The past four entries have been truly exceptional people who influenced discourse and the world’s imaginations during 2004. Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales; David Blunkett; the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; Ashlee Simpson. Historic personalities all.
My quandary is this: who can top them?
Originally, I was going to nominate George Walker Bush, President of the United States. Under his leadership, the United States has taken a sharp turn to the religious right, and the world at large has become even more rife with hatred towards the west. Education spending has decreased; the American budget deficit has gone up; soldiers have been sent into a battle against an indistinct foe with inadequate armour and a Commander in Chief who does not respect the Geneva Conventions, which were originally founded for their protection. He’s out to destroy social security, he lends his voice to bigoted pro-life rallies, he has little respect for the civil liberties of ordinary Americans.
But is this enough? Without Tony Blair’s support, the war in Iraq might not have happened. Without NBC, Ashlee Simpson might never have been allowed to sing. Without the FCC, the Janet Jackson Breast Controversy might not have been used to further censor western media. Without Emeril Lagasse, I might never have smashed my TV with hammers.
So here’s the rub, readers. I want you to tell me who was person of the year, and why. Click on my name at the bottom of this article and send me a message using the box below. I’ll list the best answers at the end of the month.