of indisputable facts will bear out that you are wrong. I dont begrudge these folks their wealth. (Hey, that’s capitalism.) Rather, I am grateful for their good works.

  5. David Poland says:

    I’ll tell ya what, Joe… give me their money and fame and I will do more for humanity than all three of them put together.
    I don’t begrudge them their wealth either, but celebrating their ability to have greater fortune and fame than you or I or anyone else on this blog and doing something decent does not make them the most important, significant people of this last year.
    Do you know what Bill Gates stands for? Before reading the Time article, could you tell me one important issue he has used his power and wealth to influence?
    To me, the working class person who gives up five hours a week to help those less fortunate is more worthy of this kind of attention than are The Gateses. Bono is more of a real choice, but is he really The Person of this year? do you really believe that, Joe?

  6. Blackcloud says:

    Ditto what Joe said.
    I could tell Dave was mad: “the kind of honor that is truly honorable.” He’s never incoherent like that.

  7. AgentArc says:
    Yes, Gates entirely deserves credit. Bono? Dunno.
    Nice to see that Angelus’ baiting will always be a hallmark for this blog.

  8. David Poland says:

    Fortunately, I have the wealth and power to edit myself after I write a dumb sentence like that and don’t notice.

  9. James Leer says:

    I can see both your points, although the Gateses do an ENORMOUS amount of charitable work. They’re inoculating whole continents. It definitely deserves respect, but — and I think this is what Dave is getting at — it feels slightly ghoulish, in a year where so many lost so much, to award those who have lost nothing.
    Angelus, did you know that Bush was actually Person of the Year last year? AND in 2000? Or is that just your knee-jerk response in topics like this?

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Two quick points, then I’m off to the movies (after seeing the Texans actually win a game for a change). Yes, I was well aware of the Gates’ philanthropic works long before the Time magazine piece. I mean, it’s not like they’ve been under-publicized. (Ever hear about the $100 million he donated to fight malaria in Africa a few years back?) And he’s gone on record as promising to give away most of his fortune to charitable causes before he dies. I hate to sound bitchy, but it’s not their fault if you were ignorant of these activities. In the future, you should try reading something besides the showbiz coverage in MSM.
    And as for Bono being person of the year? Well, why the hell not? In a year when we needed to reminded about our duties and responsibilities to our fellow human beings — I’m a New Orleans native, so maybe I’m more sensitive than usual to this — Bono is a worthy role model.

  11. Crow T Robot says:

    I’ve been thinking about this. In a year filled with disaster and inhumanity all over the globe, to honor humanitarians seems like the right way to go. These are three people (wealthy, privileged people indeed) that don’t have to do what good they do. To me that’s a hero defined. To influence people, companies and governments with real money to use it for good is no easy task. It takes real courage and conviction to get that kind of ball to roll. And maybe a little celebrity.

  12. Blackcloud says:

    “Fortunately, I have the wealth and power to edit myself after I write a dumb sentence like that and don’t notice.”
    Glad you can show a sense of humor about that, Dave. Wish all my students were like that.

  13. knowitall says:

    Poland. Please. Stop it.

  14. Rufus Masters says:

    Bono and U2 for musicians of the year. I’m all for it.

  15. David Poland says:

    Joe… not giving away money. I get that. I acknowledge that. (And what is MSM, smug boy?)
    What is Bill Gates about? What does he stand for? Is the message here that we need to give away more money? Is The Person Of The Year the person who gives away the most?
    Even reading the article in Time, it’s loaded up with hyperbole and thumbs up and not a lot of details.
    “But when Bill Gates says you can fix malaria in 10 years, they know he’s done a few spreadsheets.”
    Nyuk, nyuk… give him Man of The Year when malaria is fixed thanks to his focused efforts. Give him a Nobel Prize too.
    Rich people giving away their money to worthy causes should be the standard, not something to celebrate lavishly. Maybe I am biased because I grew up with rich people who were very generous and never let anyone forget it.
    On the whole, I was more impressed by Sean Penn in a rowboat.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    DP, who would you like to see as Person(s) of the Year in their place? Or is your nomination ‘The Unknown Charity Worker’?

  17. David Poland says:

    There are many choices, J-MC, not all of them positive. You could well make a case for this as the Year of The Insurgent.
    But if the angle was to embrace the idea of giving, I’d rather see the 10 year old with a jar full on change that they got by knocking on doors or the truck drivers who showed up unasked for in New Orleans or the people who left work to help feel people who were left homeless, if even for a week or two than Bill Gates, yes.
    I’d rather see the pharmaceutical giants who are planning on sucking every dollar they can out of Avian flu, AIDS, or anything else as the people who had the most influence for destruction and inhumanity.
    I’d rather see The American Voter as the choices we all make, for better and for worse, seem to be getting more specific and carrying more influence, in local and national elections, than they have in years.

  18. RyanK says:

    Obviously the members of the TIME editorial staff use Macs. If any of them have had their PCs infected by viruses, spyware, malware, etc., they’d curse Microsoft and their inferior operating system to high hell with the rest of us.
    (This post made on a Mac).

  19. lazarus says:

    While Bill Gates and his wife certainly spend a lot of money on charitable causes, Bono donates something far more worthy–his time. It’s really easy to sit here and point fingers at limousine liberals, or how much Bono’s fashion choices cost, but at the end of the day, he is in the trenches. He has been to Africa actually working with the people he’s trying to help. He’s getting involved with their communities, getting to know people. Granted he has the time because he’s wealthy, but do you people realize how he is also in the biggest band in the world and has a wife and four children which are also very demanding of his time. The fact that he is able to juggle all these things is pretty incredible. DP could do more with the same amount of wealth and fame? BULLSHIT. I’d like to see you charm the likes of Nelson Mandela, a Pope, the United Nations, U.S. Presidents, and other world leaders, Jesse Helms, assorted movie stars, and the public at large enough to further your agenda.
    And why single out Bono and Gates anyway? Like the U.S. President in any given year is some legitimate choice? Perhaps being a songwriter and musician might not seem very important in the grand scheme of things, but touching people’s lives with your art is something pretty damned admirable. And while people shouldn’t get their information from rock concerts, U2 effort to put some international awareness into their shows is something that people are able to respond to on a gut level. If 20 people leave each show with the intention to contribute to D.A.T.A., The One Campaign (both Bono’s organizations), Amnesty International, or any other public aid group, then I’d say job well done.
    This is sadly one of the more smug posts I’ve read here, and it’s rather disappointing. If you want to hate Bono for being a pompous ass or preening on television to sell records, be my guest, but don’t take away from the true good the man has done over the course of his career, and especially this year.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I have to agree, Bono has annoyed the hell out of me for years, and Microsoft does some pretty ugly things, but I just can’t agree with Poland’s reasoning here. It seems rather petty and personal beyond how he’s explained it.
    Anyway, if Karl Rove had taken over editorship of the magazine, he would have given the spot to Bush 2 years running, duh.

  21. martin says:

    not the most down-to-earth choices but Time has done worse before. I was personally hoping Howard Stern would get it.

  22. Wrecktum says:

    Well, it could have been “The Earth” or “the computer” so I think we should count our blessings.

  23. David Poland says:

    As I have pointed out repeatedly, Bono is far more worthy, in my eyes, than The Gateses.

  24. lindenen says:

    Whether you hate Bill Gates or not, it’s rather obvious he’s done more for the world than freakin Bono.
    A lovely quote:
    “Bill builds a multinational, multibillion-dollar mammoth corporation from a series of improvements on ideas largely pioneered by Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, beats Xerox and IBM on their home turf, and revolutionizes communications — but Time has no interest in that while it happens. Bill opens the largest philanthropic organization in the world several years ago, and Time decides to play it like some half-assed recent promise to go broke giving his money away, and all of a sudden he’s Person of the Year.”
    Time sucks.

  25. David Poland says:

    P.S. What is “smug” about the post? I understand that you disagree, but how exactly is my feeling about this “smug,” Laz?

  26. lazarus says:

    smug: conscious of one’s virtue and importance.
    DP: “I’ll tell ya what, Joe… give me their money and fame and I will do more for humanity than all three of them put together.”
    I just find that to be such an easy statement to make, but such a hard one to prove. And an even harder one to believe.
    Some of us are more charitable than others. And for all I know, DP, half of your income goes to the United Way, and you spend every moment you’re not writing online working in a soup kitchen. But I doubt you put as much of your time and energy into making the world a better place as Bono does, and having more money and fame has nothing to do with the sacrifices one is WILLING to volunteer. There are many local heroes who put just as much of their lives as Bono where it counts, but he’s just doing it on such a massive, global scale. That’s worthy of recognition.
    Bono is famous because he is an ambitious and energetic person who loves to speak his mind, not the other way around. His force of personality is what drove U2 to the top of the heap, and that intent was clear from the beginning of their careers. Every interview with the guy shows him to be a pretty unique personality, and nothing against you, DP (you certainly don’t strike me as a Scrooge or Mr. Potter), but I think anyone would have a tough time filling those shoes.

  27. sloanish says:

    I really don’t think Bono has personally convinced governments to donate more money, but he has kept the issue alive in this country (during war, catastrophe, Ashlee Simpson) when we could have all just forgotten about it.

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    And while we’re on the subject of smug:
    “(And what is MSM, smug boy?)”
    Thanks for the pathetic insult, even though I would have expected more of an opponent I usually respect. You know, just as I know and most other people on this blog know, that MSM is shorthand for “mainstream media.” You know, David, for an intelligent person, you have a unfortunate habit of coming off as a punk-ass bitch when you want to score a cheap point against someone. This grieves me, because you are smarter and better than that. Is this your way of playing to the cheap seats?

  29. martin says:

    I thought MSM was for old people.

  30. Blackcloud says:

    ^ Modern Senility Magazine?

  31. qwiggles says:

    Modernist Seeking Mate.

  32. martin says:

    methylsulfonylmethane – for those creaky joints.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    Mary Stuart Masterson?

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Metro Smoldwyn Mayer

  35. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Why should Bill Gates or Bono be grudged for earning money and donating it and helping the people of this planet?
    Plus, U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” was REALLY good.

  36. bicycle bob says:

    when did time magazine become us weekly?

  37. RoepersGottaGo says:

    “How about George Bush for liberating two countries from tyrannical rule?? Or will Time only give credit if it’s a Democrat doing the freeing?”
    You mean like that “liberal” Ann Coulter they put on the cover a couple of weeks ago?(sarcasm). How about Bush for spying on Americans. Shame Shame

  38. David Poland says:

    Well, Laz… I’m not arguing anything about me, virtue or importance. The passing comment about being able to improve on performance with a few billion in my pocket got your goat, but I would happily assume that you are more than capable of the same. John D Rockefeller has given away billions posthumously… does that define who he really was?
    Again, I don’t begrudge Bono his due, nor Gates for that matter. But “Person of the Year” is not an “attaboy.” At least not to me. Doing the right thing is not enough, in my opinion. Moreover, by picking the wealthy and famous, the message is, for me, bent.

  39. Josh says:

    So, I too can be Person of the Year if I marry the richest guy in the world or become the richest guy in the world and give a billion dollars away?

  40. killdozer says:

    come on, man. it’s about selling magazines and nothing more. Bono on the cover is gonna move a few more copies than Joe/Joanna Blow who headed up a rescue mission in the wake of Katrina. I know you know this, but even that you ask the question of ‘why’ rhetorically is surprising.

  41. Krazy Eyes says:

    Josh wrote: “So, I too can be Person of the Year if I marry the richest guy in the world . . .”
    You go Josh! It’s nice to see that all the Brokeback Mountain discussion has had a positive effect on at least one member of the blog. 🙂

  42. Josh says:

    If the cowboy is worth 80 billion, I’m all for it.

  43. Bruce says:

    They should put them on the cover and give them all a big thumbs up and a hearty congrats. But calling them “Persons of the Year”? That’s a little much don’t you think?
    Basically they’re saying you can only be “Person of the Year” if you are the frontman for the worlds best rock group, married to a billionaire or the richest guy in the world. Classy.

  44. LesterFreed says:

    Why when someone here disagrees with DP they always call him “smug”? It’s like a standard BS line.

  45. RoepersGottaGo says:

    I saw DP on VH1 yesterday. Dave, you look like you needed some sleep. Sort of disheveled. Shirt unbuttoned, hair sloppy. Should we be worried? Are you ok?

  46. Rufus Masters says:

    How about all the Iraqi voters for “People of the Year”? People who overcame hardship, tyranny, terrorism, and murderous thugs to vote in national elections. Makes you appreciate the freedoms we have and fight for.

  47. RoepersGottaGo says:

    How about the people of New Orleans, they are still overcoming hardship and the Bush administration? How soon we forget?

  48. Mark Ziegler says:

    Since when did George Bush control the weather?
    For a guy you Libeals take shots at daily you sure do give him a ton of credit.

  49. PandaBear says:

    Tom Cruise. For giving us all the gift of comedy. Which helps more than some computer geeks millions and his money chasing wife.

  50. Lota says:

    i can see what you mean Dave, but becasue rich famous people give money and sound-bytes re. same, other rich famous people will give money. That to me is the real benefit of an “award” like this is that it encourages others who Can, to amply donate.
    True there are so many unsung folks like half my family, who can’t afford to give but do give of their time and hard-earned money anyway. That is the shame–that people who give a huge percentage of their piddling incomes don’t get recognized including some of the community activists who did spectacular work in New Orleans and Alabama and Mississippi.
    A better thing to do would be to break it down by financial class–why not. Give props to everybody: most generous Billionaire right down to most generous homeless person. Magazines sometimes do this but not enough.
    There was an actor who i used to take checks from at charities and he used to give five, six and seven figured donations which were strictly confidential and anonymous. He’s a cranky old republican and maybe he doesn’t want his war-hawk pals to know. He’s donated as much as any of the famous public rawk stars and flashy industrial magnates.
    But again–giving awards to People like the Gates’ does increase giving by other rich people who can afford to create endowments etc. It may not be for the right sorts of reasons, but I am all for it. Princess Diana got many million/billionaires to donate. she was the best thing to ever happen to charitable giving in Europe & some of the international charities based in the USA.
    Why I don;t like is when these donations are geared towards trying to replace what federal offices used to do as a post world war II benefit–for eg. we are looking at corporate charity sponsorship replacing public grammar school in some parts of the country. that’s wrong. Education until 16 is a right and part of Freedom and shouldn’t be tied to any corporation by Name. This class is brought to you by Coca cola company. It’s happening.
    At any rate–good for Gates and Bono. Hope more rich folks follow their example and it would be nice if at each financial level more people are recognized–the poor folk may not have the cash to donate, but they are the ones out there doing significant time-intensive things like adopting crack babies and getting them clean and giving them love, cleaning up their communities and teaching kids how to read.

  51. joefitz84 says:

    How about “Charity Givers of the Year”? That works for me.

  52. James Leer says:

    Wow, “a lot” of posters were bringing up Iraqi voters this afternoon.

  53. lazarus says:

    Sorry, but “The Iraqi voters” doesn’t work for me. I don’t like it when a group is named instead of singling out one person. How about “The Human Race”? Why not just have that every year. More power to the people who voted in the Iraqi election (I actually worked as a registration and balloting official here in California last January for Iraqis living abroad), but anyone who votes in ANY election is doing their civic duty. It’s shouldn’t be something you’re rewarded for, even if you have to fight for it.
    I thought the idea was to single out someone who had a major impact on world affairs because of their own hard work. Not some faceless mass like “Firefighters and Policemen of 9/11” or “Teachers” or some such bullshit.
    I lost all faith in Time when they neglected to put Osama Bin Laden on the cover for 2001. If the American public is too stupid to confuse newsworthiness with acclaim then it’s a pretty sad time we’re living in. Let’s not forget Stalin and Hitler both received Man of the Year back in their heydays.

  54. Angelus21 says:

    From reading the thread and not making things up, one person brought up the Iraqi Voters. But James Leer is taken to hyperbole on some days and also pulling a Rather and making up facts.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right, Lazarus.

  56. joefitz84 says:

    You obviously don’t know anything about Americans or American spirit. You might have put bin laden on a cover as a Person of a Year. But Americans? We would rather roll over and die than do that. We reward bravery. We reward effort. It wouldn’t even be a contest. The only chance he’d have for Person of the Year would be to turn himself in and renounce violence. Mass murderers and thugs might make news but that doesn’t make them newsworthy. Newsworthy to me is the people defending freedom. People fighting and protecting against thugs like him. Policemen, firemen, military men. Those are the People of the Year.
    It’ll never be about “who makes the most news”. You don’t reward mass muderers because of what they did to make a paper.

  57. jeffmcm says:

    Time has always been explicit that the Person of the Year isn’t supposed to be an award of merit. It’s supposed to go to whoever has made ‘the biggest impact on the news’ in the past year, hence Hitler, Stalin, Ayatollah Khomenei, and so on.

  58. Rufus Masters says:

    I’d rather they not picked anyone or anything than see them pick another despot. I don’t care how much one impacts news coverage.
    The whole purpose is to sell magazines anyway. Maybe Gates gave them a nice grant for the award. Who knows.

  59. jeffmcm says:

    They’re a news magazine. Not a ‘Yay for Us!” magazine. But you’re right, it is all about selling more copies.

  60. Rufus Masters says:

    I think it is more of “Nay for Us” anyway. But whatever sells those ads works.
    I’m more of an ET Weekly, Sports Illustrated guy myself.

  61. joefitz84 says:

    Sportsman of the Year is more prestigious to me than Time’s Person of the Year. I’d go Tom Brady over those three any day and I’m a Jet fan for christsakes.

  62. Josh says:

    Why didn’t we name the Rwandan leaders who preached ethnic cleansing and genocide? They directly impacted millions of lives. Or was that not news worthy enough for you?

  63. jeffmcm says:

    Good point, Josh. And it goes to show, nobody cares about Africa. Although I believe that in the last year, more people have died in Darfur than in Rwanda.

  64. Sanchez says:

    Bono? What would J Lo or Shakira?

  65. James Leer says:

    Angelus, the Iraqi voters were mentioned in other topics around the same time as in this one. That’s what I was referring to.
    But I appreciate your random slam. That’s how I know you love me, baby.

  66. mysteryperfecta says:

    I understand and agree with David’s perspective on relative generosity. What would be our proportionate cost in time and money to compare to Gates and Bono? A C-note and a three-day weekend? It reminds me of this:
    41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
    43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything

  67. James Leer says:

    The tracking had that widow at four, even five copper coins. A disappointment.

  68. David Poland says:

    I actually the idea of there being 5 People of the Year… Gates, Bono, and three other people representing the upper, middle, and lower class of committed people. Love that idea. And would have zero problem with Gates being part of that.
    Or one person from each continent who is so committed.
    (Very funny, Leer. Good one.)

  69. Bruce says:

    It is funny how Gates wins this for giving money away and not for amassing the vast fortune and starting companies that change the world.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    His reward for starting a company that changed the world WAS amassing a vast fortune.

  71. Mark D. Fulwiler says:

    This designation was never intended to be an honor, Mr. Poland, as Time has to point out year after year. Certainly Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono have a major impact on the world, whether you like them or not, don’t you think?

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