In 2010, Time's Person of the Year was someone who united millions of people. This year, the magazine has chosen to honor ... those millions of people. Time today announced that "the protester" is its 2011 Person of the Year. Writing for the magazine, Kurt Andersen presents a world in which "the protester" had become a figure in a "once upon a time" story, no longer present in a place where "credit was easy, complacency and apathy were rife." That changed "exactly a year ago," when, once again, the protester "became a maker of history." Click to read his lengthy piece, which charts the protester's rise, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Spain to Greece, from Zuccotti Park to Russia.
Writing for Business Insider, Joe Weisenthal calls the pick "Kind of a snooze, but then, between the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, what's happening in Russia, and the various austerity pretests, it seems reasonable." Disagree with Time's choice? Take a gander at the alternatives. The runners-up:
- William McRaven, who commanded the assault on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
- Ai Weiwei, the famed Chinese artist who went missing for 81 days last spring and summer after being detained in Beijing.
- Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee chairman and, according to Time, "the prophet."
- Kate Middleton, who needs no explanation (but here's a bit of Time's: She is a person with "flawless skin and abundant locks.")
The official statement
from editor Richard Stengel explains that "the protester" was picked "for capturing and highlighting a global sense of restless promise, for upending governments and conventional wisdom, for combining the oldest of techniques with the newest of technologies to shine a light on human dignity and, finally, for steering the planet on a more democratic though sometimes more dangerous path for the 21st century."