Time’s Person of the Year

obama_coverNo surprise that it’s Barack Obama. I’m not even sure you could make the case for anybody else, unless you throw in the doppelganger that is Tina Fey/Sarah Palin. And even then you’re only thinking about that decision for a millisecond.

Still, this one was about as close a contest as the smallpox versus Native Americans game at Fort Pitt in 1763.


Time got Shep Fairey to design the cover, based upon his now iconic Obama poster. In fact it looks like Shep worked really long hours to alter the image.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing you can’t get arrested for stealing your own work.

It’s unlikely that you were surprised to see Obama’s face on the cover. He has come to dominate the public sphere so completely that it beggars belief to recall that half the people in America had never heard of him two years ago — that even his campaign manager, at the outset, wasn’t sure Obama had what it would take to win the election. He hit the American scene like a thunderclap, upended our politics, shattered decades of conventional wisdom and overcame centuries of the social pecking order. Understandably, you may be thinking Obama is on the cover for these big and flashy reasons: for ushering the country across a momentous symbolic line, for infusing our democracy with a new intensity of participation, for showing the world and ourselves that our most cherished myth — the one about boundless opportunity — has plenty of juice left in it.

Time also put together stories on: the runners-up; fond farewells; people who mattered; pictures of the year.

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