Half Massed wrote:Well, usually person of the [time period] is a good thing in most settings. Maybe they should change the title to Most Impactful Person of the Year or something. I guess it would be tough to change now.
But "Person of the Year" is even more ambiguous (and less cumbersome) than "Most Impactful Person of the Year." It doesn't denote anything at all; it's our perception that it should be an honor. The title really doesn't convey that though. We assume because Martin Luther King, Jr. has been "Person of the Year" before that it must be the most admirable, but that's certainly not the case.
It's just whoever (or whatever) is the most newsworthy.... and we all know that news, more often than not, isn't very flattering.
Sure, but in most other settings, a distinction like that means a good thing. As such, people will carry over the inherently good connotations that "person of the [time period]" has in other aspects of life to this. For example, Player of the Month in baseball is always a good thing. You never see it going to someone who, say, collided into a rival's top star at the end of the season and knocked him out for the year, allowing his own team to advance to the playoffs. That would be more impactful than a good hitting month from a different player. Same thing with Employee of the Month and so on.
We're pretty much making the same point. I understand that Person of the Year doesn't mean best person of the year, but some people don't necessarily understand that, hence the outcry when "bad" people are chosen for the distinction. I was saying that a note within the magazine saying that the distinction meant most impactful or newsworthy would be helpful.