Remember when Time’s man of the year, apart from the parade of presidential feebs and felons, was some hero or villain you had to respect, if not always admire? Among the heroes was the first recipient, Charles Lindbergh, as well as Charles de Gaulle and Lech Walesa. The villains included Hitler, Stalin, and Ayatollah Khomeini. Where to put Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King, Jr., I leave to you.
In recent years, Time has accelerated its search for the trendy or tear-jerking, naming the founder of Amazon in 1999, Rudy Giuliani in 2001, whistleblowers in 2002, the American Soldier in 2003. This year, Time climaxed its plunge into pop culture, naming as the “Good Samaritans” two mischief-making do-gooders, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Bono, self-appointed conscience of the chic and dumb.
Apart from his relentless quest for public approval, Gates is only one of a long line of hypocritical robber barons seeking redemption in philanthropic acts designed to make the world a worse place. I leave it to a younger generation to judge the music of U2, but even by the deteriorating standards of rock music in the new millennium, they nauseate me with their slick and predictable song stylings and their Christianity-lite piety.
I suppose that such criticism, coming from someone who keeps pop music at about the same distance...