SOMEBODY HAS TO SAY IT

by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Tommi Avicolli Mecca
Location
San Francisco, California, US
Birthday
July 25
Bio
I am a writer, performer and activist, editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: the early years of gay liberation (City Lights), and co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italian-American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus and Hey Paesan: Writings by Italian American Lesbians and Gay Men. To view my creative stuff: www.avicollimecca.com. youtube.com/user/avimecca. myspace.com/peacenikssf.

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Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 15, 2011 11:02AM

No thanks, Time Magazine

Rate: 13 Flag

In a word, Time Magazine’s designation of “the protester” as person of the year means nothing to me. I’ve been a protester for most of my 60 years on this planet, starting in my teens when I took to the streets in civil rights and anti-Vietnam War demos and later with gay liberation. I don’t need some corporate media to recognize what millions of us did in the past and do now every day. 

 

That being said, this year has indeed been an extraordinary one for those who set out to topple dictators and to try to establish some form of democracy in their countries. 

 

Including our own nation. It’s hard to talk of democracy when millions are without jobs, homes and/or healthcare. It’s hard to talk of democracy when more and more children go to school hungry while others live the lives of the “Gossip Girl” or the “Beverly Hills 90210” crowd.

 

In no time at all, the Occupy Wall Street movement has provoked regular discussion of these economic inequities in a media that has usually refused to recognize them. That this movement spread like wildfire from sea to shining sea is a testament to the fact that it struck a chord with a lot of people, some of them new to taking to the streets.

 

“Everywhere, it seems, people said they'd had enough,” Time’s Editor Rick Stengel stated the other day when the magazine issue debuted. “They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering.”

One thing that Stengel forgot to mention was the corporate media’s role in trying to ignore or downplay protests here in our own land. When Occupy Wall Street started its encampment in New York City’s Liberty Plaza, where was Time Magazine? 

Doing what every other mainstream media outlet was doing, not seeing or hearing the cries of “we’ve had enough.” Until, of course, police began abusing the hell out of campers and the media, which craves the sight of blood dripping from a protester’s head, swarmed in to catch every swing of the billy club.

Let’s face it, Time Magazine is trying to cash in on the revolution. Sure, editors can wax eloquently about the uprisings and their impact on world politics, but the reality is that choosing the protester for its annual cover person is a good way to sell magazines. And that’s the business Time Magazine and other corporate media is engaged in.

It’s really about the bottom line, the same one that protesters in this country are most upset with. 

Ironic, isn’t it?

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I thought it was about the protesters who changed their world, as in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and those who might yet succeed, as in Russia, and those who are doing no more than having an impact on the agenda (Occupy and, probably the end result of the Russian protests).

In all these cases, people were on the street protesting before a leader, if any, emerged.

And maybe they might have thought it ghoulish to put a dead Tunisian fruit seller on the cover.
I certainly agree. This was such a lame choice, I don't have the words. This isn't the first time they've pulled this dodge, too; a few years ago, it was "the PC", then one year it was "you". I mean, c'mon, really.
Rather than trying to cash in on or otherwise co-opt the movement, I think it's that they just don't have the balls to name an actual person, because every time they do it causes some controversy, and that's what hurts revenue.
So this is safe. Lame, but safe.
Time passes, but Time Magazine is still the same old same old.
It's the irony of this country that to do anything at all, you need money, publicity or both, and that includes any kind of social change. I don't criticize the individual editors, who are trying to do their jobs and even just keep a job when so many journalists are losing theirs. I blame the corporate media that has taken over and homogenized what used to be journalism on both right and left. I believe that in the distant past, Time was just a magazine, rather than the flagship product of a media company. Being the person of the year might have really been a tribute once.
Damn straight. Ironic indeed. It's hip to recognize "the protestor" from afar.
The protester as person of the year? Too cute. When my father was reading Time back when I was a kid it was a serious news magazine. Now it's just a pictures-and-features glossy. I don't think anyone under 50 gives two craps about Time's person of the year. (That's against Time, not your article, which I really like a lot.)
Without the "corporate media", how is it, do you suppose I would have ever heard of you or your cause? Yeah, that is ironic.