Playing it safe is so pre-web, elitist, establishment-ese.
No doubt Mark Zuckerberg is an amazing technical genius, but TIME making him "Person of the Year" in 2010 is a bit tardy, even given their reasoning, as it's not like Zuckerberg's Facebook didn't mark its mark long ago. Or maybe it's because he gave $100 million to New Jersey to shake up education and the teachers' unions?
One has to wonder why Sarah Palin wasn't considered, because she's really the only logical choice.
Yes, I'm serious. Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, even as she reaches out to the "lamestream" press, they won't deign to do the same to her. TIME simply didn't have the courage to own up to the obvious.
Love her or hate her, no one shook 2010 more than Sarah, including now having the entire Republican establishment poised against her, while the Left continues to hold her in disdain. She's yet to prove she can come close to winning a general election, but there is a contagious case of flop sweat developing among Republicans that she can win the nomination. Meanwhile, try as they might, the White House keeps getting beat by her, which began with her "death panels" squeal back in '09, but escalated in 2010 when she backed the likes of Nikki Haley who came out of the blue to become governor, while the Tea Party rose on Sarah's press tails to take over the political landscape pushing the entire American political reality to the Right.
Not even Julian Assange shook 2010 more than Sarah. Not to mention that TIME couldn't have chosen him because their advertisers would have bolted, with a full scale web war breaking out on what it meant. Some people think Assange a villain, though I agree with Arianna, but people should remember that villains can be "Person of the Year," too.
Sarah Palin is the woman who must not be named. She's that dangerous, but also equally reviled. No person anywhere else in the cosmos of politics, culture or celebrity has caused such a stir.
When Karl Rove came out to question Sarah Palin's gravitas, it wasn't long before Bush's legendary brain did a rhetorical version of Michael Jackson's moonwalking, moving politically backwards from his own remarks.
If the "Person of the Year" Award had gone to Palin it would have been a case damning her for her divisiveness, her continued inability to change the subject to issues instead of her continual whining about the media, as well as her ideological foreign policy platform that isn't informed by experience gained through studying or traveling to the countries over which she opines. (Oh, but all that will change in 2011 when she makes her splash overseas.) And since Republicans have convinced themselves Sarah cost them the Senate, which is laughable because it never was in play, that could be added to the list of horribles for TIME to have mentioned, which would bring into the mix the wacky Sarah candidates Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. Her TLC reality show another point of entry, with her ridiculous fake hunting yet another way for the media establishment to take out after a woman who caused more irritation, Republican ranting and ruminating, not to mention Democratic angst and embarrassment, as she helped lead the Tea Party to take the House and turn the Republican Party establishment on its head.
The fact remains that Sarah Palin put the Tea Party on the map and pushed their presence and validated them through victory after victory. Never mind there is no one else on planet earth who could get 10,000 fans to Searchlight, NV, a tiny spot in the desert that is hours away from anything. Considering the Tea Party will own the House come January, bringing into Washington the most conservative body we've seen in decades, which has also changed the behavior of establishment Republicans because of the Tea Party rise, Sarah Palin would not have been simply a raucously interesting selection, but an honest selection.
However, choosing Sarah Palin as "Person of the Year" is more a Jon Meacham's Newsweek thing to do, for marketing purposes, if nothing else. It's something that simply wouldn't happen with Tina Brown now in charge of Newsweek, and with TIME magazine too stuffy to admit that in 2010 it was Sarah Palin who rocked everyone's world.
Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and veteran national political writer out of Washington, D.C.