This time last year, Time Magazine announced that its person of the year was the entire United States Army. This year, they have announced that President George W Bush himself is the winner of that honour; no small feat in what has been a year of heroism, bravery, terrorism and brutality. We thank you, Mr. President, particularly for the latter.

However, once again, we at Rum and Monkey feel that there are other people who need to be lauded. Surely greatness does not begin and end at killing people (although that certainly seems to be the very definition of freedom and democracy). Therefore, over the next five days, this fine site will recommend others to you. People whose brilliance, talent and sparkle eclipse even our Commander In Chief.

The first entrant to this year’s hall of fame is Ashlee Simpson.

Ashlee is that most modern breed of celebrity; having no particular talent of her own, she is famous for being related to someone else with no talent. Together, the Simpson sisters give us hope that Warhol might have been right, and our fifteen minutes of fame is just a short wait away. Surely, we think, sitting in Borders, sipping on our lattes as we read the Arts section of the New York Times, there is nothing Ashlee has that we don’t have.

This grossly misunderestimates her badness. Ashlee Simpson is so terrible that, in a year that has seen American troops torture Iraqi prisoners, nearly two hundred thousand people die in tsunamis and earthquakes, continued warfare in the middle east and a domestic election that was almost too close to call, all Americans can really remember is that she didn’t sing on Saturday Night Live. That takes a special kind of talent; the kind of raw ability that can’t be manufactured. Some people spend years perfecting their inadequate takes on mediocrity, but Ashlee Simpson was born with it rotting in her blood.

While thousands suffer in Asia, Ashlee, with all the style and grace of a three year old reciting a poem, was recently quoted as saying: “When I burp the alphabet, my favourite letter is G. It is an open consonant and it is at the beginning when my wind is strong. I can really push it. My worst letter is S. It is a closed consonant and at the end when I am out of wind.” This quote was reprinted in the British Daily Mail, the San Francisco Examiner and Pakistan’s Daily Times. Well done, world media!

With catchy lyrics like Right now I'm solo / But that will be changing eventually, oh (from the song Autobiography), Ashlee’s music is some of the hottest around, and we at Rum and Monkey look forward to seeing her plastered all over the arts media over the coming year.

We salute her for her perseverance and her blood relations. We salute her for her charming good looks and fierce intelligence. Most of all, though, we salute her for distracting us so capably from all the horrible things going on in the world. We just don’t want to think about them! God bless you, Ashlee Simpson!