Monthly Archives: May 2012
TIME has named “The Protester” the 2011 Person of the Year. Here’s a look at some generic people, groups of people, and things that also have received this honor, which Stacy Conradt originally posted earlier this fall.
TIME‘s Man of the Year tradition started in 1927, allegedly because editors hastily concocted a reason to have Charles Lindbergh on the cover after omitting his trans-Atlantic flight from the magazine. Since Chuck’s win, the title has been awarded 83 more times. Here are 10 winners who were groups of people, generic people, or things.
1. The Computer, 1982
One of the best parts about the article naming the computer the “Machine of the Year” is reading it now, 30 years later. One man, they said, figured out how he could use computer to administer anesthesia during surgery; the band Earth, Wind and Fire even used one to explode smoke bombs during their shows. Behold, a computer convention in Las Vegas from 1982:
In the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center a month ago, more than 1,000 computer companies large and small were showing off their wares, their floppy discs and disc drives, joy sticks and modems, to a mob of some 50,000 buyers, middlemen and assorted technology buffs.
Look! Here is Hewlett-Packard’s HP9000, on which you can sketch a new airplane, say, and immediately see the results in 3-D through holograph imaging; here is how the Votan can answer and act on a telephone call in the middle of the night from a salesman on the other side of the country; here is the Olivetti M20 that entertains bystanders by drawing garishly colored pictures of Marilyn Monroe; here is a program designed by The Alien Group that enables an Atari computer to say aloud anything typed on its keyboard in any language. It also sings, in a buzzing humanoid voice, Amazing Grace and When I’m 64 or anything else that anyone wants to teach it.
2. The Middle Americans, 1969
Interestingly, TIME’s idea of Middle America includes one H. Ross Perot:
“The Middle Americans tend to be grouped in the nation’s heartland more than on its coasts. But they live in Queens, N.Y., and Van Nuys, Calif., as well as in Skokie and Chillicothe. They tend toward the middle-aged and the middlebrow. They are defined as much by what they are not as by what they are. As a rule, they are not the poor or the rich. Still, many wealthy business executives are Middle Americans. H. Ross Perot, the Texas millionaire who organized a group called ‘United We Stand Inc.’ to support the President on the war, is an example.”
3. The Endangered Earth, 1988
TIME acknowledged their unorthodox “Man of the Year” post right here in the story’s headline: “What on EARTH are we doing?” After a year of hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and floods, it was apparently time to ask – and to name the first “Planet of the Year.”
4. The American Fighting-Man, 1950
“He has been called soft and tough, resourceful and unskilled, unbelievably brave and unbelievably timid, thoroughly disciplined and scornful of discipline. One way or another, all of these generalizations are valid. He is a peculiar soldier, product of a peculiar country. His two outstanding characteristics seem to be contradictory. He is more of an individualist than soldiers of other nations, and at the same time he is far more conscious of, and dependent on, teamwork. He fights as he lives, a part of a vast, complicated machine—but a thinking, deciding part, not an inert cog.”
5. American Scientists, 1960
Unlike the ambiguous “American Fighting-Man,” this “Man” of the Year had names. Among those specifically mentioned in the article were chemist Linus Pauling, physicist Edward Teller, geneticist George Beadle and virologist John Enders.
“It has been said, almost 90% of all the scientists that the world has ever produced are alive today. By the very nature of that curve, 1960 was the richest of all scientific years, and the years ahead must be even more fruitful,” the magazine predicted.
6. Baby Boomers, or “The Inheritors,” 1966
Though the title was given to the generation overall, a few famous names were singled out as examples: 23-year-old chess genius Bobby Fischer, 19-year-old world record miler Jim Ryun, 24-year-old folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, 20-year-old artist Jamie Wyeth, 25-year-old actress Julie Christie, among others.
7. American Women, 1975
Women of 1975 included Betty Ford, Billie Jean King, feminist Susan Brownmiller and Carol Sutton, the first female editor of a major daily newspaper (Louisville’s Courier-Journal).
8. The Peacemakers, 1993
Also known as Yasser Arafat, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Yitzhak Rabin, the Peacemakers had a busy ’93. Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn as Bill Clinton looked on, while Mandela and de Klerk worked tirelessly toward a new South Africa. The latter pair won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 while Arafat and Rabin, along with Shimon Peres, won in 1994.
9. The Good Samaritans, 2005
You’re probably more familiar with the Good Samaritans as Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates. TIMErecognized the unlikely trio for their efforts toward improving world health.
“These are not the people you expect to come to the rescue. Rock stars are designed to be shiny, shallow creatures, furloughed from reality for all time. Billionaires are even more removed, nestled atop fantastic wealth where they never again have to place their own calls or defrost dinner or fly commercial. So Bono spends several thousand dollars at a restaurant for a nice Pinot Noir, and Bill Gates, the great predator of the Internet age, has a trampoline room in his $100 million house. It makes you think that if these guys can decide to make it their mission to save the world, partner with people they would never otherwise meet, care about causes that are not sexy or dignified in the ways that celebrities normally require, then no one really has a good excuse anymore for just staying on the sidelines and watching.”
10. You, 2006
Collective groan. The idea of making “You” the Person of the Year was roundly panned by the very people the concept was attempting to honor: creators of user-generated content on the Internet. Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! commented that if “we” actually controlled the media, “we would have picked a much better choice for the Person of the Year issue.”
1. Augustus, AD 14
Caesar Augustus was the first ruler of the Roman Empire, leading Rome for 41 years. He would boast that he found Rome in clay and left it in marble. So smug was he over his success that on his deathbed he facetiously asked:
“Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit!”
2. Karl Marx, 1883
The author of The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx’s ideas, words, and writings would go on to influence generations. While on his deathbed, Marx’s housekeeper went to his side. She requested he tell her his last words, so that she could record them for posterity. Marx scoffed:
“Go on – get out. Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
3. Che Guevara, 1967
Up to his dying moment, Che Guevara proved his legacy as being worthy of gracing so many t-shirts. A Latin American revolutionary, Guevara earned himself many enemies by plotting the downfall of governments and advocating for social change. His activism made him a wanted man by the CIA and many other countries worldwide. Ultimately he was caught by the Bolivians and the president ordered his execution. To his executioner Guevara shouted:
“I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.”
4. Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, 1901
Tom Ketchum was a hole-in-the-wall gang member and notorious train robber. With comrades such as Butch Cassidy, Ketchum was soon a wanted cowboy. After being shot in the arm, he was captured and sentenced to death by hanging. His executioner tied the rope poorly, resulting in Ketchum’s decapitation on his way down. Before he was pushed off the platform, he laughed:
“I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast – let her rip!”
5. Christine Chubbuck, 1974
Television reporter Christine Chubbuck was frustrated with her job. Too often her investigative reports were pushed aside for stories of shock-value. Chubbuck suffered from depression and was determined to take her own life to end the pain. She knew the perfect way to do it, which would double as revenge on her employer. During a live television broadcast on July 15, before taking a gun to her head. she improvised:
“In keeping with Channel 40′s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide.”
6. John Maynard Keynes, 1946
John Maynard Keynes was a British economist who profoundly influenced economic thought of the 20th and 21st centuries. Despite his extremely long and impressive resume, his greatest regret on his deathbed was not having had more fun:
“I wish I’d drunk more champagne.”
7. George Engel, 1887
A German anarchist and labor union activist living in America, George Engel often partook in and organized strikes, raids, and riots. Convicted for having planted bombs at the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago, he was sent to the gallows. From the platform he shouted:
“Hurrah for anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life.”
8. Giles Corey, 1692
False accusations and unreasonable executions were the primary characteristics of the Salem Witch Trials. One alleged witch, Giles Corey, was not too pleased to be tortured for such frivolous reasons. Thus, as the authorities layered more and more rocks upon his fragile old frame, they gave him one last chance to admit his suspected magic. Corey, stubbornly, welcomed his death instead:
9. Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson, 1868
Kit Carson was an American frontiersman who ran a small militia during the Civil War. In the west, away from the feuding between the north and the south, militias worked to force Native American tribes onto reservations. Carson brutally destroyed the crops and villages of the Navajo in order to drive them onto government designated land. On his deathbed in Colorado, rather than ask forgiveness for his crimes, Carson lamented:
“I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”
10. George Appel, 1928
George Appel was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a police officer in New York City in 1928. The court sentenced him to death by electric chair. While being strapped to the fatal device, he laughed to the officers:
“Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”
11. Humphrey Bogart, 1957
The Hollywood icon Humphrey Bogart was America’s leading man for decades. He stole hearts in classic movies like The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Surprising then, is that Bogart, at the time of his death, weighed a mere 80 pounds. Though suffering from cancer of the esophagus, he still joked as he fell into a coma:
“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
12. Joan Crawford, 1977
As a famous American dancer and actress who epitomized the flapper era, Joan Crawford had a reputation for sass and unapologetic boldness. Later in life she developed pancreatic cancer, and while she was lying weak on her deathbed, her housekeeper began to pray aloud. Crawford brashly interrupted:
“Dammit… Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”
13. Voltaire, 1778
The French Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire, was never a close-minded man. He entertained and carefully considered every idea – particularly on his deathbed. The priest giving him his last rites requested he renounce Satan. To this, Voltaire responded:
“Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.”
14. Ethan Allen, 1789
American Revolutionary general Ethan Allen was a stereotypically hard military man. Though surviving the war, he suffered an apoplectic fit, which pushed him on to his deathbed. Allen was very hostile to the idea of death, and in an attempt to comfort him, a doctor said, “General, I fear the angels are waiting for you.” Allen was quite annoyed:
“Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well – let ‘em wait.”
15. Richard Feynman, 1988
It takes a lot to keep a genius entertained, and Richard Feynman was certainly a genius. The MIT and Princeton graduate’s work with quantum physics and electrodynamics earned him prestige in world academia. After developing two rare forms of cancer, Feynman did not have the energy to make provocative scientific discoveries, thus prompting the thought:
“I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
16. Dylan Thomas, 1953
Dylan Thomas was a famous Welsh poet with a reputation for heavy drinking. When accused of being an alcoholic, he would say, “An alcoholic is someone you don’t like, who drinks as much as you do.” Though suffering from intense breathing problems, he spent his last nights in a bar. Proudly, he announced:
“I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record…”
17. Charlie Chaplin, 1977
Charlie Chaplin was a legend of the silent film era. A comedian until the very end, Chaplin was jovial in his last moments. A priest dutifully counseling him said, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.” Chaplin shrugged:
“Why not? After all, it belongs to him.”
18. James French, 1966
James French was sentenced to life in prison for murder. He was afraid to commit suicide, so instead he murdered his cellmate to prompt the court to give him a proper execution. The last man to be given the electric chair in the state of Oklahoma, he told the correctional officers as they strapped him in:
“How’s this for a headline? ‘French fries’.”
19. John Barrymore, 1942
John Barrymore was a Hollywood actor best known for his roles in light comedies. He lived a very grand life, worthy of a star. Thus, the idea of death was far too simple a concept to end his life:
“Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”
20. Charles Darwin, 1882
The biologist Charles Darwin made a huge contribution to our modern way of thinking, scientifically and socially. Such a learned man was he, that Darwin faced death with a very brave soul. He wisely declared:
“I am not the least afraid to die.”
To be witty at life’s end is not an easy task. The pain, fear, or anxiety of dying most likely dulls one’s mental facilities. Hence, it may be wise to begin writing your own last words today. After all, you never know when you’re going to need them.