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Each year I choose Probaway’s Person of the Year. It was originally intended as an illustration of TIME magazine’s error of judgment for Person of the Year because I felt their choices made over the previous 82 years were poor. Oh, sure, it was easy to choose the various heads of state during the WWII era; everyone has heard of Hitler, Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, and the public will probably know their names for another hundred years and possibly a little longer. But, if a typical college graduate looked at TIME’s list of winners, names or pictures,  it is doubtful if they could identify half of them. Give it a try…

Here is TIME’s Person of the Year complete list, including their picture, name and title, but unlink their pictures from their names and titles, and how many will you recognize? Even the formerly famous heads of state are fading from public memory.

The moderator in the introduction to TIME’s video about their Person of the Year 2010 says the choice is based on, “… Celebrating the people, the group of people, the idea, the individual that most impacted our society, our world, for this year.” It is obvious they were far too shortsighted in their goals in failing to consider which people made the most lasting contributions to world history, since popularity is their only criterion for inclusion.

Probaway Person of the Year 2010 comments:

== From my Probaway 2011/01/01/ post==

Each New Year I have chosen a Probaway Person of the Year. The guiding principle is to choose someone who will probably still be remembered in 500 years for something they did in the previous year. Originally the Probaway Person of the Year post was intended as a riposte to TIME magazine’s Person of the Year articles. Their method appeared to me to be shortsighted because they were mostly interested in the newsworthy people of the previous year. Most of the choices were heads of state, which seemed like they were selecting the office for that particular year rather than something the person did that would be remembered in the future. When one looks at their previous 82 choices it becomes apparent that their person of the year vanishes from history, as an individual person, within a few years after leaving public office.

The Probaway choices for memorable persons of the year may seem strange, but these individuals have done something, in the previous year, which will be remembered and used long after they have departed this year’s public awareness, as their accomplishments will keep bringing them back into prominence for a very long time.

  • 2011 – Craig Venter  laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
  • 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
  • 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
  • 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.

At the moment it seems to me that none of the previous 10 years’ winners, other than Mark Zuckerberg at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 037.jpg Mark Zuckerberg, would have a chance of winning this year. It was bewildering that Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg Barack Obama won when he did, because it was before he was inaugurated as president, and he hadn’t actually done anything, and it seems he still hasn’t done much this year to win except occupy the office.

At the moment, a month before TIME’s announcement, it appears that Steve Jobs is a slam dunk to be winner. Steve was a great person, but what he did this year was die, and I would have to ask which of the previous 82 winners would have garnered a win by dying. Perhaps Hitler could have gotten a win by committing suicide, but he was beaten out by Truman who authorized the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Probaway’s measure for person of the year is to estimate who will be potentially famous in 500 years for something they did this year. Of course that is a guess that can never be verified, at least for 500 years, but the method is more likely to come up with the individual than does TIME’s method.

TIME marches on but they’re looking at their feet.

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