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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: A peculiar pick for person of the year

So, “Time” magazine’s Person of the Year is Elon Musk. I’m sure we’re all wondering the same thing: Were the Sacklers not available?

No, no. What I meant to say was thoughts and prayers to Jeff Bezos who is probably curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor of one of his many mansions. Life is so unfair, Jeffy.

It should be noted that “Time” (motto: not your Grandpa’s magazine; OK, jk, yeah we are) goes to great lengths to point out the Person of the Year isn’t an award. Rather, the designation “recognizes the person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or ill.”

Right. So lemme get this straight. The baby-faced billionaire who got in a peeing match with Bezos with both trying to build a bigger rocket ship to blast rich people into space had the most influence of anyone in America in 2021.

The scientists who developed COVID vaccines, saving millions of lives and staying the execution of the global economy as we know it? The worn-out and weary health care workers tending COVID patients in hospitals across America? Meh. Go build a rocket, losers.

“Time” magazine (motto: “Seriously, we’re cool now; we almost always profile an obscure Broadway producer you need to know about”) did designate Hitler (yes, that Hitler) back in 1938 so the “good or ill” part does ring true, I suppose.

To be fair, which I just hate, Bezos did win the “not an award” back in 1999 but that’s like 80 lifetimes ago in billionaire years. I mean, “Sex and the City” was the biggest thing on HBO back then. Oh. Wait.

1999 was also the year “Time” magazine (motto: “When we run out of things to say, we run 18 pages of photos of the same desert”) made a long overdue change from “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year.” And later gave the honor to “the computer” which was baffling and really got under the skin of “the refrigerator with craft ice” and “the oven with built-in air fryer” who really thought 2021 might just be their year.

“Time” magazine (motto: “We used to have a humor columnist but humor is so pedestrian when you can use that space for yet another story about Frida Kahlo, who though dead since 1954 continues to be having a  moment as they say”) has named Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Joseph Stalin as Persons of the Year. So there.

(Incidentally, I didn’t mean to offend Frida Kahlo fans; she is hands-down my favorite artist with a unibrow. Work it, girl!)

Predictably, not just snarky humor columnists upbraided “Time” magazine (motto: “If you want a copy of the 1999 Bezos cover, simply visit the office of your local proctologist”) for its choice of the flamboyantly irritating Elon Musk.

One of the loudest critics was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she of the purse filled with crumpled Kohl’s cash, a tin of off-brand Altoids and a Kleenex from 2011. Warren’s head did that emoji thing where it blows up like a mushroom cloud when she learned of the anointing of Elon Musk.

Warren churlishly but accurately tweeted the magazine’s choice highlighted the need to “change the rigged tax code so the Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”

All y’all say “Harrrrumph!”

In announcing the selection of Musk, who publicly played down COVID  and threatened to take away stock options from Tesla workers when they tried to unionize, “Time” described him as an “edgelord” which sounds made up but is a fancy way to say “selfish pork face.”

Finally, to the Sacklers, here’s hoping you win in 2022. If anyone deserves to be in the company of Hitler, it’s y’all.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

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