Tuesday, December 19, 2006
"Blank" Of The Year
I actually appreciate the idea.
This was certainly a breakthrough for the concept of the alternative media or "Web 2.0." If you don't think so, just ask George Allen -- author of the "politically incorrect" Word of the Year. (That was, by the way the appropriate use of the word "politically incorrect." Allen used a word at a politcal event that turned out to be not just "incorrect" but as disastrous as possibly can be.)
The combination of one campaign worker with with a video camera plus YouTube and the incumbent senator from Virginia was launched into an unrecoverable death spiral. In years past, without YouTube, the clip might have been seen on the local news (if that) and been just a little blip in a lenghty campaign. Similarly, Allen's defensiveness over his Jewish heritage rippled far and wide, energizing liberal opponents and demoralizing would-be conservative supporters.
Thus, Web-driven campaigning hit a certain tipping point this year -- and influence the "real world" in a noticeable manner.
But, of course, the "real world" is more than just America -- which is why many think Time ignored the real "Person Of The Year."
Pat Buchanan votes for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (and no, not for the reasons you might think). He has a point:
[P]utting his face on Time's cover would have done a useful service, jolting America to a painful realization. Not only George Bush, but the United States, its Arab allies and Israel, had a dreadful year, as Iran emerged as first beneficiary of a war fought by this country at a cost of 25,000 dead and wounded.
Eighteen months ago, Ahmadinejad was the unknown mayor of Tehran. Today, he is the visible face of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, both a cause of and the personification of our failures. He has defied Bush's demand that he give up the enrichment of uranium, split the Security Council, mocked the Holocaust, called for the end of the Zionist state and the expulsion of America from the Mideast, terrified the Sunni monarchs, and united the Arab and Islamic masses behind his defiance.
His trip to the United Nations, where he ran circles around U.S. journalists, was a diplomatic triumph. And he has done it all not with military power – Iran would not last a week in an all-out war with the United States and has no defense against Israel's nuclear weapons – but with theatrics and rhetoric.
He inspires all who hate Israel and Bush's America. And, according to the Zogby polling yesterday, that is a majority which, in some once-friendly nations, is approaching near unanimity.
Ahmadinejad, a man of words without real power, is the big winner of 2006, because Bush, America and Israel were the big losers.
Why do a billion Muslims prefer Ahmadinejad to America? That is the question that needs to be addressed.
For similar reasons, George Will suggested the same thing when questioning Time's Editor-In-Chief Richard Stengel on ABC's This Week on Sunday (in an after-broadcast segment captured online in "The Green Room," Stengel admits that Ahmadinejad was the runner-up).